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Politics What do you (we) want out of left politics?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by FBH, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. That's my point? You don't tell someone that they're too much of a coward to pull the trigger unless you're basically egging them to prove you wrong. Socrates could have gotten out with his life intact but instead antagonized himself to an early grave.
     
  2. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Shadow Cabal Barristerminator

    Well more seriously I mean Trump is a good argument that western democracy has fundamentally failed in a real and visible way. Donald Trump is president despite failing to win popular support, has a ridiculously extremist staff and cabinet despite the American people wanting less, not more, political extremism when asked (yes yes I know good for me but not for thee etc etc), and seeks to enact a huge number of unpopular policies while refusing to enact popular ones. If you polled people for their net support of the Republican agenda, point by point, I suspect you'd end up with the conclusion everyone has reached-it is extremist and doesn't reflect any sort of mandate nor does it reflect the people's desires.

    Anyways, I think you're right. One of the more interesting neologisms today is 'illiberal democracy,' which I think is a field which more study really needs to be done on. I suspect that this is, in fact, the natural state of a democratic nation and liberal democracy takes significant, real work to maintain when too many people have just been willing to coast on norms.
     
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  3. Except he wasn't calling them too much of a coward he went in knowing that he could either uphold his principles and the law or violate the law and his principles by fleeing Athens.
     
  4. This. We tried doing it Howard Dean's way, with the 50 state strategy, and what did we get? We got a watered down stimulus and romneycare, which predictably underperformed and showed serious flaws, which the GOP cheerfully pointed out and took advantage of, then ousted all the Blue Dog seats we'd fought so hard to get anyways regardless of how they voted. We'd have been better off if we just told Max Baucus et al to go fuck themselves, abolished the filibuster, then passed the biggest stimulus and most comprehensive UHC we could get with the 50 most liberal Democratic Senators. The filibuster was probably going to die the second the GOP got unified government back anyways, given their historic trend towards radical dipshittery.
     
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  5. Thank you Drax the Destroyer; your ability to catch points before they fly over your head is unmatched.

    Socrates had full chances to not get himself killed but instead went out of his way to piss off the state. Even then the verdict was close; if he hadn't been an ass he probably could have kept his life and principles. According to some accounts he offered to pay a large fine instead of death as well.

    That said, the man was old; I'm partial to Xenophon's writing on the matter which basically said that Socrates egged on the state because he didn't want to die senile and instead wished to go out with a statement. Him not fleeing was principles, him being an ass on trial was not.
     
  6. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    This isn't an indictment of the American system, it's a peculiarly American problem. The circumstances that led to Donald Trump's victory are American problems, having to do with the system of powers and the electoral college.

    Furthermore, it's not really an indictment of democracy that if people want to screw things up they can. Democracy has no failsafe; it's predicated upon the consent of the governed, so if the governed consent to get fucked, that's just the way the cookie crumbles. It's not as if this kind of thing is particularly unique to democratic systems of government.

    Furthermore, I don't think you can make a good argument about illiberal democracy being the 'natural state', since in the modern context illiberal democracy is not very old, unless we want to start playing games with what liberal means.
     
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  7. The prosecution was also violating the the agreement of reconciliation and the political amnesty granted to everyone for events and activities before and during the rule of the 30 tyrants right in its opening prosecution speech so we can't really say it was just socrates being an ass and it was the prosecution that insisted on him being put to death in spite of agreement to pay a fine being reached after he had been found guilty.
     
  8. So? I'm not saying they're justified at all. Rather that Socrates pushed them very much on purpose instead of keeping to his principles sans the attempted tea bag that was his "apology."
     
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  9. And I disagree given from what we know that he violated his principles during or before the trial which is more than be said about those who prosecuted him violating the law of the state they were prosecuting him in the name of.
     
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  10. So like to be clear, Socrates is not a general mental infant, he simply was interacting with an intellectual discourse and historical context that was significantly lesser than what we have today. Socrates talked about Athenian democracy. Democracy has changed a lot since his day. Modern American republican democracy is different enough (and our historical and cultural and legal context is different enough) that we need to take anything Socrates says about democracy with a grain of salt before applying it to our own society, and bear in mind he had a different context. He was operating without our modern understanding of what systems are possible, the scale of nations, and so on.

    It doesn't mean he never said anything correct, but... okay, for example. People always quote Marx about things. And Marx had a really great critique of like, factory-based industrial-revolution capitalism. But if Marx was alive today, he'd write a very different Communist Manifesto, because we live in a very different capitalist society. Different critiques apply. If you want to critique modern democracy based on Socrates' stuff you need to do a lot of legwork to convince me you're even talking about the same thing or anything that's being said is valid.
     
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  11. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    I would go so far as to say they are effectively impossible.

    Like, look, any dictatorship has by nature to secure itself from overthrow, by force. That means vastly less freedom for people, and a lot of terror.

    Edit: Also, I just want to throw this out there but "an incompetent wastrel is elected leader" is far more a feature of authoritarian than democratic systems.
     
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  12. Um, you realize that the fact that it's called an apology has to do with a completely different definition of apology. I mean, I assume you were putting quotes around apology for an actual reason? Rather than just ignorance of the context?

    I'm just not sure what that reason was. If you were trying to refer to the document, it'd be capitalized, like, "I've read the 'Apology of Socrates'" or whatever.
     
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  13. I am putting them there for a reason, as my point is that it wasn't really a legal defense but him purposefully tweaking the nose of everyone involved. He could have made an actual defense while staying principled if he wished and probably gotten off as the jury still was super close.

    I'm also not using the title because I've been talking about both the Plato and Xenophon variants rather than just one.
     
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  14. Aaron Fox

    Aaron Fox Personally, why not?

    Actually there was at least one benevolent dictator, his name was Julius Ceasar... who was trying to push reforms against an increasingly status-quo minded Senate...
     
  15. His entire position of dictator for life was a perversion of the legal roman office of dictator which was supposed to last only 6 months to deal with a crisis though and his legal heir ushered in the age of the emperors though the roman senate I guess got the last laugh given it survived until the 7th century when it made its last act.
     
  16. Aaron Fox

    Aaron Fox Personally, why not?

    Funny thing is, however, is that the Senate gave him his title of dictator for life because they've been doing only the Status Quo for so long that they couldn't change even if they wanted to.
     
  17. ...or he was illegally occupying Rome with his troops. And then stacked the Senate in his favour. But details, right?
     
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  18. Aaron Fox

    Aaron Fox Personally, why not?

    He more or less was damned if he did, damned if he didn't. If he walked with his legion into the capital, well... yeah OTL happened. If he didn't, the Senate would murder the fuck out of him.
     
  19. Well, yeah? Because he was ambitious as fuck and gunning for power. Like, the Senate was being paranoid, but someone was out to get them. It's hard to read his actions before that point as not being founded on ambition that *was* going to run away with itself at some point. Admittedly that's not a time period that I'm entirely steady on, in terms of my understanding of the historiography and general scholarly consensus.
     
  20. His military expedition into Gaul was in fact illegal as well. But even if he had no choice on a personal level, the fact remains that the Senate didn't hand power over to him to get things done, but because he simply had them do it at swordpoint.
     
  21. Aaron Fox

    Aaron Fox Personally, why not?

    From what I understand its not Caesar that made the Senate paranoid as fuck but the Gracchi Brothers. The specter of the two brothers would haunt the senate for almost a century until their ultimate demise when Caesar was assassinated.

    By the time Caesar marched to Rome, the Roman Republic was more or less starting to collapse under its own weight. If the Republic was going to survive, then it had to reform... problem was the Gracchi Brothers proved that reform will not be easy without power... and to gain power means you have to be ambitious in some form.
    See above.
     
  22. All roman politicians were ambitious though Julius Caesar took it to extremes coupled with a willingness to violate traditions and taboos. That being said the Roman Republic was in dire straits which should be evident by the Catiline conspiracy which likely didn't help the senate distrust of Caesar given his close ties to Catiline who often acted on Caesar's behalf.
     
  23. Zap Rowsdower

    Zap Rowsdower Ex-cultist vagrant

    I think we're getting a little off topic from the central pragmatism vs. idealism debate of the thread.
     
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  24. Yeah I think at the very least what I want out of left politics is to prevent the formation of dictatorships, but perhaps... perhaps I want more. Like winning a house of congress or the presidency in the USA, I'd settle for that too :V
     
  25. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    What do we want out of Left Politics? Romans, apparently. Ave, true to Caesar.
     
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