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Eisegerwind

Idiots guide to modern politics, Trump,Flynn, Russia.

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Anyone care to explain this simply. It used to be so easy, USSR bad commies, USA the free world. UK better version of the free world. Africa, middle east, bongo bongo land, fair game. Lets start with Russia, are they democratic?

 

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To obtain and indeed retain power a boogey man is an oft used strategy 

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Yep got that, other bogeymen would be Saddam, Mugabe,Gadaffi, Ghandi,Castro,Sitting Bull , Kim Jong-Un, Ho-Chi-Minh. Which one is the bogeyman, Trump, Flynn,   Putin. Surely they can't all be.

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45 minutes ago, Eisegerwind said:

Yep got that, other bogeymen would be Saddam, Mugabe,Gadaffi, Ghandi,Castro,Sitting Bull , Kim Jong-Un, Ho-Chi-Minh. Which one is the bogeyman, Trump, Flynn,   Putin. Surely they can't all be.

Well, they could easily all be bogeymen (except Flynn who has never had sufficient clout to rank as a bogeyman in the sense of the others), just not to the same people.

Perhaps a more fruitful approach might be to consider what is meant by 'democratic'? The UK, the USA and the Russian Federation all claim to be democracies, but democracy means something different in all three systems.

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Democratic has always interested me.

For example the GDR, which apparently wasn't. So it either wasn't, or wasn't by 'our' democratic understanding, or was 'democratic' and just used the word as explained by George Orwells doublespeak thing, who I thought was wrong about lots of stuff. Or maybe was democratic, not the same  as our proper democratic where we vote for privelidged individuals and have other unelected religious loonies and wealthy powerful landed gentry overseeing everything. Tell me?

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42 minutes ago, Eisegerwind said:

Democratic has always interested me.

For example the GDR, which apparently wasn't. So it either wasn't, or wasn't by 'our' democratic understanding, or was 'democratic' and just used the word as explained by George Orwells doublespeak thing, who I thought was wrong about lots of stuff. Or maybe was democratic, not the same  as our proper democratic where we vote for privelidged individuals and have other unelected religious loonies and wealthy powerful landed gentry overseeing everything. Tell me?

For the little it's worth, I'd say that your GDR example is fairly closely aligned with Orwellian Doublespeak (you don't have to agree with everything someone says to find strands of sense within the dross ... though Orwell didn't churn out all that much dross, in my view). Without researching it, I have no clue about the details, but assume that as a GDR electorate you were presented with a list of candidates, all representing the state Communist Party, and you made your choice. The elected representatives then sat in a legislative body comprising elected representatives of a single party (or perhaps more than one party, but still representing a single state ideology) and, depending on the level of their ambition, either took the perks available or worked/intrigued for a higher rank and more perks. They called it democratic. Most of us probably wouldn't. Some of us would point out apparent similarities to our own political system and culture.

Direct democracy in the everyday running of a polity is impossible unless that polity is the size of a very small village. Therefore 'democratic' countries use forms of representative democracy, sometimes with occasional direct elements (some Swiss cantons use direct elements, such as referendums, quite a bit). But few systems are identical. At our last election the holder of the highest office in the land was elected by less than 40,000 people, all of whom were registered to vote in Maidenhead. In the USA, the holder of the highest office was elected by nearly 63 million voters, but the person he beat received over 65 million votes. We fetishize democracy as if it were a monolithic, totemic 'thing', but it's nothing of the sort. It's an umbrella term covering different ways in which we get some say in choosing people who get some say in how to deal with the unholy mess that is the governance of a modern country.

Regarding your description of our system. We don't have to elect privileged individuals, and it could be argued that any privilege they have is bestowed by their getting elected. We've had plenty of successful politicians from backgrounds that weren't notably privileged. The House of Lords may have oversight, but oversight without the power to change anything isn't ultimately that undemocratic; and it does on occasion try to undercut the tyranny of the majority. I've a soft spot for it but that's because I don't hold to a 'democratic good / undemocratic bad' binary.

 

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Talking about Boogeymen

This frightens the shite out of me

 

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