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Debates Forum

  1. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    03 Aug '15 08:32 / 1 edit
    While many countries around the world have updated their political systems. United States still labors under a hastily conceived and ill-designed Electoral College first created in the late 18th century as stated in the story below. Sadly this system has produced a never ending political season, the outcome of which depends a great deal on rich, shadowy donors that seem accountable to no one. Regardless of one's political views, I think many will agree it's time to update our system in such a way that our campaign season is shorter, and less dependent on boatloads of greenbacks pouring in to the coffers of our candidates' campaign coffers. I highly doubt I'll see this in my lifetime, but for those American's under 40, I highly suggest you read the story below, it was written in Jan of 2013, but has some interesting ideas.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/26/too-soon-for-2016-how-to-end-our-endless-presidential-election-season.html
  2. 03 Aug '15 08:43
    What does the electoral college have to do with campaign finance?
  3. 03 Aug '15 08:48
    I think that the biggest problem with political systems is that it is extremely difficult to ever change them short of a coup or civil war.
    Its not impossible. Many African countries have successfully rewritten their constitutions and changed their political systems quite dramatically without war, but it usually does take a lot of people to be very dissatisfied with the current system.

    I do think the whole world is about ripe for a complete overhaul of all political systems. I would like to see a much greater focus on local democracy (city sized politics) and a near removal of country boundaries.
  4. 03 Aug '15 10:01 / 1 edit
    Be sure to watch this too:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z4j2CrJRn4

    And this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CesHr99ezWE
  5. 03 Aug '15 10:50 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I think that the biggest problem with political systems is that it is extremely difficult to ever change them short of a coup or civil war.
    Its not impossible. Many African countries have successfully rewritten their constitutions and changed their political systems quite dramatically without war, but it usually does take a lot of people to be very dissa ...[text shortened]... greater focus on local democracy (city sized politics) and a near removal of country boundaries.
    Well what led to the Civil War in the states was the election of Lincoln who opposed slavery. Essentially the war started because both parties were fighting over centralized control over the country. Then when one side felt slighted and unrepresented they simply threw in the towel and decided to start their own government.

    I continue to advocate democracy on a smaller scale in a world that is head long into collectivism. As we have seen with the EU and Greece and the growing sense in the US that a large segment of the population feels the way they did back in the days of Lincoln, collectivism has fundamental flaws that I believe cannot be fixed.

    And really, democracy on the smaller scale gives better representation. Local officials that actually live in your side of the world are better apt to represent you better. Votes are also worth more than diluted in a national election.

    However, the main appeal to collectivism is power. The more people you have control over the more power you have. Collectivism is also how world governments create world conquering armies. Without it, governments have no way to defend themselves against such men as Stalin or Hitler or Putin, or Obama etc.
  6. 03 Aug '15 11:26
    Originally posted by whodey
    And really, democracy on the smaller scale gives better representation.
    What is the optimal "scale" in terms of population, area, etc. and what ought to be the degree of autonomy of the governments at this scale with respect to the rest of the world?
  7. 03 Aug '15 12:13
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    What is the optimal "scale" in terms of population, area, etc. and what ought to be the degree of autonomy of the governments at this scale with respect to the rest of the world?
    I would put the city as being the most important scale. Currently however, most city decisions in most countries are carried out largely undemocratically because there is so much focus on national elections that people tend to ignore local elections (even though they do exist).
    Having said that, here in Cape Town there is quite a lot of local democracy at the suburb level. However it is carried out by those with a real interest in it, so unless you really try to find out about it and get your voice heard, you may not even realise it is there. I know who the president is, and know which party runs the province, but have no idea who is the local representative for my suburb. Of course being a foreigner I have no voting rights anyway. (something I object to).
    Interesting fact: I live in one of two South African suburbs that has banned the sale of alcohol.
  8. 03 Aug '15 12:57
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    What is the optimal "scale" in terms of population, area, etc. and what ought to be the degree of autonomy of the governments at this scale with respect to the rest of the world?
    Good question.

    From what I've seen, the size of a US state or European country, which are about equivalent, seem to do fine.
  9. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    03 Aug '15 16:09
    Originally posted by bill718
    While many countries around the world have updated their political systems. United States still labors under a hastily conceived and ill-designed Electoral College first created in the late 18th century as stated in the story below. Sadly this system has produced a never ending political season, the outcome of which depends a great deal on rich, shadowy dono ...[text shortened]... m/articles/2013/01/26/too-soon-for-2016-how-to-end-our-endless-presidential-election-season.html
    I'm looking forward to Thursday's debate. I hope they let Trump talk a lot.

    I won't say that I'm looking forward to it as much as the start of the NFL season, but I'll call it second on my list of must see sporting events over the next several weeks.
  10. 03 Aug '15 16:16
    Originally posted by whodey
    Good question.

    From what I've seen, the size of a US state or European country, which are about equivalent, seem to do fine.
    How have you "seen" that? And what it is specifically that you have "seen" that these "smaller" sizes accomplish compared to larger ones? The sizes of US states and European countries vary greatly.
  11. 03 Aug '15 17:18
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    How have you "seen" that? And what it is specifically that you have "seen" that these "smaller" sizes accomplish compared to larger ones? The sizes of US states and European countries vary greatly.
    One of the YouTubes I posted earlier points out that the district of Columbia has a larger population than several states.
  12. 04 Aug '15 09:57 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    How have you "seen" that? And what it is specifically that you have "seen" that these "smaller" sizes accomplish compared to larger ones? The sizes of US states and European countries vary greatly.
    Often it's less about size, or even culture, than about practical needs. For example, in the 19th century Sweden and Norway were "in personal union", reigned over by the King of Sweden. Norway had great autonomy in domestic affairs, but the countries pursued a joint foreign policy. Sweden had a population of just over 5 million, while Norway's population was a little under 2.5 million. The two countries also had very similar national cultures and languages. Yet the union proved untenable, because Norway's western situation encouraged trade with Britain, while Sweden's major trading partner was Germany; and indeed, Norway generally engaged in more foreign trade, which meant that Stockholm's protectionist policies were to Norway's disadvantage. Accordingly, the union was peacefully dissolved in 1905, and Norway became independent.
  13. 04 Aug '15 14:47
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    How have you "seen" that? And what it is specifically that you have "seen" that these "smaller" sizes accomplish compared to larger ones? The sizes of US states and European countries vary greatly.
    There is no question that the more local politics are the more represented you become. Your vote is worth more and those you are voting for live close to your community.

    I'm tired of the great divide where you have socialist leaning states and more conservative states trying to obtain power federally in order to exercise power over the other. What sense does that make? As I said, this led to the Civil War in the 1800's.

    Additionally, how in tune can a federal government be to the issues within a community? Centralized planning is for tyrants, not a democracy.

    From what I've seen in the federal government, large pots of money are created and simply disappear. We see this time and time again. The rampant waste and corruption are legendary.

    What the US has today is a Congress with an approval rating around 10% and has been there for some time, yet they keep getting elected anyway. Are Americans proud of this type of "democracy"?

    Power corrupts as everyone admits, however, you still have those pushing for centralized control and more power. It's insane.
  14. 04 Aug '15 15:51
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I think that the biggest problem with political systems is that it is extremely difficult to ever change them short of a coup or civil war.
    Its not impossible. Many African countries have successfully rewritten their constitutions and changed their political systems quite dramatically without war, but it usually does take a lot of people to be very dissa ...[text shortened]... greater focus on local democracy (city sized politics) and a near removal of country boundaries.
    I do think the whole world is about ripe for a complete overhaul of all political systems. I would like to see a much greater focus on local democracy (city sized politics) and a near removal of country boundaries.

    That was seemingly the intent of the original Articles of Confederation in the US. Gradually, under the Constitution, the US became very European, very international, seeking power and empire.

    I'm no expert on Africa, but it seems the majority did use war and revolution to effect political change.
  15. 04 Aug '15 16:08
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    What is the optimal "scale" in terms of population, area, etc. and what ought to be the degree of autonomy of the governments at this scale with respect to the rest of the world?
    That might be the question, which nobody has a real answer to.