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Posted by: Piper on January 17, 19100 at 10:44:31:

In Reply to: The separation of powers is YOUR topic, Krasny posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on January 16, 19100 at 23:19:50:

A few points, if i may
: :
: : *Well, first off, I never claimed that the idea of seperation of powers was a panacea for the political exercise of racism, Tammany Hall styled political intrigue or wag-the-dog antics on the part of the C in C. Having said this, and whatever its limitations may be in its present context, concentrating power in the hands of a single body is an even worse idea.

: SDF: Then the separation of powers is a BAD idea, because it concentrates power in the Executive Branch.

Piper: But are there not checks and balances applied to the executive branch to halt such a concentration of power (or at least attempt it?- if not successful then it calls for a reordering of the constitution the founders after all i believe feared legislative power being dominant and so granted more power to the executive.)

: : When the time came for Stalin to commence the forced collectivisation of the Ukraine (to take one example), 8 million people lost their lives; compare and contrast that with what eventually happened to Nixon when he decided it was 'in the national best interests' for him to retain control of the Oval Office tapes.

: SDF: Look what happened with Nixon's four-year bombing of Cambodia, which propelled Saloth Sar aka "Pol Pot" into power. The separation of powers DID NOT prevent US-perpetrated and US-promoted genocide.

: : I'm not saying it's a perfect mouse trap. Certainly, the fact that this is a class based society means that principles such as a constitutional seperation of powers only operates insofar as this arrangement is in the best interests of a particular class. That's not to say that the principle *itself* is unsound.

: SDF: I'll say it then. The separation of powers is an unsound principle ITSELF, because legislation and judging aren't really power -- DOING THINGS is power, as the anarchists have reminded us time and time again. Thus my citation of historical instances of the concentration of power in the Executive Branch. Merely pretending that power comes in different packages to be entrusted to different groups of people does not affect this singular aspect of power. Therefore, if you want to have a democracy that isn't a conspiracy, you have to have all the significant interests at the table, and use CONSENSUS PROCESS to decide amongst them. Thus "the separation of powers" is antidemocratic, and your dismissal of my substantiated arguments against it is itself unsubstantiated. Try again, Krasny, if you still feel like debating this trivial point.

Piper: But surely the mischief the separation of powers is designed to prevent is that of a single person exercising executive and judicial and legislative functions (or any combination of those). I see no recipe for democracy in such a separation, merely a mechanism to prevent abuse of position (A function which it fulfils if not perfectly).

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