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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyFri 27 Sep 2019, 08:29

"We must educate our masters": we must indeed - all of them, common or uncommon.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyFri 27 Sep 2019, 23:52

@Temperance wrote:
To put it briefly; it is now the custom to say that most modern blunders have been due to the Common Man.  And I should like to point out what appalling blunders have in fact been due to the Uncommon Man.  It is easy enough to argue that the mob makes mistakes; but as a fact it never has a chance even to make mistakes until its superiors have used their superiority to make much worse mistakes.  It is easy to weary of democracy and cry out for an intellectual aristocracy.  But the trouble is that every intellectual aristocracy seems to have been utterly unintellectual.  Anybody might guess beforehand that there would be blunders of the ignorant.  What nobody could have guessed, what nobody could have dreamed of in a nightmare, what no morbid mortal imagination could ever have dared to imagine, was the mistakes of the well-informed.  It is true, in a sense, to say that the mob has always been led by more educated men.  It is much more true, in every sense, to say that it has always been misled by educated men.  It is easy enough to say the cultured man should be the crowd’s guide, philosopher and friend.  Unfortunately, he has nearly always been a misguiding guide, a false friend and a very shallow philosopher.  And the actual catastrophes we have suffered, including those we are now suffering, have not in historical fact been due to the prosaic practical people who are supposed to know nothing, but almost invariably to the highly theoretical people who knew that they knew everything.  The world may learn by its mistakes; but they are mostly the mistakes of the learned.




Dear Temperance,

instead of making a coherent reply to your message of yesterday and today, I spoiled all my time with the gender of nouns "Dutch, French, German" and something about a "suffragetist"  Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed

I can only say to you: I hope to see you tomorrow again and hoping that you still want a conversation with me...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySat 28 Sep 2019, 23:15

Temperance,

I nearly daren't come under your eyes...

The main core of my reply would be about that the average Oxford boys and the common man have a lot in common from the dawn of our human civilisation. Seven thousand years or were it 60,000 years aren't that easely adapted in new mores. 
And I wanted to compare my personal experiences with what I see nowadays in the actual world. And asking perhaps about your experiences, wasn't it in the education branche...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySun 29 Sep 2019, 22:34

@Temperance wrote:
To put it briefly; it is now the custom to say that most modern blunders have been due to the Common Man.  And I should like to point out what appalling blunders have in fact been due to the Uncommon Man.  It is easy enough to argue that the mob makes mistakes; but as a fact it never has a chance even to make mistakes until its superiors have used their superiority to make much worse mistakes.  It is easy to weary of democracy and cry out for an intellectual aristocracy.  But the trouble is that every intellectual aristocracy seems to have been utterly unintellectual.  Anybody might guess beforehand that there would be blunders of the ignorant.  What nobody could have guessed, what nobody could have dreamed of in a nightmare, what no morbid mortal imagination could ever have dared to imagine, was the mistakes of the well-informed.  It is true, in a sense, to say that the mob has always been led by more educated men.  It is much more true, in every sense, to say that it has always been misled by educated men.  It is easy enough to say the cultured man should be the crowd’s guide, philosopher and friend.  Unfortunately, he has nearly always been a misguiding guide, a false friend and a very shallow philosopher.  And the actual catastrophes we have suffered, including those we are now suffering, have not in historical fact been due to the prosaic practical people who are supposed to know nothing, but almost invariably to the highly theoretical people who knew that they knew everything.  The world may learn by its mistakes; but they are mostly the mistakes of the learned.



 
Temperance,

I think here you come to the core of the democracy. As many in the past, and it were not only the Germans, have mentioned, that only an elite, who has the skills to lead a society, has to have the right to lead the whole population, but this elite can make misuse their prerogatives to guide the country in what "they" think is right. But they haven't the monopoly of wisdom in my opinion, because there are many kinds of intelligence and that as in educated ones as in the common plebs. Why would that otherwise, while we all come genetically from the same stock and anchestry.
I have during my career been in contact with many people, from PhDs to simple workmen along the conveyor.
And I have seen, even with PhD, that they can only be interested in their particular field of research and I was not even sure if their intellect aplied in other fields as human studies would be as bright as in their own field. From the other side I met people, who had only been educated till their 18 and had more social and behaviour skills and intellectual insight in national and international politics and democratic leadership than the high brow educated ones.

Why then not a meritocracy in the democracy you will ask. Perhaps yes, if it is recognized by a majority of the electorate. But even in such an ideal case, which is nearly an utopia, it will still be necessary to have the checks and balances from the democratic community to guard that those chosen by merit don't misuse their given might for personal gain or whatever means as gaining more power...

That said Temperance, I think that these highly intellectual Oxford boys aren't that stupid...I think all their stupidities are only for the show (Dutch: voor de show, voor het oog van de mensen (for the eye of the people) om de mensen zand in de ogen te strooien(to get the wool pulled over their eyes?).

I suppose, and I hope I am right, that Boris will come on 14 October with a solution that both England and the EU please.

Kind regards from Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 30 Sep 2019, 10:39

Paul, Temp's post was a rather long uncredited quote from GK Chesterton who, in his essays, frequently harked back to his notion of the "Uncommon Man" as the root of much of society's ills and the "Common Man" being its perpetually under-acknowledged saviour. It was all rather tongue-in-cheek, but since he eventually managed to lump just about everyone who stuck his or her head over the proverbial parapet philosophically, theologically, ideologically, or in fact within any 'ology you can think of with the derogatory "uncommon" label, and still insisted that all proper intelligence and sense rested with the residue of humanity, it did prompt his good (though diametrically opposed in debate) friend George Bernard Shaw to make the rather obvious observation that "Chesterton's 'common' man seems to be the rarest of human specimens indeed".

As a basis of political philosophy, or even sensible political commentary, Chesterton's essays were never taken seriously, even when written. Though they are indeed highly entertaining, and often very provocative in a cerebral sense, so I would highly recommend reading them.

Temp had also followed up with a quote (rather out of context) from another fascinating public figure, Robert Lowe - the albino Chancellor of the Exchequer who made so many 180 degree political turns in his career that he was referred to by opponents (back when MPs had something of a sense of humour) as "the top". His writings are also worth a perusal though - when he did some of these infamous u-turns he often ended up being a much more active and vigorous champion of the new cause as he had been opponent of the old - the right to education being one of these and to which Temp's deleted quote applied.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 30 Sep 2019, 23:45

nordmann and Temperance,

nordmann,

thank you very much for the explanation and I had no idea that it was about Chesterton. I even made a thread on this forum about him and yes as about the -isms it is all as you said. He says it all and the contrary. But I came to him because I have the book of Father Brown. And when I was last in the clinic with the partner they were playing on the television in the waiting room...see: father Brown. First time I saw an episode.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2215842/episodes

Temperance, thanks to nordmann I see now that you were only alluding to the British "European" people (and perhaps not to all of them) and aren't rather understood by the European continental ones.
But nevertheless I am glad that I answered to all what I meant to understand from your message. It's like a painting: each one read something others in the painting.

PS. Temperance, where are you?  I need you, the same as nordmann, to be able to react to the rather high brow and by that elevating my level to a bit more high brow...
PPS. I wanted to start a thread, but it is as if I made already such a thread overhere. I first reacted and searched on this theme by a question from Tasneem Khan on the BBC now some 16 years ago:
Are the "great" people sparked by the sudden changes of the history (when the time is ripe) or are they raised by their own merit using the present circumstances?
PPPS. I wanted also to start a thread this evening about the purpose of the prehistoric circles and did already some research, but again quarter to one in the morning overhere...have to go to bed...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyWed 02 Oct 2019, 22:40

I saw this morning a documentary about "propaganda" as a way from the authoritarian state to try to bring people under their control by way of artistic and working on emotion picturing, which sets the thinking in slow motion and bring the people in a kind of trance, where they become followers without knowing it.
The religion, Nazi propaganda, communism and North Korea were mentioned in the documentary. A kind of modern advetrisement methods?
I have it in French for me and MM and in German for Nielsen, Dirk and me.
https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/075835-000-A/propagande-l-art-de-vendre-des-mensonges/
Click on "Deutsch" to have it in German.
But it is an English language Canadian production:

And if you want to subscribe and I suppose "pay", you can watch the film in English:
http://pbsinternational.org/programs/propaganda-the-art-of-selling-lies/
And an interview with Larry Weinberg that I didn't watch fully as I have no time, but for those interested:



I have some comments and critiques on the documentary but that will be for tomorrow...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyThu 03 Oct 2019, 22:56

I haven't fully seen the documentary yet today, only some further piece at noon and now I have seen that I will have to alter perhaps my comments. So it is postponed again till tomorrow. I hope that in the meantime MM has seen it if he is interested and perhaps Nielsen and Dirk in German if they too are interested?

Kind regards from Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyFri 04 Oct 2019, 23:26

I have seen now the whole documentary and have prepared some comments, but again it is here already over midnight.
Perhaps this to start with: propaganda is a "real art" (in the sense of every field of artistic work) to persuade the people and let "believe" them in what you propose.
Kind regards, Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySat 05 Oct 2019, 10:10

I can't find it on YouTube but I remember seeing a terrible Nazi propaganda film on a programme on the BBC many years ago (I can't remember the name of the programme unfortunately).  It was awful - comparing Jewish people to rats.  My describing it can't point out how horrific it was but sadly I can't find a clip of it as I say.

Could the Popeye films be described as a type of propaganda or would that be too strong a word?  There's nothing wrong (to me at least) in trying to encourage children to eat their spinach..."I'm strong to the finish 'cause I eats me spinach" sings Popeye.  For a long time I thought the burly man who Popeye routinely had to rescue Olive Oyl from was called Bluetoe when in fact he was called Brutus.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySat 05 Oct 2019, 11:17

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I can't find it on YouTube but I remember seeing a terrible Nazi propaganda film on a programme on the BBC many years ago (I can't remember the name of the programme unfortunately).  It was awful - comparing Jewish people to rats.  My describing it can't point out how horrific it was but sadly I can't find a clip of it as I say.

Could the Popeye films be described as a type of propaganda or would that be too strong a word?  There's nothing wrong (to me at least) in trying to encourage children to eat their spinach..."I'm strong to the finish 'cause I eats me spinach" sings Popeye.  For a long time I thought the burly man who Popeye routinely had to rescue Olive Oyl from was called Bluetoe when in fact he was called Brutus.

Lady,

the documentary that I mentioned is on the Arte site in French and German, and perhaps not accessible in the UK, I am even not sure if Nielsen will be able to look at it in Denmark. We have the same problem with the BBC. I suppose as MM's computer is located in France, he will be able to watch.
You can always watch the two interviews with the Canadian author, if you are interested. I haven't found the time till now.

Kind regards from Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySat 05 Oct 2019, 12:40

Paul, I followed the Arte link and did indeed get the message "Cette video n'est pas disponible dans votre pays".* These days for entertainment - or information - I quite like the radio or podcasts (one can listen to them while doing household chores - folding clothes or doing the ironing - though mentioning jobs about the house may imply I am more conscientious about such tasks than I am in reality).  I've been listening to a series of podcasts about propaganda though they are in reference to something which may not interest the board.  They refer to how some documentaries about "true crime" distort facts sometimes and don't always give the full story.

* Originally when I tried to type the French sentence autocorrect gave "nest pas disposable dans voter pays"!
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySat 05 Oct 2019, 17:44

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
Paul, I followed the Arte link and did indeed get the message "Cette video n'est pas disponible dans votre pays".* These days for entertainment - or information - I quite like the radio or podcasts (one can listen to them while doing household chores - folding clothes or doing the ironing - though mentioning jobs about the house may imply I am more conscientious about such tasks than I am in reality).  I've been listening to a series of podcasts about propaganda though they are in reference to something which may not interest the board.  They refer to how some documentaries about "true crime" distort facts sometimes and don't always give the full story.

* Originally when I tried to type the French sentence autocorrect gave "nest pas disposable dans voter pays"!
Lady,

i don't do "autocorrect". Up to now I do it all myself, hence I suppose some odd sentences for English speaking ones. But the advantage is that I many times with typing my odd expression in the mighty google I find my own message again. Second advantage in my humble opinion is that  by trying to write the correct foreign language, one learns at the end to write correct in that language. Even with the spoken or the written translation as by google for instance from English to French, I have seen that it is many times without sense. One Frenchman on Passion Histoire said once to me, it is easy for you with auto translate and he let google translate the paragraph. I proved then to him that the French translation of the English text was the complete opposite of the English one. At the end nobody will be able to speak a foreign language and one will have to speak perhaps to each other with a robot. I am not sure that that will be good for the brain and for the social human contact...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySun 06 Oct 2019, 00:05

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I can't find it on YouTube but I remember seeing a terrible Nazi propaganda film on a programme on the BBC many years ago (I can't remember the name of the programme unfortunately).  It was awful - comparing Jewish people to rats.  My describing it can't point out how horrific it was but sadly I can't find a clip of it as I say.

Could the Popeye films be described as a type of propaganda or would that be too strong a word?  There's nothing wrong (to me at least) in trying to encourage children to eat their spinach..."I'm strong to the finish 'cause I eats me spinach" sings Popeye.  For a long time I thought the burly man who Popeye routinely had to rescue Olive Oyl from was called Bluetoe when in fact he was called Brutus.

Lady,

I have first watched the interview with Larry Weinstein, that I mentioned before. I found it first a bit boring, but increasingly more interesting at the end. It is perhaps worth to watch it and it is with English subtitles, which was good for me, as they were so fast speaking. As I see it, it is perhaps a must to watch the documentary: "Propaganda" as it is perhaps an eye opener and warning for all of us. And in my opinion worth to pay to download it in the original English language version. The interview again:





"It was awful - comparing Jewish people to rats.  My describing it can't point out how horrific it was but sadly I can't find a clip of it as I say."


LiR it is as you say, one can't find the clip on Google (with all kind of word combinations and even putting them between quotation marks...
It is from the film "Der Ewige Jude"
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/der-ewige-jude
But although I saw the footage tens of times in documentaries during my life, I couldn't find it in Google. Is it perhaps forbidden to show this footage nowadays?
And even in analyzing the film in this youtube from an American professor that I watched three times to be sure that it wasn't in it...
At the end one would get berserk, when one is sure and don't find it...

http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/holoprelude/derewigejude.html
"In one famous scene, swarms of rats scurry through cellars and sewers, the shots are intercut with images of Jews emigrating from Palestine to to all corners of the world. The overlaid text conveyed the message:"


http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/04/immigration-and-eliminationism.html

"included a powerful montage sequence in which Jews were compared to rats. In the words of the commentary, 'rats ... have followed men like parasites from the very beginning … They are cunning, cowardly and fierce, and usually appear in large packs. In the animal world they represent the element of subterranean destruction.' Having noted that rats spread disease and destruction, the commentary suggested that they occupied a position 'not dissimilar to the place that Jews have among men'. At this point in the film, footage of rats squirming through sewers is followed first by the image of a rat crawling up through a drain-cover into the street and then by shots of Jewish people crowded together in ghettos"


And as I wanted to say that my mother and grandmother saw it in our small city near Ghent during WWII in Dutch version and found it propaganda and a bit disgusting. BTW: In Germany the film was also seen as disgusting, especially by the women. Goebbels saw that too and made then the more convincing propagandistic film: Jud Süss
https://www.moviemeter.nl/film/20179

I all saw that many times in documentaries.

And lucky as I am: I sought for the Dutch film "De eeuwige jood"
and there is the "rat footage" from 2:15 on



LiR as it is now one o'clock in the morning I will my comments on your second paragraph postpone to later this day...

Kind regards from Paul.
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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySun 06 Oct 2019, 18:54

What actually is propaganda?

Propaganda is the spreading of information in support of a cause. ... The word propaganda is often used in a negative sense, especially for politicians who make false claims to get elected or spread rumors to get their way.
In fact, any campaign that is used to persuade can be called propaganda.


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



Dirk
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySun 06 Oct 2019, 20:48

Thanks for the link to the film with the rats in it, Paul, although it is a disgusting film.

Dirk, I suppose propaganda is what the people we now call "spin doctors" do.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySun 06 Oct 2019, 23:19

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
Could the Popeye films be described as a type of propaganda or would that be too strong a word?  There's nothing wrong (to me at least) in trying to encourage children to eat their spinach..."I'm strong to the finish 'cause I eats me spinach" sings Popeye.  For a long time I thought the burly man who Popeye routinely had to rescue Olive Oyl from was called Bluetoe when in fact he was called Brutus.
 
"Propaganda is the spreading of information in support of a cause. ... The word propaganda is often used in a negative sense, especially for politicians who make false claims to get elected or spread rumors to get their way.
In fact, any campaign that is used to persuade can be called propaganda."
 
Lady and Dirk,

"Could the Popeye films be described as a type of propaganda"

in my opinion yes, as it as an advertisement, as Dirk says: it is spreading of information for a cause. And as the author of the documentary says, good propaganda and in fact in my opinion also good advertisement is an art. And how better the artist, how better the cause is supported.
In the documentary the case of Jim Fitzpatrick is mentioned and he is interviewed.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Fitzpatrick_(artist)
Perhaps the Che Chevara was one lucky strike, but if it is picked up by the grand public...
But it is propaganda for a cause.

Is there a good propaganda and bad one? I guess people will say, it depends of the cause. (I use "bad" as I recall from our discussion in Priscilla's thread:
https://reshistorica.forumotion.com/t874-religions-the-benefits that "evil" in English is better to avoid as connotation)
 
In the documentary the author speaks about the two antagonist pieces of art:
Der Triumph des Willens from Leni Riefenstahl
https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/leni-riefenstahl-der-triumph-des-willens-triumph-of-the-will-1936/
and
The Great Dictator of Charlie Chaplin.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=culm_r_oAdc
I have seen both.
In the documentary the author interviews the 104 years old Norman Lloyd
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Lloyd
And Norman talks about Chaplin, his former tennis mate, and about the time of the making of the great dictator and the thinking of Chaplin about it.

It were obviously both great pieces of art made by two great artists and so they are both working on the emotion to bring people that far that they will act for the purposed cause. They were both each in their part of the world very influencing. And emotion in the human seems to be a stronger motivation to act than the sober cold reasoning. And perhaps the best artists can cause the greatest emotion.

There is also in the documentary an interview with a survivor journalist from Charlie Hebdo and on a certain moment he says something like "belief" or "faith?) (if I recall it well, I have to check again) as it is individual, is something other than "religion" which is an institution and as such can be bring people to ecstacy, but at the same time incite to the greatest atrocities.
And then a former interview came to mind with a clergyman, who spoke about the propaganda of the medieval cathedral, the work of that many artists to support a cause. When one enters and have the smells, the music the songs and all that it becomes a thrilling emotion that push people to the church. And he added:  a decent cause as to say not the horrendous cause as of the Nazi regime...But each individual has perhaps to work out, what along his views is good and bad?

And I suppose as with advertisements, how artistic and cleverly influencing they may are, propaganda are mostly using lies to sell their message.
And it is up to each individual to recognize, when he is manipulated and to what degree. In that one is helped by free media that are able to criticize the existing "powers" and by discussion between the several media bring the reality in view. It is perhaps therefore that in all authoritarian regimes, the free media are the first victim. But looking around me I am a bit depressed about individuals around me, who recognize, when they are manipulated or not. Perhaps you and me, Dirk and some others Wink. And yes "scepticism" asks for an effort, it is much easier to let you flow with the current.
And the investigating independent journalists are the spear heads of or democratic society. In the documentary one journalist was already investigating during two or three years on a "case" and perhaps that he this year could come out with his research, because one has to be pretty sure that one stays right in the shoes, as the mighty opponents, who have power, even in a democracy can destroy you.

Kind regards from Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 07 Oct 2019, 08:24

As Dirk implied, I'm not sure either that discussion of propaganda necessarily informs any meaningful debate regarding the comparative features of democracy and dictatorship (a distinction that in any case historically is not as cut and dried as modern views tend to have it - views which incidentally could also have been said to have been encouraged through democratic propaganda in the very strict meaning of the word).

When you introduce the notion of dishonesty within propaganda then I suppose you could make an argument that dictatorships tend towards its employment more than other political systems, but to me the art of political persuasion is a dark one. After all, which is ultimately more dishonest anyway - outright and obvious manipulation of the facts to present a false interpretation for public consumption that enhances a particular regime's prospects for political survival, or insidious and consistent slight alterations in presentation over a very long period by successive regimes in order to mould acquiescence to a general political ideology?

Since I suspect "democracy versus dictatorship" to be ultimately a false dichotomy anyway when both are actually subject to so many variations of definition that they veer towards the status of aspirational ideals pursued by particular regimes in particular circumstances and at different times in different ways, then I also have to add a caveat regarding "the freedom of the press" and the contribution its members make to maintaining any such aspiration alive. The "real politik" view, one that I have found is traditionally shared by the most honest and effective journalists, has always included a recognition that no matter which political system pertains there is an unavoidable element of incorporation of the press (fast becoming an outdated collective term anyway and which these days might be better classified as information dissemination through independent actors) into the very same network of ownership and chains of authority that exists in every single society people have ever devised. Contrary to what democratic propaganda may imply there are very few societies in which the majority of the people do not place a value on discerning the truth when it comes to dissemination of information, and in fact it is this very tendency - innate to humans regardless of how and where they have been organised into political communities - which leaves people open to suggestion anyway and is the very tendency therefore upon which propaganda depends in order to have any effect or purpose whatsoever.

So far in the discussion above I have seen no valid point made based upon establishing a distinction between dictatorship and democracy that itself does not depend for making sense totally upon citing a particular moment in history when such juxtaposition and comparison was publicly encouraged and made sense in a particular context. For example, quite apart from its obvious role as cinematic propaganda (whether an acceptable or unacceptable variety of the genre), Chaplin's "Great Dictator" film has no worth - as information or art - unless the viewer starts with the simplistic sentiment "Hitler Bad - US Democracy Good" that its creator also shared. This is not a criticism of that sentiment, in fact as simplistic sentiments go it makes a lot of sense and made even more sense in the 1930s, but simply a reminder from me that acknowledgement of its artistic merit, its power of prophecy, or even its contribution to a general public sentiment required later to prosecute a war against Hitler's regime (ie. propaganda purpose), does not advance one iota an understanding of what dictatorship actually means or for that matter what democracy means either. In fact by juxtaposing them the meaning of both was diminished and much harder for the audience of the day to deduce, definitely not enhanced in any way at least that encouraged thorough analysis or research.

Such simplistic acceptance of an exaggerated dichotomy therefore could be said to be the product of propaganda itself, and if one abhors propaganda as a dishonest practice I think one should be careful therefore before encouraging further repetition of such a stated dichotomy anyway.

A more nuanced, but probably more useful, dichotomy to propose for discussion might have been "tyranny versus political systems with less arbitrary purpose". While many might think that this equates pretty much with "dictatorship versus democracy" it doesn't take much historical analysis (or looking around oneself today) to see that this dichotomy at least introduces the possibility of examining how and why some so-called democracies accommodate tyranny over elements of the communities they "serve", whereas some quite dictatorial systems contain concepts and realisations of "greater good" that translate into material benefit for people that many democracies fail most ineptly to emulate.

PS: My sister baby-sat the Fitzpatricks' sprog once back in the day. Thanks to this brief professional engagement I am now the proud owner of two of Jim's cartoon preparations for one of his "Celtic" themed portfolios (he paid her with these as the family hadn't two pennies to rub together at the time, though this penury was only revealed to a less than impressed babysitter upon their return from their evening out). I have always liked his stuff - it's what one would have got if Frazetta, Schoenherr and company had enlisted as monks in Kells in the 12th century.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 07 Oct 2019, 09:36

I thought a little discussion about propaganda might be pertinent, nordmann.  In the UK - and most of Europe these days - the party that gets into power in Parliament is the one that persuades the most of the electorate to vote for it in a particular election.

I think there was some discussion on the "village idiot" thread at the time of the Brexit vote result about the (Greek?) idea of government by an intelligentsia.  I know that's over-implying things greatly.  The right of "everyman" (everyhuman?) to vote was hard won, (thinking of occasions such as the Battle of Peterloo) especially for the female of the species, and it is a right I value.

Some of us are lay people with an interest in history rather than trained historians, certainly not trained philosophers.  Looking at the title of the thread, I guess one could say one likes (or prefers) democracy because of xyz and dislikes dictatorship because of abc.  That said, I can remember the history teacher at school telling us to look carefully at examination questions and ensure we answered them correctly and on point.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 07 Oct 2019, 10:35

Lady in retirement,

 propaganda is an issue most people can deal with but the  present danger is "Fake News" ( a favourite term of Donald Trump ).

So great is the danger, that the “Doomsday Clock”, which symbolises the threat of global annihilation, remains at two minutes to midnight thanks to the rise of fake news and information warfare, its keepers have said.


Dirk
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 07 Oct 2019, 10:48

LiR wrote:
I thought a little discussion about propaganda might be pertinent, nordmann

It is as pertinent to the thread's stated discussion theme as is the rather laboured dichotomy also presented in the title, though of course not pertinent to the actual nature of either "democracy" or "dictatorship", so it is therefore not surprising that it cropped up here. I had meant to direct my remark specifically to Paul, as he introduced the even more misleading notion of which system's propaganda may or may not be more dishonest than the other. Once one falls down that rabbit hole then discussion of the nature of dictatorship or democracy is moot, especially if one is trying to draw a meaningful comparison between them.

Government by intelligentsia, which is more germane to the stated dichotomy in my view than any side-track debate about propaganda, is an interesting alternative to what others might term "meritocracy". Both notions are very closely related, but one inspires positive thoughts regarding faith in those who govern whereas the other invites some rather negative and critical opinion of the right to power on the basis of intellect alone. However, whether positively or negatively phrased, it is interesting that traditional dictatorships as well as traditional democracies both claim to have a system whereby the best and most suited to power wield it, and that in each case this is automatically an indication of the intelligence and merit of those in that position.

As far as I recall there was no Greek political philosophy that actively advocated rule solely by an "intelligentsia", though it was certainly discussed by Plato at length whether such a class could ever be properly identified anyway, and given the subjectivity involved in classifying them by what means they could then be held accountable for their rule (an important aspect to his nominal Republic in which the potential tyranny of a ruler was less important ultimately than his ultimate accountability to both his contemporary society and to posterity). Merit, in other words, had to extend beyond simple intelligence and include some rather more base human qualities before it made political sense. And this also therefore does not support a distinction between dictatorship and democracy - the principle applies in both.

As I said - the problem is with the false dichotomy in the thread title in that it incorrectly infers so much about contrasting characteristic political values between each stated system that it actually deflects from an examination of the real dichotomy that history has tended to illustrate as a much more meaningful way of looking at politics per se and whatever contrasting characteristics as expressed systemically can be deduced from observation - a "real politik" dichotomy distinguishing between political systems in which people get hurt by default or design and those in which the same people largely benefit in an atmosphere of security, regardless of which ideology or structure may have been attemptedly employed by any community in question.

Dirk - There has always been "fake" news if you mean lies intentionally circulated as factual reportage in order to further certain political goals by groups or individuals. To me the danger is when a critical mass of people come to believe that all reported intelligence is "fake" when in fact the bulk of it is at least serviceably useful in its reportage, however inexpertly or even intentionally misleadingly this information has been conveyed (even the Daily Telegraph has been known to impart "real" news on occasion, though admittedly never without prejudicial editorial bias in the language that it uses). Dissemination of distrust in the veracity of reportage however is apparently easier to achieve than dissemination of actual fact (as many of your own posts here often also encourage, it must be said), and in the modern world ease of trivial communication electronically has simply speeded up this tendency to foster such distrust to an alarming extent. However as far as I can see the ratio of credible news that can be taken at some face value versus that which has been so stilted, corrupted or simply invented out of thin air en route as to be deemed completely false is about the same as it's always been. There's just more of both kinds doing the rounds with an audience exponentially greater than at any time in human history, with a continuing large preponderance of bad reportage over good, and a consequently huge potential audience that is sufficiently gullible, uneducated, or simply stupid enough to fail to distinguish between both.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 07 Oct 2019, 13:55

One reason I created the thread about urban legends etc was because I thought it might be a home for matters  which might deviate oh, so slightly from the strictly serious historical nature of this site, so that anything slightly "out there" could be plonked on that thread without other threads become too divorced from history.  I can't compel other members of the site to use it thus.

I can understand that one might not want this website to become too reminiscent of say, the David Icke messenger boards.  There is sometimes a cross-over between history and mystery.


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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 07 Oct 2019, 17:49

Nordman,


Your:
"Dirk - There has always been "fake" news if you mean lies intentionally circulated as factual reportage in order to further certain political goals by groups or individuals. "

Totally agree with you.

Reminds me of the story started in  August 1914 of Russian soldiers arriving in Scotland, on their way to the Western Front, with the snow still on their boots.

 And there were people who believed this was the truth.

Dirk
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 07 Oct 2019, 18:04

To be fair, didn't the soldiers themselves say, albeit in a Highland Scots accent, that they were actually from "Ross Shire", and it was only the rumour mongers and sensationalist media of the day that managed to forment the idea that the troops (in British army uniforms and perfectly fluent in English) had actually said they were from "Russia". As ever most people dismissed the story at the time (apparently, according to the newspaper reports they still had snow on their boots thereby 'proving' they'd just come from Russia, duh!) as nonsense, and only the really gullible ever really believed it (but they of course will believe absolutely any old nonsense). But it was nevertheless a good yarn that sold a few more newspapers at a time when they was little positive news coming from the front and all that did get reported was heavily censored of any interesting detail. But I seriously doubt the British government of the time  deliberately promoted the story as it might have suggested a weakness in the Anglo-French millitary alliance (and remember the story appeared in late 1914 when the war that was still expected to be "over by Christmas") while at the same time it made absolutely no strategic sense because in the winter of 1914/15 Russia desparately need all her own troops defending the motherland - not somewhere at a railway junction in England. However obviously as a 'conspiracy-type' meme it is still continuing to fool the gullible and stupid today.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 07 Oct 2019, 18:44

Bluto and Brutus were alternative names for the same character. see https://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1548/is-popeyes-nemesis-named-bluto-or-brutus/
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyMon 07 Oct 2019, 20:37

@nordmann wrote:
As Dirk implied, I'm not sure either that discussion of propaganda necessarily informs any meaningful debate regarding the comparative features of democracy and dictatorship (a distinction that in any case historically is not as cut and dried as modern views tend to have it - views which incidentally could also have been said to have been encouraged through democratic propaganda in the very strict meaning of the word).

When you introduce the notion of dishonesty within propaganda then I suppose you could make an argument that dictatorships tend towards its employment more than other political systems, but to me the art of political persuasion is a dark one. After all, which is ultimately more dishonest anyway - outright and obvious manipulation of the facts to present a false interpretation for public consumption that enhances a particular regime's prospects for political survival, or insidious and consistent slight alterations in presentation over a very long period by successive regimes in order to mould acquiescence to a general political ideology?

Since I suspect "democracy versus dictatorship" to be ultimately a false dichotomy anyway when both are actually subject to so many variations of definition that they veer towards the status of aspirational ideals pursued by particular regimes in particular circumstances and at different times in different ways, then I also have to add a caveat regarding "the freedom of the press" and the contribution its members make to maintaining any such aspiration alive. The "real politik" view, one that I have found is traditionally shared by the most honest and effective journalists, has always included a recognition that no matter which political system pertains there is an unavoidable element of incorporation of the press (fast becoming an outdated collective term anyway and which these days might be better classified as information dissemination through independent actors) into the very same network of ownership and chains of authority that exists in every single society people have ever devised. Contrary to what democratic propaganda may imply there are very few societies in which the majority of the people do not place a value on discerning the truth when it comes to dissemination of information, and in fact it is this very tendency - innate to humans regardless of how and where they have been organised into political communities - which leaves people open to suggestion anyway and is the very tendency therefore upon which propaganda depends in order to have any effect or purpose whatsoever.

So far in the discussion above I have seen no valid point made based upon establishing a distinction between dictatorship and democracy that itself does not depend for making sense totally upon citing a particular moment in history when such juxtaposition and comparison was publicly encouraged and made sense in a particular context. For example, quite apart from its obvious role as cinematic propaganda (whether an acceptable or unacceptable variety of the genre), Chaplin's "Great Dictator" film has no worth - as information or art - unless the viewer starts with the simplistic sentiment "Hitler Bad - US Democracy Good" that its creator also shared. This is not a criticism of that sentiment, in fact as simplistic sentiments go it makes a lot of sense and made even more sense in the 1930s, but simply a reminder from me that acknowledgement of its artistic merit, its power of prophecy, or even its contribution to a general public sentiment required later to prosecute a war against Hitler's regime (ie. propaganda purpose), does not advance one iota an understanding of what dictatorship actually means or for that matter what democracy means either. In fact by juxtaposing them the meaning of both was diminished and much harder for the audience of the day to deduce, definitely not enhanced in any way at least that encouraged thorough analysis or research.

Such simplistic acceptance of an exaggerated dichotomy therefore could be said to be the product of propaganda itself, and if one abhors propaganda as a dishonest practice I think one should be careful therefore before encouraging further repetition of such a stated dichotomy anyway.

A more nuanced, but probably more useful, dichotomy to propose for discussion might have been "tyranny versus political systems with less arbitrary purpose". While many might think that this equates pretty much with "dictatorship versus democracy" it doesn't take much historical analysis (or looking around oneself today) to see that this dichotomy at least introduces the possibility of examining how and why some so-called democracies accommodate tyranny over elements of the communities they "serve", whereas some quite dictatorial systems contain concepts and realisations of "greater good" that translate into material benefit for people that many democracies fail most ineptly to emulate.

PS: My sister baby-sat the Fitzpatricks' sprog once back in the day. Thanks to this brief professional engagement I am now the proud owner of two of Jim's cartoon preparations for one of his "Celtic" themed portfolios (he paid her with these as the family hadn't two pennies to rub together at the time, though this penury was only revealed to a less than impressed babysitter upon their return from their evening out). I have always liked his stuff - it's what one would have got if Frazetta, Schoenherr and company had enlisted as monks in Kells in the 12th century.
 
nordmann,

I agree with your critique about the exaggerated dichotomy and yes your proposal of
"A more nuanced, but probably more useful, dichotomy to propose for discussion might have been "tyranny versus political systems with less arbitrary purpose". While many might think that this equates pretty much with "dictatorship versus democracy" it doesn't take much historical analysis (or looking around oneself today) to see that this dichotomy at least introduces the possibility of examining how and why some so-called democracies accommodate tyranny over elements of the communities they "serve", whereas some quite dictatorial systems contain concepts and realisations of "greater good" that translate into material benefit for people that many democracies fail most ineptly to emulate."
is very interesting to discuss further as the one about the intelligentsia and meritocracy that you mentioned in your following message:
"Government by intelligentsia, which is more germane to the stated dichotomy in my view than any side-track debate about propaganda, is an interesting alternative to what others might term "meritocracy". Both notions are very closely related, but one inspires positive thoughts regarding faith in those who govern whereas the other invites some rather negative and critical opinion of the right to power on the basis of intellect alone. However, whether positively or negatively phrased, it is interesting that traditional dictatorships as well as traditional democracies both claim to have a system whereby the best and most suited to power wield it, and that in each case this is automatically an indication of the intelligence and merit of those in that position.". 
But I will try to comment on this in your following message.


That said nordmann, you know it now quite some time that I, and I suppose I am not alone, are a band of unruly irregulars (they translate as "rag-tag", but I prefer: "irregulars")
Temperance made, if I recall it well, two times an "allegory?" about it. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/allegory
And yes, sometimes I tend to find a resounding title, to catch the attention of the public regardless of the subject, a bit as the contributors of Historum or the Daily Telegraph (and others) Embarassed yes, perhaps it is also "propaganda".


And yes the "propaganda" interjection was perhaps a disgression of the subject. Subject that was already a "rather laboured dichotomy  presented in the title"
For me, I will close the "propaganda" disgression, but as it is here now for the moment, the interested ones can still watch it in French and German till 9/10/19. For English I guess they have to pay to watch it on line.


And nordmann I will try to stick in my titles as close to the subject and as clear-cut as possible. I said "try" Wink And for the digressions, I am not "alone" responsible Wink (I first wrote "disgressions", but when checking if it was "good" English I found only French text)


Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyTue 08 Oct 2019, 10:17

Propaganda isn't a total digression from the proposed dichotomy in that it actually helps illustrate the problem with such a false juxtaposition. I recommend the Pelican book "Techniques of Persuasion: From Propaganda to Brainwashing" by J.A.C. Brown which although written in 1963 is still seminal reading on a lot of political science courses even today. Brown was writing when Nazi propaganda was still fresh in the memory of most of his readers and he pays particular attention to Goebbels' strategies. But he also examines how almost identical strategies are implemented within democracies to achieve what are generally regarded as "benign" aims regarding public compliance with some of the principles on which democracy depends to function. The most relevant observation he made, I reckon, was that of an influencer influencing an influencer who in turn influences influential people further down the propaganda chain and so on until the final consumer is then ultimately influenced by no one particular influencer within the chain to believe that they themselves have influenced their own decision. In other words a primary goal, or at least feature, of successful propaganda is to effectively disguise the owners or originators of whatever idea the propaganda may be insidiously disseminating. And ironically therefore it is within democracies above all other political systems that such an illusion of public consent and common organic origin to what are essentially propagated, received and pre-engineered ideas is most vital to the effective working of the system.

In a purely tyrannical system on the other hand this deception is redundant - the tyrant has nothing to gain by pretending not to own or originate the idea with which the public has to comply, the only convincing required being that it is in their interest to agree with the proposal, a goal that can be readily achieved with a mixture of overt threat and obvious lie, after which all that has to be addressed through propaganda being the presentation of this acquiescence as having been volunteered by the people based on a claimed intrinsic worth of whatever tyrannical policy has in reality been imposed on them. Goebbels' brand of propaganda therefore could be quite open and blatant, dressed up as public information performed in full view of the audience it targeted, the only fundamentally difficult message contained within it being an invitation to assume anything was "right" or "good" if it emanated directly from the political ideology of the führer. And this raises a rather worrying but observable feature of societies we are encouraged to believe are "free", "democratic" and predicated on social contracts involving a lot of representation, delegation and input from the masses. The very machinery designed to share real power among the most possible people, once it also (as it must) accommodate public accountability of those delegated to exercise power over policies and rules with which everyone else must comply, but still with a requirement to prosecute policies that could never garner popular support through total dependency on this contract, has to therefore accommodate at different points at least a limited form of acceptably tyrannical behaviour conducted by intentionally unnamed actors which in theory contradicts the very ethos of the system that contains it. The only way this contradiction can be tolerated is through manipulation of how it is presented so that it at least looks like it is conforming with the ethos, and this is where propaganda is really the only effective tool to achieve this end.

When such manipulation is exposed or becomes obvious, and people in general are therefore faced with a realisation that they are in essence participants in a fraudulent system, the result is always unpredictable and rarely contributes to the restoration of faith in that ethos. So Brown ends up with a conclusion that one is faced with a rather depressing choice, to live in an honest but tyrannical system or to tolerate a dishonest system in which tyranny is contained and the illusion of power sharing can be maintained. It doesn't take a genius to work out which one actually depends most on the power of propaganda to influence opinion, and therefore which one is bound to produce people most adept at formulating and transmitting propaganda that works.

And it also illustrates just what is false therefore in the dichotomy as expressed in the thread's title, which could equally be expressed as "I would prefer to live in a propaganda-dependent system that obfuscates my real power and engagement in the democratic process than one with obvious ideological ownership and expression, even if such a system results in my and all my co-patriots' material benefit". Somehow this phraseology tends to take something of the shine off "democracy" and advertises a requirement to further define exactly which particular form of democracy one therefore prefers and which extent of dishonesty you are prepared to tolerate to help maintain it, and of course which elements of "dictatorship" might in fact lead to a better informed and better-off public whose rules of engagement in the process are quite clearly defined and understood. History has shown at least moderately successful models in each category as well as very well known instances of abject failure in both. In its long history, for example, Rome experienced all four extremes, good and bad, and sometimes even more than once. Had you asked a Roman citizen experiencing one of these extremes, who also maybe had a good grasp of his country's history, to choose between the terms as expressed in this thread's title, I'm pretty sure you would be a long time waiting for a definitive preference.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyTue 08 Oct 2019, 17:59

@Green George wrote:
Bluto and Brutus were alternative names for the same character. see https://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1548/is-popeyes-nemesis-named-bluto-or-brutus
Well you learn something every day.  So I wasn't wrong the first time.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyTue 08 Oct 2019, 21:34

nordmann,

thank you so much for this excellent message. Now I understand better, what you meant with the dichotomy. As I first thought that you were thinking about a dictatorship of an oligarchy of intellegentsia...And as promised I wanted also to respond to the two paragraphs that I mentioned in my former message. But I wanted a bit of a pauze, while I had the intention to lure Temperance and Priscilla into our forum again with something where we all seem to be interested in. I recall the loo threads and the scatology (I first typed: escatology. https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Eschatology)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scatology

But I see Temperance is already there...perhaps Priscilla too now...with: "Toilet paper or bidet"
I try to come as soon as possible back to your messages, nordmann.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyTue 15 Oct 2019, 22:22

nordmann,

I wrote this to Temperance on 29 September on this thread, and will now try to compare what I learned from you:
"I think here you come to the core of the democracy. As many in the past, and it were not only the Germans, have mentioned, that only an elite, who has the skills to lead a society, has to have the right to lead the whole population, but this elite can make misuse of their prerogatives to guide the country in what "they" think is right. But they haven't the monopoly of wisdom in my opinion, because there are many kinds of intelligence and that as in educated ones as in the common plebs. Why would that be otherwise, while we all come genetically from the same stock and anchestry.
I have during my career been in contact with many people, from PhDs to simple workmen along the conveyor.
And I have seen, even with PhDs, that they can only be interested in their particular field of research and I was not even sure if their intellect applied in other fields as human studies would be as bright as in their own field. From the other side I met people, who had only been educated till their 18 and had more social and behaviour skills and intellectual insight in national and international politics and democratic leadership than the high brow educated ones.
Why then not a meritocracy in the democracy you will ask. Perhaps yes, if it is recognized by a majority of the electorate. But even in such an ideal case, which is nearly an utopia, it will still be necessary to have the checks and balances from the democratic community to guard that those chosen by merit don't misuse their given might for personal gain or whatever means as gaining more power..."


From your message of 7 Oct:
"Government by intelligentsia is an interesting alternative to what others might term "meritocracy". Both notions are very closely related, but one inspires positive thoughts regarding faith in those who govern whereas the other invites some rather negative and critical opinion of the right to power on the basis of intellect alone. However, whether positively or negatively phrased, it is interesting that traditional dictatorships as well as traditional democracies both claim to have a system whereby the best and most suited to power wield it, and that in each case this is automatically an indication of the intelligence and merit of those in that position."


nordmann, I am not sure if government by "intelligentsia" is the same as government by "meritocracy". And in both cases, if they are brought into the government by a "dictatorship" (I suppose that you mean here: or a single dictator or an oligarchy (as nowadays in China)), these "puppets" chosen for their intelligence or because of the skills that they have shown to merit the post, are always "chosen" by the dictatorial oligarchy...that means: the thoughts of "one" individual or some "ten or fifteen" individual ones. And in my opinion these thoughts can't be compared with the combined thoughts of the citizens of a country stupid and intelligent ones mixed, especially when there are "free" media, also the  misleading ones mixed with the honest ones, while in a "free" country, where all opinions can have their expression, even the most small minority group, there is at the end a real democratic discussion?
I give an example of free media:
The new regional government of the Flemish region of Belgium has said that they will promote the history of the own "Flemish" particularity in the education as history starting in the "county of Flanders" in the 9th century (or was it in 1302 (a revolt in the Flemish county against the French king)) (a kind of "national myth" as we learned in our childhood about the Belgian national myth starting with Clovis (Chlodovech))
And see a "cartoonist" of a newspaper let all those of that government and their contradictors appear in "harnas" (harness?) as to cartoon the 1302 story...today there was a cartoon of those from the Flemish regional government teasing those from Catalonia behind bars...we do it with "confederalism"...
As long as there can appear such cartoons...even contradicting ones...at the end I suppose the general public, even the stupid ones, will be able by  discussion to see the "broader picture"?


I will tomorrow further comment your:
"While many might think that this equates pretty much with "dictatorship versus democracy" it doesn't take much historical analysis (or looking around oneself today) to see that this dichotomy at least introduces the possibility of examining how and why some so-called democracies accommodate tyranny over elements of the communities they "serve", whereas some quite dictatorial systems contain concepts and realisations of "greater good" that translate into material benefit for people that many democracies fail most ineptly to emulate."

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyWed 16 Oct 2019, 08:35

Paul wrote:
nordmann, I am not sure if government by "intelligentsia" is the same as government by "meritocracy"

Well in truth neither actually exists, Paul, whether people are appointed within a dictatorship/oligarchy or whether they are appointed through franchised election. Neither political process can identify "intelligence", let alone "intelligence that can be compared between individuals and deemed meritorious of appointment to powerful public office". And likewise neither system can be trusted to identify "merit" of any description with any consistency anyway, and especially not a democracy in which the electorate's own "merit as the arbiter of merit" is more often proved to be so arbitrary in the case of so many individuals comprising that voting collective as to be non-existent, as almost every instance of every sort of democracy in every period since its inception has amply proved (and goes on proving).

So if you think I was equating "rule by intelligentsia" with "meritocracy" please read my points above again. Since neither really can exist except as vague and terribly inaccurate descriptions of some idealistic "politik" that has actually never occurred as "real-politik" anyway, their only function as descriptions is simply to impart a negative or a positive slant on that which they fail to describe anyway. A function that plays no role and has no relevance to actual political governance therefore, but certainly one that can be (and is) utilised within political propaganda (and bad political science student theses)

Since I think we in essence agree on this rather obvious false dichotomy can I maybe spare you hours of pointless wading through badly edited internet content plucking out htlm addresses no none here will ever click on and citing content from them that contributes nothing since there is effectively no debate on that point - and instead encourage you to waste that time addressing the real dichotomies involved, and maybe starting with the one I have actually alluded to (twice already) above? I would be interested in your response to that point, and might even actually click on links to content (worthwhile and dubious) that you may dredge up in your trawling exercise. I promise I won't even mention when I too had also found that exact content in the past, probably quicker than you, nor shall I point out that there may be a good reason why I wouldn't invite readers of this discussion to waste their time on such links too.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyWed 16 Oct 2019, 21:37

Excuses nordmann, I was preparing a reply for you, when suddenly there was an interruption of a phonecall and some actions, which took more than an hour. I have changed the title with an enlightenment. I will see if I can post something coherent this evening.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyWed 16 Oct 2019, 23:00

Quote :

So if you think I was equating "rule by intelligentsia" with "meritocracy" please read my points above again. Since neither really can exist except as vague and terribly inaccurate descriptions of some idealistic "politik" that has actually never occurred as "real-politik" anyway, their only function as descriptions is simply to impart a negative or a positive slant on that which they fail to describe anyway.  A function that plays no role and has no relevance to actual political governance therefore, but certainly one that can be (and is) utilised within political propaganda (and bad political science student theses).

nordmann,

if I understand you well the dichotomy between democracy and dictorship (tyranny) is not that clear-cut as many assume? In your sentence: Since neither really...do you mean with neither: intelligentsia/meritocracy or dictatorship/democracy?

from your message of 7 october
"A more nuanced, but probably more useful, dichotomy to propose for discussion might have been "tyranny versus political systems with less arbitrary purpose". While many might think that this equates pretty much with "dictatorship versus democracy" it doesn't take much historical analysis (or looking around oneself today) to see that this dichotomy at least introduces the possibility of examining how and why some so-called democracies accommodate tyranny over elements of the communities they "serve", whereas some quite dictatorial systems contain concepts and realisations of "greater good" that translate into material benefit for people that many democracies fail most ineptly to emulate.
from your message of 8 october
"When such manipulation "propaganda" (my insert)) is exposed or becomes obvious, and people in general are therefore faced with a realisation that they are in essence participants in a fraudulent system, the result is always unpredictable and rarely contributes to the restoration of faith in that ethos. So Brown ends up with a conclusion that one is faced with a rather depressing choice, to live in an honest but tyrannical system or to tolerate a dishonest system in which tyranny is contained and the illusion of power sharing can be maintained. It doesn't take a genius to work out which one actually depends most on the power of propaganda to influence opinion, and therefore which one is bound to produce people most adept at formulating and transmitting propaganda that works."
https://www.amazon.com/Techniques-Persuasion-Propaganda-Brainwashing-Pelican/dp/0140206043

I put it on my list to buy with the aid of the granddaughter (only some 2 Euro as I see it)

from your message of 8 october
"And it also illustrates just what is false therefore in the dichotomy as expressed in the thread's title, which could equally be expressed as "I would prefer to live in a propaganda-dependent system that obfuscates my real power and engagement in the democratic process than one with obvious ideological ownership and expression, even if such a system results in my and all my co-patriots' material benefit". Somehow this phraseology tends to take something of the shine off "democracy" and advertises a requirement to further define exactly which particular form of democracy one therefore prefers and which extent of dishonesty you are prepared to tolerate to help maintain it, and of course which elements of "dictatorship" might in fact lead to a better informed and better-off public whose rules of engagement in the process are quite clearly defined and understood. History has shown at least moderately successful models in each category as well as very well known instances of abject failure in both. In its long history, for example, Rome experienced all four extremes, good and bad, and sometimes even more than once. Had you asked a Roman citizen experiencing one of these extremes, who also maybe had a good grasp of his country's history, to choose between the terms as expressed in this thread's title, I'm pretty sure you would be a long time waiting for a definitive preference."


nordmann I will try tomorrow to comment these three paragraphs:


"So Brown ends up with a conclusion that one is faced with a rather depressing choice, to live in an honest but tyrannical system or to tolerate a dishonest system in which tyranny is contained and the illusion of power sharing can be maintained. It doesn't take a genius to work out which one actually depends most on the power of propaganda to influence opinion, and therefore which one is bound to produce people most adept at formulating and transmitting propaganda that works."

"When such manipulation (propaganda (my insert)) is exposed or becomes obvious, and people in general are therefore faced with a realisation that they are in essence participants in a fraudulent system, the result is always unpredictable and rarely contributes to the restoration of faith in that ethos. So Brown ends up with a conclusion that one is faced with a rather depressing choice, to live in an honest but tyrannical system or to tolerate a dishonest system in which tyranny is contained and the illusion of power sharing can be maintained. It doesn't take a genius to work out which one actually depends most on the power of propaganda to influence opinion, and therefore which one is bound to produce people most adept at formulating and transmitting propaganda that works."

"And it also illustrates just what is false therefore in the dichotomy as expressed in the "former" (my insert) thread's title, which could equally be expressed as "I would prefer to live in a propaganda-dependent system that obfuscates my real power and engagement in the democratic process than one with obvious ideological ownership and expression, even if such a system results in my and all my co-patriots' material benefit". Somehow this phraseology tends to take something of the shine off "democracy" and advertises a requirement to further define exactly which particular form of democracy one therefore prefers and which extent of dishonesty you are prepared to tolerate to help maintain it, and of course which elements of "dictatorship" might in fact lead to a better informed and better-off public whose rules of engagement in the process are quite clearly defined and understood."


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyThu 17 Oct 2019, 07:14

Paul, I know what I wrote and only have to scroll up the thread to see it all for myself (and in context). You really don't need to compose "replies" which are simply huge copy-and-pasted chunks of disjointed text already present on the page. Just as with excessive use of embedded links to offsite material, unless the urge to publish quoted chunks of what your interlocutors have already said is kept to a tolerably moderate level then the effect is simply to grind any "discussion" to an unscheduled halt in much the same way that a dead cow on the line might bring an intercity express train to a similar standstill - amidst the fragmented wreckage, shards and debris of what had once been a potentially useful conveyance (in this case of ideas).

So, speaking of ideas, I would be interested less in re-reading my own when you reply to me (or for that matter those expressed by poorly edited internet sources), but rather yours and yours alone, sourced at a point between your ears rather than through an electronic search engine, and expressed in your own words. Otherwise, instead of a conversation between interested parties actively engaged in intelligent discourse, I find myself after many of your replies finding I am having a conversation with a terribly disjointed version of my own previous statements (rather like trying to have a conversation with one's garbled echo), or worse, with an even more diffuse, disjointed, and frequently unintelligible cacophony of internet "voices" arbitrarily selected by your search engine and mistakenly presented as meaningful communication with the same misguided satisfaction that you are meeting the requirements of discussion as, in all probability, the architects of the legendary Tower of Babel also reckoned they had produced a construction fit for purpose.

Your last reply, for example, told me only two things. You will purchase the book I recommended previously, and you will actually contribute an original reply at a later point.

Given that neither of these points really contributes intellectually to the present exchange of ideas (ie. "discussion") and are simply friendly statements of intent to do so later, maybe it could have been at least a hell of a lot smaller?

It's a question of consideration of and for your interlocutors.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyThu 17 Oct 2019, 21:23

nordmann,

these three quotes, were really those, which sparked a chord in the mass between "my"! ears. I understand that the quotes are perhaps thrown out of their context, but that were the three points I wanted to discuss and in my own words and with the knowledge that I have on my own from experiences and learning during my life. If we come in trouble with the context, you can always add the frame in which you said it, as enlightenment?

Perhaps in time, the circumstances in which democracy and dictatorship are exercised, changed a lot (you said it yourself, if I recall it well, the media and the speed of propagation and contacts allover the world are dramatically changed during the last century). Can we frame thus our discussion to the twentieth century, with perhaps extensions to the former few centuries about ideas that influenced the twentieth as for instance the trias politica?

That said I will start, if you agree, with the first quote, in another message.

Kind regards, Paul.


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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyThu 17 Oct 2019, 22:34

nordmann,

"first quote 
"So Brown ends up with a conclusion that one is faced with a rather depressing choice, to live in an honest but tyrannical system or to tolerate a dishonest system in which tyranny is contained and the illusion of power sharing can be maintained. It doesn't take a genius to work out which one actually depends most on the power of propaganda to influence opinion, and therefore which one is bound to produce people most adept at formulating and transmitting propaganda that works."

I haven't read yet the book of Brown that you mentioned, but this choice seems to "me at least" a cynical one. Does he prove in his book that "depressing choice" between "an honest tyrannical system" and "a dishonest system in which tyranny is contained and the illusion of power sharing can be maintained"

I am seeking for examples in my memory of "honest tyrannical systems"
Singapore? South-Korea?
Singapore. A guided economy supported by a one party eliminating all opponents, seen as trying to undermine the system? And now a growing racial dispute in the last years and a growing gap between rich and poor? Not sure how the leaders will coop with it all? But yes the result was a kind of a "Wirtschaftswunder" bringing the city state to wealth in nearly half a century.
The same for South-Korea, where by a coup d'état General Park took the power, if I recall it well in the Sixties...same scenario...and with the help of the money of the Americans as it was a front state during the Cold War? And with the same result? And perhaps less tension between rich and poor and racial unrest?

But if you compare with for instance West-Germany after WWII, "a dishonest system with the illusion of power sharing", also the same "Wirtschaftswunder" but with a left wing opposition, which could steer for bigger solidarity between the citizens if there was a derailment? But in my opinion they were always a guard dog to avoid the worst excesses of capitalism? Perhaps not such a better result at the end? Can it be that not the authoriarian state or the democratic state were most responsible for that spectacular growth, but the basic attitudes of the people of these three countries of ethic about labour and study for growing upwards?

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 08:13

Tyranny is perhaps the most honest expression of power that is found - which is not to say that it is the best, but it is certainly the most transparent, being both intellectually honest and easiest to understand. It describes an absolute ruler, or executive, making absolute decisions which are absolutely emphatic, absolutely unambiguous, and which must be absolutely adhered to by absolutely everyone over whom that power is absolutely exercised. So absolutism renders it easy to see, comprehend and therefore of all political systems the only one in which the executive's motive might well be debated but no one need level any charge of ulterior motive (normally a moot point anyway within a tyranny), everyone knows full well the exact nature of executive power in their system, and the very subjugation of those under that power, while enslaving them within the structure, frees them from a socially imposed requirement to analyse further what political power is, how it affects everyone within that power structure, and therefore absolves them from any requirement to distrust whatever analysis they might voluntarily contribute anyway, the overwhelming probability (thanks to the transparency of the system) being that it is absolutely correct.

However we are not so enslaved so if we exercise our own freedom to analyse tyranny anyway, and boil it down to its essence without getting sidetracked into having to take the character or aims of any particular tyrant into account (they vary considerably historically despite the consistent nature of the systems they head up), then what you end up with as candidate for a quintessential trait which could be said to "define" tyranny is unilateral decision making in which a duty to consider the consequences of a decision rests solely with the decision maker (and that duty is zealously appropriated by the decision maker to the exclusion of everyone else in their society). Others can consider all they want, but they do so voluntarily, and ultimately to no effect. A totally reprehensible system, I am sure we are all in agreement here about that, and history indeed shows that of all systems such regimes fall into the most ephemeral class, difficult if not impossible to sustain once the means of coercion and the will to deploy these dissipate, often with the death of the tyrant whose will alone sustained these means. Human nature, it appears, has a consistently effective abhorrence of tyranny in systemic form and tends to win out over tyrants. But at least when examined in its purest form it yields this quintessential definition of the nature of tyrannical power.

Now take democracy (any flavour you like). What democracy does that tyranny cannot or will not do is to contain within its structure a device whereby common consent contributes to the policies that an executive is ostensibly obliged to follow, as well as a say in who constitutes that executive at any given moment in time. The rules whereby this is achieved vary from state to state, but this basic structural element has to be there for it to be classed as a democracy at all. However formulating policy is only one side to the power equation (a tyrant can do that over breakfast), the acid test of any system is how this then translates into execution of that policy. And this is where dishonesty enters the picture - no matter how transparent the structure, or how much accountability has been incorporated into consensual control of the elected executive, implementing a policy requires at some level decision making that obeys the same method as any tyrant worth his salt might also well recognise. The only difference is that the tyrant sits at the top of the pile and acts alone, whereas in a democracy this form of necessary decision making is relegated to ever lower levels within the structure depending on the social objective and subject matter being addressed by the decision.

No matter what democratic system you may have grown up in you will have been aware of this requirement for low level tyranny - in day to day life you will have experienced it consistently within family organisation, within the education system, and of course within whatever policing system pertained in your society. But you will also have been made aware of more subtle examples of this low level tyranny being exercised in areas with potentially even more dramatic impact on your quality of life - such as in health services, commerce, news reportage, even things you might discount as trivial such as light entertainment and fashion. In all these areas, for things to work at all, individuals with little or no public accountability make unilateral executive decisions for motives undeclared every day, many of which are much more likely to impact on your existence - for good or bad - with more immediacy and effect than those taken nearer the top of the power structure by those denoted within a democracy to be the accountable executive and normally the only ones to whom your attention is directed when contemplating how democratic your society is.

This necessary accommodation of unaccountable and often unilateral executive power in order to maintain the overall structure that ostensibly eschews such power (and would even term it an "abuse" within standard democratic principles), is inherently dishonest - a little "lie" that we all, from our youngest days, are taught to tolerate, and even ignore when and if the fundamentally democratic nature of our society might be seen to be under threat for any reason. This particular facet, which by all democratic definitions fits the criteria for "threat", is one we are taught never to consider. It is not only the system that is dishonest therefore, but in fact every constituent member of that system must also share to some extent in this dishonesty for the thing to function at all.

I could go on and explain how propaganda is utilised to keep us all ticking over in this dishonest state (and often to a much wider extent than within any totalitarian expression of power), and Brown's book looks even beyond propaganda in fact to how other methods of persuasion are also used, but I'm sure you now see what I was drawing your attention to when I introduced the notion of honesty/dishonesty into this discussion of the dichotomy you had initially proposed, and why your original thread title (which I am glad to see you've amended yet again) was woefully naive to the point of idiocy (the notion, not you).
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptyFri 18 Oct 2019, 22:34

nordmann,

First: I agree that your use of "tyrant" is perhaps better than "dictator" (and also tyranny/dictatorship)

"No matter what democratic system you may have grown up in you will have been aware of this requirement for low level tyranny - in day to day life you will have experienced it consistently within family organisation, within the education system, and of course within whatever policing system pertained in your society. But you will also have been made aware of more subtle examples of this low level tyranny being exercised in areas with potentially even more dramatic impact on your quality of life - such as in health services, commerce, news reportage, even things you might discount as trivial such as light entertainment and fashion. In all these areas, for things to work at all, individuals with little or no public accountability make unilateral executive decisions for motives undeclared every day, many of which are much more likely to impact on your existence - for good or bad - with more immediacy and effect than those taken nearer the top of the power structure by those denoted within a democracy to be the accountable executive and normally the only ones to whom your attention is directed when contemplating how democratic your society is.

This necessary accommodation of unaccountable and often unilateral executive power in order to maintain the overall structure that ostensibly eschews such power (and would even term it an "abuse" within standard democratic principles), is inherently dishonest - a little "lie" that we all, from our youngest days, are taught to tolerate, and even ignore when and if the fundamentally democratic nature of our society might be seen to be under threat for any reason. This particular facet, which by all democratic definitions fits the criteria for "threat", is one we are taught never to consider. It is not only the system that is dishonest therefore, but in fact every constituent member of that system must also share to some extent in this dishonesty for the thing to function at all."

(I had to look up: "eschew" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eschew

"this requirement for low level tyranny - in day to day life you will have experienced it consistently within family organisation, within the education system, and of course within whatever policing system pertained in your society."

Yes, but what you call "low level tyranny" is something, in my opinion, grown from when the first tribes populated the earth. It was found by trial and error that that distribution of power (tiranny), in fact distribution of power within the group, was necessary to sustain the survival of the group.
And as such acknowledged by the group as no tiranny? And so it has survived as a necessary need by the society for that society? If I am right even the anarchists (or some kind of anarchists) recognize that necessity? Those, who don't recognize any authority?
And even on that level there is change in modern society? While even on that low level, there is a tendency for more deliberation between authority and subjected party?

But you will also have been made aware of more subtle examples of this low level tyranny being exercised in areas with potentially even more dramatic impact on your quality of life - such as in health services, commerce, news reportage, even things you might discount as trivial such as light entertainment and fashion. In all these areas, for things to work at all, individuals with little or no public accountability make unilateral executive decisions for motives undeclared every day, many of which are much more likely to impact on your existence - for good or bad - with more immediacy and effect than those taken nearer the top of the power structure by those denoted within a democracy to be the accountable executive and normally the only ones to whom your attention is directed when contemplating how democratic your society is."


nordmann, do you mean here: the tiranny of the fashion as to be brown baken for the Europeans in the Southern sun, the need to be clothed as the big mode houses each season impose on you, some buying unnessary cars and let the partner help and work to pay the bill?
If so I have the impression that perhaps things are changing, while now people are buying more conscious and on the internet and not listening to the advertisements, while they have comments from others and only buy what they really want. As for fashion: the granddaughter buys only what she likes and what she finds fashionable independent from the current fashion. And perhaps there are more and more of such ones? But I agree, these "car" zealots are perhaps inconvertible...
And my sister said about us mother, who only bought from everything, what was necessary for daily survival, that the economy would collapse if everyone was as she.


"This necessary accommodation of unaccountable and often unilateral executive power in order to maintain the overall structure that ostensibly eschews such power (and would even term it an "abuse" within standard democratic principles), is inherently dishonest - a little "lie" that we all, from our youngest days, are taught to tolerate, and even ignore when and if the fundamentally democratic nature of our society might be seen to be under threat for any reason. This particular facet, which by all democratic definitions fits the criteria for "threat", is one we are taught never to consider. It is not only the system that is dishonest therefore, but in fact every constituent member of that system must also share to some extent in this dishonesty for the thing to function at all."


nordmann, do you mean by "this necessary accommodation of unaccountable and often unilateral executive power in order to maintain the overall structure" for instance all those pills that some take everyday, pushed by the pharma industry, where a placebo and the belief would be enough to maintain their general good medical health, the unnecessary spending to accomodate to the latest fashion, the plundering of the national health insurance by imaginary health problems, many times kept in life by general practicians?


But perhaps the decisions taken on a low level, can have a big impact on society, if this is included in your sheme?
I discussed on several fora the French demographic transition, which was earlier than these of the other big countries of Europe, as Britain and Germany. And due to some historians that would have had to do with the decision on family level of farmers, who with the same parcel of land, had difficulties to divide it under more descendants. So they made on family level the decision to avoid a big off-spring with all kind of methods as for instance the "coitus interruptus". 

But these were free! decisions on family level. Can you count that then as "necessary accomodation of unilateral executive power"? As I understood your sentence, I assume it was? But correct me if I didn't.


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySat 19 Oct 2019, 08:49

Paul (several times) wrote:
nordmann, do you mean ...
No.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySat 19 Oct 2019, 16:42

Paul wrote:
 I had to look up: "eschew" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eschew 





Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 280



Oh, Paul - Paul - Paul! STOP IT!
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySat 19 Oct 2019, 19:57

@Temperance wrote:
Paul wrote:
 I had to look up: "eschew" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eschew 
Oh, Paul - Paul - Paul! STOP IT!

Temperance,

why?

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Comparison of democracy and dictatorship.   Comparison of democracy and dictatorship. - Page 2 EmptySat 19 Oct 2019, 20:16

@nordmann wrote:
Paul (several times) wrote:
nordmann, do you mean ...
No.
 
nordmann,

can you perhaps in layman's terms explain it then to a person, who had only "general forming" till 18 and afterwards was sticking to chemical studies, not related to this general broadband education and who asked two times "do you mean"?  Before we further proceed?

Kind regards, Paul.
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