- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Lark ( next fear ) on September 27, 1999 at 01:44:53:

In Reply to: The state is, and always will be, an organization for controlling the people. posted by DonS on July 22, 1999 at 11:43:21:

: : OK evidence and argument please I dont want anyone pretending to be an oracle around me. You've remarked, something which is purely your opinion, and then implied I am stupid because I disagree with you, that angers me an I will treat it as an insult Napolean,

: Don: Feel free to consider it an insult.

Fine but remeber this is a debating room, we are meant to have an exchange of views not insults.

: Don: The state is, and always will be, an organization for controlling the people. This will be true regardless of the methods of governing used. This is obvious in the case of monarchys and dictators. It is also true in total democracy.

Right, this actually goes against your original statement that the people are not the state, I mean in an empty country is there a state? I do indeed acknowledge also that the state is a source of social regulation, you say control, it's not the only one, there is the market or in a realistic sense the fortune five hundred since the market in the utopian sense of Adam Smith never really existed and I doubt if it ever could.

If you are objecting to involuntary regulation and control being brought into peoples lives and the relative (democratic state) or complete (Fortune 500) unaccountablity of the regualtors and controlers then we are in complete agreement.

: Don: Consider a democracy where everyone has one vote, and each vote is equal. Assume that everyone votes. Assume everyone votes either yes or no on a given proposition. Let us assume this democracy has 101 citizens. If I am one of those citizens, the only way my vote can alter the outcome is if 50 vote yes and 50 vote no--my vote will then be the deciding vote. If 55 people vote yes and 45 vote no, it does not matter how I vote. I have NO effect on the outcome (unless I can persuade others to vote as I do). When my vote cannot effect the outcome, I have no say in the government. I am essentially powerless, and I am no more "part" of the government than if I were rulled by a king. What is the probability that I can have an effect on the outcome? Well, if we assume all other voters decide by throwing a coin, I have just under an 8% chance of deciding the outcome. In a nation of 100 million people, this chance becomes very small indeed. In effect, I have no say.

Yes, elective despotism is no fun at all, I live in N.Ireland where I'm subject to the rule of a bunch of backward religious fundamentalists I know all about this, however if people don't participate at present why would they participate in a more "open" or decentralist system also how would we get from here to that form of social organisation without participation effecting meaningful reFORM.

:It would be silly to consider me, an individual, "part of the government", since in my lifetime I would probably never have any impact of the outcome of an election--and this is assuming a perfect democracy. If a powerfull majority exists in a democracy--and no one has shown how this can be prevented--every outcome can be decided by this group. Most individuals will never have a say in government--ever.
These are problems but can't problems be worked out? I would assume that if communities, and I mean this in a very real sense as in you and your neighbours once reFORM has succeeded, where given the opportunity to direct their affairs elective bullying and majoritarian Machavellianism, which are very real tyrannies and genuinely abhore me too, would be kept to a minimum by the fact that we're all rational beings.

If individualism in a complete sense was to be respected the community would have no business intervening to prevent child abuse, beastiality or anti-social crimes like assault, trespass or murder.

: Don: In reality, the government will always consist of more than just voters.

Yes, it is currently, with it's division between the governers and governed and the development of a class of Machavellian professional politicians, only relatively accountable but it is our duty to ourselves and future generations to make it completely accountable in face to face terms.

:Some form of government employees, such as those who collect the votes, etc., will always exist. These people will always have some control over citizens. They may, in theory, report to citizens, but in fact I have no reason to think this will happen.

State employees? Well I'm slightly more sceptical about these peoples capacity for consistant Machavellian planning and co-ordination etc.

I assume you are trying to make a legitimate bitch here and not about to roll out the mumbo-jumbo about these problems suddenly disappearing in the "free market", would the Machavellian behaviour of public servants not just be replaced by equally nasty behaviour of profiteering private servants?

:An example would be the drug war in the US. Police work for the citizens, arresting other citizens, for things like smoking pot and selling crack. The people who are arrested certainly do not feel the police work for *them*. I do not see how this would change, even in some sort of magical "perfect democracy".

Well I accept a lot of the liberal arguments about policing, J.S. Mill is a very good guide to appropriate policing in his book "On Liberty". The police in your instance aren't a good example of public servants but by and large it is a product of alienation, EG white police policing black ghettos, among to people that creates their own mind sets that they aren't public servants but mini-monarchs.

The police might hate the people, the people hate the police where does the vicious circle end? Their are honest police too which is something I couldn't really say about businessmen.

I hope again that your criticism of policing extends to private secuirity agencies etc. too. A big part of the problem of your police forces, public and private, is that life has been cheapened by gun culture and machoism and the popular will's readiness to condone "eye for an eye" nonsense and capital punishment or other forms of authoriarianism.

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