Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Sunday, October 14, 2007

  Trying to find a way to be fair

In the course of writing over 700 blog entries with well over 100,000 reads to date, only once has a reader acknowledged me changing his mind... so I am under no delusion that writing in my blog is going to change minds.

... but if I didn't vent, I'd explode, and - as an engineer - I like to find constructive solutions to the problems the mainstream media has in reporting fairly on the issues, so here goes.

Update: I found a site that did a simple, scientific analysis of the recent debate, counting the words each candidate was allowed to say. It's rather revealing, but I'll let the numbers speak for themselves.

Open letter to the mainstream media, particularly CNBC


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Comments:
Hi Mike. I got your email about your views on the Paul candidacy and the links to your articles here.

I've been following the campaign in detail since Urbanagora started up in the summer of last year. So far, I've had no real surprises. A lot of the Paul supporters are crying "conspiracy," but I think that it's just business as usual. The media just cannot understand that the people who have access to the 'Net's understructure are significantly different from the mundanes and disproportionally powerful.

What they don't get is that in the US communication has drastically altered the power structure. Paul is not going to win anything this election, even though he's the only Republican with a prayer of beating Hillary. Since he wants to reduce the power of Congress and the political parties in general, he presents a danger not only to the "bad guys" who want to line their own pockets but also to the idealists who see big government as the way to create their utopias. What I did find inexcusable was the other candidates laughing at Paul during the debates. That's going to come back and bite them if he goes third party.

You remember when I wrote The Fork in the Road? If he lives long enough, Paul will preside over the gradual breakup of the US, hopefully it will be peaceful.

I think that it would be in our culture's best interests if you, Spider, Fred Reed, Vox Day and the rest of the expats stayed well away from the country until we find out whether or not it's really going to become East Germany with plasma screens. You (and any descendents) are the last best hope for preserving the good of the last 300 years from this part of the continent.

In return, I'll keep fighting the good fight here. I was heartened this morning. It was like a scene from Atlas Shrugged on campus. Everywhere--on the sidewalks, walls of brick buildings, statues--was written in red chalk, "Who is Ron Paul?"

Always remember this:

Adventures are good.

Keep up the good work.

Tom
 
Hey Mike;

I was really only dimly aware of Ron Paul before you started talking him up. I was half-heartedly on the Obama bandwagon. More like quarter-hearted, or eight.

Obama to me was minimising damage. He is now in full-on self destruction. I don't care for the guy, but given the options, he was the only one.

Until I started following up your lead on Ron Paul.

Here is a real leader, with a real chance, and a rational vision based in hard reality.

He's my pick, and thusfar I've spread this to 5 other folks I can count, that's 5 other folks who have at the very least bought bumper stickers.

That's your work. So, don't be such a pessimist concering your impact.
 
Not to start a debate but the USA is more of a republic, not a democracy. The Wikipedia entry on "representative democracy" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_democracy) is pretty good. "Miracle at Philadelphia" by Catherine Drinker Bowen may also be informative but not specifically on the issue of definitions.
 
Arggh.

The Soviet Union was a republic, not a democracy. The People's Republic of China is a republic, not a democracy. North Korea is a republic, not a democracy.

The United States of America is a republic *and* a democracy. Please get it straight.

"Republic" refers to the form of government. Specifically, it refers to a government where decisionmaking power rests in a small group.

"Democracy" refers to the legitimacy of a government. Specifically, it refers to a government whose legitimacy is based on the ongoing consent of the citizens as expressed through free and open elections.

Every democracy in the history of the world has had a republican form.

Not every republic has been remotely democratic.

The idea that they two concepts are opposites, and that catchphrase that America is a "republic, not a democracy", appears to have originated during an attempted coup d'etat in the 1930s and then was popularized by the John Birchers, the Ku Klux Klan, and other right-wing extremists later in the 20th century. The whole point of it was to kill off democracy by taking away voting rights from "inferior" people. The fact that the Libertarian party has appropriated this ugly bit of rhetoric is just one of the many reasons I find the capital-L libertarian party revolting.
 
Evan, I'm still trying to figure out what the hell you're talking about, with all due respect.

North Korea calls itself a republic, but it's a dictatorship, plain and simple. Both the Soviet Union and mainland China were single-party oligarchies.

Republic, by definition, is a government made up of a group of smaller government entities. The standard usage of the term also implies that there is a sizable degree of consent by those who are governed. It has absolutely nothing to do with the size of government or number of people in the ruling class. The United States had a very, very small group of people governing it in 1800. The fact that there are a larger number of people in its government now than then does not make it any less a republic. A lot of the confusion comes from the Soviets' use of the term to mean a coalition of semi-independent states. (As in Union of Soviet Socialist Republics--since there was no consent of the governed, there could be no republics in the true sense. Their use of the term degenerates into Orwellian truth=lies type crap.)

Democracy implies that a sizable percentage of citizens of a state are called upon to vote on varying issues. There can be a direct democracy in which they vote on every issue. There can be a representative democracy like ourselves and much of the English-speaking world where voters elect individuals to ponder laws for us. A limited democracy is also possible in which, for example, only property owners or military veterans have the vote (the latter fictionalized in Heinlein's Starship Troopers, for example.)

Currently, the US is a representative democracy that is also a republic.

Tom
 
North Korea is in fact a republic in form, with nominal decision-making power resting in the Supreme People's Assembly, though in actual practice the Eternal President has all the real power.

The Soviet Union didn't use the word "republic" to mean "confederation", it meant every state within its confederation was a republic. And the USSR itself was a republic, with nominal power in the hands of the Supreme Soviet. That didn't make it pleasant for the people who lived there at the time; it was not a democracy.

The United States is a democracy which, like all other democracies throughout hsitory, has a republican form of government. It's a floor-wax and a dessert topping. But anyone who tells you that the US is, or should be, a "republic, not a democracy" has been taken in by an extremist right-wing propaganda meme.
 
This is an excellent post, full of excellent ideas. I'll be tracking back to you from my own blog.
 
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