democracy not found

The Framers [of the Constitution] were cynical about the future of democracy. They studied failed democracies like Greece and Rome. They read Demosthenes. They designed a Constitution on the assumption that democracy might well deteriorate into demagoguery, and they created these complicated systems in order to filter the will of the people from being directly expressed. So all of these new media technologies – the idea of presidents tweeting directly to the people would’ve appalled [James] Madison, who thought direct communication between representatives and the people was the main potential source of tyranny, to be avoided. All of these filtering mechanisms are being undermined by technology, by reforms over the years, by the growing populist forces that are sweeping the world, and maintaining these Madisonian values in the face of these populist forces is something that liberals and conservatives increasingly should converge around.
—  Jeffrey Rosen, President of the National Constitution Center, with Terry Gross

Photo: Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Condoleezza Rice’s new book, Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, is a full-throated endorsement of overseas engagement and democracy building. It comes at a time of widespread distrust of government and institutions.

Rice’s “through line” is that institutions provide the bedrock for any successful democracy. Though institutions are built by people, she says, no country can rely on a single personality to carry it forward. The Founding Fathers knew this, so they constrained the executive by embedding it in a balance with other institutions.

“What the American Founding Fathers understood was that institutions were built for human imperfection,” she says, “not human perfection.”

Condoleezza Rice: Institutions Aren’t Perfect, But They’re The Bedrock Of Democracy

anonymous asked:

So I noticed that Unsounded could be interpreted as kind of a fantasy americana, with Kasslyne has some passing similarity to america both geographically and in it's culture, Shartshane is a bit like old new england around the 18th century and Cresce could be be seen as modern California transported back in time and made into a monarchy, Alderode being a recently founded democracy and first of its kind, and Sette traveling down a river with slaves, was this intentional? Or am I reaching?

Not intentional in the way that the Pequod was meant to be read as a microcosm of the United States, but you’re not totally off base. I’m American and I think my background can’t help but influence my fantasy. British fantasy is so often distinctly British, and I fear we sometimes try to copy Tolkien and Gaiman a bit too much. My favourite authors are not British and not even really fantasy authors - they’re the reverend Melville and Twain. They’re the ones who have flavoured my work. So yeah, we get a touch of Huck Finn in Sette, we get (later on) a character rather like Captain Ahab. You’ll see very little interest in castles or dark forests from me but you will see groups that have had their ancestral lands stolen from them, and religion gone wild, and Capitalism run rampant, and distrust of government, and fear fear fear of the Other from all sides, all the time.

I don’t have an agenda - I’m not egotistical enough to believe anyone should think like me - but I do have ideas I want to explore. And some of them are distinctly and inescapably American. Probably.

America’s Future Depends on Trump’s Impeachment

Consider this idea: Our government should run as it was meant to even if a large amount of the public is not correctly understanding the situation.

America boasts to be the bastion of freedom and democracy built on our founding documents and a system of checks and balanced unlike most in the world. Over the past year, we have been faced with a series of events that have shaken the foundation of our democracy.

If Trump is allowed to continue to wreak chaos and destruction on our country two things are likely to happen. People will truly lose faith in our democratic process and the chosen representatives. This could lead to mass lack of participation and lack of involvement, which would cripple the spirit of our nation. It would also lead to a lasting distrust of not only government, but each other. This administration has already damaged our culture by giving false legitimacy to lies, misinformation, and morally corrosive ideals. Letting it continue will damage our people’s ability to accept objective truths and be unbiased participants of our democracy.

This would leave us vulnerable anti-democratic forces that could succeed in retraining the free press, stifling free speech and protests, making unbalanced consolidations of power, placing profit over environmental safety and people’s health, deepening of economic divides, and the reemergence of nationalist and religious laws that condone prejudice.

No matter how you feel about Trump’s policies there is an undeniable truth. He has broken the law and many important ethical standards. Our laws were written exactly to keep men like him out of power. We need to have high ethical standards for all our representatives and never let personal pride our party affiliation prevent us from doing what is right.

If there is no impeachment it will rip our country apart and it may not recover for decades. I honestly even fear we could see civil war. We need to maintain the integrity of our democracy.

Save The Internet | The Internet Saves: #PDF14

Remember when we announced the Tumblr Fellowship program for the 2014 Personal Democracy Forum? Well, we found 10 social-digital-actual geniuses to be a part of it, and they’re in New York right now to hobnob and debate with other bright minds at the intersection of society and the internet. 

Congrats to Luis DanielKeya DannenbaumErin MazurskyMat MorganDeji OlukotunDave SeligerBen ValentineTracy ViselliSerena Wales, and Patricia Zablah

This year’s theme: Save the Internet | The Internet Saves.  Find out what in the world this means and follow their adventures via the tag #PDF14.

I like how reactionaries are so terrified of a supposedly socialist notion that a bunch of bureaucrats would gather in isolated rooms and decide what people need and what political form the government will take – all while completely ignoring the founding activities of the United States. When a handful of elite slave-master landowners gather in a room and decide to build a political system that deliberately prevents direct democracy, that’s fine, but if a handful of hypothetical “socialist” bureaucrats gather in a room and decide to build a political system that deliberately prevents direct democracy, that’s bad.

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These millennials are using tech to get young people to vote

In 2010, Seth Flaxman and Kathryn Peters, 32, founded Democracy Works, a civic-tech studio with a mission to “bring the awesomeness of the internet to the process of democracy.” Their first project was TurboVote, an online tool designed, as Flaxman put it, to make voting “seamless, easy and intuitive.” They’re doing it with easy online sign ups and text reminders. And they’re not the only ones.

In collaboration with Captain Morgan

wardyrose  asked:

I'm having a FB conversation with a libertarian about why I can't accept libertarian ideals. We got to the point where he claimed my criticisms aren't for capitalism, that some propaganda machine is telling me that society's ills are caused by this imposter system people call capitalism, that he wants the true pure capitalism ™, which would be the best thing ever. Waiting for him to respond to my question on wtf he'd call this, what we had in the past, and wtf that pure form would look like.

It’s ironic that he argues that propaganda is being used against capitalism to equate it with the imposter corporatist system, because “we have corporatism, not true capitalism” is itself very much a piece of bourgeois propaganda intended to keep people within the defined limits of political discourse while making them feel edgy and subversive – basically the Matrix fan theory that there were two layers to the Matrix, to get people who escaped the first layer to think they succeeded in challenging the machines’ authority, all while still remaining completely within the Matrix boundaries.

“True capitalism” inevitably sets up the conditions for “corporatism” to flourish. When you have a small class of elites controlling the larger productive capacities (something characteristic of both “true capitalism” and “corporatism”), they’ll inevitably mingle with the political process to shape policy to align with their interests. Private/public collusion has been relatively constant since capitalism’s not-so-humble beginnings. In this sense, right-wing libertarians are correct in that we’ve never had “true capitalism” – capitalism where the state does not interfere in the process – but they deliberately ignore how essential the state is for capitalism to function properly. “Big government” (minimum wages, corporate regulations, welfare) is the state desperately trying to reconcile capitalism despite the latter’s innate flaws and tensions. Without the implementation of some “big government” concessions, people would’ve called for complete overhaul of this system ages ago. Furthermore, private property rights over the collective means of production and the subordination of labor to capital are systemic qualities maintained through the state, which grants them legitimacy and a police force to crush protest and popular struggle against concentrated power.

You’re totally right, too – when called out on the capitalism/corporatism distinction, the argument shifts around to either “we once had it” or “we never had it”. If we once had it, it was the glorious days of the Founding Fathers™ where “small government” was the way (despite, ya know, the rampant imperialism and repression of anyone who wasn’t a property-owning white dude); in that case, right-wing libertarianism becomes an obvious case of reactionary propaganda. If we never had true capitalism, then it’s because the state has always interfered and we just need to “get it out of the way” or smash it – more realistic in its understanding that we’ve always had “corporatism” but less realistic in its understanding of history and the way capitalism actually functions. Either way, we have capitalism when it’s convenient for a narrative (when you’re using a computer, for example – “capitalism made that!”) and we have corporatism when it’s convenient for another narrative (when you’re demanding systemic change, for example – “we’ve never had capitalism so how can you oppose it?!”).

Tell him that leftists don’t seek out “big government” or top-down managing of the economy – both of those things are fundamental aspects of the capitalist epoch, the former being the band-aids and Elmer’s glue designed to hold this crumbling system together and the latter being the defining feature of capitalism (private/top-down ownership over the means of production). Tell him that traditional notions of ACTUAL “small government” came from socialists, specifically through libertarian Marxism and anarchism (which has consistently had an anti-capitalist foundation, until Murray Rothbard thought he could make a fine bit of propaganda in the form of “anarcho-capitalism”). Tell him that of the variety of ways social deliberation can be handled, autocracy (decision by one or a small subset) and democracy (decision by most or all) are the two broad umbrellas they all fall under, and capitalism relies on autocracy in pretty much all of the social deliberations that deal with power, influence, and access to resources – in other words, concentrated power and “big government”.

I used to be a “we never had true capitalism” right-libertarian so I understand where he’s coming from, but the sooner he understands how fundamentally propagandistic it all is, the closer he’ll get to embracing genuinely anti-authoritarian ideas.

hagar-972 said:

…isn’t citizenship recognized by international law as a human right? Not that I’m setting aside my Opinions on international law, but the parts of it that aren’t law-of-war tend to be worth the paper they’re printed on.

… Did you not believe me when I said he was an authoritarian shitbag? ‘Cause, well, yeah. It is internationally recognised as a human right. But Harper doesn’t care about international law, or the UN, or anything aside from being a power flaunting, war mongering, petrostate-building dickbag who gets Canadians killed and ostracised in his delusional one-man effort to remake Canada in the image of some bizarre hybrid of US Foreign Policy and Saudi Arabian economic dependency on oil and lack of other industry.

This is the man who ordered our UN delegation to walk out on the vote regarding giving Palestine observer status at the UN. Not just to abstain, or vote against, but to walk out. Mid-vote.

This is the man who has the arrogance to go to Europe and declare that Canada has “world-leading” emissions-reduction standards, when we’ve had the single worst increase in emissions since 1990 in the fucking OECD. And the increase has mostly been under his watch, as our previous governments had managed to at least put the brakes on a bit. Whereas Captain Shitbag here has let it go off unmitigated and uncontested, but still has the sheer fucking gall to parade around the world and act as if we’re doing our part, when we have the single worst-polluting oil fields on the planet. (Yes, even worse than Russia’s pooly-regulated ones.)

Harper does not give two fucking shits about international law, but worse, he doesn’t even care about Canadian law. For basically his entire reign, his government has been in court battles with the Supreme Court of Canada because they keep striking down his unconstitutional bullshit laws that frequently ignore the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that makes up the central part of our constitution. Yet, rather than accepting that what he wants is unconstitutional, he declares the judges “Activist Judges” and engages in media slander campaigns against them. And spends hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money fighting legal battles to try and overturn their decisions so that he can continue to violate the rights our laws afford every citizen and person.

The man is an authoritarian asshat, and bears all the signs of darker things to come, as he’s already taken the first steps towards eroding our democracy. His party has been found guilty of election fraud on three fucking occasions, he continuously plays with the politics of fear and exclusion, he’s destroyed our international reputation, he’s trampling human rights on a regular fucking basis, he’s destroyed our environmental regulations, and is generally just a total fucking shitbag.

And these, among other reasons, are why I fucking loathe that man.