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Old February 2, 2013, 11:30 AM   #1
HarrySchell
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When Democracy Results in an Illiberal State

This is basically about Egypt, but the ideas may apply elsewhere. Venezuela, Chile under Allende, Argentina...

http://www.volokh.com/2013/02/01/wha...ratic-process/
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Old February 2, 2013, 11:48 AM   #2
Frank Ettin
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The historical fact is that as a mechanism for promoting freedom, revolution has a really lousy track record.

To illustrate that we of course have the French Revolution. We also have the Paris Commune of 1870. How about the Russian Revolution? The Chinese Revolution that gave us Mao, perhaps? How about the ouster of Basitsa in Cuba? Pol Pot in Cambodia? Anyone know what's happening in what used to be Burma? And let's not forget Iran. Then there have been the various revolutions, often protracted, taking place with dismaying regularity in one third world country or another. The vast majority of revolutions wind up simply replacing one despot with another.

It's as if there is something inherent in the nature of a revolution that seems to most often yield a bad result. The American Revolution was unique.
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Old February 2, 2013, 12:46 PM   #3
Willie Sutton
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It's as if there is something inherent in the nature of a revolution that seems to most often yield a bad result. The American Revolution was unique.


That remains to be seen: Maybe it's just a train wreck in really really slow motion......


Nothing lasts forever.

Nothing.


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Old February 2, 2013, 01:20 PM   #4
geetarman
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Quote:
Nothing lasts forever.
People who want to control other people comes pretty close. We don't seem to have a shortage there.
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Old February 2, 2013, 04:39 PM   #5
speedrrracer
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This is a great study on why America is so fortunate.

These other countries have their revolutions, but result in failed states. Well, you put idiots in at one end, and you get idiotic results out the other end.

We were lucky enough to have some serious geniuses running the show. Sure, they're still human and the US will eventually fail, but we've had a better run than any other country in history, and it's not over just yet...
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Old February 2, 2013, 10:57 PM   #6
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That remains to be seen: Maybe it's just a train wreck in really really slow motion.
I disagree. At its core, our system has remained relatively unchanged over two centuries. We've amended the Constitution, but the fundamental checks and balances are still there. Our system is interesting in that there's really no mechanism for a single person or group to take dictatorial power, and it has a remarkable resilience.
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Old February 2, 2013, 11:04 PM   #7
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It's changed quite a lot. Interesting you mention constitutional amendments. . . . there was a time when (say) to ban alcohol took a constitutional amendment, now for that sort of thing they dispense with the formality. Where once was a federation, is now a single strong central institution and regional vassals that are "turning out the lights".

It's as though the nation has changed; but the words were recycled and there is a ton of sentiment connecting the two.

I'm not saying that it is or is not a train wreck; but that structurally pre-civil-war and mid-20th-century USA have little enough in common that they could have been 2 distinct countries bisected by a major revolution for such change (and arguably, they were).
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Old February 2, 2013, 11:15 PM   #8
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedrrracer
...We were lucky enough to have some serious geniuses running the show....
There were other factors in play.

At the time of the Revolution each Colony was substantially self governing, at least with regard to internal matters. Each Colony had its own well developed administrative and governmental infrastructures. Many of the leaders of the Revolution were already active in local, political affairs.

At the same time, our Revolution wasn't as much a revolution as it was ejecting an occupying force. Once the British were displaced, we were able to build on a solid foundation of already existing and functional public institutions. And to a large extent the folks who were running local affairs before the Revolution continued to do so after.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Servo
...At its core, our system has remained relatively unchanged over two centuries. We've amended the Constitution, but the fundamental checks and balances are still there. Our system is interesting in that there's really no mechanism for a single person or group to take dictatorial power, and it has a remarkable resilience.
I agree. We've been remarkably stable for a long time.
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Last edited by Frank Ettin; February 3, 2013 at 01:26 AM. Reason: correct typo
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Old February 2, 2013, 11:41 PM   #9
Willie Sutton
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I disagree. At its core, our system has remained relatively unchanged over two centuries. We've amended the Constitution, but the fundamental checks and balances are still there. Our system is interesting in that there's really no mechanism for a single person or group to take dictatorial power, and it has a remarkable resilience.


Tom, I'd fundamentally agree with you as well: We as a nation tend to swing back and forth and self-correct anytime one party goes a bit too far in any direction. Time will tell how this latest assault on our one special interest evolves, but for the most part we are still doing pretty well.

Willie

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Old February 2, 2013, 11:45 PM   #10
HiBC
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The founding fathers left us with a government that can heal up.

The deciding factor will apathy.

Those who fail to vote are destined to be ruled.
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Old February 3, 2013, 10:22 AM   #11
Willie Sutton
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Or:

Q: "Is the problem in America today mainly one of ignorance, or of apathy?"

A: "I don't know, and I don't care"....





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Old February 3, 2013, 12:29 PM   #12
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The US has many problems today, however the majority of them would exist within any population with divergent priorities and limited resources.

There are an infinite array of potential paths, and intense disagreements regarding which of them are appropriate are to be expected.


It is how our government and society continue to deal with the process of selecting which paths make most sense that will determine the extent to which the experiment continues.

Hopefully this process will continue to be bounded by the same interests and dedication that created the foundations laid in 1776 and thereafter.

I don't see imminent doom. Running a Republic will always be a messy business.
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