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Alternative to democracy

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A lot of people would probably argue that although it has issues democracy is probably the best system we have. I would probably agree with that. However there are issues. The main issue if peoples lack of knowledge. A lot of people don't know enough about how the ecconomy and other things work. So asking them to vote is an issue.  I  didn't actually use to not vote as I felt it was wrong to because of my lack of knowledge.  I certainly wouldn't want some kind of dictatorship, however it would be interesting to see if their is a good alternative. I have read suggestions like some kind of points based system where the more you know the more your vote counts. The problem is who decides how much is enough knowledge. 

I suppose another alternative is to make democracy work better. More education and more encouragement to think logically and more guidence on how to think logically because a lot of people don't know how to think logically.  I think democracy has massive issues however I can't personally think if a better system.

 

 

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Democracy would work better if more than about 1% of the population actually bothered to read manifestos etc. instead of thinking that you get real information by watching party leaders shout over each other and act like bickering children in TV debates or perusing the odd newspaper headline or listening to carefully picked impartial experts on TV.

Democracy works perfectly in theory where everyone votes what is best for themselves as then the winning party or candidate are the best for the majority of the population.

Getting people better educated comes from politicians themselves and the media which is why it won't happen. Having people vote based on rhetoric and personality is what most politicians have built their success upon, they don't want to talk about the nitty gritty of policy.

And I used to be an advocate of trying to teach some political literacy in schools but good luck trying to get 11-16 year olds to put their phones down and have a debate about politics when they're not even old enough to vote, so that route is a non starter.

Even a heavily flawed democracy is the only acceptable way to govern despite all of this.

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Program some AI to be a benevolent dictator. People are shit, they shouldn’t have any say in how people are governed.

Until that’s possible democracy is still probably the best choice. I think the internet has fucked us though and we’ve got a mostly uninformed electorate, so there will always be flaws in democracy. Because there’s flaws in people.

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10 minutes ago, RandoEFC said:

Democracy would work better if more than about 1% of the population actually bothered to read manifestos etc. instead of thinking that you get real information by watching party leaders shout over each other and act like bickering children in TV debates or perusing the odd newspaper headline or listening to carefully picked impartial experts on TV.

Democracy works perfectly in theory where everyone votes what is best for themselves as then the winning party or candidate are the best for the majority of the population.

Getting people better educated comes from politicians themselves and the media which is why it won't happen. Having people vote based on rhetoric and personality is what most politicians have built their success upon, they don't want to talk about the nitty gritty of policy.

And I used to be an advocate of trying to teach some political literacy in schools but good luck trying to get 11-16 year olds to put their phones down and have a debate about politics when they're not even old enough to vote, so that route is a non starter.

Even a heavily flawed democracy is the only acceptable way to govern despite all of this.

I think we have to be encouraged to look at facts. Even if you look at facts you will still get disagreements. But if you start of with a solid base at least that's a start. I personally think schools should concentrate more on economics and how the world works. It's important. 

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1 minute ago, Gunnersauraus said:

I think we have to be encouraged to look at facts. Even if you look at facts you will still get disagreements. But if you start of with a solid base at least that's a start. I personally think schools should concentrate more on economics and how the world works. It's important. 

It's painful how often I hear this argument. It's simply ridiculous in how unrealistic it actually is. A classic case of people thinking "get the schools to teach it for us".

Even the students who study a full Economics GCSE and or A Level only really get introduced to the theory and basic concepts of economics. And this is only a small sample of usually pretty sharp students. There's so much to an economy and how it works, businesses, copyright, taxes, trade deals, employment law, public spending, politics, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, electoral law. I studied maths and economics for 3 years at university and even I barely have the first idea of how most of these things work without going out of my way to do some reading about it because there's simply so much of it to know.

Expecting schools to churn out young adults who understand enough about the economy to make informed voting decisions is like employing Pep Guardiola as a PE teacher and expecting him to turn every student in the school into a world class footballer despite only seeing them for a 2 hour PE lesson a week.

What you need to teach people is responsibility. Schools are already doing their bit here by providing teenagers with the opportunity to prepare for and achieve qualifications that will allow them to actually get jobs and become part of society. After that it's over to them. 

I don't mean to jump down your throat as I used to think the exact same when I started teaching but the only real impact you can have when schools already have so much on their plate is discuss the news with your tutor group once or twice a week.

What we need if you want to see a more responsible and educated electorate is for those fully grown adults to actually act like adults and go and do some reading before they vote instead of accepting the bullshit and rhetoric they get spoon fed from newspaper headlines and TV.

The best way for the electorate to learn is actually for a damaging Brexit to happen and fuck this country over for a few decades so that next time we have to make a big decision people actually think twice before voting for the side that says "I'd like to go for a pint with Nigel" and "we've had enough of experts" and listens to what the Professor of Economics from the London School of Economics has to say about what will or won't happen to our economy instead.

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18 minutes ago, RandoEFC said:

It's painful how often I hear this argument. It's simply ridiculous in how unrealistic it actually is. A classic case of people thinking "get the schools to teach it for us".

Even the students who study a full Economics GCSE and or A Level only really get introduced to the theory and basic concepts of economics. And this is only a small sample of usually pretty sharp students. There's so much to an economy and how it works, businesses, copyright, taxes, trade deals, employment law, public spending, politics, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, electoral law. I studied maths and economics for 3 years at university and even I barely have the first idea of how most of these things work without going out of my way to do some reading about it because there's simply so much of it to know.

Expecting schools to churn out young adults who understand enough about the economy to make informed voting decisions is like employing Pep Guardiola as a PE teacher and expecting him to turn every student in the school into a world class footballer despite only seeing them for a 2 hour PE lesson a week.

What you need to teach people is responsibility. Schools are already doing their bit here by providing teenagers with the opportunity to prepare for and achieve qualifications that will allow them to actually get jobs and become part of society. After that it's over to them. 

I don't mean to jump down your throat as I used to think the exact same when I started teaching but the only real impact you can have when schools already have so much on their plate is discuss the news with your tutor group once or twice a week.

What we need if you want to see a more responsible and educated electorate is for those fully grown adults to actually act like adults and go and do some reading before they vote instead of accepting the bullshit and rhetoric they get spoon fed from newspaper headlines and TV.

The best way for the electorate to learn is actually for a damaging Brexit to happen and fuck this country over for a few decades so that next time we have to make a big decision people actually think twice before voting for the side that says "I'd like to go for a pint with Nigel" and "we've had enough of experts" and listens to what the Professor of Economics from the London School of Economics has to say about what will or won't happen to our economy instead.

Ok well I'm not a teacher mate. It kind of shows my point though. It's shows how easy it is for someone who is not knowledgable to make a poor decision.  Not quite the same but you will get what I'm saying. I work as a chef. Some of the things on TripAdvisor are ridiculous. I here people say chefs in Michelin star restaurants don't care. They work between 60-90 hours a week. They care,they're good chefs, bit mistakes still happen. Again it just how a lack of knowledge of a situation can cause people to make the wrong decision.

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@RandoEFC I would point out that I do agree with you about listening to experts. Some won't agree and call me a sheep but I do believe quite strongly in arguement from authority unless you are an expert. Not saying don't question things but if someone is an expert, highly intelligent then it is a good idea to listen to them. 

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I think what you learn in school before uni is meant to be a framework of knowledge and skills that they’re hoping you’ll be able to use and put together to develop critical thinking skills. 

I’m not sure how effective it is, because one, you’re dealing with kids. Kids are little shits and most people fucking hate school and don’t want to be there - and now smart phones are a thing so they’re probably always trying to sneak fucking around on their smart phones and mentally checking out in class. Two, part of a kid’s education is in he responsibility of their parents - school only does so much. And a lot of parents just think school is responsible for everything in their education.

And then there’s the question of does the curriculum encourage critical thinking? To be honest, I have no idea if it does and too many kids are just stupid or unwilling to pay attention - or if the curriculum doesn’t bridge the gap between the shit you learn and developing critical thinking skills.

I can’t really comment on the curriculum because through the history of humanity there has always been a concerning number of people that have a tough time discerning what is bullshit and what isn’t. That’s why conmen exists.

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1 hour ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Program some AI to be a benevolent dictator. People are shit, they shouldn’t have any say in how people are governed.

Until that’s possible democracy is still probably the best choice. I think the internet has fucked us though and we’ve got a mostly uninformed electorate, so there will always be flaws in democracy. Because there’s flaws in people.

Have you read The Culture novel series by Iain M. Banks by any chance? If not, I highly recommend it. One of the few fictional scenarios were being governed by an AI turns a society into a sort of utopia instead of bringing a full-on apocalypse.

The idea of AI-rule is interesting but I think that even a very advanced AI would eventually fall victim to the unpredictability of humans and their social interactions and as a result would start making mistakes due to inaccurate predictions. 

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1 minute ago, nudge said:

Have you read The Culture novel series by Iain M. Banks by any chance? If not, I highly recommend it. One of the few fictional scenarios were being governed by an AI turns a society into a sort of utopia instead of bringing a full-on apocalypse.

The idea of AI-rule is interesting but I think that even a very advanced AI would eventually fall victim to the unpredictability of humans and their social interactions and as a result would start making mistakes due to inaccurate predictions. 

I read a book that was along those lines a looooong time ago - it was probably that one because that sounds like it, don’t remember the name or the airport though. But that’s where I got the idea.

Yeah in reality we’d probably fuck with the AI too much because humans are fucking mental and it wouldn’t understand what’s wrong with us

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42 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

And then there’s the question of does the curriculum encourage critical thinking? 

Not really, no. Well it depends. If you take History at GCSE for example the entire course is basically being able to demonstrate critical thinking skills on which historical sources are reliable or not and stuff like that. Most A Level courses have more elements of critical thinking in them. GCSE English is the main place where you'd see critical thinking within the compulsory curriculum.

Again, though, it's easy to overestimate how capable the majority of teenagers are at developing anything more than a very basic level of critical thinking skills. 

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@Dr. Gonzo @RandoEFC I would imagine part of the issue though is you can teach critical thinking but people have to be willing to use it. Critical thinking involves not necessarily believing what you want to be true and questioning your own biases. I mean there are people a lot more intelligent than me who don't seem to be able to do that as well as me so sometime the problem isn't education but willingness. 

 

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47 minutes ago, Gunnersauraus said:

@Dr. Gonzo @RandoEFC I would imagine part of the issue though is you can teach critical thinking but people have to be willing to use it. Critical thinking involves not necessarily believing what you want to be true and questioning your own biases. I mean there are people a lot more intelligent than me who don't seem to be able to do that as well as me so sometime the problem isn't education but willingness. 

 

Education, willingness, opportunity - a lot of factors play a part in why society is the way it is. Probably much more than those 3 factors as well tbh.

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1 minute ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Education, willingness, opportunity - a lot of factors play a part in why society is the way it is. Probably much more than those 3 factors as well tbh.

I wasn't refering to society as whole. What I meant was that people could be taught critical thinking but they may not want to use it.

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Just now, Gunnersauraus said:

I wasn't refering to society as whole. What I meant was that people could be taught critical thinking but they may not want to use it.

I think people not thinking critically is a societal problem as a whole.

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1 minute ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

I think people not thinking critically is a societal problem as a whole.

Sometime it can be wishful thinking and not wanting to take responsibility. E.g it is easier to blame an immigrant for being out of work than look at what you have done wrong. 

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1 minute ago, Gunnersauraus said:

Sometime it can be wishful thinking and not wanting to take responsibility. E.g it is easier to blame an immigrant for being out of work than look at what you have done wrong. 

Yeah, which I think proves my point.

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I think relying too much on your education system to develop critical thinking is a mistake. Its a mistake because your education system is not designed to incorporate all the variables you'll encounter in your life time and the amount of information digested isn't always the amount of information you're going to retain as the general population just wants to use what is useful to them.

Take the example of Brexit and the other example of immigrant workers being the root cause of job scarcity. Now imagine I run a media outlet and I present the immigrant opinion before I show you the trend of what Brexit would do to the economy with the article skewed to blend over from the fact that a loss of immigrants automatically means a better economy for you. Its natural for a lot of people who read the two to start drawing inferences and draw conclusions about what they read last. We've all been programmed to consume information a particular way and social media is at the forefront of the way this works.

The real kicker comes when you discuss your POV with someone else and god-forbid they read the same articles that you did because now you've reinforced your skewed-view with another person who has fallen into this data-digestion trap. But that's a very isolated case and this is what data governance does on a daily basis. If I showed people in here two tables with the same data and I subtly start marking in bold the things that matter most to me and I put in some facts to corroborate what I am writing I may not get everyone but I will get a few people to agree with me. This is where critical thinking can't really be taught and is more of a trial-and-error practice that only gets better the more everyone discusses whats being shown versus taking a post from Facebook (just an example) and sharing it with people to generate misinformation aimed at some final goal which no one expect the originator knows.

There are so many more factors that can go in here, do you trust your information source? do you value someone else's opinion even if they could be wrong? How much of your own research do you do? Do you just brush it off as something you dont really care about? And then it all just boils down to how responsible you want to be when it comes to making the decisions you make and how aware are you of the fact that a lot of the things we read online could potentially be untrue. I dont think a democracy is bad but I think that listening to both sides for-and-against is always a good way to start building an opinion on anything and more often than not its not the case because people want the easy way out and they make decisions based on what a friend told them or very little information. They'll then go on to blame the government or whoever else they can find to absolve themselves of their lack of responsibility but the reality is far from it.

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8 hours ago, RandoEFC said:

The best way for the electorate to learn is actually for a damaging Brexit to happen and fuck this country over for a few decades so that next time we have to make a big decision people actually think twice before voting for the side that says "I'd like to go for a pint with Nigel" and "we've had enough of experts" and listens to what the Professor of Economics from the London School of Economics has to say about what will or won't happen to our economy instead.

I agree with this tbh. 

Democracy is a good system but polarisation is a problem and apathy amongst voters is another in the same vein. People vote against their worst perceptions of what the other side stand for and are turning a blind eye to terrible flaws in the side they're voting for.

My fear is the current cycle across the world won't be broken until a polarised leader delivers a fascism type movement to a terrible war type finale and once the dust settles people step back and take more seriously the problems that were brewing and take their voting choices for high stakes decisions more seriously also.

If that instead happens from a brexit vote and isolated economic hardship that's really a better outcome.

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Democracy is dependent upon there being a healthy information culture in a nation.

The issue is that in free market societies, there is nothing to stop the channels of information being inevitably monopolised by a tiny handful of individuals, who not only have an interest in controlling the flow of information, or in securing access to politicians, but more broadly undermining the social fabric and the media culture of the market society. 

Functional democracy can't exist until we move past a hollow idea of democracy as a process of putting a slip into a box every now and then. Democracy needs to exist not just in the polling centre, but in all spheres of life - the economic and the political - or else it inevitably degrades and dies. 

 

Edit: this is also why Liberal Democracy is an oxymoron. Economic liberalism inevitably leads to concentration and oligopoly in the economy, which will then inevitably conquer the media, which will then inevitably conquer the political system. 

Right now we're witnessing the death spasms of the liberal democratic experiment. 

The question now is whether to keep the liberalism, or keep the democracy.

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There is no civilised alternative to democracy, no matter how exasperated we all get with the idea. I'd love a Platonic guardian of wise men but ultimately it's going to become an aristocracy, if not a dictatorship.

The most important thing is that we continue to fight for a democratic society, we do not have it yet. We are better off than many other places in the world, no doubt, but the parliamentary system we have has stopped evolving, it's not changed for half a century or more. It was set up to represent and protect certain class interests, it still functions mainly for that purpose. 

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Alan sugar said a few years ago that Johnson and gove should be put in jail for their brexit lies. I think a way of improving democracy would be for strickter regulations on what politicians can say. Basically they can't lie. They can say what they intend to do and what may happen but they can't out and out lie. And if they do they face legal action. They may find ways around it but it may help democracy work better.

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I'd like to see it except it would then be exploited by idiots or enemies to trap a politician into making that kind of comment to get them taken out of the picture... Politicians need to tell white lies all the time in delicate situations and I could see them being hamstrung if they were bound by truthfulness.

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