Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
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18-03-2014, 08:07 AM
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
(18-03-2014 07:49 AM)sporehux Wrote:  The only fair system would be an emotionless entity that chose the "least unpopular" public choice in any decision. Protecting the rights of minorities seem more complicated the more you ponder how to.

Choosing the least unpopular public choice would negate the position of power. If an emotionless entity always picked the most popular choice, what then would be the difference between it and a vote of all the people to decide what the most popular course of action is.

If you're using the entity simply as a non-corruptible mechanism to enforce the benefit of the majority, you instantly have a tyranny of the majority. What is beneficial to most people will likely harm countless others. How is that "fair"? This is nothing more than objectivism regurgitated with technology making the decisions instead of a human.

Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

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18-03-2014, 04:52 PM
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
Whelp...Every time I log into these forums(Which is like once every few months), I try to start an intelligent conversation and I DO get it, but then upon seeing what everyone else has to say, I feel blatantly stupid as everyone here's so much start than I. That's what's happening here...XD

Juv Wrote:Morality is subjective, so this is unanswerable.
It is subjective, yes, but I generally like to think that morality is only subjective to the individual to a certain degree. They can make decisions based on certain circumstances based on what they consider to fit with a predefined framework for morality, but the majority of that framework is decided upon by the society upon which the individual was raised. Those that go against that basic framework and commit crimes that the society decided to be immoral(such as murder or theft) may consider themselves moral, but overall the decision of the society reigns supreme and to everyone else, they are deemed immoral. Morality's more of a general consensus than anything.
I guess if I were to rephrase the question to be somewhat more specific, I would say that "Based upon the general principals of modern, western society, would taking absolute control in favor of democracy be moral if it were used for good?"

(18-03-2014 02:21 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  ... Yabut, who are you?
Whelp, I'm some random dude that pops in and out of these forums every few months. I guess I must've been a bit too familiar if you'd felt the need to ask this question. Though I don't remember you either, I do have a rep from you, so we must have interacted at SOME point in the past, not that it means anything.

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18-03-2014, 07:31 PM
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
(18-03-2014 04:52 PM)pppgggr Wrote:  
(18-03-2014 02:21 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  ... Yabut, who are you?
Whelp, I'm some random dude that pops in and out of these forums every few months. I guess I must've been a bit too familiar if you'd felt the need to ask this question. Though I don't remember you either, I do have a rep from you, so we must have interacted at SOME point in the past, not that it means anything.

don't take that personal, is the forum official sassy greeting, you may have missed it as we just use it for special occasions

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19-03-2014, 07:02 AM
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
(18-03-2014 04:52 PM)pppgggr Wrote:  I guess if I were to rephrase the question to be somewhat more specific, I would say that "Based upon the general principals of modern, western society, would taking absolute control in favor of democracy be moral if it were used for good?"

This is still too generic. The term 'good' is not an absolute. Morality, the basis for what we see as good is far too subjective to have a concrete answer for that. You would have to give 'good' a concrete and immutable definition first. Which would create an objective morality and be nothing more than a state religion.

Even if you had the wisest, most intelligent human that ever existed at the helm, there would still be choices that would go against what some people would consider moral or good. It's easy to reference our own sense of morality and think we know what good is. Everyone does.

What type of government could they have that would be 'good' and 'fair' to everyone? You may have your own preference for a type of governing style that you see to be fair and just, but the people on the other side of the aisle believe the same thing about their favorite governing style.

Again, this is why dictatorships, benevolent or no, degrade into oppressive tyrannies eventually. Whichever is the prevailing viewpoint needs to make sure that it is the ONLY viewpoint that is seen as valid. If people start thinking that a different form of governing is better, they may start demanding it and revolt. Control is usually maintained through propaganda campaigns, making certain ideas illegal, and eventually killing off anyone who opposes the regime.

Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

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19-03-2014, 09:01 AM
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
A benevolent monarch would be better than a benevolent dictator. I know they are not much different. Having someone with good intentions, good direction and no concern about geting reelected could be a positive, as long as they do not abuse the position.
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25-03-2014, 03:37 AM (This post was last modified: 25-03-2014 03:46 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
I think it could work, and even be a net positive. However the biggest problem however is that the kind of people who would make the best benevolent dictators are not the kind of people who become dictators. The only example I can think of that even comes close is General George Washington (and being an American, I realize that I'm biased here), but I'll try to explain.

Washington had been the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army since it's foundation, and had led them through thick and thin to eventual victory over the British led by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis in the Battle of Yorktown. At this point, Washington was the national hero; and while they had just won a war against one of the most powerful military's of the time, the new nation was still beset by numerous problems. One of these problems was the matter of payment and the keeping of promises that Congress made to men who enlisted in the Continental Army, concerning back-pay and promised pensions.

It is believed this was the catalyst for the Newburgh Conspiracy, essentially a potential uprising centered around the Army's officers who wanted to use force of arms to make Congress keep their promises. At this point in time Washington could have succumbed to the temptation of power, as every dictator has before or since; but he didn't. Washington could have grasped the reigns of leadership and never let go had he but desired it, and yet he walked away; not only that but he reaffirmed the supremacy of the people when he did so.

Washington probably would have made an excellent dictator, precisely because he didn't want to be one. Those same characteristics that would have allowed him to use supreme power for the betterment of his countrymen, drove him instead to let them determine their own fates. The traits that would make one a good dictator, such as empathy, compassion, tolerance, and respect; are generally not found in those leading military coups.


On a side note, if you're interested you should actually read Washington's address to the officers.

Commander-in-Chief George Washington Wrote:Gentlemen,—

By an anonymous summons, an attempt has been made to convene you together. How inconsistent with the rules of propriety, how unmilitary and how subversive of all order and discipline, let the good sense of the army decide.

In the moment of this summons, another anonymous production was sent into circulation, addressed more to the feelings and passions than to the reason and judgment of the army. The author of the piece is entitled to much credit for, the goodness of his pen; and I could wish he had as much credit for the rectitude of his heart; for, as men see through different optics, and are induced by the reflecting faculties of the mind, to use different means to attain the same end, the author of the address should have had more charity than to mark for suspicion the man who should recommend moderation and longer forbearance, or, in other words, who should not think as he thinks, and act as he advises. But he had another plan in view, in which candor and liberality of sentiment, regard to justice and love of country, have no part; and he was right to insinuate the darkest suspicion to effect the blackest design. That the address is drawn with great art, and is designed to answer the most insidious purposes; that it is calculated to impress the mind with an idea of premeditated injustice in the sovereign power of the United States, and rouse all those resentments which must unavoidably flow from such a belief; that the secret mover of this scheme, whoever he may be, intended to take advantage of the passions, while they were warmed by the recollection of past distresses, without giving time for cool deliberative thinking, and that composure of mind which is so necessary to give dignity and stability to measures, is rendered too obvious, by the mode of conducting the business, to need other proof than a reference to the proceeding.

Thus much, gentlemen, I have thought it incumbent on me to observe to you, to shew upon what principles I opposed the irregular and hasty meeting which was proposed to have been held on Tuesday last, and not because I wanted a disposition to give you every opportunity, consistent with your own honor, and the dignity of the army, to make known your grievances. If my conduct heretofore has not evinced to you that I have been a faithful friend to the army, my declaration of it at this time would be equally unavailing and improper. But as I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common country; as I have never left your side one moment, but when called from you on public duty; as I have been the constant companion and witness of your distresses, and not among the last to feel and acknowledge your merits; as I have ever considered my own military reputation as inseparably connected with that of the army; as my heart has ever expanded with joy, when I have heard its praises, and my indignation has arisen when the mouth of detraction has been opened against it, it can scarcely be supposed, at this late stage of the war, that I am indifferent to its interests. But how are they to be promoted? The way is plain, says the anonymous addresser. "If war continues, remove into the unsettled country; there establish yourselves and leave an ungrateful country to defend itself."—But who are they to defend? Our wives, our children, our farms and other property which we leave behind us? or, in this state of hostile separation, are we to take the two first (the latter cannot be removed) to perish in a wilderness with hunger, cold and nakedness? "If peace takes place, never sheath your swords," says he "until you have obtained full and ample justice." This dreadful alternative of either deserting our country in the extremest hour of her distress, or turning our arms against it, which is the apparent object, unless Congress can be compelled into instant compliance, has something so shocking in it, that humanity revolts at the idea. My God! what can this writer have in view, by recommending such measures?. Can he be a friend to the army? Can he be a friend to this country? Rather is he not an insidious foe? Some designing emissary, perhaps, from New York, plotting the ruin of both, by sowing the seeds of discord and separation between the civil and military powers of the continent? and what a compliment does he pay to our understandings, when he recommends measures, in either alternative impracticable in their nature? But, here, gentlemen, I will drop the curtain, because it would be as imprudent in me to assign my reasons for this opinion, as it would be insulting to your conception to suppose you stood in need of them. A moment's reflection will convince every dispassionate mind of the physical impossibility of carrying either proposal into execution. There might, gentlemen, be an impropriety in my taking notice, in this address to you, of an anonymous production; but the manner in which that performance has been introduced to the army, the effect it was intended to have, together with some other circumstances, will amply justify my observations on the tendency of that writing.

With respect to the advice given by the author, to suspect the man who shall recommend moderate measures and longer forbearance, I spurn it, as every man who regards that liberty and reveres that justice for which we contend, undoubtedly must; for, if men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us. The freedom of speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent, we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter. I cannot, in justice to my own belief, and what I have great reason to conceive is the intention of Congress, conclude this address, without giving it as my decided opinion, that that honorable body entertain exalted sentiments of the services of the army, and from a full conviction of its merits and sufferings, will do it compleat justice: that their endeavours to discover and establish funds for this purpose have been unwearied, and will not cease till they have succeeded, I have not a doubt.

But, like all other large bodies, where there is a variety of different interests to reconcile, their determinations are slow. Why then should we distrust them, and, in consequence of that distrust, adopt measures which may cast a shade over that glory which has been so justly acquired, and tarnish the reputation of an army which is celebrated through all Europe for its fortitude and patriotism? And for what is this done? To bring the object we seek nearer? No, most certainly, in my opinion it will cast it at a greater distance. For myself, and I take no merit in giving the assurance, being induced to it from principles of gratitude, veracity and justice, a grateful sense of the confidence you have ever placed in me, a recollection of the cheerful assistance and prompt obedience I have experienced from you, under every vicissitude of fortune, and the sincere affection I feel for an army I have so long had the honor to command, will oblige me to declare, in this public and solemn manner, that in the attainment of compleat justice for all your toils and dangers, and in the gratification of every wish, so far as may be done consistently with the great duty I owe my country, and those powers we are bound to respect, you may freely command my services to the utmost extent of my abilities.

While I give you these assurances, and pledge myself in the most unequivocal manner, to exert whatever ability I am possessed of in your favour, let me entreat you, gentlemen, on your part, not to take any measures, which, viewed in the calm light of reason, will lessen the dignity, and sully the glory you have hitherto maintained. Let me request you to rely on the plighted faith of your country, and place a full confidence in the purity of the intentions of Congress; that, previous to your dissolution as an army, they will cause all your accounts to be fairly liquidated, as directed in their resolutions which were published to you two days ago; and that they will adopt the most effectual measures in their power to render ample justice to you for your faithful and meritorious services. And let me conjure you, in the name of our common country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the military and national character of America, to express your utmost horror and detestation of the man, who wishes, under any specious pretences, to overturn the liberties of our country; and who wickedly attempts to open the flood-gates of civil discord, and deluge our rising empire in blood.

By thus determining, and thus acting, you will pursue the plain and direct road to the attainment of your wishes; you will defeat the insidious designs of our enemies, who are compelled to resort from open force to secret artifice. You will give one more distinguished proof of unexampled patriotism and patient virtue, rising superior to the pressure of the most complicated sufferings: and you will, by the dignity of your conduct, afford occasion for posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to mankind—"had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.

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26-03-2014, 10:25 PM
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
Only if it's me taking the power....
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29-03-2014, 01:21 AM
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
(18-03-2014 07:55 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  
(17-03-2014 09:35 PM)pppgggr Wrote:  leaders such as Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler took complete control of their nations, they generally used their power for selfish gain...But what if they hadn't?


Leaders such as: Stalin Mussolini and Hitler? You can't name those who'd Not used their power for selfish gain because if you COULD have you'd HAVE those names.
Thumbsup

Tell you what - let's do this -- Give us the name(s) of leaders who did NOT abuse their power and then we've got something concrete to compare and discuss.
As it is........ your premise is too flawed.

History teaches us that IF you cannot provide a name of someone who'd not abused their power because there's never BEEN such a person then it hasn't happened for a reason and likely shall never happen. Always look to the reality of something before you decide to ignore the reality.

Also: abuse of power is not very accurate.
Does the US government abuse their power? No, they got their power through the democratic process, so they have it legitimately, so it cannot be abused.

I also think it's fair to make a distinction between dictators and tyrants.

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29-03-2014, 02:06 AM
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
(29-03-2014 01:21 AM)Caveman Wrote:  Does the US government abuse their power?

Oh no, never.

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29-03-2014, 02:16 AM
RE: Is it moral to take absolute power away from a democracy if it's used for good?
(29-03-2014 01:21 AM)Caveman Wrote:  
(18-03-2014 07:55 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  Leaders such as: Stalin Mussolini and Hitler? You can't name those who'd Not used their power for selfish gain because if you COULD have you'd HAVE those names.
Thumbsup

Tell you what - let's do this -- Give us the name(s) of leaders who did NOT abuse their power and then we've got something concrete to compare and discuss.
As it is........ your premise is too flawed.

History teaches us that IF you cannot provide a name of someone who'd not abused their power because there's never BEEN such a person then it hasn't happened for a reason and likely shall never happen. Always look to the reality of something before you decide to ignore the reality.

Also: abuse of power is not very accurate.
Does the US government abuse their power? No, they got their power through the democratic process, so they have it legitimately, so it cannot be abused.

I also think it's fair to make a distinction between dictators and tyrants.

Simply because a government gains it's power democratically, doesn't mean it's power can't be abused...

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