Author Topic: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin  (Read 1120 times)

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Offline Mikes

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Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
So this actually happened: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/05/erdogan-accuses-germany-of-nazi-practices-over-blocked-election-rallies

So yeah, "would be autocratic leader with theocratic tendencies who is busy oppressing the press in his country, putting countless journalists in jail" accuses democratic nation of being Nazi because they aren't doing what he wants them to do on his conquest to ultimate power.  :rolleyes:


Political and public discourse definitely has been steadily going downhill the last years in all kinds of nations, but this certainly marks a new low.

Update: Netherlands are now being called "Nazi Remnants" too.   :eek2:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/11/erdogan-brands-dutch-nazi-remnants-for-barring-turkish-mp
« Last Edit: March 11, 2017, 02:53:31 pm by Mikes »

 

Offline -Joshua-

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
Yuup. Erdogan has been trying to get a referendum going that gives him even more power, and his ministers are trying to drum up support for this referendum amongst turks living abroad (as they are allowed to vote). The dutch aren't particularely pleased by this, so they started negotiations with Turkey to ensure that these visits would go smoothly and subtle. Mid negotiations, Turkey publically threatened our government with sanctions if the Turkish minister would be denied entrance into our country. The dutch response has been to deny the Turkish minister entrance into our country.

Part of me is going "Popcooorn!" and part of me is going "Goddammit we're 4 days away from an election we don't need this bull**** in an election where important domestic issues are at stake". It probably doesn't help that it's election time for all countries involved in this, but from the dutch side of things it seems that Turkey has been particularely bullish and should be granted no favours.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
It is a bit high and mighty to bring out the "crazy"-category at this point. While the escalation of the autocratic (civic) tendiencies in Turkey is without a doubt problematic and to be bemoaned, there are a few points to this that are to be remembered why the man has such popular support.

For one, Turkey has longstanding problems with the power of the military in the state and the resistance of the military upper-ranks to submit to civilian oversight. To no small percentage of the population and across the political specturum (with the exception of the nationalist far-right) it was considered one the major issues with the state. The most notable decline in the militaries political power both cooicided and was facilited by the AKP-governments, so naturally it is associated with Erdogan as party leader, head of government and/or head of state. A spin on the events many western governments actually bought, mind you.

On the other hand, before the Arab Spring/Civil war in Syria the long-standing conflict with the Kurds seemed to be cooling down - even though the AKP-governments never really were on a road to peace. While as a side effect to the civil war in Syria the conflict between Turkey and Kurds as reignited, when it was cooling down it was considered a welcome respite. And again associated with the man in charge, even if his contributions might not been on equal level to the praise.

Another reason is how the negotiations between the EU and Turkey were handled by the EU side. While there were a lot of outstanding issues, of which major ones were never adressed, the negotiations were contuniely plagued by several (esspecially conservative) EU-governments openly lobbying against the proccedings (Which in turn doesn't absolve the Turkish side for some of their unreasable negotiation and demanding). Since this all went down publicly the impression that the negotiations with EU had never been in good faith was allowed to foster - which is basically the evolutionary precoursour to the bile that is now directed at the EU leaders and member countires.

On top of that come the fact that there was been a pretty vicious falling out between AKP greats in the 2000s (including but not limited to Gulen movement), which was quite revealing in terms of intra-party loyalties. From about that point onwards you could see a growing siege mentality in the AKP leadership towards their domestic critics which now - after multiple corruption scandals and a coup attempt with a rather unclear background - culminates in the attacks on the press at home and abroad.

(... and there are going to be dozens of other reasons I am oblivious to, merely forgot or misrepresented because of my limited knowledge)

Now, all that isn't saying that the going-ons of this week weren't a new low, but the downward trajectory has been going on longer than just when the constitutional changes were put on the agenda two(?) years ago. Likewise reducing the entire procceding to "let's gawk at the crazy" shortchanges the long series of mistakes that has been made by a lot of people.
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Offline Mikes

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
It is a bit high and mighty to bring out the "crazy"-category at this point. While the escalation of the autocratic (civic) tendiencies in Turkey is without a doubt problematic and to be bemoaned, there are a few points to this that are to be remembered why the man has such popular support.

We talking about the same guy?

"Democracy is like a train,you get off once you have reached your destination. The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers... " Erdogan 1998. He actually went to jail for four months for saying that at a public event.

English quote was hard to find in full, but several sources available in German:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2270642.stm
http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21689877-mr-erdogans-commitment-democracy-seems-be-fading-getting-train
Full quote in German on (under jailtime): https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recep_Tayyip_Erdo%C4%9Fan or http://www.focus.de/politik/videos/demokratie-ist-nur-der-zug-auf-den-wir-aufsteigen-ein-zitat-erdogans-von-1998-ist-heute-aktueller-denn-je_id_5742865.html

In any case, once diplomatic discourse degrades to a point where a head of state calls other states Nazi because they disagree with him, then what do you call that?

Understanding what lead up to it is important, I would agree, but the end result also speaks for itself.


Furthermore, Turkeys "longstanding problems with the military" as you call it, are actually founded in the safeguard of republic founder Kemal Atatürk, who instated those safeguards with the intention of the military guarding against the resurgence of a theocratic regime and the destructing of Turkeys republic. Without Atatürk and without the military enforcing his reforms, Turkey would still be an islamic sultanate. One can argue how well they worked at different times in Turkeys history, but one can't argue that a safeguard wasn't needed. Apparently Atatürk still failed. Whether Turkey still remains a democracy/republic in the next years remains to be seen.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2017, 05:33:00 pm by Mikes »

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
It is a bit high and mighty to bring out the "crazy"-category at this point. While the escalation of the autocratic (civic) tendiencies in Turkey is without a doubt problematic and to be bemoaned, there are a few points to this that are to be remembered why the man has such popular support.

We talking about the same guy?

"Democracy is like a train,you get off once you have reached your destination. The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers... " Erdogan 2002.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2270642.stm
http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21689877-mr-erdogans-commitment-democracy-seems-be-fading-getting-train
Full quote in German: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recep_Tayyip_Erdo%C4%9Fan

You misunderstand my point - of course Erdogan was not a paragon of democratic leadership, even when he was first elected.

But his popular support isn't entrily build on what he said but what he can wrap around himself as "his achievements", which give him and by association his party's government the mantle of functionality. That spin has quite a powerful pull which should not be denied when you try to explain why he can go as far as does.


In any case, once diplomatic discourse degrades to a point where a head of state calls other states Nazi because they disagree with him, then what do you call that?

Understanding what lead up to it is important, I would agree, but the end result also speaks for itself.

I would dispute that the comments were part of a diplomatic discourse, rather part of the afforementioned spin for a domestic audience.

The "nazi"-comment was made as part of an appearance before a women's rights group close to the AKP. The comments in the Netherlands were made during ralley at home.

Granted as statements from a head of state they have diplomatic relevance (esspecially in context of what Erdogan thinks his role should be) but aren't neccessarily made to be part of it.

Furthermore, Turkeys "longstanding problems with the military" as you call it, are actually founded in the safeguard of republic founder Kemal Atatürk, who instated those safeguards with the intention of the military guarding against the resurgence of a theocratic regime and the destructing of Turkeys republic. Without Atatürk and without the military enforcing his reforms, Turkey would still be an islamic sultanate. One can argue how well they worked at different times in Turkeys history, but one can't argue that a safeguard wasn't needed. Apparently Atatürk still failed. Whether Turkey still remains a democracy/republic in the next years remains to be seen.

The problem, as it has been described to me, there is a gap between intention and implimentation. Of course the military's indipendence did stabilize the Turkish Republic but it also influnced the rules of civilian society. Having then militars "safeguarding the republic" was seen as roadblock to even republic-minded reform.

Delving into counterfactuals serves no purpose here; otherwise we would have to start with the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) at the least.
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Online Dragon

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
I guess that's how the world is looking now. On one hand, this situation smells of pot calling the kettle black. On the other, he does have a friggin' point. Go figure. TBH, I wouldn't be surprised if Germany ends up worse after the next election than Erdogan's Turkey. Seibert says it best "We should demonstrate what we demand from others". Everyone should (right down to the personal level, too. I do my best to live by it every day). Sadly, hypocrisy is much more popular these days.

As far as I'm concerned at this point, being antidemocratic isn't the worst thing a leader could be. A few more elections like the recent US one and I'll be saying it's a principal trait of an effective (well, in a "likely to see his country through this mess" sense) leader. In a way, I find it admirable that Erdogan had the balls to say what he (and no doubt many others) were thinking. Strong words, but perhaps not as undeserved as everyone would like them to be.

 

Offline Torchwood

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
Sure, having Daddy Strongman keep a tight grip on the government and unilaterally impose his - and it's usually his - will can get results quickly. For you, the averge citizen, this is beneficial only if certain conditions are met.

1. The man in charge and whoever he delegates responsibilities to because he can't be everywhere at once are competent at governing and interesting in acting to a citizen's benefit. Finding someone like this and having him stay in power against someone more ruthless and ambitious in a dictatorship, particularly a young one without a lot of tradition behind it, is a long shot at best. Theoretically, letting your best and brightest rule like Plato's vision of the ideal city-state would be a great form of government. In practice, you are far more likely to end up with the most vicious and willing to win by any means necessary in charge.

2. You are not considered an enemy of the autocrat and his buddies for some reason or the other. People like those can get pissed at you for the silliest of reasons - maybe your skin color is off, maybe the shape of your nose or your buttocks doesn't match an arbitrary ideal, maybe you are just to noisy and ask too many questions to be considered a good obedient subject, maybe you got too much applause during your last public speech. If you are on their ****list, you are basically screwed. Pettiness is widespread and well-documented - why should rulers be different, if not worse? The only thing they fear is the wrath of God, and with the rise of skepticism, not even that.

3. You are content with the fact that however powerless you may feel against say, some plutocrat lobbyist or big-leagues minister, being ruled by someone undemocratic will only make it worse. There is no reason why someone who believes democracy is a worthless endeavor would give anything but the right to obey to his subjects. I have seen your love to argue firsthand, Dragon. Please thank carefully if you really want someone with a stern governing style in charge. Especially if that someone decides to use religion as the major unifier for his people and expects everyone to conform.

I'll be the first to admit that anti-autocracy memes are standard fare in European education and there are way too many communist sympathizers willing to overlook the faults of their favorites. Doesn't mean there is a nugget of truth to being wary of a seductive trap.

 

Offline Mikes

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
As far as I'm concerned at this point, being antidemocratic isn't the worst thing a leader could be. A few more elections like the recent US one and I'll be saying it's a principal trait of an effective (well, in a "likely to see his country through this mess" sense) leader. In a way, I find it admirable that Erdogan had the balls to say what he (and no doubt many others) were thinking. Strong words, but perhaps not as undeserved as everyone would like them to be.

Mh ... let's hope you are in the minority with these thoughts because successfully running a democracy/republic does require some understanding in it's citizen as in why this is a good thing and why the alternatives are worse.

History gives some pointers. History even gives such strong pointers that people choose to die for the ideal of democracy and freedom in the past. Imagine that.

Beyond the path of democracy, the beasts of autocracy and theocracy are just laying in wait ... and if we are so complacent now that we don't even worry about that anymore or even consider a "strong undemocratic leader" a good thing, then I would say we have learned nothing from the past.

Also, what is "not undeserved" supposed to mean? Are you calling Germany and the Netherlands "Nazi" as well now or what? And if you are, can you actually substantiate your opinion with hard facts (I'm waiting ..... lol) or was that just a careless drive by insult?
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 11:18:02 am by Mikes »

 

Online Dragon

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
1. The man in charge and whoever he delegates responsibilities to because he can't be everywhere at once are competent at governing and interesting in acting to a citizen's benefit. Finding someone like this and having him stay in power against someone more ruthless and ambitious in a dictatorship, particularly a young one without a lot of tradition behind it, is a long shot at best. Theoretically, letting your best and brightest rule like Plato's vision of the ideal city-state would be a great form of government. In practice, you are far more likely to end up with the most vicious and willing to win by any means necessary in charge.
And what, pray tell, prevents this exact thing from happening in a democracy? Nothing, which is how people like Donald Trump get elected. Indeed, this exact problem is why I favor a hereditary monarchy with a multilayer succession system. You restrict your pool of potential candidates to highly educated (even if education isn't outright made mandatory, you'll see that royals of the world generally tend to get higher education, often in prestigious colleges), manageably-sized group of people. If you just pick your ruler from the general population by any means, you'll eventually get those who are best at gaming the system you're using, as opposed to actually ruling. Unless, of course, the test involves running a substantial territory, but then you essentially a meritocracy, which has a disturbing tendency to elevate people to places just above their level of competence.
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2. You are not considered an enemy of the autocrat and his buddies for some reason or the other. People like those can get pissed at you for the silliest of reasons - maybe your skin color is off, maybe the shape of your nose or your buttocks doesn't match an arbitrary ideal, maybe you are just to noisy and ask too many questions to be considered a good obedient subject, maybe you got too much applause during your last public speech. If you are on their ****list, you are basically screwed. Pettiness is widespread and well-documented - why should rulers be different, if not worse? The only thing they fear is the wrath of God, and with the rise of skepticism, not even that.
True, crossing an autocrat or any of the ruling elite isn't exactly good for one's heath. But then, is it really any different in a democracy? Granted, there's something to be said for increased freedom as far as political dissent goes, but as far as pettiness goes, any system that is not completely egalitarian will have elites who can (and will, if you threaten or inconvenience them) make life miserable for someone who's not a member of those elites. An average person doesn't have much chance going against a politician and his/her legal team. Curbing corruption and abuse of power is within interests of any autocratic ruler, mostly because those can cost the state serious money.
 
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3. You are content with the fact that however powerless you may feel against say, some plutocrat lobbyist or big-leagues minister, being ruled by someone undemocratic will only make it worse. There is no reason why someone who believes democracy is a worthless endeavor would give anything but the right to obey to his subjects. I have seen your love to argue firsthand, Dragon. Please thank carefully if you really want someone with a stern governing style in charge. Especially if that someone decides to use religion as the major unifier for his people and expects everyone to conform.
I'm not saying Erdogan in particular is a good choice, I'm not fond of him. But a secular autocrat is an acceptable alternative to chaos or conquest, in my eyes. The biggest thing is finding someone who is not bigoted or crazy over a particular ideology. However, his "illiberal democracy" is only disagreeable because it's somewhat dishonest, as far as I'm concerned. Then again, for people too stupid to realize that they are too stupid to be trusted with a country, this might be a decent solution.

As far as I'm concerned at this point, being antidemocratic isn't the worst thing a leader could be. A few more elections like the recent US one and I'll be saying it's a principal trait of an effective (well, in a "likely to see his country through this mess" sense) leader. In a way, I find it admirable that Erdogan had the balls to say what he (and no doubt many others) were thinking. Strong words, but perhaps not as undeserved as everyone would like them to be.

Mh ... let's hope you are in the minority with these thoughts because successfully running a democracy/republic does require some understanding in it's citizen as in why this is a good thing and why the alternatives are worse.

History gives some pointers. History even gives such strong pointers that people choose to die for the ideal of democracy and freedom in the past. Imagine that.

Beyond the path of democracy, the beasts of autocracy and theocracy are just laying in wait ... and if we are so complacent now that we don't even worry about that anymore or even consider a "strong undemocratic leader" a good thing, then I would say we have learned nothing from the past.

Also, what is "not undeserved" supposed to mean? Are you calling Germany and the Netherlands "Nazi" as well now or what? And if you are, can you actually substantiate your opinion with hard facts (I'm waiting ..... lol) or was that just a careless drive by insult?
Talk about indoctrinated... Yes, successfully maintaining a democracy requires understanding of politics among their citizens. They need to know what's best for the country, and they need to know that because they know what's best, it keeps running. Here's the thing: they don't. They really don't. They're a bunch of gibbering morons running around like chickens, easily fooled into following the latest new, flashy thing, easily persuaded, easily scared, easily manipulated by those willing to use their fears, their bigotry and their stupidity to their own ends. I'm in a minority because I actually think, and I can see that people around me don't. This is why I don't think much of democracy.

People were willing to die for a lot of silly things. If we go by that metric, monarchy is hands down the best system ever invented, just because so many poor shmucks gave their lives for either their king or someone they thought should be a king. Or for their God. Or money. Seriously, this argument actually works for theocracies and monarchies better than for democracies. A lot more people died for the sake of Christianity alone than for democracy.

Autocracy is not all bad, and in those times it might be worse than weak, feeble democracy. A weak, democratic leader is exactly what we don't need at this point. During Cold War this was less critical except for the US and USSR, since those two pretty much guaranteed political stability, except in places where they came to blows. In the current situation, though, the leadership needs to know what it is doing, because there's no global thermonuclear war looming on the horizon to cool everyone's tempers and no great enemy to be united against. This is where democracy begins to fail, divisions emerge and the whole system falls to pieces due to the morons squabbling over their skin color or religion.

As for why the insult was not undeserved, well, take a look at what it related to. Germany has been suppressing political rallies. Well, tell me when was the last time they did that. This isn't a good sign and Erdogan was rightly pointing that out. I would have used different words (could have compared them to Erdogan, for example  :)), but the point still stands.

 

Offline Torchwood

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
Now there's some interesting food for thought. Can't deny that ceding more power to the smarter and more competent is tempting. We are been so focused on equality that we're pretending the unfortunate reality that some lights shine brighter than others doesn't exist.

It is true that both autocracies and democracies are prone to corruption. You cannot guarantee democracies won't elect showboats over the really competent, but you also have to live with the risk that a mnoarch's successor is someone who is absolutely bat**** loco and will do terrible things if put in power. The major difference, however, lies in the possibility of weeding it out. If you are living under the whims of a tyrant, or worse, the iron law of a self-proclaimed moral authority, your options are either wait it out and hope the successor is better, or violent overthrow. Now, it is safe to say that revolution is not a pleasant thing. There will be lot of dead people, by historical trends you are likely to end up with someone just as bad or worse in charge if the rebels win and your nation will look weak, dysfunctional, and worst of all exploitable to others.

But every democracy has a system of checks and balances - if a dictator decides to eliminate someone for arbitrary reasons, there is pretty much no resistance. You can see the most insane mandates enacted - look no further than the antics Carribean dictators got up to with absolute power. They might even be entertaining if not for the magnitude of suffering they caused.

However, even Donald Trump can't order journos shot on the streets, no matter how much he hates them - at most, you might see right wing media subtly incite violence. A bad dictatorship can do much more damage than a bad democracy.

As for stability, the biggest single point of failure in monarchies is line of succession. There have been many wars inside monarchies over disputes on that matter, and there is no reason to believe that those with superior education would settle for anything less than superior ambition if presented with an opportunity by a less-than-ideal successor.

If you want a better democracy, you need better people. And the best way to make better people lies in proper care and education of children and good parenting. That is where those who do think can make a difference. Start with educating the deluded who thought our current immigration policies are anything but a dysfunctional mess and insisting that they are a good thing left us vulnerable to being played like a cheap fiddle.

 

Offline Mikes

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
Education really is key. I doubt we'd get people bashing/devaluing democracy with more historic literacy.

Democracy indeed isn't the best system because it leads to the best decision in every situation. It is the best system (that we know of) because the alternatives have historically been proven to always lead to horrible atrocities. I.e. Neverending religious wars in theocracies and succession wars in autocracies as well as your and every other citizens very life and physical wellbeing being threathened by the whims of the current leader/ruler/regime.

Heck, even a classic like Orwells Animal Farm will give you major pointers of what not to do in government and why. (Even tho that one is mostly about the failures of Sowiet style Communism)

If anything a democracy may/will go into failure mode if your education slips below a certain level and arguably we are seeing some of this in current politics. But democracy's ultimate failure mode basically is that it is being replaced by a worse system, i.e. theocracy or autocracy, and we all know how that always turned out, historically. So if you have "unwashed masses who can't think" that is not an argument against democracy Dragon, ... but that is a huge wakeup call that you have to take government seriously again and invest into education, if you want to preserve your democratic system.

Lots of people take democracy for granted these days ... but I would argue it is actually a rather fragile system depending on a lot of factors to run smoothly and endure the test of time. Getting rid of it to in favor of autocracy and expecting things to get "better" is nothing short of naive. Short term, maybe, if (and that is a gigantic IF!) you find a perfect selfless ruler that never gets corrupted by his power. Long term however, history proves you utterly false either way.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 06:46:38 pm by Mikes »

 

Online Dragon

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
As for stability, the biggest single point of failure in monarchies is line of succession. There have been many wars inside monarchies over disputes on that matter, and there is no reason to believe that those with superior education would settle for anything less than superior ambition if presented with an opportunity by a less-than-ideal successor.
Yes, which is why I specified "multilayered succession system". For a monarchy to last, one needs to introduce some kind of selection process. The Saudis, for example, seem to have that sort of system. No "fixed" heir, but instead  they have several crown princes whose order of succession is fluid. At the same time, like the British, there should be a long line of succession, with enough backup candidates so that everyone can't be wiped out in a single disaster of any kind. Succession problems can and has been solved by modern monarchies. Open warfare for the crown is unheard of today, even in states with absolute monarchies.

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But every democracy has a system of checks and balances - if a dictator decides to eliminate someone for arbitrary reasons, there is pretty much no resistance. You can see the most insane mandates enacted - look no further than the antics Carribean dictators got up to with absolute power. They might even be entertaining if not for the magnitude of suffering they caused.

However, even Donald Trump can't order journos shot on the streets, no matter how much he hates them - at most, you might see right wing media subtly incite violence. A bad dictatorship can do much more damage than a bad democracy.
Trump once said he could kill a person in Times Square in broad daylight and he wouldn't lose support. Now, his enemies would certainly try to have his head if he tried - but the big question is, what if the majority wants him to shoot people on the street? A year ago, this would've been a hypothetical scenario I'd have to make up for the sake of the argument. Not anymore. What if people want the roving lunatic? A year ago, the obvious retort would be "come on, they're not that dumb". Again, not anymore.

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If you want a better democracy, you need better people. And the best way to make better people lies in proper care and education of children and good parenting. That is where those who do think can make a difference. Start with educating the deluded who thought our current immigration policies are anything but a dysfunctional mess and insisting that they are a good thing left us vulnerable to being played like a cheap fiddle.
A tall order. Very tall. Don't you think that people aren't trying? Schoolteachers, professors, educational TV hosts... all try. And yet, it's not enough. TBH, maybe that's why democracy is starting to fail. Freedom of speech, it turns is a double edged sword. On the internet, you can find anything. So why listen to those eggheads when there's this cool guy telling you that the aliens are to blame for all this? Moreover, it's easier to blame the aliens (from space or from Mexico, take you pick) than yourself and your own neighbors. Simple people will always prefer simpler solutions, even if they are too simple for them to actually work. The sad truth is, it's easier to change the government than to change the people.

If anything a democracy may/will go into failure mode if your education slips below a certain level and arguably we are seeing some of this in current politics. But democracy's ultimate failure mode basically is that it is being replaced by a worse system, i.e. theocracy or autocracy, and we all know how that always turned out, historically. So if you have "unwashed masses who can't think" that is not an argument against democracy Dragon, ... but that is a huge wakeup call that you have to take government seriously again and invest into education, if you want to preserve your democratic system.

Lots of people take democracy for granted these days ... but I would argue it is actually a rather fragile system depending on a lot of factors to run smoothly and endure the test of time. Getting rid of it to in favor of autocracy and expecting things to get "better" is nothing short of naive. Short term, maybe, if (and that is a gigantic IF!) you find a perfect selfless ruler that never gets corrupted by his power. Long term however, history proves you utterly false either way.
Do you realize that you've just dismissed the greatest argument democracy might have going for it? That is, political stability. And actually, you're right. It is actually rather fragile. It's not that it can't work - it did, after all, work in the US, even when the rest of the world was autocratic and outright imperialist. You know why it was so? Because Americans were so proud of it. Unlike European nations, the US did not exist before democracy, and it was created with people for whom it was a cornerstone. They didn't take it for granted for all these years, instead fighting tooth and nail to preserve the fragile system. And it worked for nearly thrice as long as it did for Europe.

Education is indeed important, but education doesn't bestow intellect. You can't educate some people past a certain level, though you can indoctrinate them (which does help uphold democracy, to your credit). A wakeup call, yes, but were those people ever awake? As I said above, today, smart people no longer have monopoly on information. Idiots could speak, but would go unheard, simply because barriers to being widely heard were higher. Now, they can choose among countless places all competing to tell them what to think. Suddenly, it turns out that truth and logical reasoning don't have the appeal of pretty lies and oversimplified conclusions.
Education really is key. I doubt we'd get people bashing/devaluing democracy with more historic literacy.

Democracy indeed isn't the best system because it leads to the best decision in every situation. It is the best system (that we know of) because the alternatives have historically been proven to always lead to horrible atrocities. I.e. Neverending religious wars in theocracies and succession wars in autocracies as well as your and every other citizens very life and physical wellbeing being threathened by the whims of the current leader/ruler/regime.
For the record, my cousin is a historian and I'm keenly interested in history myself. It's not a matter of historical literacy. It's you who don't have the history straight. The entire world was ruled by monarchs, as was the Roman Empire in its best years. I don't know what country you're from (based on our discussion so far, I'd guess America), but in Poland, the time of Jagiellonian kings is remembered very fondly. The times when our record is the most spotty is, guess what, the period during which Poland became democratic (well, as democratic as you could be back then, it was actually an elective monarchy). True, the power still rested with the nobility, but the king was elected and had to abide by the proto-constitution. England had its best years under kings and queens. Elizabeth I, Victoria, Henry VIII (his marriage antics aside), just to name a few, are still fondly remembered. Somehow, many people forgive them their flaws, because they made the country stronger. It's not the case of history through rose-tinted glasses. One look at history of Poland, England, France, Russia or any other longstanding country will show that the time of the kings wasn't a string of succession wars. For most part, succession went without fuss. Autocracy, when done right, can work and there's over 2000 years of historical evidence pointing to that. Come to think of it - nobody could even imagine the level of atrocities committed by Nazis and Soviets (who both ended up in power by "vox populi", even if they later turned dictatorial). Armenian Genocide (under Ottomans) comes close, but even then, it wasn't really an industrialized, coordinated effort (and even then, it was pretty much a first since it was declared genocides are not OK).

 

Offline Phantom Hoover

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
For the record, my cousin is a historian

i have three cousins who are doctors so let me assure you i am something of an authority on medicine
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Online Dragon

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
Well, if I had to choose between health advice from you and someone else with no contact with medicine... well, given our history on this forum I'd go with the other guy as a precaution, but if we met IRL and I was sure you don't know I'm Dragon, I'd give your advice more credit that normal. :) Even you can't sit at a dinner table with three doctors and not learn anything useful.

Also, I mentioned my cousin because I did, in fact, discuss democracy with him a few times. Given my interest in both history and politics, it would've been a waste no to. He helped me reach the conclusion I did.

 

Offline Mikes

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
Well, if I had to choose between health advice from you and someone else with no contact with medicine... well, given our history on this forum I'd go with the other guy as a precaution, but if we met IRL and I was sure you don't know I'm Dragon, I'd give your advice more credit that normal. :) Even you can't sit at a dinner table with three doctors and not learn anything useful.

Also, I mentioned my cousin because I did, in fact, discuss democracy with him a few times. Given my interest in both history and politics, it would've been a waste no to. He helped me reach the conclusion I did.

Well in my opinion, if you had a serious problem, you would likely just be as dead (no offense Hoover) as our personal and political freedom would be, if your opinions were shared by the majority of people.

More to the point, by praising autocracy I can only conclude that you don't even have a notion as to why personal and political freedoms are concepts of value that need to be defended. I mean, how can you value either and still ask to give up both for the sake of a supreme ruler? Logically not possible.

Hence ... i stopped bothering thinking about a point by point reply as you held up the Saudis as a shining example. It's not that we could find much common ground after such a statement so I doubt further discussion would be productive and I'm not feeling like being dragged into a futile shouting match today.  Let's agree to (strongly) disagree? ;-)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 11:21:49 am by Mikes »

 

Online Dragon

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
Why do you think political freedom is worth that much? I do value personal freedom to a degree, but every person's freedom ends when another's begins. In matters that concern a country, freedom will always have to be constrained, because otherwise, there would be no country to speak of. It is possible to have a regime that is autocratic, yet respects personal freedoms. It's called liberal autocracy:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_autocracy
In that system, personal freedoms are left along, but the all politics are left to those who are more intelligent and more qualified than regular people on the street. It sacrifices political freedom, sure, but recent events have shown that relying on regular people having their facts straight is rather risky.

I drew up Saudis as an example of a monarchy that is politically stable and doesn't fear a succession crisis. You're mistaking my praise of their system (which is pretty well set up) for a praise for the actual rulers. Though given what I've seen of their subjects, it's still preferable to letting a common Saudi Arabian decide. In Saudi Arabia, the royal family are actually the progressive ones. This is what I'm getting it. You don't want democracy in Saudi Arabia, it's better for it to be a monarchy ruled by a misogynistic, bigoted kings than a full-on Wahhabist theocracy (see Islamic State for how well that one works). The fact that it's still standing and has a decent standard of living shows that it's probably the best those people can hope for, much better than if they tried governing it themselves.

 

Offline Mikes

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
Why do you think political freedom is worth that much? I do value personal freedom to a degree, but every person's freedom ends when another's begins. In matters that concern a country, freedom will always have to be constrained, because otherwise, there would be no country to speak of. It is possible to have a regime that is autocratic, yet respects personal freedoms. It's called liberal autocracy:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_autocracy
In that system, personal freedoms are left along, but the all politics are left to those who are more intelligent and more qualified than regular people on the street. It sacrifices political freedom, sure, but recent events have shown that relying on regular people having their facts straight is rather risky.

Because the lack of personal and political freedom is called oppression, being dependent on the whim of a ruler or ruling caste.
And that freedom limits itself where the freedom of others starts is not a flaw in freedom but obvious. Most true values limits itself in this way, by their very definition. The point is that you don't artificially limit it by other interests than itself.

If you want to know why oppression or even just dedicated ruling castes that are "better" than their subkects are a bad idea do indeed read "Animal Farm" please.

Power corrupts, eventually anyways. And setting up a ruling caste that is (or even just thinks themselves) "smarter" than everyone else sounds like a surefire way of going down full steam corruption lane and legitimizing oppression.

All people are equal, just some people are more equal than others, eh? ;-)

I drew up Saudis as an example of a monarchy that is politically stable and doesn't fear a succession crisis. You're mistaking my praise of their system (which is pretty well set up) for a praise for the actual rulers. Though given what I've seen of their subjects, it's still preferable to letting a common Saudi Arabian decide. In Saudi Arabia, the royal family are actually the progressive ones. This is what I'm getting it. You don't want democracy in Saudi Arabia, it's better for it to be a monarchy ruled by a misogynistic, bigoted kings than a full-on Wahhabist theocracy (see Islamic State for how well that one works). The fact that it's still standing and has a decent standard of living shows that it's probably the best those people can hope for, much better than if they tried governing it themselves.

You are ignoring the entire point about education. As said above, democracy requires a certain level of education and ability to reason and think for themselves in their citizens. Only then things can get better and progress.

Dogmatic religion is pretty much the opposite of that. Of course you can't establish a democracy when your population is in all out dogmatic religious mode, certainly not if the religion in question claims any kind of authority in political matters. (And if only someone had told George W. that before invading Iraq ... ) Once you stoop to that level you need indeed to be very lucky and have a leader that raises education to a level where democracy/ a republic / or any kind of progress for that matter becomes possible again. (See Atatürk's banishment of Islam from Turkish politics for instance.) But at that point democracy/a republic will always be the better option and a leader who is truly interested in progress instead of personal power will recognize that. Heck, maybe even for no other reason than to solve the succession problem once he gets old.

And if you really still don't get why one is better than the other yet... then you must never have wondered why there is such a huge discrepancy of progress, scientific and otherwise between western democratic nations where people are allowed to think and say what they want and nations where they are not. And for that ... personal freedom is kind of essential.

On the matter of "liberal autocracy" ... go read some literature from time periods where it actually existed. Like Voltaire for instance. You immediately get the impression that no argument, regardless of how logical or insightful, can stand on its own. Every argument that is presented is usually accompaigned by phrases like "As his majesty in his wisdom will surely agree with". So yeah ... progress can happen or not... at the whim of the autocrat. And if that autocrat or a successor is more interested in luxury and debauchery than progress and wisdom at some point then the whole nation is sh** out of luck. No matter how logical and strong the arguments. Wonderful Dragon World that would be. lol.

In a working democracy progress would be a feature, not a random by product. And the history of the western world up to this point kinda proves that. If times get worse nowadays then this just makes it all the more evident of how much we have to lose and how important it is to not neglect the foundations of our democracy. But yeah of course ... go ahead and throw the "democracy" Baby out with the Bathwater and naively think that would fix anything, why wouldn't you.

Your homework now would be to look for correlations of the speed of scientific and ecomonic progress in time periods / countries where democracies existed as opposed to when they did not exist.
Fun bonus fact: Coincidentially ... the entire scientific method only really came into it's own in democratic ancient Greece. Quite a "coincidence" huh?

Might have something to do with the fact that science kinda works a little bit better when people have the freedom to think and express what they find and share it with the scientific community without having to make sure none of their findings upset the ruling caste and gets them locked up? Nah that would make too much sense wouldn't it?
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 05:26:50 pm by Mikes »

 

Offline Aesaar

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
For the record, my cousin is a historian and I'm keenly interested in history myself. It's not a matter of historical literacy. It's you who don't have the history straight.
I'm a historian and so's my father and if your cousin agrees with you, he's a ****ty historian and it's no wonder all your conclusions are wrong if you learned from him.

Your post is the post equivalent of a hoarder house.  I don't even know where to start cleaning it's all so ****ed.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 04:58:20 pm by Aesaar »

 

Offline Phantom Hoover

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
Well, if I had to choose between health advice from you and someone else with no contact with medicine... well, given our history on this forum I'd go with the other guy as a precaution, but if we met IRL and I was sure you don't know I'm Dragon, I'd give your advice more credit that normal. :) Even you can't sit at a dinner table with three doctors and not learn anything useful.

actually my parents are both doctors as well, can you tell me if this is enough to qualify for a licence to practise medicine in poland or do i need to get my sister to become one as well
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline Mikes

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Re: Erdogan's Turkey goes Godwin
forgot: also my dad's friends aunt knew a better historian than all of your historians. Do I win the internets now? :)