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|==Problems with the Concept==||==Problems with the Concept==|
|-||There are several technical problems with the concept of democracy, quite apart from elitist objections. The nature of the problems suggest that (a) democracy should always be regarded as a relative attribute of republics, and (b) that there will always be severe limitations on the degree to which democracy can fulfilled.||+||There are several technical problems with the concept of democracy, quite apart from elitist objections. The nature of the problems suggest that (a) democracy should always be regarded as a relative attribute of republics, and (b) that there will always be severe limitations on the degree to which democracy can fulfilled.|
|+||Often historical literature speaks of "democracies" as a specific set of countries having a set of institutions such as widespread (if not universal) suffrage, independent judiciaries, and "reasonably" free political debate. This implies that a country can met these standards and be certified as "a" democracy. In reality, countries comprise many organizational systems, some of which approach being ''democratic'', and some of which do not. In the historical lives of those systems, there have often been occasions when authentic democratic norms were sacrificed, sometimes with lasting consequences.|
|===Sustainability of Democratic Institutions===||===Sustainability of Democratic Institutions===|
Revision as of 09:26, 7 June 2012
Literally, "people power" (δημος + κρατος). Democracy does not describe a form of government, but rather, is a relative attribute of a social order. Hence, if a society has no formal government at all, and has democratic attributes, it may be a democracy.
Democracy is often understood to refer to either the practice of government through mass participation (voting), or more specifically, "direct democracy," in which all citizens vote on all measures to be taken by the government. However, these are not valid restrictions on the use of the word. Ancient Athens had elected officials who made most decisions; its adult male urban population also participated in a process of mass assembly (in which clay ballots were cast), but this was not an essential feature of the Athenian political system. As for voting, it is excessively broad; one-party states have voting, but no democracy.
ContextInitially, political democracy was regarded by exceptionally dangerous by many owners of property, since it exposed the social order to revision by the majority. For centuries before the Usonian Revolution, writers such as Hobbes and Filmer had argued that even the extremely limited doctrine of accountability of sovereigns was politically dangerous because it led to the principle of the mighty having responsibilities towards the multitude. With the US revolution, major intellectual luminaries such as Gouverneur Morris favored a privileged oligarchy explicitly because they believed such a state could defend the rights and public benefits of a republic, whereas a democracy ineluctably tended to expose such rights to constant revision, and hence, destruction.
Our people are deeply corrupted by that licentious spirit which seeks emolument in the prostration of authority. The outwork of respect has long since been carried, and every new election presents a more hideous picture of the public mind; so that, if the character of the people is to be estimated by the objects of their choice, we shall find it difficult to support a claim to wisdom or virtue. No parallel can perhaps be found to such morbid affection, unless among the Athenians, and even the mob government of that extravagant tribe was in some respects preferable to representative democracy. A mob is, indeed, a whimsical legislature and a wild tribunal, but it has, in the midst of its madness, some sense of national honor and some regard for justice. A body of representatives, when influenced by Faction, will do acts of cruelty and baseness which the most profligate among them would, in his personal character, be ashamed to avow.It may be argued, with some justice, that Morris was not a reactionary at all, given the political conditions he had known. For example, we regard freedom of speech as essential to democratic governance. Yet, supposing such rights were wholly subject to referenda and initiative, it does seem plausible that unpopular ideas would quickly be proscribed. This, of course, would be used by the party in power to punish the party out of power.
Diary & Letters of Gouverneur Morris, II.45.836; see main article for mob"
By this word mob I mean not so much the indigent as the vicious, hot-headed, and inconsiderate part of the community, together with that numerous host of tools which knaves do work with called fools. These folks form the majority of all empires, kingdoms, and commonwealths, and, of course, when not restrained by political institutions or coerced by an armed force, possess the efficient power. And as power so possessed must needs be abused, it follows, in direct consequence, that the affairs of a democracy will ever be in the hands of weak and wicked men, unless when distress or danger shall compel a reluctant people to choose a wise and virtuous administration. From this you will perhaps infer that democracy is a bad species of government; but there we shall disagree, for I hold that it is no government at all, but, in fact, the death or dissolution of other systems, or the passage from one kind of government to another.In effect, Morris feared (based on historical accounts of Thucydides and other observers of ancient Athens, no doubt) that democracy tended to result in totalitarianism.
Diary & Letters of Gouverneur Morris, II.45.830
In some respects, Morris's fears were vindicated by events. The new republic, constrained as it was by endless restrictions on the scope of its action, did not take the Bill of Rights very seriously for 120 years. Republican institutions initially did not take their fiduciary responsibilities very seriously either: in 1837, for example, many US state and local governments defaulted on their obligations. By 1867 the track record of democratic republics worldwide was so bleak that Canada's Act of Union formally subordinated democracy to the principle of "peace, order, and good government."
The Rise of Democracy
Nevertheless, democracy was to become the universal method of accountability for republics all over the world. The reason for this was twofold: firstly, an oligarchy does not police itself very well at all. Oligarchies are more susceptible to the "passions of the mob" than other social orders because political conflicts within the oligarchy, being personal (and almost never authentically ideological), often latch onto the mob as a tool of literal survival. This is a common fate of Thermidorian regimes (successors to a revolutionary government, such as the Directory in France [1795-1797] or the succession of juntas in Argentina (1930-1946). Factions in oligarchies could form very quickly, align themselves with a mob, and physically intimidate the unlucky other faction, pressuring it to capitulate or resign.
Another reason may well have been some confusion in (or, rather, evolution in the use of) the use of the word "democracy." Judging by the way Morris uses democracy, it would seem as though the word was understood to mean a totalitarian system in which all matters whatever were regarded as subject to the will of the masses; and it was assumed to be logistically impossible to maintain a stable system for taking votes in an orderly manner, repeatedly, under circumstances in which the minority would be safe from reprisal.
However, the alternative to democratic norms has tended to be oligarchy. Dictatorship does not arise from a conservative disapproval with democracy, but a political faction's seizure of power. Monarchy has attenuated from a type of government that was seriously compared with other types, to an institution that now has almost nothing to do the political system. The Gulf Emirates., Bhutan, and the Sultanate of Brunei are (as of this writing) the last bastions of actual monarchy, which in that case is more of a royal dictatorship (as in Qatar) or a cultural preserve (Bhutan, pre-2002 Nepal, Swaziland). Aristocracies are merely oligarchies with an explicitly snobbish rationale. And totalitarianism arises from conditions of civil war; its character is a military contingency, not an alternative mode of polity.
Oligarchies have proven to be administratively challenged over time. Initially, oligarchies with a formal meritocratic process of selection and promotion often perform well, but such entities often require some method of policing in order to ensure the regulatory structure is intact. For example, some observers have noted that some European political parties, such as the Conservative Party in the UK (formerly), had an oligarchic process of candidate selection. But parties are subject to the rule of the government in which they operate; in several countries, it is possible for an excluded party faction to challenge the sitting leaders in the courts. Hence, while the parties might be elitist, they are not precisely oligarchic. Another example of a "guided oligarchy" might be the period of Guomindong rule in Taiwan (1949-1996), during which heavy US influence prevented the regime from making some of the disastrous domestic policy mistakes it had made during its rule over the rest of China. Yet another form of effective oligarchy is Scandinavian business administration, which historically remains in the hands of a few families. However, such oligarchies typically are so dependent on host democracies to function that they cannot really be called oligarchies; they are really the plateaux of meritocracies tolerated and policed by democratic forces. In cases where such oversight is missing, such as in less-developed countries (LDCs), socially normative oligarchies frequently become predatory. The chief object is to preserve power by destroying centers of opposition.
For this reason, democratic institutions tend to rise in the face of oligarchic failure. Entrenched and unaccountable oligarchies typically become intolerable, a nuisance, or a general threat to the very existence of the nation.
Problems with the Concept
There are several technical problems with the concept of democracy, quite apart from elitist objections. The nature of the problems suggest that (a) democracy should always be regarded as a relative attribute of republics, and (b) that there will always be severe limitations on the degree to which democracy can fulfilled.
Often historical literature speaks of "democracies" as a specific set of countries having a set of institutions such as widespread (if not universal) suffrage, independent judiciaries, and "reasonably" free political debate. This implies that a country can met these standards and be certified as "a" democracy. In reality, countries comprise many organizational systems, some of which approach being democratic, and some of which do not. In the historical lives of those systems, there have often been occasions when authentic democratic norms were sacrificed, sometimes with lasting consequences.
Sustainability of Democratic Institutions
Democratic polities suffer risk from inherent tensions in their conception. Firstly, there is the problem of the majority dominating the minority. The will of the majority may on occasion be so hostile to the interests of the minority that there must be some form of meta-polity, or political governance that transcends the official polity. One approach has been the legal system with constitutional rights, but it must be conceded that this still requires a guarantor. If the legal rights of a minority, such as the property rights of business owners, were confronted by those of everyone else, then it would only be a matter of time before a confrontation of raw power arose. The minority could appeal to its constitutionally guaranteed property rights, but unless there was some way social pressures were relieved, then eventually it would become dependent on a military caste. Conversely, it might capitulate in phases, under threat of dispossession.
In such cases, it must be conceded that democracy would allow for the latter process to occur slowly and deliberately. If there really were a serious clash between the nonnegotiable property rights of the few and the vital needs of the many, it would be absurd for even extremely devout adherents of property rights to tolerate their own famine. But in that case, we must accept that rights are not immutable; they are conferred by society and may be withdrawn when they become intolerably oppressive to the majority. Nevertheless, when a polity abolishes the rights of some of its members that hitherto were regarded as fundamental, then democracy stands on knife-edged equilibrium. Whether the reader is predisposed to a strictly rules-based system of immutable rights, or whether the reader tends the opposite direction, it is usually the case that turning points such as these are usually parlous for democracy. It veers towards totalitarianism as the social order falls under much more comprehensive supervision by the state.
Another familiar problem is not the regulation of class conflict, but of sectional conflict. In this case, the victorious majority seeks to punish the minority precisely because it opposed the majority. Typically such conflicts emerge gradually, but emerge they do. The minority becomes bitter, especially as the majority opinion, in practice, has disastrous results. The majority starts to be suspicious of the minority, to the point of impugning its patriotism. Sectional conflicts typically make societies almost ungovernable, whether by democracy or not. Military rule merely embitters the rival sections, while their political representatives lose all pretense of responsibility. However, sectionalism is endemic to parliamentary democracies.
Temporal Constraints on Democracy
The political decisions of a polity are often binding on subsequent generations of voters. For example, large deficits impose constraints on future generations. Indeed, a commonly-cited goal of Republican lawmakers after 1994 has been to wreck the ability of the state to provide social welfare programs for all future time, regardless of the electoral fate of their party. This is actually a compelling argument in favor of democratizing reforms, since the element of time counteracts the aristocratic demand that the polity be confined to "stakeholders" (i.e., to owners of property). An aristocracy of the affluent can appeal to its superior ability to obtain and husband wealth; indeed, opponents of antitrust regulations use precisely this argument in defense of monopoly. The argument breaks down when one introduces the element of time, however, since an aristocrat becomes wholly devoted to the preservation of an entrenched social order, regardless of the opportunity costs. Since even the very poor can incur immense opportunity costs, this rebuts the property owner's claim to more social stake to defend.
However, it also problematizes the implementation of democracy. In practice, there are seldom but two choices facing an electorate. On the contrary, choices are typically ranged in continuii. In most cases it is only through a complex process of feedback and observed consequences that a continuum of choices congeals into a list of options. However, once the number of options has been limited to, say, three, it becomes obvious how time plays a decisive role in the outcome. Only a simultaneous presentation of all three can permit a fair debate; otherwise, if option 2—a relatively moderate version of 3—is withheld until later, both 2 and 3 will be doomed. Such an orderly presentation is unrealistic, since the genesis of visible policy options (such as in public health policy) is largely controlled by the civil service—and usually, with benign intentions.
The dilemma posed by three way public choices is explained by Kenneth Arrow in Social Choice and Individual Values (1970):
Suppose there is a community consisting of three voters, and this community must choose among three alternative modes of social action (e.g., disarmament, cold war, or hot war). It is expected that choices of this type have to be made repeatedly, but sometimes not all of the three alternatives will be available. In analogy with the usual utility analysis of the individual consumer under conditions of constant wants and variable price-income situations, rational behavior on the part of the community would mean that the community orders the three alternatives according to its collective preferences once for all, and then chooses in any given case that alternative among those actually available which stands highest on this list. A natural way of arriving at the collective preference scale would be to say that one alternative is preferred to another if a majority of the community prefer the first alternative to the second, i.e., would choose the first over the second if those were the only two alternatives. Let A, B, and C be the three alternatives, and 1, 2, and 3 the three individuals. Suppose individual 1 prefers A to B and B to C (and therefore A to C), individual 2 prefersB to C and C to A (and therefore B to A), and individual 3 prefersC to A and A to B (and therefore C to B). Then a majority preferA to B, and a majority prefer B to C. We may therefore say that the community prefers A to B and B to C. If the community is to be regarded as behaving rationally, we are forced to say that A is preferred to C. But in fact a majority of the community prefer C to A. So the method just outlined for passing from individual to collective tastes fails to satisfy the condition of rationality, as we ordinarily understand it. Can we find other methods of aggregating individual tastes which imply rational behavior on the part of the community and which will be satisfactory in other ways?Arrow provided a mathematical proof that there was no satisfactory resolution of this problem, i.e., Pareto efficiency could never be achieved. Arrow goes on to discuss the limitations of his analysis, including the objections of von Neumann and Morgenstern in so far as democratic decision making has aspects of noncooperative games:
The point here, broadly speaking, is that, once a machinery for making social choices from individual tastes is established, individuals will find it profitable, from a rational point of view, to misrepresent their tastes by their actions, either because such misrepresentation is somehow directly profitable or, more usually, because some other individual will be made so much better off by the first individual's misrepresenta tion that he could compensate the first individual in such a way that both are better off than if everyone really acted in direct accordance with his tastes. Thus, in an electoral system based on plurality voting, it is notorious that an individual who really favors a minor party candidate will frequently vote for the less undesirable of the major party candidates rather than "throw away his vote." Even in a case where it is possible to construct a procedure showing how to aggregate individual tastes into a consistent social preference pattern, there still remains the problem of devising rules of the game so that individuals will actually express their true tastes even when they are acting rationally.This is in fact a very important part of movements as political actors.
The Binary Problem & Democracy
The binary problem is a corollary of the Anglo-American style of elections. Although some countries, including the UK itself, have toyed with the idea of modifying their electoral system to avoid precisely this problem, it nonetheless is a very common problem in democratic republics. In elections where legislators stand for a particular district, and where the winner of the most votes automatically wins the seat, it logically follows that only two parties can survive at the national level. While resentment towards the established major parties may keep the organization alive, third parties seldom survive the pressures of mainstream competition. If they seek to occupy a political middle ground, sectionalism ensures they will remain in an ideological wilderness. If they run as a more ideologically pure form of one of the main parties, then they merely weaken their own cause and voters defect as soon as they make an impact. An especially obvious example of this is the US Green Party.
Because voters must select a winner, they usually must compromise between what they want and what they believe to be realistic. The abyssmal electoral record of the Greens reflects the view that, in order for the climate of public opinion to accept Greens in large numbers, the Democrats have to perform far better. Although the Greens have long insisted that the Democrats' retreat rightward is the cause, and not the effect, of its poor electoral showing in the last 28 years, one could reasonably expect this to be backed up by declining voter participation in general elections as voters become dissatisfied with the GOP and the Democrats, and fail to consider the Greens because of their poor prospects. In fact, voter participation rates have not declined very much at all since 1972. While the Democrats have chased the Republicans to the political right, legitimate statistics show no compelling evidence of a measurable decline in voter interest. So the Green contention that the Democrats are losing elections because they have betrayed their constituency, while plausible, has no empirical support. The contention that even polities predisposed to liberal policies tend to be skewed rightward by game theory, or the risk of "throwing away ones' votes," seems more plausible.
Since Usonian voters inevitably must choose between two viable candidates and a few unlikely ones, political debates are framed in binary ways. Either we increase taxes or we lower them. Either we show martial resolve by invading random countries, or we capitulate to the terrorists. As readers can see, with two options of everything (at most), political contests typically become too insipid to actually constitute a choice. Likewise, in cases where there is a primary election, the rival candidates to represent the party in the general election represent a tight ideological cluster within acceptable party boundaries. Since primary candidates must be acceptable to the general party milieu in order to be plausible primary options, it follows that combinations of positions are pre-ordained. While linguists like George Lakoff have advanced cognitive explanations for the odd combination of issue-positions common to the two parties, another compelling explanation is simple game theory: primary voters cannot seriously entertain candidates who disagree with the party platform on more than one or two issues, yet primary voters supposedly establish the party platform through their revealed preferences. In this sense, even the passage of time and the enormous number of elected officials actually limits voter options so acutely that the status of democratic rule is precarious.
In European countries, typically political parties do not select their candidates through primary elections, but rather, through internal selection ("oligarchy") or a limited membership "club." In the UK and other northern European countries, there are no party primaries, but there does exist a semi-transparent, orderly process of candidate selection. The significance of this is that no one person or clique can decisively control the ultimate choice of candidate. An advantage to this is that the candidates do represent continuity of party objective, as in the Scandinavian social democratic parties. However, only dedicated party members may select a candidate; for them, their franchise is effectively exercised when they participate in the local party convention, since they are tied to the party in the general election. Ordinary voters—the vast majority almost everywhere—are presented with the party as a cohesive entity, which not only selects candidates but also runs their campaigns. Since elected officials have no pretensions to charisma, they are less likely to be the egotistical psychopaths that Usonians are stuck with.
Moreover, the Scandinavian countries & the Netherlands use proportional representation (in which MPs are awarded seats on the basis of their party's share of the total vote), which is well-suited for smaller, culturally homogeneous countries.  Germany uses a combination of allotted seats (in which an MP stands for a district) and proportional representation. This is known as a mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation, and most studies of the system appear to be very favorable.
However, several caveats are needed.
- With the exception of Argentina, countries using a proportional representation system are mostly small, with homogenous populations: Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Costa Rica, Finland, and so on. The varieties of political parties that may participate immediately becomes huge, although this can backfire.
- Moreover, in countries like Third and Fourth Republic France (i.e., 1873-1958), the large number of political parties crippled that country's ability to respond to crises of foreign policy. French politicians developed a reputation for fatalism and pettiness. In Italy, foreign policy was not a major concern, but the massive number of parties is blamed for the extremely short durability of cabinets there. Whenever cabinets attempted an ambitious reform, a coalition partner withdrew.
- Attempts to defeat Arrow's "impossibility theorem" by a galaxy of political parties, proportional representation, and so on, have tended to lead to legislators as functionaries of a bureaucracy, not activists. Denmark is perhaps the most exquisitely civilized nation on earth, but it has not had a consequential foreign policy since 1864. The British political system has produced probably the largest number of truly outstanding, conscientious politician-activists. It did so with the most backwards party system in Northern Europe. Scandinavian legislatures have large numbers of women MPs but does so precisely because the candidates are thoroughly vetted through a party bureaucracy. If the goal was to get women MPs promoting women's issues, then awarding selected women positions on the lists seems like the wrong way to do it.
- In terms of information processing, such bureaucratic democracy (i.e., in which voters chose parties and their ideology on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, and the parties choose the MPs) actually diffuses power by randomization of power, not distributing it. In theory, the entire parliament could be replaced by a conference room with party representatives. The party representatives cast a vote, which is weighted on the basis of the party's share of the popular vote in the general election. This is, of course, the procedure for corporate board meetings. The party's list is supposed to represent a cohesive ideology, so logically the MPs from each party should all vote the same way. That they don't is a reflection of statistical "noise," not the will of the people, who vote for the party—not them.
- Finally, in some mature republics of Europe, it is up to the elected parties to form coalitions. After a general election is held, or the previous coalition collapses, it is traditionally quite rare for a European political party to govern alone. In most cases this is reasonable, as, for example, if the USA were a parliamentary democracy and the Democratic and Green parties could form a coalition. But in many cases, parties of bizarre or incompatible ideologies team up to preclude rival parties. Hence, the SPD and CDU formed a coalition in 2005, similar to that in Austria (for a much longer period).
While the concept of democracy is problematic, it is so in the metaphysical sense: it does not imply self-contradiction, but there are difficulties in devising a valid conception. Democracy implies an even distribution of political decisionmaking across the adult population; when certain categories of people are permanently endowed with decisive control over political outcomes, or multiples of influence relative to others, then democracy becomes a mere pretension. Democracy requires the protection of the minority, so that membership in the opposition is not dangerous; if it is dangerous, then membership in the majority faction is not free. Democracy requires a broad range of choices for the electorate. In cases where the choices are restricted by some elites, or where much of the state's functions are not subject to democratic accountability, then democracy becomes a mere pretension.
At the same time, these conceptions of democracy pose tensions with each other. For these reason, the philosophical conception of rights as the sole legitimate restraint on democracy has long been regarded as a vital principle.
- ↑ Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1642); Robert Filmer, Patriarcha: the Natural Power of Kings (1680):
"Mankind is naturally endowed and born with freedom from all subjection, and at liberty to choose what form of government it please, and that the power which any one man hath over others was at first bestowed according to the discretion of the multitude."The "Geneva discipline," or Calvinism, was related to the English Puritans and the Presbyterians of Scotland.
...Howsoever this vulgar opinion hath of late obtained a great reputation, yet it is not to be found in the ancient fathers and doctors of the primitive Church. It contradicts the doctrine and history of the Holy Scriptures, the constant practice of all ancient monarchies, and the very principles of the law of nature. It is hard to say whether it be more erroneous in divinity or dangerous in policy.
Yet upon the ground of this doctrine, both Jesuits and some other zealous favourers of the Geneva discipline have built a perilous conclusion, which is, that the people or multitude have power to punish or deprive the prince if he transgress the laws of the kingdom
- ↑ See Robert Sobel, Panic on Wall Street, Truman Talley Books (1988), The Crisis of Jacksonian Finances," p.32ff. I have linked to the 1999 edition, because readers may search that book online.
- ↑ See Hugh Berrington, Britain in the Nineties: The Politics of Paradox, Routledge (1998), p.28ff. Note Berrington is quoting R.T. McKenzie, British Political Parties, a much older book.
- ↑ See Wikipedia: Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction.
- ↑ See Peter Högfeldt, "The History and Politics of Corporate Ownership in Sweden" (PDF), European Corporate Governance Institute (2003). An interesting parallel case is the (long defunct) Los Angeles oligarchy, which is discussed sympathetically in Fionn MacKillop, "The Influence of the Los Angeles 'Oligarchy'…" , Business & Economic History Online (2004). City governments everywhere have traditionally been oligarchies, for the compelling reason that a city is a complex system requiring professional administration.
- ↑ For well-known examples of either, there is Robert Nozick or Ayn Rand; at the other extreme, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. As is usually the case, the extreme positions tend to dissolve into absurdities.
- ↑ For a politically conservative analysis (and rebuttal) of the "starve-the-beast" strategy, see Will Wilkinson, "Political Discipline, not Just Less Pork," Cato Institute (Dec 2004). Wilkinson's analysis ignores the irreversibility component to the plan. Even if the US fiduciary power survived the strain, no politician would dare attempt to balance the budget.
- ↑ For an example of this, consider the Cold War strategy proposed by Pres. John F. Kennedy known as "flexible response." This was supposed to furnish US administrations with the ability to gradually escalate confrontations with the USSR, thereby thwarting Soviet expansionism. The Wikipedia article on this topic is excellent. Flexible response unfortunately tended to inject the US military into an ever-growing number of conflicts around the world, though, and proved that it was not very flexible at all.
- ↑ See John Geanakoplos , "Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem" , Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1123RRR (June 2001). The main object was to prove that a decisive voter was a de facto dictator. Please note that Arrow, anticipating dynamic general equilibrium theory, uses the stylized assumption that there are an unrealistically small number of individuals in the polity, whereas I have assumed there are three distinct factions arising from the virtually inevitable three inherent policy options that are likely to emerge, and the tendency for all three to be repackaged until they command roughly equal popularity.
- ↑ In areas where local politics are peculiar to that region, such as Quebec Province, one of the national parties may be so unacceptable that a third party has a good chance of prolonged survival; this means that, while Canada has more than two parties nationwide, one of those parties is confined to Quebec, another is virtually anathema in Quebec, and several others (Social Credit Party, New Democratic Party) have an explicit regional or class basis. The Social Credit is an old form of Western/Quebec form of religious populism which had rural support in several provinces; the NDP began in part as an explicitly working class/labor organ, and has declined as NDP voters find themselves frequently contributing to Conservative victories rather than NDP ones.
- ↑ The Green Party USA proudly assures us that 228 Greens hold elected office as of this writing. According the US Census Bureau, there are 500,000 elected offices in the nation, ranging from the President to tree wardens in Charlton, MA. In 1999, Audie Bock win a special election for an Oakland seat in the CA State Assembly, the highest elected office ever held by a Green. Bock immediately left the Green Party, and lost in the subsequence general election. In 2002, John Eder won a seat in the ME House of Representatives. He lost his 2006 reelection bid. This was in Portland, where there is no real Republican opposition to the Democrats.
Aside from these two cases—2 of 7382 state legislative seats, since 1999—there have no Green officials above the local level. However, Greens probably did throw the 2000 election from Democrat Al Gore to Republican George W. Bush.
- ↑ See Turnout Rates for Voting-Age Population (VAP) and Eligible Population (VEP), George Mason University, 2007. In 1971, the minimum voting age was lowered from 18 to 21; this group has the lowest rate of participation of any age cohort.
- ↑ A very short introduction to Lakoff's views is Don't Think of an Elephant, Chelsea Green (2004); or see his posts at the Rockridge Institute. Lakoff believes that ideologies are bundled in surprisingly consistant ways because of the conceptualization of each issue at a very elementary level (conservatives honor the strict father metaphor, liberals the nurturing parent metaphor).
- ↑ The British system is different for each party, and stupendously complicated. An easier-to-explain system is that of the German Social Democrats, in which regional party committees select delegates to the national convention (see chart), which then selects delgates to a district party congress, and so on up to the national level. Here, the national convention selects the members of the executive committees, which determine both the formal process of candidate eligibility and its implementation. I will mention en passant that Hannah Arendt, in On Revolution, describes this as the ideal way to implement democracy (without referring to Germany or the SPD specifically).
- ↑ Julie Ballington reports that proportional representation almost invariably results in a more demographically representative legislature. Hence, in ranking female representation in national legislatures, the nations with proportional representation represent a tier of higher representation of women. Underneath this are countries using the MMP (Germany, New Zealand). Countries using the allotted seat system, like the USA, France, and Japan, have abnormally poor representation of women. See Julie Ballington, "Strengthening Internal Political Party Democracy: Candidate Recruitment from a Gender Perspective" , Political Parties Programme at International IDEA, Stockholm, Sweden (2004). Chart is on page 3.
- Freedom House special reports
- Kenneth Arrow, Social Choice and Individual Values (complete text online), Yale University Press (1970)
- Julie Ballington, "Strengthening Internal Political Party Democracy: Candidate Recruitment from a Gender Perspective" , Political Parties Programme at International IDEA, Stockholm, Sweden (2004)
- Tom Christiano, "Democracy", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2006)
- Geoff Eley, Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000 Oxford University Press (2002)
- Candice Moore, "Democratic governance and peace: Two sides of the same coin?" ; focuses on the experience in Africa. Centre for Policy Studies, Johannesberg, RSA (2003)