Author Topic: Madam President  (Read 29310 times)

Offline jcompton

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #150 on: November 08, 2005, 10:16:05 PM »
Joe, if you're going to continue to harp on this, I really do think you could deliver us an explanation of why "I will blow up your country to install democracy" doesn't trouble you, but "I'll give you a parking ticket if you don't vote" does.
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Offline Veloxyll

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #151 on: November 08, 2005, 10:39:08 PM »
But I don't agree that the 1% should be the only ones allowed to make my decisions for me. At least if I've voted, there's a chance that my views will be somehow represented. if 1% choose for all, that's no more democracy than a Monarchy.

Judging by the latest elections, there's no difference in the quality of the voting results between mandatory and non-mandatory (Bush V Howard). Tho if the whole of the USA had voted, I wonder if Bush woulda won. (If Labor hadn't put LAtham as leader, I wonder if we would've gotten a non-liberal (ha!) government). People voting always for the same party without considering their stance make me sad tho :(
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Offline Joe

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #152 on: November 08, 2005, 11:00:20 PM »
Joe, if you're going to continue to harp on this, I really do think you could deliver us an explanation of why "I will blow up your country to install democracy" doesn't trouble you, but "I'll give you a parking ticket if you don't vote" does.


Again, you are simplifying the issue too much. The comparison cannot even be made logically. One deals with war (which is always waged for a plethora of reasons each time), the other deals with the law and votng.

For me, the war was not fought for the sole purpose of bringing democracy to Iraq. In my mind, that is a very nice "bonus" and, after all, something we owe the Iraqi people for removing their entire government from power.

The deaths of innocents do indeed trouble me, but I can't recall too many democracies coming into place without bloodshed. "I will blow up your country" is too simple; "I will blow up those that would oppress you so that you will have more self-determination, but a great many of you may die in the process" is more like it.

I also believe that fewer lives would have been lost if people with any competence ran the post-war preparations and operations.

Offline Veloxyll

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #153 on: November 08, 2005, 11:09:28 PM »
Joe, if you're going to continue to harp on this, I really do think you could deliver us an explanation of why "I will blow up your country to install democracy" doesn't trouble you, but "I'll give you a parking ticket if you don't vote" does.


Again, you are simplifying the issue too much. The comparison cannot even be made logically. One deals with war (which is always waged for a plethora of reasons each time), the other deals with the law and votng.

For me, the war was not fought for the sole purpose of bringing democracy to Iraq. In my mind, that is a very nice "bonus" and, after all, something we owe the Iraqi people for removing their entire government from power.

The deaths of innocents do indeed trouble me, but I can't recall too many democracies coming into place without bloodshed. "I will blow up your country" is too simple; "I will blow up those that would oppress you so that you will have more self-determination, but a great many of you may die in the process" is more like it.

I also believe that fewer lives would have been lost if people with any competence ran the post-war preparations and operations.

Australia, Canada. I'm sure there are more bloodless democracies.
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Offline Eral

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #154 on: November 08, 2005, 11:10:42 PM »
Loriel, fighting in a war and popping down to the local primary school to cast your vote do not require exactly the same level of commitment.
Joe, my arguments are not ridiculous, they're quite well-thought out and logical. No, I am not saying voluntary voting is the cause of the rioting. I am suggesting that the people currently setting fire to their city do not feel as though they belong. I bet they don't bother voting, because they feel so isolated and alienated.

I think we have already discussed that compulsory voting does not involve coercion -people are still free to do as their conscience dictates. I will say one last time, all compusory voting does is say "We believe that everyone should be a part of our democracy." This is not wrong.

Do you want to know why Little Johnny and his silvertail mates want to bring in voluntary voting?? So the riff-raff don't participate. The riff-raff have an unfortunate habit of voting for minor parties with slogans like "Keep the bastards honest." This is not a question of extending freedom. It's about having a better class of people vote. That isn't democracy. Democracy is when everybody votes and you find out your country has a lot of people who fear difference, and so vote for someone like Pauline Hanson. Or John Howard. And then the shame of it all provokes changes in law and attitudes.

Vel, your point about Latham is persuasive. Tragic, but persuasive.

And Joe, jc isn't over-simplifying. If democracy is worth being killed for, compulsory voting is not a violation of freedom.
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Offline Loriel

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #155 on: November 08, 2005, 11:29:13 PM »
But I don't agree that the 1% should be the only ones allowed to make my decisions for me. At least if I've voted, there's a chance that my views will be somehow represented. if 1% choose for all, that's no more democracy than a Monarchy.

Well, that's why everyone should be allowed to vote. I just think that forcing them to is such a good idea. If someone is ignorant enough to not understand that they should vote, I'm not sure I want the goverment forcing them to.  That's how we get laws such as such as no spitting allowed on a bus or no selling your children (BTW, I'm not condoning the actions depicted, just stating that it's pretty sad that they have to be laws).

Regardless, I completely agree with your frustration at people who vote the party lines without analyzing and weighing the platforms/issues. Many times they vote that way simply because it's the way they were raised. It's somewhat reminiscent of someone driving Fords because their daddy drove Fords (or Chevys, Hondas, Peugots, etc).

Offline Loriel

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #156 on: November 08, 2005, 11:39:16 PM »
@Eral
I realize all too well the difference between being willing to give your life for a cause and making sure there's no hanging chads on your ballot.  What I'm saying is that if a person doesn't care enough to get involved in the politics of their city/state/province/country/etc, then they shouldn't be forced to make a clearly uneducated vote.  In my senior year of high school, we actually voted Mickey Mouse to be our class president because nobody really wanted to vote, but it was required.  Obviously that was stupid, but that's what you get when you make stupid people vote.  It's better if you try to sway/influence the minds of those that are disillusioned, rather than compel them to do something against their will.

Offline Ghreyfain

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #157 on: November 08, 2005, 11:52:25 PM »
I stopped reading this thread early in page 6, but I caught a bit about cigars.  Mmm, cigars.  Everyone should smoke cigars (or pipes, if you want).  Cigars are sexy, smell great, and can be used to club muggers if you have a really big one.  Arturo Fuentes are the best I've had, with Romeo i Juliettas being the second best.  Nice 'n mild, with lots of flavour.  Cohibas (your default Cuban cigar, as far as I know) taste a bit too strong if you ask me.  The only time I had one of those, I chased away a huge crowd of faux-cowboys-who-were-actually-yuppies at a horrible country and western bar.  It was great.  Fuentes still taste better, though.
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Offline Eral

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #158 on: November 08, 2005, 11:55:59 PM »
Everybody goes to the polling booth and votes = representative government.
Only some people go to the polling booth and vote = divided society, unrepresentative government.

Electing Mickey Mouse for class president = joke.
Electing Mickey Mouse for American President= political statement.

I'm going to repeat, compulsory voting is not forced voting. People can still choose not to vote. I think it is a good thing for a society to say "It is important for everyone to vote " and this makes for a fairer system of government.

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Offline jcompton

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #159 on: November 09, 2005, 12:12:50 AM »
For me, the war was not fought for the sole purpose of bringing democracy to Iraq. In my mind, that is a very nice "bonus" and, after all, something we owe the Iraqi people for removing their entire government from power.

The fact of the matter remains that a democracy was installed at gunpoint. Prior to that, a dictator-lite "administrator" was installed at gunpoint. If the imposition of democracy on an individual level is abhorrent to you, why do you consider installing a democracy at gunpoint a "bonus"? Why not simply keep the "administrator" in power? By your reasoning (that mandatory democracy is an abrogation of rights), the administrator is less of an imposition because he wouldn't require anybody to take time out of their busy schedule to vote.
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Offline Jyzabyl

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #160 on: November 09, 2005, 12:42:01 AM »
Australia, Canada. I'm sure there are more bloodless democracies.

Yep, they're bloodless alright! We'll just ignore the rotting corpses of the indigenous populations of both nations, shall we?
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Offline Loriel

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #161 on: November 09, 2005, 12:52:42 AM »
Everybody goes to the polling booth and votes = representative government.
Only some people go to the polling booth and vote = divided society, unrepresentative government.

I would agree with you here if everyone who voted cast a legitimate, educated vote. Since that doesn't happen in either scenario, I prefer the former because it leaves the government in the hands of people who care enough to educate themselves.

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Electing Mickey Mouse for class president = joke.
Electing Mickey Mouse for American President= political statement.

And all this time I thought getting an education was supposed to prepare you for real life...

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I'm going to repeat, compulsory voting is not forced voting. People can still choose not to vote. I think it is a good thing for a society to say "It is important for everyone to vote " and this makes for a fairer system of government.

Compulsory voting is forced voting. Check the definition of compulsory. In a society that has compulsory voting, a choice to not vote means breaking the law. That may only mean a misdemeanor and/or a fine, but it still boils down to being forced into voting or else.

Offline fcm

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #162 on: November 09, 2005, 01:07:27 AM »
I stopped reading this thread early in page 6, but I caught a bit about cigars.  Mmm, cigars.  Everyone should smoke cigars (or pipes, if you want).  Cigars are sexy, smell great, and can be used to club muggers if you have a really big one.  Arturo Fuentes are the best I've had, with Romeo i Juliettas being the second best.  Nice 'n mild, with lots of flavour.  Cohibas (your default Cuban cigar, as far as I know) taste a bit too strong if you ask me.  The only time I had one of those, I chased away a huge crowd of faux-cowboys-who-were-actually-yuppies at a horrible country and western bar.  It was great.  Fuentes still taste better, though.

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Offline Joe

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #163 on: November 09, 2005, 02:07:30 AM »
Australia, Canada. I'm sure there are more bloodless democracies.

I never said there were no bloodless democracies. Also, Canada and Australia belong to the Commonwealth; whatever democracy came to Great Britain would eventually come to its white colonies. Let's not act like the history of the British Isles is one without blood.

No, I am not saying voluntary voting is the cause of the rioting. I am suggesting that the people currently setting fire to their city do not feel as though they belong. I bet they don't bother voting, because they feel so isolated and alienated.

This is the greater problem of French society and its failure to properly integrate these people. It has nothing to do with compulsory voting.

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I think we have already discussed that compulsory voting does not involve coercion -people are still free to do as their conscience dictates.

It does involve coercion; the government coerces its citizens into voting lest they suffer consequences.

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I will say one last time, all compusory voting does is say "We believe that everyone should be a part of our democracy." This is not wrong.

It says more than that: "Vote or you'll have broken a law, and you will be punished for it."

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And Joe, jc isn't over-simplifying. If democracy is worth being killed for, compulsory voting is not a violation of freedom.

If you guys insist on equating the two, can I assume that you supported the invasion of Iraq in hopes of building a foundation for democracy there?


I'm going to repeat, compulsory voting is not forced voting. People can still choose not to vote. I think it is a good thing for a society to say "It is important for everyone to vote " and this makes for a fairer system of government.

Do you not understand that force is more than physically exerted power? As Loriel said, the government is using its own power, in whatever form, to force people to vote. The threat of harm (monetary, in this case) is used to compel.

The fact of the matter remains that a democracy was installed at gunpoint.

Yes, that is true. And what is inherently wrong with this? Installing a democracy does not compel anyone to do anything, it merely gives them the choice to participate realistically where they were unable to before. Choice was installed at gunpoint. Rights were installed at gunpoint. You may respond that many thousands are dying without any say in it; but, if successful, these conditions will not last forever. A stable democracy, where people are free to participate in politics in a real way without the threat of death or torture, and where human rights have more respect; if it all works out, that is no thing to sour your face over.

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Prior to that, a dictator-lite "administrator" was installed at gunpoint.

Dictator-lite? Are you serious? What was "lite" about Saddam Hussein's governance? He was a dictator in the likeness of Hitler or Stalin but without the power. He had the mustache though!

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If the imposition of democracy on an individual level is abhorrent to you, why do you consider installing a democracy at gunpoint a "bonus"?

Can we really call it the installation of democracy or the removal of an oppressive dictatorship?

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Why not simply keep the "administrator" in power?

He was an enemy of the United States whom I feel would have come into inevitable conflict with the West. Why should we leave him in power when the reason we went in there in the first place was to unseat him? With the absence of his brutal rule, we could not allow a vaccum to exist for both practical and moral reasons.

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By your reasoning (that mandatory democracy is an abrogation of rights), the administrator is less of an imposition because he wouldn't require anybody to take time out of their busy schedule to vote.

Voting was indeed mandatory in Iraq whilst Saddam Hussein was in power. Of course, he was the only candidate and the ballot had only "Yes" or "No" options, but voting was compulsory. As far as I know, democracy is not mandatory in Iraq currently.

Now we have the foundation for a system where voting is not compulsory, has multiple candidates, and in which millions have already participated. Iraq is not stable and its people are not safe from the dangers of war, but such an undertaking is not easy work.

How absurd to compare compulsory voting, which is the removal of a right, and the removal of a brutal totalitarian government, which is essentially the deliverance of many more important rights.

Offline Eral

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #164 on: November 09, 2005, 02:16:27 AM »
Loriel, since the "or else" is a $50 fine, it's not like people feel threatened into voting. Your definition of compulsory DOES NOT APPLY. Australians are happy with our system. We know we wouldn't vote otherwise, and thus not have a democracy. Stupid uneducated people SHOULD vote. They should express what they believe. THAT'S WHAT DEMOCRACY IS. EVERYONE CONTRIBUTING WHETHER THEY ARE STUPID OR SMART, BLACK OR WHITE, MAN OR WOMAN. If it takes legislation to achieve this, GOOD. If you and Joe are happy with a system different to ours, fine. I remain convinced that compulsory voting is a good thing. And it encorages people to exercise their rights, rather than removing them.

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Offline Joe

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #165 on: November 09, 2005, 02:22:14 AM »
Loriel, since the "or else" is a $50 fine, it's not like people feel threatened into voting. Your definition of compulsory DOES NOT APPLY.

It *does* apply. The harshness of the penalty is irrelevant; there should be no penalty at all.

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Australians are happy with our system. We know we wouldn't vote otherwise, and thus not have a democracy. Stupid uneducated people SHOULD vote. They should express what they believe. THAT'S WHAT DEMOCRACY IS. EVERYONE CONTRIBUTING WHETHER THEY ARE STUPID OR SMART, BLACK OR WHITE, MAN OR WOMAN.

If they want to vote, they may go ahead and do so. I have seen no definition of democracy that says every person must participate or it doesn't work. The risk of uninformed voters is great, and the potential to make foolish decicions is real.

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And it encorages people to exercise their rights, rather than removing them.

It's not a right if it is enforced.

Offline Loriel

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #166 on: November 09, 2005, 03:44:58 AM »
Loriel, since the "or else" is a $50 fine, it's not like people feel threatened into voting. Your definition of compulsory DOES NOT APPLY. Australians are happy with our system. We know we wouldn't vote otherwise, and thus not have a democracy.

If you are happy with your government's idea of democracy, that's great. I disagree with you that all Australians think compulsory voting is a good thing. I happen to have many close friends from Australia that are upset about it. The $50 fine may not be a big thing to you, but there are those that feel threatened by it. That wasn't "my" definition of compulsory, btw. Check the link - it comes from a credible dictionary.

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Stupid uneducated people SHOULD vote. They should express what they believe. THAT'S WHAT DEMOCRACY IS. EVERYONE CONTRIBUTING WHETHER THEY ARE STUPID OR SMART, BLACK OR WHITE, MAN OR WOMAN. If it takes legislation to achieve this, GOOD.

Eral, there is no need to start shouting. And I didn't bring race or gender into the equation. If you are comfortable with "stupid uneducated people" affecting the operation of your government, then you have the right to continue to vote in such a way that will allow it. Your definition of democracy doesn't quite mesh with I was taught. Perhaps they have a different definition for different countries? Freedom of speech does not equal democracy. It is a common trait, perhaps, but democracy is when the people of a nation are free to elect their public officials and vote on initiatives. Compulsory voting takes away the "freedom to vote" and makes it a "requirement to vote".

I will agree with you that encouraging people to take part in the system of democracy is good. I have worked on several political campaigns now and the biggest frustration is that so few of my fellow countrymen/women fail to vote on important issues and candidates. You know what the fastest growing political campaign in the last election was here? It wasn't a measure or political candidate - it was just getting people to register to vote. Forget whether or not they actually voted or not - just registering them. Talk about frustrating! Several actors and superstars got on board to endorse the campaign. Paris Hilton was one of the big stars that "helped" by telling everyone "Register - that's hot!", but then somehow she forgot to register to vote! I was glad to know that she wouldn't be affecting the outcome of our nation with her vote...

My opinion on the matter is still that giving people the choice of whether or not to vote, while dangerous, is still better than forcing unwilling participants to vote.

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If you and Joe are happy with a system different to ours, fine. I remain convinced that compulsory voting is a good thing. And it encorages people to exercise their rights, rather than removing them.

I disagree that it encourages people to excercise their rights, but then I guess that's part of living in societies where everyone has the right to express their opinions.

Offline Andyr

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #167 on: November 09, 2005, 06:46:34 AM »
No political system can offer an individual absolute freedom - not even anarchy, where co-operation and accommodation of other's views are essential to the survival of the community. (If I read the anarchy thread correctly.) Democracy doesn't promise you freedom - it offers the opportunity to participate in government and express your views. You are not forced to participate: a financial sanction for failing to vote is not force. 

But in a way you are forced to participate - you can't exclude yourself from the system, if you wanted to.

EDIT: So I replied to that without reading page 7, and will quote you again:

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I will say one last time, all compusory voting does is say "We believe that everyone should be a part of our democracy."

Yeah, I agree with you here. :) And my point is if you don't want to be part of the democracy for whatever reason, you still have to.

(Though, yeah, emigration etc but there's not really many places you can go and live in a stable society without a government telling you what you can/must do. Perhaps that says governments are required for stable societies, or perhaps it is coincidence. I don't know. But [I think] I think the best government is probably the one that interferes least with the individual.)
« Last Edit: November 09, 2005, 06:51:19 AM by Andyr »
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Offline SimDing0

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #168 on: November 09, 2005, 07:12:07 AM »
Does the number of people who vote have that much impact on democracy's influence on the individual? Compulsory voting or none, I'd be dissatisfied if I made the effort to go out and vote and everyone else STILL kept electing Bush; and if I didn't care before, then fine, I still wouldn't care. Personally, I'm not too concerned over whether the representation is fair or not-- I'd far rather see effort expended devising a system that keeps idiots out of office.

Offline jester

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #169 on: November 09, 2005, 08:03:28 AM »
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But [I think] I think the best government is probably the one that interferes least with the individual.)

Short of a dictatorship where you are the dictator and said individual, there is just democracy I can think of.
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Offline jcompton

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #170 on: November 09, 2005, 08:49:36 AM »
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Prior to that, a dictator-lite "administrator" was installed at gunpoint.

Dictator-lite? Are you serious? What was "lite" about Saddam Hussein's governance? He was a dictator in the likeness of Hitler or Stalin but without the power. He had the mustache though!

Actually, I'm referring to your friend and mine, L. Paul Bremer III. I guess he's fallen off the Fox News radar so we'll have to forgive you for forgetting about him so quickly, but his euphemistic title was "administrator."

Given that

A. You believe that Saddam Hussein should have been replaced,
B. You do not believe that a system of government should be forced upon individuals

I should think you would see the perpetuation of a more "benevolent despotism" as an ideal outcome. You highlighted the dangerous enemy aspect... so why not simply avoid the imposition of democracy and install a more palatable dictator? Unless you believe there's some greater moral good involved in imposing a new system of government, in which case we're back to me being totally confused about why you think it's good to do it to the many but bad to do it to the one.

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If the imposition of democracy on an individual level is abhorrent to you, why do you consider installing a democracy at gunpoint a "bonus"?

Can we really call it the installation of democracy or the removal of an oppressive dictatorship?

We can most definitely call it the installation of democracy. Bremer (or a suitable replacement) could have simply kept running the country. Without all that nasty, distasteful imposition of voting.

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By your reasoning (that mandatory democracy is an abrogation of rights), the administrator is less of an imposition because he wouldn't require anybody to take time out of their busy schedule to vote.

Voting was indeed mandatory in Iraq whilst Saddam Hussein was in power. Of course, he was the only candidate and the ballot had only "Yes" or "No" options, but voting was compulsory. As far as I know, democracy is not mandatory in Iraq currently.

The process is, even if the individual practice is not. I fail to see why you believe imposing the process is morally superior to imposing the individual practice.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2005, 08:53:31 AM by jcompton »
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Offline jcompton

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #171 on: November 09, 2005, 08:52:11 AM »
I will agree with you that encouraging people to take part in the system of democracy is good.  I have worked on several political campaigns now and the biggest frustration is that so few of my fellow countrymen/women fail to vote on important issues and candidates.  You know what the fastest growing political campaign in the last election was here?  It wasn't a measure or political candidate - it was just getting people to register to vote.  Forget whether or not they actually voted or not - just registering them.   Talk about frustrating!  Several actors and superstars got on board to endorse the campaign.  Paris Hilton was one of the big stars that "helped" by telling everyone "Register - that's hot!", but then somehow she forgot to register to vote!  I was glad to know that she wouldn't be affecting the outcome of our nation with her vote...

Yes, frankly, that seems to be the single biggest advantage to mandatory suffrage: the elimination of all the embarrassing registration/don't forget to vote campaigns, from "Rock the Vote" to "Voting, it does a body good" to whatever the hell else.
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Offline Kulyok

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #172 on: November 09, 2005, 09:13:11 AM »
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Yes, frankly, that seems to be the single biggest advantage to mandatory suffrage: the elimination of all the embarrassing registration/don't forget to vote campaigns, from "Rock the Vote" to "Voting, it does a body good" to whatever the hell else.

"Vote or be a loser" in our case. Or was it "vote or lose"? Sigh. It is good to hear that somebody suffered worse than us, in any case.

Offline Sorrow

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #173 on: November 09, 2005, 10:12:28 AM »
*edit: At what point should we be concerned about Sorrow? I'm feeling that now is the time. But I do tend to get nervous when post-adolescent males sound seriously disturbed and unhappy.
Clearly you will have to date sorrow to make him feel happy!
Is it just me, or does he sound like a "darker" version of discharger?  Judging from his last post he sounds like he's 15 too.

Nope, I'm not 15, I'm 21.
I'm not a "darker" version of discharger, I just posted a contradicting message :P .
I wrote that woman shoudn't be a president beacause they women too emotional and I also wrote an extremaly emotional message.
It's a contradiction that invalidates the view that one of genders is emotional and other isn't :) .
Well, I'm unhappy anyway, but that wasn't the point of that post.
Siblinghood
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One Purpose!

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Offline fcm

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Re: Madam President
« Reply #174 on: November 09, 2005, 11:37:57 AM »
Are you honestly 21?
Imbriglicated!