2011/05/13

On democracy in Germany

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The basic idea and foundation of democracy is that all people share power. There's not a small group supposed to make all relevant decisions.

The basic idea and foundation of representative democracy is that these powerful people delegate some authority to a smaller group of people for practical reasons. A politician can and should spend much more time on political matters than the average adult should.

The power still flows upwards on the pyramid; its origin is in the people, and it merely gets delegated to the elected officials. A requirement for a German political party is a democratic structure.



Sadly, we've only got one political party (if any) that's really democratic. All others are oligarchic. The top dogs (about 5-20 people per party) decide on what shall be done and those who are supposed to be their source of power are mere followers; sheep.

The recent reorganisation of the FDP (liberals) leadership demonstrated this fact again, visible for anyone. The press isn't even being irritated by this oligarchic behaviour any more. A few top politicians decided who's going to be the next federal FDP minister (by constitution, that should be a chancellor's choice) and who's going to be the next FDP chairman (this is supposed to be the decision of the FDP national party conference.

This congregation of sheep has just confirmed the new party chairman. There was no other candidate. The majority in his favour was 95% - strictly reminiscent of Stalinist farce democracies and other autocratic states which generally publish such irritating results.
In the German political culture of today, journalists and commentators don't criticise this obvious oligarchic structure of a ruling political party. Instead, they comment as if such a vote was a good sign.


German politicians often complain about the lack of enthusiasm of the citizens for politics. Maybe, just maybe they should consider ending the farce democracy that's in fact an oligarchy and build a real democracy. That would be completely against the only politicians with real influence, of course; the oligarchs.

S O
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13 comments:

  1. Are you really complaining about the oligarchic attitudes of those in power and not even mentioning the EU's Council's and Commissions and third-degree insulation from any actual voter's concerns? Really? That's what concerns you?

    I'm trying to find out if you're making some Jesuitical witticism at the EU's expense.

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  2. I wrote about Germany, not Brussels.

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  3. DemolitionMan14 May 2011 15:16

    The general problem with authority and higher posts...some certain 16yr chancellor can sing a song about that matter. If he would...but nice that you appreciate the Green party at least for one thing. :)

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  4. A MilBlog isn't exactly an ideal platform for praising greens - especially since they've been badly confused about military policy for twelve years.

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  5. Democracy in the old Greek meaning had a strong aristocratic element. And still 100 years ago the idea of a general democracy as we understand it now would have seemed strange. Democracy without enabling and teaching the populace to decide and treating them as stakeholders in the greater good - the REPUBLIC - is simply mob rule. The old approach of a tax-based voting system was a very wise one. Especially in a capitalistic society only those who contribute NET (not those with overall negative economic output) should be considered Burger and have the popular privilege to vote.

    The parties are the death of democracy, Art. 38 Abs. 1 Satz 2 GG "Freies Mandat" is just fiction. We have the pro-forma choice between spineless not-so-liberal (FDP), authoritarian-clerical (CDU/CSU), flavorless ex-leftist sell-out (SPD), marxist-luddite (Greens), and Trotskysts (The Left). But in reality they are just flavors of the same limited system. It doesn't matter shite who is in Bundestag. The real power is already far removed from public influence. If it ever was there. I don't know.

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  6. No non-democratic form of ruling is more legitimate than what you call "mob rule". That a smear attack on the people, by the way.

    Even illiterate hunter-gatherer communities fare better with basic democracy than with autocratic rule.

    There's no special education needed at all.
    Look at the smear attacks of national conservatives against the non-academic social democrats in the 19th century; in the end, the actual worker representatives were still better representatives (actually concerned about the people) than the establishment people.

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  7. "Democracy in the old Greek meaning had a strong aristocratic element."

    No, the opposite, Democracy in the old greek meaning - pejorative in most contemporary philosphical contexts - was the elimination of nearly all aristocratic influences (ballot instead of vote, forced assembly attendence etc.).

    also I m having problems seeing the educational and deliberative aspects you seek in a tax based voting system. Remember we had that, and it didnt work out well.

    Trotzkyists - in a party roughly 80% made off ex SED-members, realy?

    Offenbar ist antidemokratische Attitüde und ein wenig Halbwissen heute alles was man braucht um sich weise zu fühlen.

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  8. @James;
    I blocked your second account because I will not offer you a forum for such a lie.

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  9. It's the same, or maybe even worse, here in Sweden. A very, very few number of people at the top of the political parties makes all the relevant decisions. Members of parliament are expected to vote according to the party leaderships' wishes, or they will not be considered for inclusion on the party lists of candidates during the next elections (a matter totally under the control of the party leadership, the voters or even the members of the party have no say when it comes to selecting the candidates), effectively ending their political careers.

    The US seems to have a much better system, in which the parties are just campaign organisations, and the voters' opinions actually matter.

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  10. What is your opinion of separating financial policy (the central bank) from politics? Assuming democracy is desired, shouldn't the people have more influence on financial policy?

    The argument that separating the central bank from politics (democracy) is to ensure stability and prosperity is (in my opinion) exactly the same argument which is used to support oligarchy in politics.

    How can anyone really claim to be free when their finances are controlled by someone else?

    A Central Bank being "independent" is just nonsense. Independent from "politics" maybe, but all people and organizations are always (inter)dependent on something, which is a good thing.

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  11. @ Anonymous: Bevor Sie mit persönlichen Angriffen antworten, bitte sich zu informieren!

    In classical Greece there was no general democracy. It was democracy for CITIZENS, which approximately meant affluent male who had served in the armed forces. NOT eligible were women, peasants, slaves, &c. All in all maybe only a quarter of the population was eliglible. Today that would roughly correspond to the upper middle class and above. In my mind that's pretty aristocratic!

    Btw, I'm far from anti-democratic. I'm all for direct democracy (like in a number of Swiss Cantons), but certainly not a fan of our glorious representative democracy, and most certainly an enemy of our party dominated parliamentarian system.

    And re teaching & enabling to decide: An absolute weakness of today's nonreflective system. We train our kids, we train our employess, we train everyone for every little shite, but we indiscriminately let every ignorant and uninformed tosser have a say in our future.

    One could easily make our parliamentarism much more efficient and reflective of the people's will. E.g. population number based absolute percentages instead of relative percentages in the Bundestag (meaning 60% of seats remain empty when only 60% of people vote), shorter mandate (3 years with one third up for election every year), a parliament that is TRUELY the highest assembly of the people (meaning also the highest court). No Ersatz-Kaiser aka Bundespraesident. Strengthening of the Parliament almost to the level of Cromwell's early years to keep the executive branch under controll. Etc etc. I one would want to make it better there would be dozens and dozens fundamental factors - but that's the point, right? It's not supposed to work. Not really. As they say: If voting would change anything it would be outlawed.

    And we see another alarming trend: Check & balances aka Gewaltenteilung does not work any more (if it ever did). Something that started in the U.S. and is now reaching Europe. The Bundesrepublik was always and still is a controlled democracy, with the unseen hand defining what is allowed in the "demokratischen Diskurs" and what not. But the visible parts were influenceable. Not the off-limit parts are growing and the opportunity to influence is shrinking. The idea of the REPUBLIC was never weaker in Germany.

    And finally re a tax based voting system: Isn't that the natural consequence of the victory of the anglo-saxon world view? Only to give those a vote who actually have a dog in the race isn't as bad as it seems. I didn't propose a property-based system, that's wouldn't be representative any more. For democracy and the Republic to survive it needs an element of honor and the awareness that freedom and liberties are neither good-given (= active participation BEYOND making a cross every four years) nor free (= give and thou shalt receive, or be eligible to vote, in this case). The idea that the democratic system bestows people with the RIGHT to vote is false. It is a PRIVILEDGE that has to fought for every single day and that the people give themselves.

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  12. About possible improvements:
    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2010/03/lets-improve-our-democracy-work-in.html

    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2010/03/lets-improve-our-democracy-work-in_22.html

    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2010/04/lets-improve-our-democracy-work-in.html

    About central bank: Different issue. This one was about party oligarchy. A central bank board of directors topic is about technocracy.

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  13. I dont know where you get your information on greek (athenean) democracy. Im refering to the periclean system. Every citizen (no women, no slaves, no foreigners) held suffrage then, and participation in assembly and courts was actually payed for. Affluence and social status was counciously isolated from the political process.

    2. Are we teaching political participation? Yes we do, schools provide 2 lessons a week from 9th class up. There is an abundance of political information on TV every day. etc.

    3. What are you imagining as "unseen hand" that controls the political discurse in germany? Something trivial like public or published oppinion? A more sinister force?

    4. could you set your mind straight on the voting system issue. It ought to be tax based, but you "didn't propose a property-based system"?

    5. also more convincing arguments should be delivered. Some obscure "anglo-saxon world view" and the assumption that it "isn't as bad as it seems" (WTF) are nothing like that.

    6. I see the apparent attractiveness of imposing ones conception of "honor and awareness" but as I wouldnt accept yours, you wouldnt accept mine, so status quo might be a wise thing.

    7. I - also - like direct forms of democracy, and I see the ills Sven pointed out. But your medicine kills the patient.

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