North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Democracy is Democracy

Democracy is Democracy

Santiago V.
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 131
I have been thinking about the nature of a running of a capitalist government, and have something that I think will lead to interesting discussion.

Is democracy of any type needed in a capitalist system?

Before I go forward, let me posit some qualifications, so that we all know exactly what we're talking about.

1. We are talking about a capitalist government that has been instated constitutionally via a vote.

2. The government is one of vigorous checks and balances between branches of government.

3. The government is unable to regulate any action except for defining and punishing the initiation of force.

4. The legislature's power is severely curtailed as compared to today's legislature. They can't instate taxes, regulate industry or do anything except clarify just what constitutes a use of force in order to eliminate ambiguous cases.

Now that the role of the legislature has been curtailed to the above specifications, there is a question to be asked: Is it necessary to have the legislature consist of elected representatives?

We do not elect judges or generals (or shouldn't.) The reason we don't/shouldn't is because these are qualified professionals, who are objectively chosen based on those, not on the basis of popularity. Popularity does not guarantee a wise judge or skilled general, nor are The People qualified to judge who is best at these positions.

In today's system, it is obvious that the legislature must be elected by vote. The reason is that the legislature's current purpose is to represent your interests. There is only one person qualified to judge who will best represent your interests: you. So it is both practically necessary, as a check on the power of the legislature (which is immense,) and morally necessary, as the only method by which the interest of any segment of the population can be represented accurately.

However, in this theoretical system, this is not so. The legislature no more represents "your" interests specifically than a judge or general does. They are, instead of "representatives of the people," qualified legal professionals who's job will be to determine the proper clarification of the law and introduction of new laws only when new situations arise requiring a somewhat new application of the principles and laws already set down in the constitution and system of laws.

So my position is that in such a system, voting in the legislature would not only be unneccesary, but it would be as big a folly as demanding the election of supreme court justices or generals of the army. Without the power to materially regulate or harm you, or "represent your interests" in a dog-eat-dog legislative/regulatory orgy, they become legal clerks.
Taryn
TarynCC
Lubbock, TX
Post #: 27
This is, in fact, a question that my husband and I have talked about quite a bit after I finished reading Atlas again this summer. I can't recall which character in which book (Fountainhead or Atlas) says that they have never voted for anything in their life. I agree that the "people" are not qualified to elect these officials, and I know that because I am not qualified to do it. Perhaps I could be if I did enough research, but I have not done so and therefore I don't have enough information to make an objective decision.

My question, though, Santiago, is if we do not have elected officials, who would hire these people for their positions? This is always the hurdle Dustin and I would come to and we have, as of yet, been unable to get past it. I am very interested to know what you, and others, think about it.

-Taryn
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 172
I think elections have 2 purposes. The first is that citizens of a free nation surrender a very, very important power to the government and have a need to have some sort of say-so with regards to who wields that power for them. Second, election is the people's only civil means of removing those from power that should not be there, who have become corrupted and abusive. Without election, the people's only resort is armed insurrection. The original constitution had a beautiful system set up to handle this, it's a shame it's been perverted.

- Travis
Santiago V.
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 133
I think elections have 2 purposes. The first is that citizens of a free nation surrender a very, very important power to the government and have a need to have some sort of say-so with regards to who wields that power for them.

How, precisely, do they have a say-so in the proposed system, if they elect the legislators, Travis? The role of the legislators is very, very limited.

Second, election is the people's only civil means of removing those from power that should not be there, who have become corrupted and abusive. Without election, the people's only resort is armed insurrection. The original constitution had a beautiful system set up to handle this, it's a shame it's been perverted.

- Travis

There are also internal checks and anti-corruption departments that routinely handle this in nonelected segments of the government. I would say many of these departments have a better record at deposing corrupt officials than the recent record of voters would.

So, again, why would voting be necessary?

Taryn, I will respond at length to you in the morning, if I have time after my run.

Edit: Nevermind, I have some time.

My question, though, Santiago, is if we do not have elected officials, who would hire these people for their positions? This is always the hurdle Dustin and I would come to and we have, as of yet, been unable to get past it. I am very interested to know what you, and others, think about it.

This is actually very simple. Other than to begin with (which would require that they be appointed by the officials who presented the constitution to the country in the first place and whoever he/they choose to advise them and screen candidates for them,) the legislators themselves would choose replacements, in some form of committee for hiring whenever a vacancy opens up.

Before you protest this, consider; the legislature will be made up of a certain kind of man to begin with, and they will all be qualified professionals (lawyers and people with degrees in the philosophy of law) to begin with. So I think they would be best for choosing who would replace them.

Of course, people have free will, so an internal system to check against someone (or a number of people) going commie and deciding to make nuisances of themselves would have to be in place as well. I will go over my solution to that problem at a later date. I have been giving lots of thought recently on the proper form for a capitalistic government and will be posting a rough outline of how the system will work when I have hammered out a few quibbles I've been thinking on.

Cheers.
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 173
How, precisely, do they have a say-so in the proposed system, if they elect the legislators, Travis? The role of the legislators is very, very limited.
The people elect the lower house in the government, this is supposed to be the most direct representation the people have in the national government, the house proposes the laws for the people. If the representatives in the house propose laws that go against the desires of the people, they don't get re-elected, there is no other means available to the people to remove them from office. The upper house that must decide if the proposed laws are worthy are supposed to be two places removed from the people. The people elect their state representatives who then elect the upper house members who control the purse strings. The removal of these representatives is a slightly harder process. This gives the people limited representation so that the purse strings of the government are not tied directly to the people, but this safe-gaurd was shattered. That handles the legislature.

For the executive, the people elect electors from their district to vote in their place for president, leaving the executive branch displaced twice again but still reliant on the vote of the people. This system has been perverted too from it's original purpose by the rise of the two party system.

Finally for the judicial you can't just vote and let Joe Blow decide how to interpret the constitution so we have a process where-by the other two branches decide on judges who have the qualifications needed. They are appointed, yes, but the people that appoint them have their position due to the election process. The bottom line of our government is the people. All three branches of government are stocked with people that are at their roots, elected into office.

Our government in the beginning was a brilliant example of how to have an elected government that derived it's power from the individuals that made up the citizenry and avoided the tyranny of the majority rule.

There are also internal checks and anti-corruption departments that routinely handle this in nonelected segments of the government. I would say many of these departments have a better record at deposing corrupt officials than the recent record of voters would.

So, again, why would voting be necessary?
There are systems put into place to handle lawmakers that break the law, but not for passing immoral law. All the legislature would have to do is decide to pass a law to make something previously unethical legal, and wallah, there's no means of kicking them out.

This is actually very simple. Other than to begin with (which would require that they be appointed by the officials who presented the constitution to the country in the first place and whoever he/they choose to advise them and screen candidates for them,) the legislators themselves would choose replacements, in some form of committee for hiring whenever a vacancy opens up.
Two thoughts, nepatism(sp) and the highest buyer for that post wins. The idea is, if the people in power do not answer in some form to the people, they will never protect or represent the people. This is exactly what we had a war with Britain for.

- Travis
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 263
I know there was a Saturday morning cartoon song for this on ABC years back...I think they played it after "I'm just a bill, on capitol Hill" but I cannot remember which one it was....
maybe it will come to me and I can find a link. It seems much more rational in song and color.
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 174
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 175
I agree that the "people" are not qualified to elect these officials, and I know that because I am not qualified to do it. Perhaps I could be if I did enough research, but I have not done so and therefore I don't have enough information to make an objective decision.


The original purpose of the electoral college was to elect people you knew in your district personally that you could know what their value system was and who were aware of the issues at hand and had a working knowledge of the people running for President. They would then decide for your district, so you didn't have to do all the minutea of tracking down every position the presidential candidates had. The House of Representatives and state governments were the same idea, you would know the people in your district personally so you knew who you were electing. There really isn't supposed to be that much research involved.

The people know what their needs are, and they are supposed to vote in their best interest. Everyone is qualified to vote. Our problem today is that the people voting in their best interest are the special interest groups and the normal "people" have voter apathy and don't vote because of the common misconception that they have no power in the government. The main reason MADD could sway the drinking age and blood alcohol levels in the country is because they can deliver votes. That's power. If you can't tell, this is a topic that gets me going.

- Travis
Santiago V.
sanjavalen
Dallas, TX
Post #: 135
Again, Travis, you are talking about the current system. In the proposed system there would be a far more clear, rigorous constitution that would prevent the passage of immoral law, along with safeguards within the legislature itself to prevent loose cannons from either spreading or passing a bill that is immoral very easily.

Regards.
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 176
Again, Travis, you are talking about the current system. In the proposed system there would be a far more clear, rigorous constitution that would prevent the passage of immoral law, along with safeguards within the legislature itself to prevent loose cannons from either spreading or passing a bill that is immoral very easily.

Regards.

I missed you're "proposed" in your question, I was answering only for our current.

How do you write such a constitution? At this point in time, there is no way you possibly could, and I doubt you ever will be able to. I view Objectivism as our greatest hope and there is a huge split on whether TOC's view of what is moral is more right than ARI's view of morality as it stands. Who do you choose to determine your morality built into your constitution? Also, the proper role of government forbids it from determining morality, it can only enforce objective laws. Only men can decide what is moral/immoral, a document can not.

What safegaurds could you put into place to make sure that the legislaters behave themselves? What would stop them or who ever over sees them from changing those safegaurds?

- Travis
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