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The USA has according to Henry Kissinger regarded itself as a beacon for the world insofar as the communication of democratic values is concerned. I believe the Trump phenomenon puts this claim into its correct context. The election of Trump represents the triumph of direct democracy and this, in turn, represents the requiem of representative democracy in the USA. The Republican/Democratic opposition seen from the perspective of Europe is a phenomenon of partisan politics that has abandoned the concept of representation and no longer represents the interests of the American people. The reaction to this has resulted in the election of Trump. This surely must signify to the politically knowledgeable a problem with American democracy as the legal nooses tighten around the throat of a man that thinks the truth is seasonal and that even the law is seasonal and that he can alter the power of the law with the power of his office. If Kissinger thought that the USA was going to be a major actor in what he called the New World Order he surely must be thinking again  in relation to the Trump phenomenon.

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Interesting claim, however do you think that representative democracy has had a clear rise and fall ?  That would require an academic study I am sure.

Kissinger's book New World Order did correctly portray American altruism in world affairs as variable, dependent on domestic politics.

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Michael,

Thanks for the reply. Yes I think there is a relatively clear fall in the stocks and shares of authority which Hannah Arendt talked about in her work on Totalitarianism. Mass movements are paradoxically anti-authoritarian(Anyone can do anything, anything goes). They use Science and Philosophy to get to power and then abandon these as useless tools. Arendt points to Stalin and the purges of millions of people without real cause(they were no real threat). The Principle of Causality would seem to me to be(along with respect for the facts) a minimum condition for explaining what happens in the political realm.  Aristotle suggested the concept of representative democracy but claimed that the size of the unit to be organized must be in the hundred thousand range rather than the million range. He might have imagined the rise of mass education  because that would be needed by the golden mean class(the middle class) but perhaps could not have imagined the rise of the role of the mass media, a process in which principles get lost in the volume of information transmitted(I say "perhaps" because Aristotle may have conceived of the impossibility of mass transmission of  principles in basically anonymous information transmission processes).  I do not mean to suggest that Europe is immune to any of the above problems.(Brexit!)

For further discussion of these issues see the lectures on my blog http://michaelrdjames.org/ or in the journals I edit on https://www.aletheiaeducation.eu/ 

 

 

Edited by Michael R D James
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I feel that the state of democracy in the past is unknown to us, and probably unknowable.  As such, the complexity of the past (and current for that matter) situation would make it difficult if not impossible to assess "The Principle of Causality ".  

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On 5/5/2018 at 1:33 PM, Michael R D James said:

The Republican/Democratic opposition seen from the perspective of Europe is a phenomenon of partisan politics that has abandoned the concept of representation and no longer represents the interests of the American people.

 

Interesting. 

Because, from this perspective (which is shared by others), it is seen some European nations  no longer represent the interests of their own citizens.  Thanks to EU - what member nations have, can no longer be called (by nation state definition),  "government by the people."   

I recall Trump repeatedly hammering about government by the people in his rallies  - could that be a subtle dig at EU? 

 

The members of EU had given up their individual international recognition when they signed up and left it to EU  to represent their interests (in a wide variety of domain).  UK has woken up to that realization....... thus, Brexit!

Edited by betsy
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Michael,

 

I do not think the democracies of the past would tell us everything we need to know about our own democracy and that is because democracy is not merely a description of a form of government but also at least insofar as the common good is concerned, democracy has a prescriptive connotation. The American argument, (according to Kissinger's work "Diplomacy") for spreading democracy over the world was not a historical one built on the principle of causality and historical description: it was a judgment of value or as R S Peters claims a policy judgment claiming what ought to be the case. The Greek fear of a democracy in which unnecessary desires becomes the obsession of rulers and ruled and the rule of law becomes an arbitrary process was enough to strike fear into the greek heart. I see no reason to believe that the Greek account this is not an acceptable historical account of the democracies of the past(There are many historically accepted documents bearing witness to this fact and the causal processes involved)

 

Betsy ,

Everything turns upon what one means by a government by the people. I personally doubt whether Trump could be subtle about anything as complicated as this but you are right to draw attention to Brexit and that is surely an issue of sovereignty versus the Kantian project of Cosmopolitanism which the  EU  venture is all about. Turning one's laws over to other parties has had its negative aspects. The different nuances of French, German and English law can appear exaggerated to those who do not have the patience to wait for the European adventure to mature into a true cosmopolitan project. Aristotle pointed out that if the many can engage judicially in decision-making processes then the resultant decision will usually be less perspectival and more universal. We in Europe(and 48% of Britain) believe in Aristotle and Kant and government by people with as many different interests as possible but these people must know and respect the law. Some Brexiteers have suggested that government by the Eu is beginning to resemble government by a body which is not remaining true to Aristotelian and Kantian Principles and there may be some truth in this. But this situation is not in any way similar to the situation in the US where Republicans and Democrats refuse to accept the principle that the common good is the common ground of both parties.

 

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2 hours ago, Michael R D James said:

1) I do not think the democracies of the past would tell us everything we need to know about our own democracy and that is because democracy is not merely a description of a form of government but also at least insofar as the common good is concerned, democracy has a prescriptive connotation. The American argument, (according to Kissinger's work "Diplomacy") for spreading democracy over the world was not a historical one built on the principle of causality and historical description: it was a judgment of value or as R S Peters claims a policy judgment claiming what ought to be the case. The Greek fear of a democracy in which unnecessary desires becomes the obsession of rulers and ruled and the rule of law becomes an arbitrary process was enough to strike fear into the greek heart. I see no reason to believe that the Greek account this is not an acceptable historical account of the democracies of the past(There are many historically accepted documents bearing witness to this fact and the causal processes involved)

 

Not everything for sure, but worth considering.  You seem to have a lot of knowledge of this topic.  To me, these questions all come down to decision systems to handle duality (two choices) when humans, who are tribal, are involved/ignored.

Edited by Michael Hardner
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The American experiment with democracy has been far more volatile and durable for over 200 years.   I agree that a Donald Trump presidency is a symptom of prevailing political and economic conditions in the USA...Trump did not create such conditions.   If Trump causes increased engagement by an apathetic American electorate,  then that is a good thing.   Americans will have another federal election in a few months, just as they have done since 1789, without fail.

Americans (and other observing nationals) are often reminded by example just how robust their political system is and has been, even when stressed by contemporary events.   No president is greater than the U.S. Constitution, which is designed for fully expected failings with built in contingency process and succession.

Donald Trump is just another U.S. president.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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On 5/8/2018 at 7:48 AM, Michael R D James said:

Betsy ,

 But this situation is not in any way similar to the situation in the US where Republicans and Democrats refuse to accept the principle that the common good is the common ground of both parties.

 

 

Could it be that it's not because they  refuse to accept the principle ......but that,  they simply don't see the same way?

What is considered the  "common good" may not necessarily be the same to another, is it?   Of course, conservatives and liberals are from two differing ideologies.  They tend to see differently. 

 

Though they may want what they think is for the best interest of the people...... what they see as, or how they get their  "common good" may not necessarily be the same.  Like, security.    

Just look at North Korea, as an example - both parties want a NK that doesn't present a nuclear threat.   That's a common ground they share.  It's the common good.

Well, we saw what method got the NK situation to this point.  It's not the kind of method used by previous government(s) - but this differing method seems to be achieving the common good they both (Dems and Reps) want.  Release of prisoners is an unprecedented event, a show of good will.   

If all works well at the summit with NK (de-nuclearized NK),  Dems and Reps will  have the common good.... which is, their common ground.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by betsy
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  • 2 weeks later...

Betsy,

The common good is a Socratic Platonic and Aristotelian concept of  the principle or law of the good. Principles or laws are responsible for things happening as they do. It really does not matter how we describe them, they are what they are, so I do not really understand your point. Before we cry halleluja let us first wait and see if the joint efforts of the Democrats and the Republicans can bring about a  peace settlement with regard to NK. When that is done lets hope they  can then agree to take measures to prevent the HUGE numbers of people dying in the USA because of the so called "right" to bear arms. If I were a parent in the US I would tremble with apprehension everytime I left my child at the gates of their school. This is good?

 

 

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On 5/5/2018 at 10:33 AM, Michael R D James said:

The USA has according to Henry Kissinger regarded itself as a beacon for the world insofar as the communication of democratic values is concerned. I believe the Trump phenomenon puts this claim into its correct context. The election of Trump represents the triumph of direct democracy and this, in turn, represents the requiem of representative democracy in the USA. The Republican/Democratic opposition seen from the perspective of Europe is a phenomenon of partisan politics that has abandoned the concept of representation and no longer represents the interests of the American people. The reaction to this has resulted in the election of Trump. This surely must signify to the politically knowledgeable a problem with American democracy as the legal nooses tighten around the throat of a man that thinks the truth is seasonal and that even the law is seasonal and that he can alter the power of the law with the power of his office. If Kissinger thought that the USA was going to be a major actor in what he called the New World Order he surely must be thinking again  in relation to the Trump phenomenon.

No country that aids and abets dictatorships to the extent the US does has any business regarding itself as a shining beacon of democratic values.  The Statue of Liberty is more comparable to the Flaming Eye of Mordor.  America was damaged beyond repair long before Donald Trump showed up.

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America is doing just fine...."damage" is part of constructive renewal.   No other nation in the world has attracted so many legal (and illegal) immigrants as has the United States....the beacon still attracts more to come.

 

chartoftheday_7636_which_countries_host_

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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4 hours ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

America is doing just fine...."damage" is part of constructive renewal.   No other nation in the world has attracted so many legal (and illegal) immigrants as has the United States....the beacon still attracts more to come.

Cool, this doesn't change the fact the US also tops the charts when it comes to aiding and abetting dictators.  The willingness to migrate to a country that behaves like your's doesn't say much about the quality of people you're attracting.

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17 minutes ago, eyeball said:

Cool, this doesn't change the fact the US also tops the charts when it comes to aiding and abetting dictators.  The willingness to migrate to a country that behaves like your's doesn't say much about the quality of people you're attracting.

 

Who says the U.S. can't do both ?

The world is not a zero sum gain, no matter what issue you choose to predict a pending doom.

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7 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

Who says the U.S. can't do both ?

Jesus for one.

The world is not a zero sum gain, no matter what issue you choose to predict a pending doom.

Reality you mean and Orwell predicted it, to a tee I'd say. 

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18 minutes ago, eyeball said:

Jesus for one.

 

Wheh necessary, even Jesus was a "dictator".

 

Quote

Reality you mean and Orwell predicted it, to a tee I'd say. 

 

Reality trumps fantasy...and Orwell too.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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22 hours ago, Michael R D James said:

Betsy,

The common good is a Socratic Platonic and Aristotelian concept of  the principle or law of the good. Principles or laws are responsible for things happening as they do. It really does not matter how we describe them, they are what they are, so I do not really understand your point. Before we cry halleluja let us first wait and see if the joint efforts of the Democrats and the Republicans can bring about a  peace settlement with regard to NK. When that is done lets hope they  can then agree to take measures to prevent the HUGE numbers of people dying in the USA because of the so called "right" to bear arms. If I were a parent in the US I would tremble with apprehension everytime I left my child at the gates of their school. This is good?

 

 

 

Quote

In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good (also commonwealth, common weal or general welfare) refers to either what is shared and beneficial for all or most members of a given community, or alternatively, what is achieved by citizenship, collective action, and active participation in the realm of politics and public service.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_good

 

I'm simply using NK as an example of the common ground being shared by both The Dems and Reps.  They both want a NK that doesn't pose a nuclear threat -  a common good - but they differ in how they go about it.

 

Whether the summit becomes a reality (and a success) or bust - it doesn't affect the fact that both Dems and Reps share a common ground with that vision of a non-threat NK.

Edited by betsy
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12 hours ago, eyeball said:

Cool, this doesn't change the fact the US also tops the charts when it comes to aiding and abetting dictators.  The willingness to migrate to a country that behaves like your's doesn't say much about the quality of people you're attracting.

Hey......we're attracting those same ones!  In fact, their rejects are attracted to Canada! 

Edited by betsy
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20 hours ago, eyeball said:

No country that aids and abets dictatorships to the extent the US does has any business regarding itself as a shining beacon of democratic values.

Tell that to Trudeau.....who lavished praises on Castro and the government of China!

 

 

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14 hours ago, eyeball said:

Jesus for one.

Reality you mean and Orwell predicted it, to a tee I'd say. 

The liberal-minded are the ones that's described to a tee by Orwell!  The socialist-leaning ones, and the ignorant ones who doesn't have a clue they're socialist-leaning!


 

Quote

 

The novel is set in the year 1984 when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation.

The novel is set in Great Britain ("Airstrip One"), a province of a superstate named Oceania. Oceania is ruled by the "Party" which via the "Thought Police", persecutes individualism and independent thinking, which are regarded as "thoughtcrimes".[4] Its leader is Big Brother, who enjoys an intense cult of personality but may not even exist.

 

Background

Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in Oceania, one of three inter-continental superstates that divided the world after a global war.

Britain fell to civil war, with street fighting in London, before the English Socialist Party, abbreviated as Ingsoc, emerged victorious and formed a totalitarian government in Britain. The British Commonwealth was absorbed by the United States to become Oceania. Eventually Ingsoc emerged to form a totalitarian government in the country.

 

The story of Winston Smith begins on 4 April 1984: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." Yet he is uncertain of the true date, given the regime's continual rewriting and manipulation of history.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

 

 

Its roots is socialism - like the climate of mentality we've got now!  We're getting there!

The defeat of Hillary Clinton (Democrats) by Trump,  had forestalled what would've been an accelerated machination towards 1984!  Canada should be thankful for that, since having a Trudeau (a doppelganger of Obama)......we would've seen the same acceleration in Canada! 

You could say that Trump had put a brake on that!  That's part of the larger picture why some Christians had put their support on Trump, btw.

 

 

Quote

 

The True Lessons of 1984

The novel is a warning against socialism that Democrats should heed.

Begin with a fact that virtually every recent piece on 1984 fails to mention: The governing philosophy of Oceania is “English Socialism.

 

https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/02/george-orwell-1984-trump-not/

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18 hours ago, eyeball said:

I don't care if its roots are Christianity. Stop making excuses.

 

Not making excuses.  Just corrected you about 1984 - just stating facts.

1984 is about socialism.

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