Law School Discussion

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FossilJ

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Re: W at 35%
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2005, 04:38:25 AM »
Many nations have seen success come with newer, more democratic governments (China) and all the former world powers who were not democratic are now dwindled. 

dude, did you just call China a democratic government?  or am i just confused about what you're trying to say again?

1. Not exactly  2. Yes, read the bold.

okay, gotcha.  you mean that china now is more democratic than it was in earlier decades.

i agree with that, but what about the opposite example?  russia is now a lot more democratic than it was under the soviets.  yet it's economy has shrunk enormously, and if it weren't for high oil prices it would probably be doing a lot worse.  the convention wisdom is that china is doing well because of economic, not political liberalization.

???

Russia went into the shitter while still communist.  Before it was revolutionized, its power was mostly smoke and mirrors (1980s).  But that isn't really important.  I can't prove causation, but correlation is undeniable, democracy seems to go hand-and-hand with prosperity of the people of a country (in general).

Then address the counter-argument.

Or address this one: what about all the democratic countries that are not prosperous?

SCgrad

Re: W at 35%
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2005, 04:51:11 AM »
I was just pointing out a generalization.  Most countries that would be thought of as "well off" are more democratic.  I think a good example is East Asia.  Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea are all very democratic, and they are much better off than counties like North Korea who are not.  China’s improvements seem to coincide with a more democratic government.  I don't know that much to give a compelling reason why this is (and if I could, it would probably take too long).  So instead of answering your question with an answer, I will answer it with a question. On average, what countries are "better off," More democratic ones or less democratic ones?
(EDIT- those countries are not "very democratic", but are compared to other East Asian coutries, perhaps I got carried away)
note: "better off" according to American perception.

I think if you are going to argue against this, the best way would be to say that Western democracies (mostly the US) have such powerful influence on the rest of the world, that if they are not in your corner, your country will likely not prosper as much.  Add to that the US’s proneness to work more closely (by a lot) with other democracies and you could see how it is possible for the answer to fall outside of what is the best policy in a vacuum.  I think the quote goes something like “In Theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice they are not.”  You can give a thousand reasons for why it is true that democracy rules with an iron fist, but you can’t deny this being true.  

SCgrad

Re: W at 35%
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2005, 04:53:59 AM »
Russia went into the shitter while still communist.  Before it was revolutionized, its power was mostly smoke and mirrors (1980s).  But that isn't really important.  I can't prove causation, but correlation is undeniable, democracy seems to go hand-and-hand with prosperity of the people of a country (in general).

okay, but isn't that possibly because prosperity leads to a middle class that demands more political rights?

and the east asian economies like taiwan and south korea became middle-income under authoritarian regimes.  granted there is correlation, but i think there are too many exceptions to consider it a strong correlation.

what am i doing?  i said i would get out of this discussion...

I don't think Taiwan and S. Korea are that authoritarian.  They aren't to the US's level, but they are more democratic than most other asian countries, especially Taiwan.

SCgrad

Re: W at 35%
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2005, 04:58:34 AM »
hey pubs:  when w hit 30, it time to sell?

just wonderin'.

i don't believe this will ever happen.  at least 30% of the country would support him no matter what happened.

you show good judgment.

 :D

I've got nothing better to do.  I can't sleep, and SCgrad has been a very fair and perceptive debater in the past, from what I've seen, so a light-hearted tete-a-tete is certainly called for.

insomnia-powered brainpower....  i was wondering what the hell both of you were doing up.  unlike ms. fern, whom i've concluded just wakes up very early. 

very healthy of you, ms. fern.

Its 10 PM where I am

SCgrad

Re: W at 35%
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2005, 05:15:04 AM »

 History is a tangled, undistillable mess of contingency.  Just because, in your estimation, democracy is now the cause of prosperity (even though, once again, the cause-effect relationship you imply cannot be proven), does not mean it will be so in twenty years, or even in ten.  Democracy is not the moral "victor"; it is, at best, the luckiest fish in the sea.


History has also shown that circumstances tend to not change all that frequently.  I know everyone in the Roman Empire thought it would never fall, and so forth.  I am not saying America is impervious to a calapse, but it is even more unlikely due to the way we control the world.  Though soft power, many parts of the world seem to be willing participants.  America could go into the shitter in the next 10 or 20 years, it is possible, but I would say very very unlikely.  Also, absent of America, the only super power, the other best off countries are still democratic.  I think we are all on the same footing from the stand point that it is ethnocentric and wrong to say that a particular system of government is "wrong."  My only contention is what is and should probably produce the best results currently and in the near future. 

FossilJ

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Re: W at 35%
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2005, 05:16:30 AM »
I think the quote goes something like “In Theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice they are not.”  You can give a thousand reasons for why it is true that democracy rules with an iron fist, but you can’t deny this being true. 

Ah.

Okay, let's forget for a second that you did not really address my argument, otherwise you'd find the refutations for most of your latest post (and parts where we agree) in my last long-winded post.

Instead, let's concentrate on this last statement.

I'm not interested in affirming or denying this claim.  I'm interested in exploring the normative assumption that underlies the claim.  This was my original question:

"Democracy is inherently superior to monarchy and theocracy... why?"

The question was not, "Which one is more successful?"  That's a line of argument I picked up early on and abandoned as fruitless, mainly because it's irrelevant.

What I've pointed out is that, no matter how you skew history to fit your particular perception of the present, there is no substance to the claim that "democracy is better than x".  The historical context was merely provided to show how this normative teleology occurs. 

Democracy is, inherently, the same as monarchy or theocracy.  Judging on success or failure is impossible, because there are an infinite number of contingencies that are equally powerful as causes or effects of whatever you take the present state of the world to be. 

Thus, democracy is not "better", it is simply "more successful".  As you can see, I've granted you the substance of your point, but not the underlying assumption.

FossilJ

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Re: W at 35%
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2005, 05:20:35 AM »
Turns out there was never a dialectic, after all.   ;D

We sure wasted a lot of words agreeing with each other in the end.  hahahaha

SCgrad

Re: W at 35%
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2005, 05:32:42 AM »
Yeah, I think I was talking to two different people, you and Watson, along with the "Are Asians Smarter" thread, so I missed a little.  I would say we are pretty much in agreement, although, not to be picky, I would say it is possible that one system is better than the other (in thoery even), but I see it as one of those questions that cannot be answered.  I thought it was a good talk though.  At least we hijacked this thread, I almost never do that.

FossilJ

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Re: W at 35%
« Reply #38 on: November 04, 2005, 05:40:40 AM »
Yeah, I think I was talking to two different people, you and Watson, along with the "Are Asians Smarter" thread, so I missed a little.  I would say we are pretty much in agreement, although, not to be picky, I would say it is possible that one system is better than the other (in thoery even), but I see it as one of those questions that cannot be answered.  I thought it was a good talk though.  At least we hijacked this thread, I almost never do that.

 :D

Was a dumb thread anyway.  Would've degenerated into another Julie vs. Republicans shouting match.

Of course it's possible that one system is better than the other.  There's just no objective way to prove it, as you're implying. 

FossilJ

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Re: W at 35%
« Reply #39 on: November 04, 2005, 05:43:29 AM »
Was a dumb thread anyway.  Would've degenerated into another Julie vs. Republicans shouting match.

i'll try not to take this personally.

 ;D

You know what I mean.  The topic wasn't dumb, but the likely result of the topic was.