Complex systems help explain how democracy is destabilised

democracy
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Complex systems theory is usually used to study things like the immune system, global climate, ecosystems, transportation or communications systems.

But with becoming more unpredictable—highlighted by the UK's vote for Brexit and the presidential elections of Donald Trump in the USA and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil—it is being used to examine the stability of democracies.

An international, interdisciplinary team including mathematicians, economists, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and publishes a collective examination of the work in this field today in the European Journal of Physics.

Dr. Karoline Wiesner, from the University of Bristol's school of mathematics, is the lead author. She explains the premise of the team's work: "There is little work on the circumstances under which instability of democracy might happen. So, we lack the theory to show us how a democracy destabilises to the point it is not describable as a democracy anymore.

"This reflects the way we in the west have lived in the past 50 to 60 years. But times have changed. Citizens of democracies are becoming less content with their institutions. They are increasingly willing to ditch institutions and norms that have been central to democracy. They are more attracted to alternative, even autocratic regime types.

"Furthermore, we recently saw elected officials in Hungary and Poland put pressure on critical media and undermine institutions like independent courts. This illustrates the need to rethink the idea of democracies as stable institutions."

The team's paper focuses on two features of complex social systems in general, and of democratic systems in particular: feedback and stability, and their mutual relationship.

They examined how the stability of the social institutions democracy relies on are affected by feedback loops.

They looked at several strands, including economic inequality, political divergence, and the impact of media and social media on societal 'norms'.

The authors say: "Economic inequality and the health of democracy are closely linked. We know greater inequality associates with poorer health and social problems. But it is also linked to political polarisation.

"This is because democracy presupposes a basic equality of influence. But when economic inequality increases, so do differences in influence over institutions. Those who have large financial resources can better influence institutional change than those who do not.

"A shock increase in —such as resulted from the policy responses to the 2008 financial crisis—leads to corrosion of the relationship between less well-off voters' choices and institutional outcomes. It may even lead to effective or actual non-democratic rule.

The team also shows that extreme diversity of opinion can sometimes be a cause of instability. While a degree of diversity and partisan disagreement is healthy and even necessary in a democracy, too much may lead to an inability to understand and solve joint problems.

Radicalisation and polarisation compound this. Radicalisation occurs when political elites try to reshape politics to secure a permanent advantage by bending rules, ignoring norms, and pursuing strategies that seemed off limits.

Polarisation involves a breakdown of common faith. It leads members of one partisan coalition to ignore potential threats to democracy, based on the belief that having their opponents in power would be worse.

Prof Farrell, one of the co-authors from the U.S. said: "In the US, where the media is less-heavily regulated than in other comparable democracies, we have seen this happen. Talk radio and Fox News have long catered to a conservative constituency hungry for information and perspectives that confirm its beliefs.

"This creates a feedback loop fed by commercial imperatives between the media and its listeners. In a similar way, partisan competition and the need to support or thwart policy goals may lead to feedback loops between media and political actors."

Finally, the authors explored how social institutions can be destabilised by the erosion of social norms.

"Much of democracy relies on norms, conventions and expectations of people's behaviour," said Prof Lewandowsky, the psychologist on the team. "This means numerous psychological processes can contribute to the stability or instability of .

"Social media can have a profound impact on these processes. There is a lot of evidence that the strength with which people hold an opinion is proportionate to the extent to which they believe it to be shared by others.

"But what if this signal is distorted? Extreme views can move into the mainstream when they are legitimised by actual or presumed majority endorsement. It serves to entrench extreme opinions and make them resilient to change.

"The fact that any opinion, no matter how absurd, will be shared by at least some of the more than one billion Facebook users worldwide creates an opportunity for the emergence of a false consensus effect around any fringe opinion, because the social signal is distorted by global interconnectivity."

The researchers also note the algorithms used by social media platforms to determine what appears in users' feeds. They point to the recent Brexit referendum in the U.K. and the 2016 U.S. presidential election, where highly personalised data was available to political operatives, and was used to open the door to micro-targeting of messages that exploited people's unique vulnerabilities.

Dr. Wiesner concluded: "One of our important messages in this paper is that a stabilising feature of a democratic system— exchange—breaks down when this possibility for engagement and debate is destroyed because messages are disseminated in secret, targeting individuals based on their personal vulnerabilities to persuasion, without their knowledge and without the opponent being able to rebut any of those arguments.

"These impacts of social media on public discourse show how democracies can be vulnerable in ways against which institutional structures and historical traditions offer little protection. Complex systems science offers a unique entry point to study such phenomena."


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More information: European Journal of Physics , DOI: 10.1088/1361-6404/aaeb4d , http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6404/aaeb4d
Citation: Complex systems help explain how democracy is destabilised (2018, November 27) retrieved 22 April 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-complex-democracy-destabilised.html
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Nov 27, 2018
John Adams (First Vice President of the USA) said democracy only worked within a moral people.
The selfish shambles we see today driven by a widening gap between rich and poor, and enabled by the power of democracy, will create a huge beast of our own making.

And as the German nation proved by electing Hitler, that beast will seek more power for itself and scapegoats to blame for its failures.

Nov 27, 2018
This study seems to say a lot of things I've noticed happening since, oh, about 9/11 or so. I think it makes sense. It's interesting that a simulation seems to be confirming it. I suggest reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein; I don't recommend it whole-heartedly, as I don't necessarily agree with everything Klein says, and it's a bit dated, but it was remarkable in its timing of publication: 2007. Remember what happened after that?

Hope they don't fool around about gathering some more data, and improving their models.

Also, this is political dynamite. Not that we're not already sitting on the powder keg if these guys are right.

Nov 27, 2018
Democracies are critically sensitive to economic cycles. Hitler was able to grab power during weimar in part because democracy had deteriorated due to population pressure. He made fun of it during a famous speech about the 35 major special interest parties that had sprung up.

The question is, how do you get people to participate when times are good? The US has experienced a large influx of immigrants from many different cultures. Their participation in our govt is crucial. We might explain our contentious new presidency and the unprecedented publicity pro and con that assaults us daily as a way of giving these new citizens a stake in democracy, and getting them enthusiastic about having their say.

It may also explain why it all seems so contrived and staged.

Nov 27, 2018
Read what the founders of democracy/mobocracy/majority rule thought and did. Read Aristotle Politics IV (Bekker 1294be)

Only the tyrants, the Forty Tyrants, practiced majority rule, while the citizens practiced sortition, that is election of volunteers by lottery.

Nov 27, 2018
"The Thirty Tyrants maintained power for eight months. Though brief, their reign resulted in the killing of 5% of the Athenian population, the confiscation of citizens' property, and the exile of other democratic supporters. They became known as the "Thirty Tyrants" because of their cruel and oppressive tactics."

"The Thirty were concerned with the revision and/or erasure of democratic laws inscribed on the wall next to the Stoa Basileios.[citation needed] Consequently, the Thirty reduced the rights of Athenian citizens in order to institute an oligarchical regime."

"The Thirty appointed a council of 500 to serve the judicial functions formerly belonging to all the citizens.[4] However, not all Athenian men had their rights removed. In fact, the Thirty chose 3,000 Athenian men "to share in the government"..."

-Try using refs next time.

Nov 27, 2018
Given that Trump is now threatening to murder immigrants entering the U.S. seeking asylum, the image of the statue of Liberty is a poor choice as a reflection of American "democracy"

mqr
Nov 27, 2018
Most countries are not democracies, they are republics with democratic intentions, which means that a small group of rich men are controlling the elections (Chomsky has a detailed analysis). What has happened in the last decades is that those rich men became utterly materialistic, hedonists(i.e., Stormy), ultra greedy, etc. That has been observed in the past, and it has been followed by crisis. What is new today, is that is a global phenomena, usually the collapse was the empire that was controlling the biggest area, but today the collapse seems in many countries at the same time.

Greed of the rich + ignorance of the poor = explosive violence

Nov 27, 2018
wow ! totally delusional stuff But there was one true statement ,,

''Radicalisation occurs when political elites try to reshape politics to secure a permanent advantage by bending rules, ignoring norms, and pursuing strategies that seemed off limits.''

Political elites define democracy as their personal agendas , real democracy is the last thing they want. Lets hope they get it and we keep it.


Nov 27, 2018
"Talk radio and Fox News have long catered to a conservative constituency hungry for information and perspectives that confirm its beliefs." No mention of CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, et nauseum daily echo chambers. So we can totally trust this totally non-partisan study.


Nov 27, 2018
100% democracy doesn't exist.

https://en.wikipe...ocracies

Nov 27, 2018
Occams's razor says when we have people trying to make it happen, who have motive, means and opportunity, and they are succeeding at what they've been saying they intend to do for generations, simple theory beats complex theory.

Nov 27, 2018
Democracies fail because most of the voters are morons and are lazy. It's too easy to vote themselves other people's money.

Nov 28, 2018
This article blames the complexity of our social system on its poor performance, but it explains itself without needing such complications, and it provides a relatively simple reasoning process. This means that it is erroneous and we cannot readily accept what it claims.

It is not complexity that is the problem but the attitude we take towards it. The methodology in my recent 310 page e-book "Consequential Macroeconomics" and particularly in my working paper SSRN 2865571 "Einstein's Criterion Applied to Logical Macroeconomics Modeling" (available on the internet), clearly shows how to eliminate this complexity which baffles so many would-be economists and answer seekers, and it provides a model which is useful for showing how our social system REALLY works. (Write to me at chesterdh@hotmail.com for a copy.)

With this vital knowledge there is some hope that sensible governments may find the means (as suggested in the book) towards a better society having greater ethical tren

Nov 28, 2018
She is missing this mathematics. In a homogenous system, self repeating, the distance between the points of set of behaviors and rules is extremely low. The whole issue in ecology, is that when systems are homogeneous their are particularly pest prone. Enormous amount of evidence. Have this distance function of rules, one can possible show that in order to exploit the rules, it takes simple behaviors. Low distance between rules, allows for pests, economic pest cycles, to thrive because they only need simple behaviors to thrive in. Highly complex rules, much more fun, and why you see in complexity gardens that make gardens out of such theories, why beetles with iridescent shells show up. They adapted to change colors in high speed chases where colors are unpredictable. Oh well.. academics is many years behind on this topic.

Nov 28, 2018
So, we lack the theory to show us how a democracy destabilises to the point it is not describable as a democracy anymore.


"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; ... to liberty; ... to abundance; ... to selfishness; ... to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage."

- Alexander Tytler

Nov 28, 2018
What Tytler is pointing out is that democracies start as grand ventures of self-determination over dictatorial rule, to free the people. Once free, the people start to look for means to improve their lot, one of which is to use the state as a tool for social improvement.

That gives rise to "progressivism", which argues a different role for the state as a vanguard, and the guards are hired to lead - even though nobody knows where they should be going and everyone has their own ideas and conflicting interests.

So the society becomes a matter of buying off the guards. Voting or lobbying yourself money - crony capitalism and selfishness: "F-U, got mine!". From that comes apathy, people stop voting because it doesn't matter, while others vote cynically to get handouts from anyone who promises them. The people eventually become desperate to change things, and any populist who takes a strong lead and acts like a dictator becomes hugely popular.


Nov 28, 2018
since when was Trump a dictator ? [implied]

Nov 28, 2018
Trump's a wannabe dictator. As evidenced by his calls to "lock her up," his imprisonment of over 14,000 children in facilities whose personnel are not screened, his admiration for other dictators and despite for other democratically elected leaders, and his attempts to quash valid, peer-reviewed, and published science.

@snooze, next? Try to wake up first this time.

Nov 28, 2018
@Eikka, I would argue that this happens over and over in the lives of democracies. The measure of how well their foundations are drafted (for those foundations are in the rule of law, and someone has to write the law) is how long they last. And I would point out Britain and France as two democracies that have stood the tests so far, as well as the US.

Get him soon or get him late, we'll get Trump. It's often difficult to watch, but the wheels of justice grind very fine, if quite slowly.

Nov 28, 2018
Now let me present some counter-examples: African and South American dictatorships certainly have not lasted 200 years. Nor has Russian democracy lasted this long; the first time it turned into autocracy within 10 years, and the second time the same. And this has more to do with their populace's levels of education than with any other forces at work.

Nov 28, 2018
France, unfortunately, provides another counter-example: in 1789 the French took over their own country. Ten years later, in 1799, Napoleon, the second great dictator in the modern history of Europe (Cromwell was the first) took over. Cromwell was overthrown by his own people; unfortunately Napoleon had to be put down by outside forces.

Nov 29, 2018
And I would point out Britain and France as two democracies that have stood the tests so far, as well as the US.


None of the three is actually a democracy. The power is invested in the state, which is democratically elected to some extent, but practices autocratic rule and generally attempts to avoid being influenced by the voters in any sense. In other words, they're merely paying lip service to democracy.

In the US congress for example, re-election rates are over 90% while public approval is around 10% - these are people the public don't want in there, yet they persist year after year because nobody else gets to have a go. They've covered their backs extremely well, to the point that all government is an elitist enclave.

All three persist not as democracies, but as a sort of borderline benevolent oligarchy where the powers that be don't yet find interest in bullying their subjects like the Russians or the Chinese do because everyone's too well off to rebel.

Nov 29, 2018
So how do you explain Brexit? Seems like you've ruled it out.

Nov 29, 2018
If the US, UK, France, Germany... etc. practiced real democracy (sortition), things would probably look quite a bit different.

All modern democracies are modeled more after the thirty tyrants rather than the original ideas of democracies, because they've all evolved out of monarchical rules where the elites saw it necessary to replace the royals with a body of government just as easily manipulated. Hence, representative democracy, where the state is a separate entity from the people while everyone pretends this is not the case.

So how do you explain Brexit? Seems like you've ruled it out.


How do you want it to be explained?

Brexit was a result of a persistent anti-EU propaganda effort spanning over 20 years, and once they got the public to nominally agree, they closed the books immediately and refused any further debate on the matter, and now the government is dead-set on pulling it through no matter the cost.

Nov 29, 2018
The balance between decisiveness and deliberation is a delicate one. My observation is that most situations require deliberation; demagogues tend to emphasize decisiveness. Then they make bad moves without deliberation in areas that require deliberation.

People are impatient.

Nov 29, 2018
I mean, if you really think Brexit was a choice made democratically, by the people and for the people, then you might just as well believe that Trump is really supported by the majority of the public - despite having won only around 25% of the possible votes from all the people who are eligible to vote.

That's what apathy and disenfranchisement does. When you feel like your vote does not count, all sorts of loonies get voted in, and the elites play the people like a fiddle because they know they don't need to get everyone to agree - or even the 51% - just enough to make it seem like democracy, so you can't complain.

Nov 29, 2018
The obvious cure is to show up and vote.

The US electoral system is a different matter. It made sense once; today, not so much. But that's gonna take a lot of wrangling.

Nov 29, 2018
People are impatient.


People are generally quite conservative - as long as you look at the people as a whole and not an easily manipulated subset. Ideas take a long time to gain full popular support.

The demagogues work rather by inciting temporary mania, moral panic, over a subject. They work through confusion, misinformation, ignorance and basically rabble-rousing. Then when the dust clears and you look at the records, you find that 50% of the people didn't even take part in the debate, nor go to the voting booths, and the matter was actually decided between small special interest groups each mobilizing barely more than a quarter of the people.

Nov 29, 2018
The obvious cure is to show up and vote.


Yes, if only you could -make- everyone do that. Otherwise it doesn't matter that -you- show up to vote, when you're just 0.000,001% of the eligible voters. You might as well not exist, and if the result of the vote was up to you alone, it would be so evenly split that it's not really an agreement.

Then you'd need real options to vote for. To paraphrase South Park, the elections tend to be about choosing a douchebag over a turd sandwich, because the representatives are not being held to their promises anyhow. The runners for the race are also not chosen by the public, but by closed cabinets like the DNC showed us. It doesn't matter which option you pick, when you're given the option to choose from A or A.

That's why sortition is the only form of raising a body of representatives that is truly democratic. Voting for a person to then vote in your behalf only gets you tyrants and elitists in power.

Nov 29, 2018
It is very hard to judge the popularity of a conservative US leader by public reaction. Supporters of President Trump keep their mouths shut for the most part. The Liberal Left on the other hand is very demonstrative and vocal. As an example, some polls say that President Trump's border enforcement polices are supported by 70% of the people. Yet The left and the media are calling him a racist for these actions. The list of Liberal biased coverage could go on for pages but creating it would be a total waste of time since BOTH sides have their minds made up. Politics is a faith based religion at this point and is not based on scientific reason.

Nov 29, 2018
The Left will and have accepted almost all of the actions of Hillary and Obama just as the Right , excluding the RINOs, accept the actions of Trump. The support for Trump is very much like the support of Ronald Regan by the silent majority.

President Trump's candor and use of social media is unsettling to the Left and Deep State because it bypasses their stranglehold on the main stream media and brings into the sunlight the actual goals of the administration.

Nov 29, 2018
"The team also shows that extreme diversity of opinion can sometimes be a cause of instability. While a degree of diversity and partisan disagreement is healthy and even necessary in a democracy, too much may lead to an inability to understand and solve joint problems."

How Owellian!!!

Fox news and talk radio are the enemy that is keeping the desired political system from progressing as planned by allowing the likes of Brexit and Trump to exist.

But don't worry The Ministry of Truth is working 24/7 to insure your compliance and safety.

Nov 29, 2018
How things have changed! When Orwell's 1984 was first published it was a cautionary tail about government excess. Now it has become the instruction manual for the coming One World Government.

Nov 29, 2018
wow ! totally delusional stuff But there was one true statement ,,

''Radicalisation occurs when political elites try to reshape politics to secure a permanent advantage by bending rules, ignoring norms, and pursuing strategies that seemed off limits.''

Political elites define democracy as their personal agendas , real democracy is the last thing they want. Lets hope they get it and we keep it.

Snoose how anyone who believes in individual freedom could down vote that statement is beyond my comprehension. In their minds democracy is tolerable just as long as the people agree to the ruling class goals. If there is a disagreement the people need to be changed not the goals.



Nov 29, 2018
how do you down vote ?

Nov 29, 2018
how do you down vote ?


A 1 vs. a 5

Nov 29, 2018
@Eikka, I had to look up sortition, so you will pardon me. It was a concept I was already familiar with but not by that name; in fact I didn't know there was a name for it.

I agree, but with reservations. The main reservation is that there is no obvious test of qualifications, but of course there isn't any for elected officials either. You may disagree with this and I will entertain your arguments.

One of the big problems with monarchy is that an azzhole might get into power. This is somewhat diminished by democracy, but as we have seen, it's not foolproof; demagogues scheme to work the system to get elected instead of courtiers scheming to capture the monarchy, or to be the one wielding power behind the throne.

The obvious idea is to let computers qualify the candidates, but who writes the programs and who administers the tests and the contents of the tests? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Or, in this context, who will test the testers?

[contd]

Nov 29, 2018
[contd]
I don't know that there is anyone who can be trusted, nor do I see how those who would use the power of determining the tests or programming the evaluation of them for their own gain. This looks like a recursive problem to me. Perhaps you have another perspective.

Nov 29, 2018
My wife points out that the power should be given to those who do not want the job, and that this is the best possible guarantee that they have not sought it. Traditional politicians who seek power should be automatically disqualified. I have issues with this as well, but I think those will be teased out if you engage in this conversation.

Nov 29, 2018
Well one great step towards electing the best person is to have a media that is ideology free. Have the media go back to just reporting and not judging or creating the news. Right now it is controlled by large corporations who do not hesitate to use reporting to further their goals. They need to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Frequently the facts that are left out of a story are more important to the truth than what is actually said. That is why a free and uncensored internet is so important to our freedoms.

Nov 29, 2018
I agree, but with reservations. The main reservation is that there is no obvious test of qualifications, but of course there isn't any for elected officials either. You may disagree with this and I will entertain your arguments.


There shouldn't be any, save for the obvious like not being a convicted criminal, child, insane or a non-citizen (or member of another country, i.e. dual citizen - representing other interests).

The qualification is that you're supposed to represent the average person, by being a random pick of the population among a few hundred or thousand others. You're not supposed to be a "professional leader" because democracy is about leveraging the wisdom of the crowd - not of individual specialists (who tend to specialize in driving their personal interests instead).

The ancient Athenians had the right idea:
It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic when they are filled by election.

Nov 29, 2018
Well guys and gals in the US savor the last freely elected president of the US while he is still in office. Pretty much everyone who has dared to surround him will be investigated and made impoverished as a warning to outsiders not to try run in the future. The sad part is that some ignorant citizens are actually cheering this consolidation of Deep State power. Republicans and Democrats can and do work together when their masters power is threatened.

Nov 30, 2018
the last freely elected president


Who wasn't voted for by 75% of the people eligible to vote.

As an example, some polls say that President Trump's border enforcement polices are supported by 70% of the people. Yet The left and the media are calling him a racist for these actions.


That isn't a contradiction. The policies ARE racist, and so are the people - including the lefties who secretly support the policies but would rather Trump take the blame and absolve themselves of guilt. He's a good fall guy.

Nov 30, 2018
@Eikka, why should randomly picked people from the full pool of the population do any better than the voters? Who seem to screw it up good and plenty.

Nov 30, 2018
lefties who secretly support the policies
Who and where?

See, now you're going off the rails.

Nov 30, 2018
Eikka a little over 53% of the Eligible voters voted in the US 2016 election not the 25% that you claim unless you want everyone in the US to vote without any restrictions. But even if everyone voted what difference does it make if the field of candidates were limited at the start by fears of political retaliation by the established powers? It is obvious that the established powers are out to delegitimize this president. If they are successful bid adieu to meaningful US elections in the future.

Nov 30, 2018
Also Eikka, how is controlling entry into the US racist? Under US law minorities are given a preference when applying for a visa.

Nov 30, 2018
@Eikka, why should randomly picked people from the full pool of the population do any better than the voters? Who seem to screw it up good and plenty.


It drops the middle man (politicians) out of the loop. Point being that first voting for a politician, who then votes (supposedly) on your behalf, ensures that your opinions are never actually heard. The representative in the middle insulates the people from the power.

Who and where?


Going by the given figure - if 70% actually support the choice, but around half the people are supposedly against the person making the choices, then there exists a significant overlap of people who are hypocrites.

Eikka a little over 53% of the Eligible voters voted in the US 2016 election not the 25% that you claim


The president wasn't voted for by 100% of the eligible voters. Given that some 3% of the votes were rejected or cast for the independent candidate, Trump actually caught about 25% of the possible votes.

Nov 30, 2018
Also Eikka, how is controlling entry into the US racist? Under US law minorities are given a preference when applying for a visa.


That's a different question. Border control in general can't be said to be racist because we know nothing else of it beyond the label. You need to be more specific.

Trump's particular policies are racist, as they are targeted towards certain peoples. He's not calling for a wall against Canada for example.

Yet it is possible that the greater majority happen to agree with the policies - they just don't want to admit being racists themselves - or they want to have their cake and eat it as well: they might support the policy while making criticism on Trump, because it accomplishes both ends at the same time. Had they themselves been in power, they would have made the same policy.

Nov 30, 2018
"Trump's particular policies are racist, as they are targeted towards certain peoples."

Which policies?

Nov 30, 2018
Well Eikka using your logic most presidents are elected with only 25 or so percent of the ELIGIBLE votes. How does that reflect on President Trump vs. the apathy of the American public?

Nov 30, 2018
Which policies?
I'll tell you. None of his policies are racist. Especially this one

"The Department of Homeland Security recommended that entry be restricted from eight countries that "failed to provide the minimum baseline of information needed to vet their nationals."

"The countries included Iran and Syria, state sponsors of terrorism; Libya, Yemen, Chad, and Somalia, which have extensive terrorist activities inside their borders; and two non-Muslim countries, North Korea and Venezuela."

"...cannot possibly be categorized as a Muslim ban. If it was supposed to be a Muslim ban, "it would be the most ineffective Muslim ban that one could possibly imagine, since not only does it exclude the vast majority of the Muslim world, it also omits three Muslim-majority countries that were covered by past orders, including Iraq, Chad, and Sudan."

-obviously.

Nov 30, 2018
But that's again realpolitik for you. Everyone plays both sides of the field at the same time, and the game is to pretend you're not doing it. The people who are currently not in power are poo-pooing the people who are in power for the exact same things they would be doing, because what they're both doing is abusing the political system for their own gain.

... do any better than the voters?


More precisely speaking, in the current system you first vote about who you can vote for, and then you vote over which of those named gets to represent you. Then that representative gets to vote in your behalf.

That's three degrees of separation from actual power. It gets worse when you consider that you're still only at local level elections, and those representatives then select people to go further up the ladder to state level, so there's a whole pyramid of politicians with no accountability or responsibility towards the people underneath them. It's a miracle anything gets done

Nov 30, 2018
Well Eikka using your logic most presidents are elected with only 25 or so percent of the ELIGIBLE votes. How does that reflect on President Trump vs. the apathy of the American public?


That's precisely the point. This isn't democracy.

(and presidents aren't part of a true democracy either, but that's another topic)

I'll tell you. None of his policies are racist. Especially this one


The judgement of morality doesn't depend on the outcome, but the intent. Otherwise there would be no such crime as "attempted murder". Plus, calling it a "muslim ban" would be a red herring - it's simply a "we don't like these particular people" ban, and what makes it racist is the unequal treatment based on ethnicity and country of origin.

Nov 30, 2018
Is 100% voter turnout a good thing? If people do not care enough about their country to get off their ass and vote do we really want them in the process. I think that their decisions will be more self serving than serving the general good. Of course I am not including those who find it physically very difficult to vote in the above tirade.

Nov 30, 2018
Racism is like assuming that everyone from Poland is stupid.

That might be a useful heuristic in some sense, like assuming that people from Iran might be terrorists, but it's still racism. It's a blunt instrument, but that doesn't mean it won't work.

The trick is that some people, particularly those on the left, are sitting on a high horse about the whole racism and egalitarianism business and pretending they're not racist or anti-egalitarian (not elitist) - while actually agreeing with the basic premise of the racist and elitist policies because they are beneficial to them.

Nov 30, 2018
Is 100% voter turnout a good thing?


Good for what?

If people do not care enough about their country to get off their ass and vote do we really want them in the process.


That's begging the question that voting matters. It doesn't - it's not democratic to elect an oligarchy by vote - the result is an oligarchy that merely pretends to be a democracy whether it's 10% of people voting or 100%. In the best of them, it might even be 110%

I think that their decisions will be more self serving than serving the general good.


That's precisely the point of sortition. You pick, let's say 2000 people, and you get a good representation of the general interests of the actual public. When each of these people then negotiate, propose, and vote for actual policies with only themselves in mind, you've accomplished your purpose of representative democracy.

These people aren't supposed to be very smart or altruistic - they're supposed to be themselves.

Nov 30, 2018
The judgement of morality doesn't depend on the outcome, but the intent
Trump is not a racist and none of his policies were ever racist. That is a fact. It's also a fact that this president has been the object of an unprecedented smear campaign from progressive forces intent on covering up crimes of previous administrations, since before trump was even elected.

Again, more facts.

His immigration ban was never racially motivated.
it's simply a "we don't like these particular people" ban
That's right. We dont like gang members or terrorists. We dont want southern countries emptying out their prisons and insane asylums and sending them across our border.

We want legal immigration from countries that can "provide the minimum baseline of information needed to vet their nationals."

...and so did every president before obama, both Democrat and republican.

Nov 30, 2018
Trump is not a racist and none of his policies were ever racist.


You keep telling yourself that.

...and so did every president before obama, both Democrat and republican.


Precisely. They each said one thing, and did the other.

His immigration ban was never racially motivated.


Except for the fact that he's been railing against Mexicans, Iranians, Venezuelans... as if these people by virtue of belonging to a nation were somehow tainted. That's called the genetic fallacy, which is at the basis of racism.

The "minimum baseline of information" argument is merely rationalization, and basically double standards. For many nations, they aren't even asking, like, if John Smith from Quebec had to go through the same sort of scrutiny as Ahmed Mohammed from Lebanon.

Nov 30, 2018
Trump is not against Venezuelans just against their terrible headship. Mexico------he is just protecting our borders and obtaining a fair trade deal. Iran is pretty much our sworn enemy in many fronts. If you want to argue that we should not be in the M.E. at all I totally agree.

Your examples just don't hold water.

Nov 30, 2018
The sad fact is that the opposition is trying to execute a 3rd world coup. They are just using lawyers instead of bullets.

Nov 30, 2018
Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Nov 30, 2018
keep lying to yourself
"Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Obama's Border Patrol used tear gas once a month. Is that true?

"DHS said that in addition to tear gas, CBP during law enforcement operations regularly uses, Pava Capsaicin, commonly known as pepper spray, which also irritates the senses."

"Between 2012 and 2016, there were 434 incidents when pepper spray was used, or an average of 7 incidents per month."

"A program that detains male Mexican migrants near the border and repatriates them far from their area of origin ramped up under the Obama administration—and often led to family separation."

"Systemic racism is so rare in America, the media just can't stop lying about it... the media love stories of race so much that they sprint to unfurl the "breaking news" banner before knowing the facts..."

-IOW without having access to both sides, you're reaching the wrong conclusions. Every alleged incidence of genuine racism by trump has been debunked.

Nov 30, 2018
So-called heinous family separating; well, what happens when US citizens commit similar crimes?

"If you are arrested and your child is present, the arresting officer may choose to take your child into temporary custody. The officer will then choose whether to call the other parent or the local branch of the California Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

"If the officer determines that the other parent is not a danger to the child, the other parent will be able to take your child. If the other parent is not able to care for your child, DCFS staff will try to have your child placed with relatives or appropriate caregivers. If your child cannot be placed with these parties, he or she will be transported to the local Children's Shelter."

BUT

"California law does not require law enforcement agencies to care for children when one or both parents are arrested."

-So, illegal minors are apparently being treated better than US citizens.

Nov 30, 2018
Everyone is missing the bigger picture here. EVERYONE in this administration will be investigated not to convict but to punish. How can even the most Progressive person stand by and watch the law used as a political weapon.

We stand around and talk about the ideal candidate while their odds of surviving the carnage if they are not chosen by the power structure is nil, zero, nothing!!!!

Nov 30, 2018
https://www.zeroh...leblower

Just a warning, don't mess with the real power. The US could be past the point of no return. Welcome to the new KGB.

Nov 30, 2018
if John Smith from Quebec had to go through the same sort of scrutiny as Ahmed Mohammed from Lebanon
Yeah neither is on the travel ban list.

"The most recent order banned most citizens of Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Chad and North Korea from entering the United States (Chad was removed from the list in April). Visitors from Iraq and Sudan were banned under previous versions, but are now allowed." [Includes less than 10% of all muslims]

-See how long it takes to debunk all the shit you're so full of? This would not be necessary if you would put aside your own anti-American prejudice and ask yourself a few simple questions like 1) does that really sound like that's all there is to that story? and 2) WTF was that???

Nov 30, 2018
Hey mr I would be handing out more 5/5s and 1/5s but my fone wont let me.

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