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Lord Kenneth
2nd July 2003, 07:01 AM
I'm putting this here, instead of the politics board, because I think it's more ethics related than politics related...


Ok, you are president/leader of a country. Your country is a democratic republic, and the current issue involves human rights. The vast majority of people support a bill that would restrict the rights of a small minority group because of their own dogma (similar to not allowing marriage for homosexuals).

You have a choice: You can issue an executive order granting the minority group equal rights, circumventing the democratic process, or you can let democracy have its way and the majority of the country's citizens will limit the freedoms of the minority group.

Which would you choose?

arcticpenguin
2nd July 2003, 07:07 AM
This looks like a false dichotomy. How about leaving it to the courts to enforce the constitution of this democratic republic?

Lord Kenneth
2nd July 2003, 07:10 AM
Originally posted by arcticpenguin
This looks like a false dichotomy. How about leaving it to the courts to enforce the constitution of this democratic republic?

This country doesn't necessarily have a constitution.

I should have provided more info... but just pretend that no third parties can/will interfere with this law.


How about this:
The fictional country's constitution does not mention anything about the situation...

BobK
2nd July 2003, 07:40 AM
If the vast majority of the population is in favor of the law, I don't think I'd want to set a precedent by issuing an executive order.

1) I might want to get elected again. It would be bad politics.

2) The next president could simply negate my order.

3) Even if my order is not negated by the next president, they would feel much freer about issuing other executive orders that the public doesn't like. Leading to an increasing loss of democracy.

Skeptical Greg
2nd July 2003, 07:42 AM
Originally posted by Lord Kenneth





How about this:
The fictional country's constitution does not mention anything about the situation...

What about the ' rights ' you said they had in your original post?

How were they established?

A lot of people deciding that one person doesn't count is not right.

If it takes the president to set this straight, then so be it.

Lord Kenneth
2nd July 2003, 08:11 AM
Originally posted by Diogenes


What about the ' rights ' you said they had in your original post?

How were they established?

A lot of people deciding that one person doesn't count is not right.

If it takes the president to set this straight, then so be it.

I don't want to create a huge back story. Please, no technicalities...

Skeptical Greg
2nd July 2003, 08:17 AM
Originally posted by Lord Kenneth


I don't want to create a huge back story. Please, no technicalities...

Then what is the point of your post?

You said a group of people had rights, but that a majority of those people wished to deny those rights to a few of their number...

If those rights were not established, then what is being denied?

Lord Kenneth
2nd July 2003, 08:21 AM
Originally posted by Diogenes


Then what is the point of your post?

You said a group of people had rights, but that a majority of those people wished to deny those rights to a few of their number...

If those rights were not established, then what is being denied?

These rights were established with a constitution, BUT the vast majority want the constitution to not allow the minority certain rights... like I mentioned, similar to homosexuals not being allowed marriage licenses.

And in this situation, the only thing that will prevent this is by the intervention of the government's top leader.

Is that better?

Skeptical Greg
2nd July 2003, 08:31 AM
Yes, he should intervene... If that is necessary to make sure ' everyone ' has the same rights...

hgc
2nd July 2003, 08:33 AM
Originally posted by Lord Kenneth


These rights were established with a constitution, BUT the vast majority want the constitution to not allow the minority certain rights... like I mentioned, similar to homosexuals not being allowed marriage licenses.

And in this situation, the only thing that will prevent this is by the intervention of the government's top leader.

Is that better?
I don't understand. If the constitution establishes the rights, then what's the problem? Is it not being enforced?

If it's just a matter of interpretation of the constitution, then let the political realm do what it will, and the courts will sort it out when the lawsuits or criminal cases come along.

Lord Kenneth
2nd July 2003, 08:41 AM
Originally posted by hgc

I don't understand. If the constitution establishes the rights, then what's the problem? Is it not being enforced?

If it's just a matter of interpretation of the constitution, then let the political realm do what it will, and the courts will sort it out when the lawsuits or criminal cases come along.

No, the problem is the majority wants to make it (changing the constitution) so the specific minority does not share the same rights.

BobK
2nd July 2003, 10:38 AM
Originally posted by Diogenes


Two questions snipped.

A lot of people deciding that one person doesn't count is not right.

If it takes the president to set this straight, then so be it.

It seems to me that juries can sentence a person to death. Aren't they deciding that one person doesn't count?

Having one person overrule the explicit decision of the vast majority sounds to me more like a dictatorship than a democracy.

It seems to me the populous took a proactive stance regarding this decision. It isn't like the decision was 25% in favor, 20% against and 55% abstain.

I would think your term in office would be very short and your executive order would be recinded.

What would you have accomplished other than political suicide?

Well, I guess you could feel good about your moral character, but on the other hand you've nullified your opportunity to do other worthwhile things during your tenure. You might have even gotten re-elected to another term.

Anyway, that's what I think. :)

Skeptical Greg
2nd July 2003, 10:51 AM
Originally posted by BobK


It seems to me that juries can sentence a person to death. Aren't they deciding that one person doesn't count?

Having one person overrule the explicit decision of the vast majority sounds to me more like a dictatorship than a democracy.

It seems to me the populous took a proactive stance regarding this decision. It isn't like the decision was 25% in favor, 20% against and 55% abstain.

I would think your term in office would be very short and your executive order would be recinded.

What would you have accomplished other than political suicide?

Well, I guess you could feel good about your moral character, but on the other hand you've nullified your opportunity to do other worthwhile things during your tenure. You might have even gotten re-elected to another term.

Anyway, that's what I think. :)

I didn't say the decision would be popular.. It is obvious from the original postulate, that it wouldn't be...

BobK
2nd July 2003, 11:07 AM
Noted.:)

Yahzi
2nd July 2003, 11:10 AM
A democracy without sancrosant rights for the minority is no better form of government than communism or fascism. It is emotion-based mob rule, not rule by law and reason.

So who cares what the president of your evil country does? If I were him, I would issue an executive order confiscating the minority's property and transferring it to "government" (meaning me, hehe) control.

Then I'd issue an order that anyone promoting negative feelings will be shot on sight. The populace would approve it, since they are all for positive feelings, and any questioning of whether that was a good policy would be counted as negative feelings.

scribble
2nd July 2003, 02:46 PM
Democracy as in 'let the people decide!" is dumb, dumb dumb, because let's face it - in general people are dumb. You can't have a successful democracy with equal representation for everyone, because the morons will always outnumber the thinkers.

That is all.

scribble
2nd July 2003, 02:48 PM
Originally posted by BobK
It seems to me that juries can sentence a person to death. Aren't they deciding that one person doesn't count?


On the contrary, Bob, they've decided he DOES count and must be removed.


Having one person overrule the explicit decision of the vast majority sounds to me more like a dictatorship than a democracy.

That's why our president has veto power, right?

-Chris

BobK
2nd July 2003, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by scribble


On the contrary, Bob, they've decided he DOES count and must be removed.


I would say someone no longer worth expending food on doesn't really count.:)



That's why our president has veto power, right?

-Chris

We're not talking about a veto. We're talking about an executive order. i.e. Rule by fiat.

Also, it's an imaginary country. Don't know if they have veto power.

Lord Kenneth
2nd July 2003, 07:41 PM
Originally posted by scribble
Democracy as in 'let the people decide!" is dumb, dumb dumb, because let's face it - in general people are dumb. You can't have a successful democracy with equal representation for everyone, because the morons will always outnumber the thinkers.

That is all.

That's my philosophy as well.

The problem introduced in my scenario is to see what people think regarding how powers of people in power should be used.

Basically, which is more important: the rule of the majority, or what you view to be "right" or "wrong", even if you disagree with the majority.

scribble
2nd July 2003, 10:01 PM
Originally posted by BobK
[B]

I would say someone no longer worth expending food on doesn't really count.:)


I don't see that being part of the decision that was made.



We're not talking about a veto. We're talking about an executive order. i.e. Rule by fiat.


What's the difference? Seriously.

-Chris

scribble
2nd July 2003, 10:02 PM
By the way -

Pardon me if I'm coming off as harsh. Haven't had a drink in three days!

I'm not angry... I'm SOBER!



:eek:

scribble
2nd July 2003, 10:04 PM
Originally posted by Lord Kenneth

That's my philosophy as well.

The problem introduced in my scenario is to see what people think regarding how powers of people in power should be used.

Basically, which is more important: the rule of the majority, or what you view to be "right" or "wrong", even if you disagree with the majority.

I'm going to come off as a angry sober man again, but the fact is I have complete faith in my own ability to decide right and wrong. And incomplete faith in the vast majority of other people's ability.

And most assuredly I don't give a damn what "the majority" thinks. :)

-Chris

MRC_Hans
3rd July 2003, 04:14 AM
Originally posted by scribble
Democracy as in 'let the people decide!" is dumb, dumb dumb, because let's face it - in general people are dumb. You can't have a successful democracy with equal representation for everyone, because the morons will always outnumber the thinkers.

That is all. This is an arrogant POV. If it were true, there would be no reason to have democracy.

Now to the original question: It is a widespread misunderstanding that democracy is about following the wish of the majority on each and every issue. No modern democracies function like that.

A democracy ELECTS its leadership, and the leadership, during its term, does what it considers best for the community. This implies making decisions that could be widely unpopular.

Making unpopular decisions might make the leadership loose the next election, if it is unable to explain its decisions, but, that's democracy.

Hans