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Thread: Voting is Pointless because I have a strong-interest in Democracy

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    Senior Member Senior Member Idaho's Avatar
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    Default Voting is Pointless because I have a strong-interest in Democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    You refuse to vote - so you're pretty depressing too.

    And anyway, maybe you should look at the posts where we're at least trying to be civil and even handed?
    Derail, but I don't vote *because* I have a strong interest in democracy.

    It's like if you were a great art lover, would you accept a postcard with some 5 year old's scrawl on it and accept that as the best you can get?
    Last edited by Beskar; 07-23-2014 at 14:53.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    It doesn 't happen often that I agree with Idaho. Don't vote either. It's like saving up photographs of 100 euro bills.

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    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Do you guys not have write-in ballots? In the few cases I decided not to vote I just went in anyways and wrote in Skeletor for my choice of candidate.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Don't know about the UK but you can make a blank vote, your blank vote will still be distributed among the winning parties. So I don't vote at all, never have, people say I shouldn't complain if I don't vote, but if you ask why that is so exactly you get a rather sheepish gaze in return.
    Last edited by Fragony; 07-22-2014 at 16:46.

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    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Idaho View Post
    Derail, but I don't vote *because* I have a strong interest in democracy.

    It's like if you were a great art lover, would you accept a postcard with some 5 year old's scrawl on it and accept that as the best you can get?
    That doesn't make sense. You would vote and be politically active to what you want to happen. If this view was a broad-consensus, then the system would change. If you want to make politicians more accountable, vote for those who hold accountability dear, and campaign for it.

    Not voting would be the same as accepting a 5-years-olds scribble going "it is the best it is going to be, no point in trying", opposed to tearing it up, appealing to those with artistic skills and merits and trying to change it to something actually good.

    So your 'strong interest in democracy' is an oxymoron since the actions you pursue entail attempting to destroy democracy. Whilst there is far more to it than simply 'voting', not voting is like not bothering to use toilet-paper and not even washing your hands afterwards, then going off complaining how your sandwich tastes disgusting.
    Last edited by Beskar; 07-22-2014 at 18:07.
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    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Idaho View Post
    Derail, but I don't vote *because* I have a strong interest in democracy.

    It's like if you were a great art lover, would you accept a postcard with some 5 year old's scrawl on it and accept that as the best you can get?
    If everybody in the city like you voted for someone instead of complaining, we'd have a decent MP.

    So would the rest of the country.

    If you don't vote you abdicate the right to complain about the result.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Don't know about the UK but you can make a blank vote, your blank vote will still be distributed among the winning parties. So I don't vote at all, never have, people say I shouldn't complain if I don't vote, but if you ask why that is so exactly you get a rather sheepish gaze in return.
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Idaho View Post
    Derail, but I don't vote *because* I have a strong interest in democracy.

    It's like if you were a great art lover, would you accept a postcard with some 5 year old's scrawl on it and accept that as the best you can get?
    If you are in a kindergarten then you vote for the best one. And the next time you vote for someone else.

    If nothing else voting against the incumbent is the best default tactic as a voter as swing seats get the most loot. Also a lot of politician entitlements are tenure based. So if they show no promise give them the flick and reduce the cost long term. Rinse and repeat until you find someone with the ability to scrawl like a ten year old.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Idaho's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    I think we need a new thread about not voting. It's an interesting topic, where I am right and you are all wrong.
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Idaho View Post
    I think we need a new thread about not voting. It's an interesting topic, where I am right and you are all wrong.
    Should it start with a poll
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiaexz
    If this view was a broad-consensus, then the system would change.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phillipvs Vallindervs Callicvla
    If everybody in the city like you voted
    There's a critical flaw in this line of reasoning, yet it's always brought up in this sort of discussion.

    If it is right to vote when it is possible and safe to do so, then it must be for reasons other than this quoted.
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    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    There's a critical flaw in this line of reasoning, yet it's always brought up in this sort of discussion.
    Where is the flaw?

    Democracy is a system fundamentally built upon compromise of peoples voices. Whilst sometimes there are arguments and one-side wins, it usually produces a system which reflects the wishes of those who vote/campaign/elect.

    Therefore, if you do not take part, your wishes are not being reflected by your own choice, so complaining about it is pointless as it is your own fault your wishes are not being heard as you refuse to act.

    So the way to be heard is to engage with the system and if the opinion is swayed too much in one direction, it is your duty to amend that with your voice.

    This is different for those who do vote as they are actually engaging with the system, so when an MP is not representing them, they can give them the stick for not doing so. Voting is choosing to be heard.
    Last edited by Beskar; 07-23-2014 at 16:31.
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    There's a critical flaw in this line of reasoning, yet it's always brought up in this sort of discussion.

    If it is right to vote when it is possible and safe to do so, then it must be for reasons other than this quoted.
    I have told Idaho several times that if he stands, I will run his campaign - I will go door to door and ask people to vote for him - I will run a campaign persuading people to register in the city to vote...

    Idaho pointed out he can't afford the fee to enter as a candidate - that's a valid point but it's seperate from his main objection.

    In the UK we can vote for any standing candidate - nobody is going to beat us up - nobody is going to ask how much property we own or whether we are Jewish.

    We get the politicians we vote for in the UK - if we don't vote then our voice cannot be heard.

    So far as I know Idaho does not even campaign on a local level for electoral or political reform - so he's just grumping about how he doesn't like politicians and then refusing to even try to do anything about it.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Well, there is always George Carlin’s view. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ

    Language!!!! if you never heard George Carlin....


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    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisherking View Post
    Well, there is always George Carlin’s view. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ

    Language!!!! if you never heard George Carlin....


    One fundamental issue is that we all imagine we are smarter than average when this is mostly not the case. You have those other Carlin's like "Imagine the average person and realise 50% are dumber than that". In the video he comes on about how we are all blissfully unaware of what is going on, not able to think for ourselves.

    What he said is true, Corporations do lobby with billions and they try their best to grab people by their most sensitive areas. So what is the solution? Moan about it with apathy and not giving a damn, or actually going out there to do something to change it. If you are playing internet warrior whilst doing jack-all about the situation, cannot even be bothered to vote, then you are just as bad, if not worse, than the 'sheeple' people bemoan about.

    It is the same as walking into a restaurant and saying: "give me something off the menu"
    You wait till you eventually get the kids meal chicken dippers covered in sweet&sour sauce dip.
    You complain the waiter "What is this? When I said give me something, I didn't expect or want this, why not the steak?"
    Waiters: "Sir, did you order the steak?"
    You shuffle uncomfortable in your chair "No, I didn't"
    Waiter replies: "Next time, when you want Steak, order it".

    Who is the person in the wrong, the waiter or the customer? Who is the person who didn't voice what they wanted and thus didn't get it?
    Last edited by Beskar; 07-23-2014 at 17:28.
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    Member Member Crandar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Don't know about the UK but you can make a blank vote, your blank vote will still be distributed among the winning parties. So I don't vote at all, never have, people say I shouldn't complain if I don't vote, but if you ask why that is so exactly you get a rather sheepish gaze in return.
    Even if there is no political party representing your political views, there is the option of the spoilt vote.

    It's not distributed to any party, winning or losing (at least, in my country) and you have the choice to express your opinion about politics, either through salamis or through emotional messages ("You are all scumbags!", "Long live the anarchy" and etc.).

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    Senior Member Senior Member Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiaexz View Post


    One fundamental issue is that we all imagine we are smarter than average when this is mostly not the case. You have those other Carlin's like "Imagine the average person and realise 50% are dumber than that". In the video he comes on about how we are all blissfully unaware of what is going on, not able to think for ourselves.

    What he said is true, Corporations do lobby with billions and they try their best to grab people by their most sensitive areas. So what is the solution? Moan about it with apathy and not giving a damn, or actually going out there to do something to change it. If you are playing internet warrior whilst doing jack-all about the situation, cannot even be bothered to vote, then you are just as bad, if not worse, than the 'sheeple' people bemoan about.

    It is the same as walking into a restaurant and saying: "give me something off the menu"
    You wait till you eventually get the kids meal chicken dippers covered in sweet&sour sauce dip.
    You complain the waiter "What is this? When I said give me something, I didn't expect or want this, why not the steak?"
    Waiters: "Sir, did you order the steak?"
    You shuffle uncomfortable in your chair "No, I didn't"
    Waiter replies: "Next time, when you want Steak, order it".

    Who is the person in the wrong, the waiter or the customer? Who is the person who didn't voice what they wanted and thus didn't get it?
    I think it was also Carlin who said:

    We have two political parties in this country. One is stupid and the other one is evil. Some times they get together in bipartisan fashion and pass laws that are both stupid and evil.

    Actually we have only a political class. Not parties. They are very good at rhetoric and finger pointing as a distraction. They have subsidized the business interests in a way that has corrupted the whole system.

    I don’t for a moment think that I have the answers to the worlds problems. Governments need changed but it is more the people in government than the underlying framework, at least in the US.

    Most people are satisfied to just keep voting for their party and thinking that will change the course but it never does.

    Perhaps the only way is what has happened in the spring uprisings and in Ukraine but those never go well either.

    All I know is that I find my self unwilling to accepting things as unchangeable. Lets try to change those things we find unacceptable. Like accepting politicians that lie, cheat, and defraud the people.


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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Crandar View Post
    Even if there is no political party representing your political views, there is the option of the spoilt vote.

    It's not distributed to any party, winning or losing (at least, in my country) and you have the choice to express your opinion about politics, either through salamis or through emotional messages ("You are all scumbags!", "Long live the anarchy" and etc.).
    Each U.S. presidential election Mickey Mouse receives thousands of votes -- and this despite the fact that write-ins are not allowed on some ballots.
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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Voting is Pointless because I have a strong-interest in Democracy



    That's also a nice analysis of the wealth gap thing.

    As for political systems, I'm still against FPTP. The possibility of coalitions makes it much easier for new parties to come up and even influence politics. Of course it still requires a population willing to vote for them and not vote on habit every time.


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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Voting is Pointless because I have a strong-interest in Democracy

    You either vote, or you run for election yourself.

    Those are your only two moral options. All other choices makes you a lazy couch-warrior.



    And before you all accuse me of hypocrisy; yes, I have done both.
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiaexz View Post
    Where is the flaw?

    Democracy is a system fundamentally built upon compromise of peoples voices. Whilst sometimes there are arguments and one-side wins, it usually produces a system which reflects the wishes of those who vote/campaign/elect.

    Therefore, if you do not take part, your wishes are not being reflected by your own choice, so complaining about it is pointless as it is your own fault your wishes are not being heard as you refuse to act.

    So the way to be heard is to engage with the system and if the opinion is swayed too much in one direction, it is your duty to amend that with your voice.

    This is different for those who do vote as they are actually engaging with the system, so when an MP is not representing them, they can give them the stick for not doing so. Voting is choosing to be heard.
    You said:

    If this view was a broad-consensus, then the system would change.
    The argument is basically tautological: 'if things were better, then they would be better'. Add on the implicit 'it's your fault the world isn't perfect', and the head-up-buttitude becomes intolerable.

    What do you think of this argument:

    (The premise is that you getting rich is a good thing)

    'Alright, everyone in the world ought to give me a penny. That way, I'll become rich for sure.'

    ...

    'Hey, why don't you give me a penny, cheapskate? Don't you want me to get rich?'
    The fact that you would be rich if everyone gave you money is totally irrelevant to any argument for giving you money. Any valid argument for giving you money could not rely on it.
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    The idea that when you feel that the options presented by the system are both terrible that you should refrain from voting is backwards. It relies on a sense of "enlightenment" that to abstain from speaking is better than being forced to choose between people that actively go against what you believe in. Idaho thinks that by refusing to participate in his government he is making the statement that the government has failed him.

    The truth is that to not vote is an abandonment of your civic duty and a sign to both your fellow citizens and the political class that you have no expectations of having a functional liberal democratic government. This only emboldens political wolves to prey upon government excess and generate more of it for themselves and friends. By not voting Idaho is really making the statement, whether he acknowledges it or not, that he has failed his government.
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.

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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    The problem is, even if he does vote he will still have failed the government, and the government will still have failed him.
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  23. #23
    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    The problem is, even if he does vote he will still have failed the government, and the government will still have failed him.
    Then he should campaign for - something.

    Actually, there's nothing really wrong with the UK system - people vote for who they want to vote for - people who are disillusioned or apathetic don't bother. You could tweak the method of vote-counting, selection of candidates etc. but the system basically works.

    If everybody followed your line of reasoning we would never have abolished slavery - that was a decades-long fight which started with most people, in parliament or out of it, either thinking slavery was a good idea or not caring and ended with it being declared illegal and repugnant to basic human dignity.

    William Wilberforce could have said, "oh nobody'll ever listen to be in parliament" and just sat there for years - but instead he spoke up in favour of banning slavery.

    Idaho is saying - I don't like our politics and by my self I can't change it, so I'll just give up on the country rather than making an effort to persuade people.

    There are people in the city who, on a Saturday afternoon, stand in the middle of the city centre and shout about what they care about through a microphone - I've seen them and on occasion I've stopped to listen.

    Does Idaho do THAT?
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    If everybody followed your line of reasoning we would never have abolished slavery - that was a decades-long fight which started with most people, in parliament or out of it, either thinking slavery was a good idea or not caring and ended with it being declared illegal and repugnant to basic human dignity.
    There isn't really a logical connection between these situations other than gradual social change as - something. But in fact, the slavery debate had a lot of economic impetus behind it, and certainly few commoners would have had the opportunity to own a slave, or even hire a servant. Can you see anything similar with voter turnout? Furthermore, at this stage in our history gradual change for voting will always meet reversals that wipe away small gains like a tide lapping at fruitless sandcastles, at best, and at worst will rapidly become obsolete as the structure of society changes radically. Yet another problem with the comparison is that things like abolition, feminism, queer pride, and so on are all about increasing the social inclusion of marginalized groups; voter turnout doesn't fit neatly into that model, as voting is already something most adults can do.

    To be clear, this has been an explanation of why the comparison to the buildup of the abolitionist movement throughout the world doesn't serve you well.

    Idaho is saying - I don't like our politics and by my self I can't change it, so I'll just give up on the country rather than making an effort to persuade people.
    I never claimed to agree with Idaho's perspective - which he gives precious little exposition (here) anyway - nor to believe that an engaged popular vote is not useful. In fact, I'm rather inclined toward the opposite.

    However -

    There are people in the city who, on a Saturday afternoon, stand in the middle of the city centre and shout about what they care about through a microphone - I've seen them and on occasion I've stopped to listen.

    Does Idaho do THAT?
    Why is that useful and noble? The so-called "A for effort"?

    But those who try and try with passion typically amount to either useless, clamorous fools or the worst leaders of the world.

    I really would like to hear a cogent argument for why "voting is good", something besides the tired, self-aggrandizing confabulations or red herrings both sides seem to limit themselves to.
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  25. #25
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Voting is Pointless because I have a strong-interest in Democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    As for political systems, I'm still against FPTP. The possibility of coalitions makes it much easier for new parties to come up and even influence politics. Of course it still requires a population willing to vote for them and not vote on habit every time.
    The FPTP system has led to some of the most tangible demonstrations of democracy in the UK, as people have teamed up and organised themselves to vote out particularly repulsive incumbents. The 1997 general election saw its first systematic use, as people, younger people especially, decided the Tories had to go, researched who was the most likely challenger in their constituency, and voted for them. The Tories lost 200 seats or so, with the Lib Dems doubling their total, and Labour picking up a landslide majority. A notably corrupt incumbent was replaced by an independent standing for anti-corruption (IIRC the first independent to be elected since the between-party Churchill in the 1930s), and the most likely replacement leader of the Tories went down against an openly gay Labour liberal. All of that was based on the FPTP system.

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    Master of useless knowledge Senior Member Kitten Shooting Champion, Eskiv Champion Ironside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Voting is Pointless because I have a strong-interest in Democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Cube View Post
    Not voting is a petfectly fine choice. Being forced to vote is being forced to acknowledge the legitimacy of the system. So the option of not voting as a symbolic gesture is cruicial (imo) to having a real democracy. I vote in most elections at all levels, but I could see a scenario where I don't, though its unlikely.
    There's still a difference between not voting at all and voting blank. Say that you had 70% voting rate in the US, but 20% of them blank voted (or voted for Mickey Mouse). That's still like the current 50% voting, but those 20% are both a threat and a promise. It's basically saying that you can win crushing victories if you give us what we want. Or we go to your opponent if they give us what we want.
    We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

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  27. #27
    Ranting madman of the .org Senior Member Fly Shoot Champion, Helicopter Champion, Pedestrian Killer Champion, Sharpshooter Champion, NFS Underground Champion Rhyfelwyr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    I don't vote because because the very foundations that make democracy work no longer exist in this country. I believe in the idea of consensus-based democracy, where everybody can have their interests reflected by one government. On the other hand, I do not believe in the majority-rule democracy we have in the UK where society is comprised of various competing interest groups and the largest gets to impose its will on everybody else, even if it is to their detriment.

    An example of this would be the recent benefit cuts - because the employed pay for the unemployed, the two have warring interests. This means that the government can only act in the interests of one when it acts against the interests of another (in the immediate sense at least - there is of course scope for longer-term economic reform). Because the employed are a majority, the government acts in their interests and as a result we get the benefit cuts and force a million people into food banks. That's an example of democracy in action being little short of evil. And as for the argument below:

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    If you don't vote you abdicate the right to complain about the result.
    I would say the exact opposite is true. If you participate in the system, then you are assenting to it and showing that in your eyes it is legitimate. If you vote, you are saying that you accept the so-called 'democratic' process, and thus lose any right to complain about the result.

    Now this doesn't mean I don't have any sense of civic duty. I do try to do my bit for society and in particular the more vulnerable in society, I just do not believe that the democratic process in any use in this regard. I prefer more grassroots action, eg. working with various civic/cultural organisations, helping aid projects, distributing Gospel tracts, etc.
    At the end of the day politics is just trash compared to the Gospel.

  28. #28
    Ni dieu ni maître! Senior Member a completely inoffensive name's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    You can't have consensus based democracy unless you already have a large degree of homogeneity.
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.

  29. #29
    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Voting is Pointless because I have a strong-interest in Democracy

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    The FPTP system has led to some of the most tangible demonstrations of democracy in the UK, as people have teamed up and organised themselves to vote out particularly repulsive incumbents. The 1997 general election saw its first systematic use, as people, younger people especially, decided the Tories had to go, researched who was the most likely challenger in their constituency, and voted for them. The Tories lost 200 seats or so, with the Lib Dems doubling their total, and Labour picking up a landslide majority. A notably corrupt incumbent was replaced by an independent standing for anti-corruption (IIRC the first independent to be elected since the between-party Churchill in the 1930s), and the most likely replacement leader of the Tories went down against an openly gay Labour liberal. All of that was based on the FPTP system.
    That doesn't change the fact that it has a tendency towards a two-party system where a lot of the political spectrum is not really represented anymore.


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  30. #30
    Ranting madman of the .org Senior Member Fly Shoot Champion, Helicopter Champion, Pedestrian Killer Champion, Sharpshooter Champion, NFS Underground Champion Rhyfelwyr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Speaking of Israel...

    Quote Originally Posted by a completely inoffensive name View Post
    You can't have consensus based democracy unless you already have a large degree of homogeneity.
    Exactly.
    At the end of the day politics is just trash compared to the Gospel.

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