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Fei Ayanami
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:54 pm    Post subject: icon_warning 2G18 - 31: Political parties Reply with quote Back to top

Basic question: would we be better off without political parties in our democracies? In a sense, every single politician running as an independent? Or can you think of really compelling reasons for maintaining them? As far as I know, they exist in every democratic government.

Discuss.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:53 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

Such a hot Hot Topic I have started.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:17 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

Answer: Yes. The political parties are effectively large special interest groups. They do not reperesent the interests of the majority of their members other than by the bare minimum of negation of the alternative. It's difficult to prevent them from coming into existence though.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:26 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

You could... make them illegal?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:00 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

It would be difficult to differentiate between political parties and any kind of organizing in the pursuit of shared goals. If you get rid of the latter you effectively get rid of democracy altogether. One thing you could do though is to make it illegal to run elections according to political party. So the parties can exist but they don't govern the way elections are run. No R's and D's on ballots. No party based primaries determining who appears on the ballot. Basically let them exist but neuter them.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:02 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

Yeah that does seem better than nothing. Shall we begin implementing these changes?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:40 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

There'd be a hell of a lot of independent politicians if there weren't parties. The thousands of slight variations on the same views and policies would probably confuse most people too.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:18 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

I think we should just emulate chairman mao and have one giant party! 🎉 🎈 🎊
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:27 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

Even without parties, a lot of people would create largely meaningless distinctions to avoid having to exert a lot of brain power being informed on policy and candidate positions. Identity politics will still exist without official groups because we're still dumb apes that have barely gotten the hang of sapience and are still trying to decide whether to ask for a receipt for evolution's relatively new gift of abstract thought. Hell, we even have unofficial distinctions within and outside of parties (In the US, see RINOs, blue dog democrats, Ross Perot, Bernie Sanders, John McCain, etc.)

That being said, they still need to die because they're a huge waste of money and the strong organizational ties, pledges of party loyalty, etc. make unenlightened self-interest and corruption an endemic certainty rather than an ever-present danger.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:21 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

To be honest, I think representative government is kind of shit anyway. Think about how long it takes representative bodies to do anything and then tell me we can't do this shit by direct democracy.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:03 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

I was thinking something similar recently. Representative government does seem kind of shit. However, I think the age-old question is “what would actually work better?” You know... in detail.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:16 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

Direct democracy seems like it'd be prone to oppressive majority rule.

I wonder how federal civil rights legislation would have shaped out under direct democracy 50 years ago.

Not that it would be all bad, but there's a lot of low information voters that could swing the outcome based not primarily on weighing contemporary knowledge, evidence, and societal vs individual risk/benefit, but more on emotional appeals and inherent cognitive biases.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:41 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

While that’s hard to argue against, I’m not sure representative government is really a great barrier to the same basic problem?
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:58 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

Not a great barrier, not even a minimally sufficient one, but like a foot-tall privacy fence, it's a barrier.

If only there were a system of government that largely eliminated the problems of under-representation, bureaucratic delay, and uninformed, vote-eligible stakeholders.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:11 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

Mitsurugi CP wrote:
Direct democracy seems like it'd be prone to oppressive majority rule.

I wonder how federal civil rights legislation would have shaped out under direct democracy 50 years ago.

Not that it would be all bad, but there's a lot of low information voters that could swing the outcome based not primarily on weighing contemporary knowledge, evidence, and societal vs individual risk/benefit, but more on emotional appeals and inherent cognitive biases.


That's fair, but right now we have oppressive minority rule. When Congress goes against things that the majority of voters in both parties support (e.g. net neutrality), it shows the flaws of representative government.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:41 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

I wouldn't mind having the option to have national referendums during regular elections, that could be interesting for key issues.

Although we also just saw how that can go to crap with Brexit. Sad
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:00 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

You could argue that Brexit was driven by party politics, though?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:06 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

I don't see how you couldn't, but a purely representative democracy will still have identity politics factor prominently into voting decisions.

I should probably clarify that I'm not necessarily advocating for any particular form of government other than democracy, broadly speaking. As to which manifestation is probably best overall, I don't have a firm opinion because my assumptions about how an ideal government should operate are often confounded by my skepticism of human judgement and rationality.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:45 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

The best form of government would somehow overcome or cancel out human idiocy.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:28 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

Let's be real though. Representative democracy doesn't solve the idiot voter problem. We just deal with the idiots tjeyv oted for instead. At least direct democracy largely solves the corruption problem of representative democracy.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:47 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote Back to top

I started reading this “book” (really just an essay, it’s probably no longer than a long-read article on a news site):



So far it is well-articulated! You can download an epub of it here:

https://libcom.org/library/abolition-all-political-parties-simone-weil

Shall we book-club it in this thread?
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