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Separation of Powers?

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Croxoco
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Separation of Powers?

Postby Croxoco » Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:15 am

Greetings.

I've not posted anything on these forums for a long while, but here many of us are, in lockdown. So I thought to myself atleast some members of this community will have their own thoughts on how states should be governed... why not discuss and debate it?

Political systems in democracies can be most broadly divided between "fusion of powers" systems, in which the executive branch is in some way dependent on the legislature to hold office (the most common form of this would be Parliamentary Democracy, presently employed in the United Kingdom, Germany and India); and "separation of powers" systems, in which the executive is generally constituted seperately from the legislature (the chief example of this being the Presidential system, presently employed in countries such as the United States of America, Mexico and Argentina).

Now, each system has its own merits, and its own drawbacks. Under parliamentary systems (a fusion of powers based system), the legislature can often select and dismiss the executive: to continue in office, the executive must enjoy the support of the legislature; on the other hand, if an executive must enjoy the support of the legislature, it stands to reason that the executive must therefore be able to dominate the legislature: checks and balances between executive and legislature may, and usually do, suffer.

Under presidential systems (a separation of powers based system), the executive and the legislature are elected separately: neither may dismiss the other (save in cases of impeachment), and any action by one often requires the consent and approval of the other, in what is, theoretically, a strong system of effective checks and balances; on the other hand, because they are elected separately, each may legitimately claim a democratic mandate to implement their respective policies: gridlock and conflict between the two is almost inevitable.

There is the third category of semi-presidential systems, though depending on their model, they either more closely resemble a parliamentary, or other fusion of powers system (such as under the current French Fifth Republic), or resemble a presidential, or other separation of powers system (such as, theoretically atleast, under the present Russian Federation).

My question to everybody reading this and who takes an interest in this, is this:

Which system of democracy do you prefer? A "fusion of powers" system or a "separation of powers" system? And why?

I generally favour "fusion of powers" based systems, particularly parliamentary democracy. My own reasoning is this:
- The head of state should be separate from the head of government, and preferably appointed or inherited, rather than elected: The head of state should represent the entire nation, not the political faction in power, and should stand above partisan politics.
- The legislature, as the ultimate representative body of the people should be the most powerful organ of state, able to enact the will of the people and hold the executive to account (up to and including the power to dismiss the executive): Autonomous executives are a danger to democracy, and the USA being one of the small number of exceptions to this, presidential systems have often resulted in the creation of, or at the very least, the continued survival of, authoritarian regimes across the world.
- The legislature should be bicameral, and the upper chamber should be elected/appointed under different means than the lower chamber: Whereas the executive should be chosen by and accountable to the lower chamber, and, in consequence thereof, should naturally under ordinary circumstances dominate the lower chamber, the upper chamber should have independence from both the lower chamber and the executive, to better allow for checks and balances.
- There should be a charter of fundamental rights and liberties (such as the US Bill of Rights, or the European Convention of Human Rights), inviolable by the state and any authority thereof; this should be protected by an independent and politically impartial judiciary, which should have the power to strike down any law or executive act which violates this charter of rights and liberties
Last edited by Croxoco on Fri Apr 10, 2020 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Sundiata
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Postby Sundiata » Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:25 am

I'm not in favor of one political order or system of government over another presuming there's a strong Catholic moral influence. Any system that sufficiently balances political freedom, economic freedom, and civil rights is one which is right and just.
Last edited by Sundiata on Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:25 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Rojava Free State
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Postby Rojava Free State » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:06 am

Separation of powers is the best in theory. In practice it's very hard to pull off because in a two party system like ours, the president holds significant leeway over the other two branches of government through judicial appointments and the voters. Congress isn't willing to fight him if he abuses his power unless its held by the opposite party, because otherwise the representatives and senators will pass legislation he supports in the name of preserving their careers.

Republicans demonstrated this under Trump. I can't tell you how many people who formerly warned us about the Donald are now bending over backwards for him. Ted Cruz had his wife insulted by the current president and his dad was accused of killing Kennedy and now he's sucking up to Trump. Since 90+% of republican voters support Trump, Republicans are strong armed into supporting him every inch of the way even if they themselves disagree with whatever policy he's proposing. So that's one last check on his power. I don't just worry about Trump though. I worry about the power of every president that'll come after him as well, and what kind of precedent has been set and frankly was already being set before Trump ever ran for office, or even considered running for office.
Last edited by Rojava Free State on Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Rojava Free State wrote:Listen yall. I'm only gonna say it once but I want you to remember it. This ain't a world fit for good men. It seems like you gotta be monstrous just to make it. Gotta have a little bit of darkness within you just to survive. You gotta stoop low everyday it seems like. Stoop all the way down to the devil in these times. And then one day you look in the mirror and you realize that you ain't you anymore. You're just another monster, and thanks to your actions, someone else will eventually become as warped and twisted as you. Never forget that the best of us are just the best of a bad lot. Being at the top of a pile of feces doesn't make you anything but shit like the rest. Never forget that.

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Rojava Free State
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Postby Rojava Free State » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:08 am

Sundiata wrote:I'm not in favor of one political order or system of government over another presuming there's a strong Catholic moral influence. Any system that sufficiently balances political freedom, economic freedom, and civil rights is right and just.


>Personal freedoms
>Catholic influence

So which one of these phrases describes your government? Both of them can't at the same time.
Rojava Free State wrote:Listen yall. I'm only gonna say it once but I want you to remember it. This ain't a world fit for good men. It seems like you gotta be monstrous just to make it. Gotta have a little bit of darkness within you just to survive. You gotta stoop low everyday it seems like. Stoop all the way down to the devil in these times. And then one day you look in the mirror and you realize that you ain't you anymore. You're just another monster, and thanks to your actions, someone else will eventually become as warped and twisted as you. Never forget that the best of us are just the best of a bad lot. Being at the top of a pile of feces doesn't make you anything but shit like the rest. Never forget that.

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Shanghai industrial complex
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Postby Shanghai industrial complex » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:18 am

I think there is a problem with the separation of powers in the United States, if the people in charge of the three institutions come from the same interest group?Assuming that they are all spokespersons for the interests of financial capitalists (which can easily happen in practice), every policy in favour of the financial sector is easy to pass, and adverse policies can never pass.If they come from different interest groups, their struggle will make essentially every policy difficult to pass.Britain's representative democracy is also problematic.Democrats kidnapped government policy in the process of leaving the EU.In fact, many third-party supervisory bodies are secretly held by interest groups.

My ideal government is one in which professionals hold professional positions.Democracy, Freedom and Science,Three-in-one.Election of the Supreme Parliament among the People.But not all members are elected.There will be fixed seats in different industries.Medical Professional Seats Elected Within Doctors and Open Process.Energy, agriculture, worker groups, transportation, etc.Capitalists and their spokesmen cannot occupy all seats.Parliament has legislative power and the right to supervise administrative bodies.Partial politics is prohibited and all forms of political interest groups are abolished.Religious personnel, non-nationals and civil servants cannot be elected to parliament, veteran organizations, teachers, university professors and scientists with fixed seats
Instead of being elected, the president is recommended by the executive system to Parliament by experienced candidates.Parliament ranks the most experienced professional civil servants among multiple candidates.When major events occur, people from relevant industries will form working groups together with the general organization.A monitoring group consisting of relevant members of Parliament.Professional opinion must be respected
The Court clearly cannot be decided by the President.The courts, the inspection authorities and the police system are merged into one system.Leaders as defenders of legal authority.The Speaker, the Chief Justice and the President, the Minister of Defense, and the Commander of the three armed forces form a five-member group to lead the army.

All public servants are required to disclose his personal property and have no criminal record.
Personally, I hate political games, public opinion manipulation and political kidnapping, and disrespect for science and professionals.All extremism, anti-intellectualism, dictatorship, religion, political correctness, inequality are things I don't want to see.
Last edited by Shanghai industrial complex on Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sundiata
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Postby Sundiata » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:32 am

Rojava Free State wrote:
Sundiata wrote:I'm not in favor of one political order or system of government over another presuming there's a strong Catholic moral influence. Any system that sufficiently balances political freedom, economic freedom, and civil rights is right and just.


>Personal freedoms
>Catholic influence

So which one of these phrases describes your government? Both of them can't at the same time.

Wrong! :)

No freedom is greater than the others.

Each freedom whether that be economic, civil, or political has it's limits and must be balanced with the other two. Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is where to draw that line. Therefore, any government which adheres to CST is, in principle, right and just irrespective of power separation.
Last edited by Sundiata on Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gender: Male
Religion: Catholic (Opus Dei)
Politics: Solidarity (Catholic Social Teaching)
Economics: Rerum Novarum (The Encyclical)
Alignment: Lawful Good

"Don't say, 'That person bothers me.' Think: 'That person sanctifies me.'"
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Shanghai industrial complex
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Postby Shanghai industrial complex » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:15 am

Sundiata wrote:
Rojava Free State wrote:
>Personal freedoms
>Catholic influence

So which one of these phrases describes your government? Both of them can't at the same time.

Wrong! :)

No freedom is greater than the others.

Each freedom whether that be economic, civil, or political has it's limits and must be balanced with the other two. Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is where to draw that line. Therefore, any government which adheres to CST is, in principle, right and just irrespective of power separation.


This is the first time I have heard CST.
So ask,what about Freedom of expression and belief?
Do you agree to introduce knowledge of Paleobiology and geography and to teach bioevolution in current teaching?
How can CST ensure democracy and elect archbishops?
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Page
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Postby Page » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:35 am

In America, there is far, far too much executive power. The Presidency should be nerfed. I would like to see Congress made commander-in-chief of the military and significantly limit the President's ability to issue executive orders.
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Rojava Free State
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Postby Rojava Free State » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:48 am

Page wrote:In America, there is far, far too much executive power. The Presidency should be nerfed. I would like to see Congress made commander-in-chief of the military and significantly limit the President's ability to issue executive orders.


Executive orders allow the president to bypass congress way too much, and its funny how the president allegedly needs congressional approval to declare war, but can bypass this by just committing acts of war and not officially calling it one.
Rojava Free State wrote:Listen yall. I'm only gonna say it once but I want you to remember it. This ain't a world fit for good men. It seems like you gotta be monstrous just to make it. Gotta have a little bit of darkness within you just to survive. You gotta stoop low everyday it seems like. Stoop all the way down to the devil in these times. And then one day you look in the mirror and you realize that you ain't you anymore. You're just another monster, and thanks to your actions, someone else will eventually become as warped and twisted as you. Never forget that the best of us are just the best of a bad lot. Being at the top of a pile of feces doesn't make you anything but shit like the rest. Never forget that.

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US-SSR
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Postby US-SSR » Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:23 am

Shanghai industrial complex wrote:
Sundiata wrote:Wrong! :)

No freedom is greater than the others.

Each freedom whether that be economic, civil, or political has it's limits and must be balanced with the other two. Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is where to draw that line. Therefore, any government which adheres to CST is, in principle, right and just irrespective of power separation.


This is the first time I have heard CST.
So ask,what about Freedom of expression and belief?
Do you agree to introduce knowledge of Paleobiology and geography and to teach bioevolution in current teaching?
How can CST ensure democracy and elect archbishops?


You're barking up the wrong tree here I fear. afaik Catholics aren't anti-science. Well not since Galileo and Bruno anyway. And excepting certain legal, safe medical procedures such as abortion.

My question would be, what makes Catholic moral influence superior to any general moral influence? Given that a particular system of government allows for or encourages the application of some common core of moral teaching, why would this necessarily be inferior to CST?

Looking past the current parlous state of affairs in the US, as long as The One Percent owns all the politicians, judges, police, etc., and makes and enforces all the laws, regulations and social norms, etc., it doesn't much matter whether a so-called democracy is parliamentary or presidential or whether there are two, four or twenty parties in it. Society in every important aspect will still be run for the benefit of the oligarchy and if anything about it operates for the interests of the working class it will only be because the oligarchy wants it too.

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Last edited by US-SSR on Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
8:46

We're not going to control the pandemic!

It is a slaughter and not just a political dispute.

"The scraps of narcissism, the rotten remnants of conspiracy theories, the offal of sour grievance, the half-eaten bits of resentment flow by. They do not cohere. But they move in the same, insistent current of self, self, self."

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Window Land
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Postby Window Land » Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:02 am

Rojava Free State wrote:
Page wrote:In America, there is far, far too much executive power. The Presidency should be nerfed. I would like to see Congress made commander-in-chief of the military and significantly limit the President's ability to issue executive orders.


Executive orders allow the president to bypass congress way too much, and its funny how the president allegedly needs congressional approval to declare war, but can bypass this by just committing acts of war and not officially calling it one.

The president can't fund anything with executive orders. He can order around the executive branch with them, but that's about it. Also, while there is nothing to stop him from deploying troops wherever he feels like, but without Congress, he can't keep them there very long.
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Shanghai industrial complex
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Postby Shanghai industrial complex » Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:19 am

US-SSR wrote:
You're barking up the wrong tree here I fear. afaik Catholics aren't anti-science. Well not since Galileo and Bruno anyway. And excepting certain legal, safe medical procedures such as abortion.



What?It doesn't make sense. Don't all religions think that God created the world? It's Anti Science in itself and science itself is anti religious.Sorry, I have a deep prejudice against Idealism ,no matter what kind of idealism.Because only when faced with irrefutable truth can all religious people claim that they are not against these sciences.It may be ethical to oppose abortion, but it must be antiscience to oppose safe medical procedures.
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US-SSR
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Postby US-SSR » Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:08 am

Shanghai industrial complex wrote:
US-SSR wrote:
You're barking up the wrong tree here I fear. afaik Catholics aren't anti-science. Well not since Galileo and Bruno anyway. And excepting certain legal, safe medical procedures such as abortion.



What?It doesn't make sense. Don't all religions think that God created the world? It's Anti Science in itself and science itself is anti religious.Sorry, I have a deep prejudice against Idealism ,no matter what kind of idealism.Because only when faced with irrefutable truth can all religious people claim that they are not against these sciences.It may be ethical to oppose abortion, but it must be antiscience to oppose safe medical procedures.


Well I'm only lapsed-Catholic adjacent, but my understanding is that Catholic teaching isn't that the universe and everything in it was created in a matter of days, nor does it deny or contradict facts or theories established by scientific inquiry. On the other hand, it does claim to have the answer as to why the universe as we know it came into being and why it operates as it does, i.e. God willed it so.

Which is only significant really if the why is more important than the what; which is in itself a, well, anti-scientific attitude, yes? Does it really matter that much why universal gravitation or quantum entanglement operate as they do?
8:46

We're not going to control the pandemic!

It is a slaughter and not just a political dispute.

"The scraps of narcissism, the rotten remnants of conspiracy theories, the offal of sour grievance, the half-eaten bits of resentment flow by. They do not cohere. But they move in the same, insistent current of self, self, self."

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Shanghai industrial complex
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Postby Shanghai industrial complex » Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:21 pm

US-SSR wrote:
Shanghai industrial complex wrote:

What?It doesn't make sense. Don't all religions think that God created the world? It's Anti Science in itself and science itself is anti religious.Sorry, I have a deep prejudice against Idealism ,no matter what kind of idealism.Because only when faced with irrefutable truth can all religious people claim that they are not against these sciences.It may be ethical to oppose abortion, but it must be antiscience to oppose safe medical procedures.


Well I'm only lapsed-Catholic adjacent, but my understanding is that Catholic teaching isn't that the universe and everything in it was created in a matter of days, nor does it deny or contradict facts or theories established by scientific inquiry. On the other hand, it does claim to have the answer as to why the universe as we know it came into being and why it operates as it does, i.e. God willed it so.

Which is only significant really if the why is more important than the what; which is in itself a, well, anti-scientific attitude, yes? Does it really matter that much why universal gravitation or quantum entanglement operate as they do?

Why of course important.Everything in science is based on testable explanations.Acknowledge human ignorance and remain humble to nature.Understand how the world works, and then human beings can progress.If you don't ask why, you won't find gravitation and quantum entanglement ,and there will be no space industry or Internet.There are many things that people don't know, but most religions think that their god can explain everything, which is arrogance.If you ask them why, they will quote chapters from their teachings.There is no doubt that this arrogant attitude is anti scientific,or their gods will not be established
Last edited by Shanghai industrial complex on Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Forsher
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Postby Forsher » Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:50 pm

I hate the expression checks and balances.

Only one of those is worth anything... and that's balances.

When you design a system full of checks it will only work as long as people care about those checks. They do not, in themselves, guide the actors within the system to behave as they're meant to. Balances, on the other hand, do.

Indeed, I would go further. Checks seems just like they are, i.e. checks. Something to actively work to undermine and against. That is the opposite outcome to what we desire. In other words, in even a single check, there is the kernel of revolution.

So, a separation of powers is, in principle, a check. It's a hard rule that tries to distinguish between what's what. A fusion of powers... where the executive is both beholden to and dominate over... is a balancing.

The conclusion is clear.

Note that the UK and NZ operate systems where only balances exist. There are, conceptually, no checks at all. The only thing stopping either country from reprehensible legislation is... nothing. There are no checks. At all. And, yet, we have very, very stable countries largely believed to be free of corruption and, in NZ's case, a relatively high degree of belief in the competence of governance. These are rare properties both in the present moment and when you look at the wider span of modern (say post 1815 history). I don't, personally, consider this a coincidence.
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Croxoco
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Postby Croxoco » Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:02 am

Forsher wrote:I hate the expression checks and balances.

Only one of those is worth anything... and that's balances.

When you design a system full of checks it will only work as long as people care about those checks. They do not, in themselves, guide the actors within the system to behave as they're meant to. Balances, on the other hand, do.

Indeed, I would go further. Checks seems just like they are, i.e. checks. Something to actively work to undermine and against. That is the opposite outcome to what we desire. In other words, in even a single check, there is the kernel of revolution.

So, a separation of powers is, in principle, a check. It's a hard rule that tries to distinguish between what's what. A fusion of powers... where the executive is both beholden to and dominate over... is a balancing.

The conclusion is clear.

Note that the UK and NZ operate systems where only balances exist. There are, conceptually, no checks at all. The only thing stopping either country from reprehensible legislation is... nothing. There are no checks. At all. And, yet, we have very, very stable countries largely believed to be free of corruption and, in NZ's case, a relatively high degree of belief in the competence of governance. These are rare properties both in the present moment and when you look at the wider span of modern (say post 1815 history). I don't, personally, consider this a coincidence.


Very well argued! Before giving your answer, you first debated the premise of my question. Unlike others on this topic, you also kept to the question at hand. Sorry to intrude, but it would not be unreasonable I think to assume you had a background in the study of politics? If you were to create a system of government with balances, what form would your government take? And from which country would you take inspiration?

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Postby Dumb Ideologies » Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:44 am

Separation of powers is, so the self-sanctifying myth goes, an attempt to ensure that any one faction that decisively wins an election doesn't have the power to trample the rights of minorities.

But is it not the case that the only factions such systems are trying to balance are the elites within the parties? The parties themselves are wide coalitions of interests in which certain factions enjoy a near-permanent ascendancy and others forever locked out. Separation of powers is primarily about maintaining legitimising myths of pluralism then about the practice.

It relies on a spirit of partisanship that said majoritarianism tends to erase - the needs of winning elections encourage demonising the other side at election time, if you have lots of staggered elections then that dynamic is "always on".

If you want to genuinely achieve the aims of separation of powers you'd simply abandon majoritarian elections and have each of the main economic and social groups in society hold their own elections for a fixed quota of representatives from within their group who would then get together and thrash out the main issues of the day.

But then working people would be suitably represented in government and that's precisely what this apparatus and system of ideology was carefully set up to prevent by massifying us into an amorphous blob in which we cannot accurately indicate our real collective preferences.
Last edited by Dumb Ideologies on Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby US-SSR » Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:31 am

Shanghai industrial complex wrote:
US-SSR wrote:
Well I'm only lapsed-Catholic adjacent, but my understanding is that Catholic teaching isn't that the universe and everything in it was created in a matter of days, nor does it deny or contradict facts or theories established by scientific inquiry. On the other hand, it does claim to have the answer as to why the universe as we know it came into being and why it operates as it does, i.e. God willed it so.

Which is only significant really if the why is more important than the what; which is in itself a, well, anti-scientific attitude, yes? Does it really matter that much why universal gravitation or quantum entanglement operate as they do?

Why of course important.Everything in science is based on testable explanations.Acknowledge human ignorance and remain humble to nature.Understand how the world works, and then human beings can progress.If you don't ask why, you won't find gravitation and quantum entanglement ,and there will be no space industry or Internet.There are many things that people don't know, but most religions think that their god can explain everything, which is arrogance.If you ask them why, they will quote chapters from their teachings.There is no doubt that this arrogant attitude is anti scientific,or their gods will not be established


Well I was thinking more along the lines of questions like "why does universal gravitation exist in the first place," the answer to which I would say is unimportant, than "why do apples fall to the ground."

Oh and watch out for those strawmen...
8:46

We're not going to control the pandemic!

It is a slaughter and not just a political dispute.

"The scraps of narcissism, the rotten remnants of conspiracy theories, the offal of sour grievance, the half-eaten bits of resentment flow by. They do not cohere. But they move in the same, insistent current of self, self, self."

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Cisairse
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Postby Cisairse » Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:55 am

Croxoco wrote:Greetings.

I've not posted anything on these forums for a long while, but here many of us are, in lockdown. So I thought to myself atleast some members of this community will have their own thoughts on how states should be governed... why not discuss and debate it?

Political systems in democracies can be most broadly divided between "fusion of powers" systems, in which the executive branch is in some way dependent on the legislature to hold office (the most common form of this would be Parliamentary Democracy, presently employed in the United Kingdom, Germany and India); and "separation of powers" systems, in which the executive is generally constituted seperately from the legislature (the chief example of this being the Presidential system, presently employed in countries such as the United States of America, Mexico and Argentina).

Now, each system has its own merits, and its own drawbacks. Under parliamentary systems (a fusion of powers based system), the legislature can often select and dismiss the executive: to continue in office, the executive must enjoy the support of the legislature; on the other hand, if an executive must enjoy the support of the legislature, it stands to reason that the executive must therefore be able to dominate the legislature: checks and balances between executive and legislature may, and usually do, suffer.

Under presidential systems (a separation of powers based system), the executive and the legislature are elected separately: neither may dismiss the other (save in cases of impeachment), and any action by one often requires the consent and approval of the other, in what is, theoretically, a strong system of effective checks and balances; on the other hand, because they are elected separately, each may legitimately claim a democratic mandate to implement their respective policies: gridlock and conflict between the two is almost inevitable.

There is the third category of semi-presidential systems, though depending on their model, they either more closely resemble a parliamentary, or other fusion of powers system (such as under the current French Fifth Republic), or resemble a presidential, or other separation of powers system (such as, theoretically atleast, under the present Russian Federation).

My question to everybody reading this and who takes an interest in this, is this:

Which system of democracy do you prefer? A "fusion of powers" system or a "separation of powers" system? And why?

I generally favour "fusion of powers" based systems, particularly parliamentary democracy. My own reasoning is this:
- The head of state should be separate from the head of government, and preferably appointed or inherited, rather than elected: The head of state should represent the entire nation, not the political faction in power, and should stand above partisan politics.
- The legislature, as the ultimate representative body of the people should be the most powerful organ of state, able to enact the will of the people and hold the executive to account (up to and including the power to dismiss the executive): Autonomous executives are a danger to democracy, and the USA being one of the small number of exceptions to this, presidential systems have often resulted in the creation of, or at the very least, the continued survival of, authoritarian regimes across the world.
- The legislature should be bicameral, and the upper chamber should be elected/appointed under different means than the lower chamber: Whereas the executive should be chosen by and accountable to the lower chamber, and, in consequence thereof, should naturally under ordinary circumstances dominate the lower chamber, the upper chamber should have independence from both the lower chamber and the executive, to better allow for checks and balances.
- There should be a charter of fundamental rights and liberties (such as the US Bill of Rights, or the European Convention of Human Rights), inviolable by the state and any authority thereof; this should be protected by an independent and politically impartial judiciary, which should have the power to strike down any law or executive act which violates this charter of rights and liberties


Depends entirely on the population.

Parliamentary and presidential systems try to solve different problems. The idea of separation of powers came from the idea that people are generally tyrannical, so if you make different parts of government equal in power and make sure that nothing can ever get done unless it's via consensus that you could abuse the tyrannical nature of humanity to make all of those different parts of government act selfishly against the tyranny of the other parts.

Unitary unicameral democratic parliamentary governments allow a single political party to have absolute control simply by getting a lot of people to vote for them at one time. This can work out really well in some cases, but can also make descending into fascism/authoritarianism much easier than a separation-of-powers system. Notice how Germany, Italy, and Japan had parliamentary systems prior to their becoming fascist autocracies, while the U.S. (which had a sizable fascist movement within its powerful elites at the time) did not.




That being said, the downsides to separation-of-powers are apparent, especially at a local level.

As an American, I believe that the federal government should be run in a presidential system as it currently is, but I feel that state governments should be organized as parliamentary unicameral systems. For a nation of 360 million people, having a bicameral legislature and an independent executive is actually really useful to ensure gridlock on controversial issues. Also, one of the main benefits of a presidential system is the security of foreign policy. When you just have 1 person handling all foreign and domestic executive functions for four to eight years, diplomacy can carry a lot more weight.
But this system doesn't make sense for state governments, which are bound to abide by federal laws and cannot radically alter the nature of their existence because they only exist with the consent of the other states and the national government. Many people don't care about their state government beyond who the governor is, because the existence of bicameral legislatures is completely superfluous in a state with far less than a million people, or even far less than ten million or fifty million.




As a final note, I do believe that the U.S. House of Representatives should transition to party-list proportional representation and the U.S. Senate should hold elections via instant-runoff transferable vote. This would end the strangehold of the two-party system in America, which many people incorrectly attribute to the presidential system when in reality it is a byproduct of FPTP.
Last edited by Cisairse on Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
The details of the above post are subject to leftist infighting.

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Postby New Bremerton » Sun Apr 12, 2020 1:46 am

Croxoco wrote:I generally favour "fusion of powers" based systems, particularly parliamentary democracy. My own reasoning is this:
- The head of state should be separate from the head of government, and preferably appointed or inherited, rather than elected: The head of state should represent the entire nation, not the political faction in power, and should stand above partisan politics.
- The legislature, as the ultimate representative body of the people should be the most powerful organ of state, able to enact the will of the people and hold the executive to account (up to and including the power to dismiss the executive): Autonomous executives are a danger to democracy, and the USA being one of the small number of exceptions to this, presidential systems have often resulted in the creation of, or at the very least, the continued survival of, authoritarian regimes across the world.
- The legislature should be bicameral, and the upper chamber should be elected/appointed under different means than the lower chamber: Whereas the executive should be chosen by and accountable to the lower chamber, and, in consequence thereof, should naturally under ordinary circumstances dominate the lower chamber, the upper chamber should have independence from both the lower chamber and the executive, to better allow for checks and balances.
- There should be a charter of fundamental rights and liberties (such as the US Bill of Rights, or the European Convention of Human Rights), inviolable by the state and any authority thereof; this should be protected by an independent and politically impartial judiciary, which should have the power to strike down any law or executive act which violates this charter of rights and liberties


Took the words right out of my mouth. Parliamentary democracies across the developing world tend to last far longer than presidential democracies. It is far easier to remove a government and a prime minister and trigger a snap election through a vote of no-confidence than it is to impeach and convict an elected president. Parliamentary democracies are also less prone to perpetual gridlock in contrast to presidential democracies because the government in the latter system must always command the support of a majority of MPs in the legislature. Parliamentary governments are able to directly introduce and pass legislation, and ideally, the Prime Minister and his ministers are required to field questions in the House in televised sessions at least once a week to ensure that the government of the day is continually held accountable. A president, however, is seldom required to field questions from Congress, although his ministers may occasionally do so.

If, however, a president's party wields a majority in both houses of Congress, that president can easily arrogate a large amount of political power and influence, enriching himself, his family and his immediate entourage and assuming sweeping emergency powers if Congress approves, and this scenario is even worse than one in which a prime minister assumes similar dictatorial powers because it is much more difficult to remove a president than a prime minister as mentioned above.

In a presidential democracy, the head of state and head of government are one and the same. In a parliamentary democracy, the head of government, the prime minister, is the country's de facto leader, while the head of state is a ceremonial, symbolic, apolitical figurehead with limited reserve powers, such as the Queen of England or the President of India. The head of state is supposed to represent the entirety of the population and not just one part of the electorate.

The following section addresses some of the downsides to a parliamentary system and how they can be easily rectified.

Two-party first-past-the-post parliamentary democracies such as the United Kingdom can easily slide into one-party-dominant authoritarian regimes such as Hungary and Singapore. The latter has been governed by the People's Action Party since before independence and controlled ALL the seats in Parliament until the 1980s when a handful of seats were reserved for a token opposition. A two-party system also means that while the governing party is able to monopolize both executive and legislative power by commanding an outright majority in Parliament, possibly to the detriment of democracy itself, the opposition is locked out completely for several years, breeding the kind of anger, spite, resentment, polarization and a rise in political extremism and violence that we're seeing in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Proportional representation by single transferable vote (PR-STV), as practiced by the Republic of Ireland, would remedy this. PR would ensure that no single party or faction is able to win an outright majority of seats in Parliament, and voters can simply vote for their favorite parties, ranked in order of preference, without having to worry about split or wasted votes. This would allow many smaller parties and voices, including opposition voices, to be at least partially represented, and the lack of a majority would force individual parties, even the larger ones, to negotiate coalitions and confidence-and-supply arrangements in order to form a government, leading to compromise and consensus.

Another major downside is the kind of scenario we see in economically, culturally and politically backward, corrupt, racist, phony parliamentary "democracies" where unbelievably venal politicians more interested in money and power than actually serving their constituents defect en masse, causing a democratically elected government to collapse and a new, unelected government, which consists of the same lying, thieving, treacherous, defecting pieces of shit in coalition with former opposition parties that were previously voted out for being corrupt, racist and authoritarian, to replace the former government and is now free to roll back the limited anti-corruption and democratic reforms that were enacted by the previous elected government, while the head of state declines to dissolve parliament and call a snap election, and if anyone challenges his decision, he is guilty of sedition, spreading "misinformation and fake news bringing a government into disrepute", and lese majeste against His Majesty the King, and must be locked away in a filthy jail cell for several years in crowded conditions where the Wuhan virus will certainly wipe out the entire population.

It absolutely must be illegal and unconstitutional for any member of parliament to defect from his/her party without first automatically losing his seat and standing in a by-election. This applies to expulsions of MPs by said party. Parliament must actually represent the will of the people and not just its own selfish interests, as exemplified by the Brexit gridlock and chaos in the UK last year, as well as Malaysia's backdoor, mass-defection-induced political crisis last month. A parliament that only represents itself and ignores the democratic will of the people can easily roll back democracy and judicial independence and reinstate the kind of Hong Kong SAR/Singapore-style, class elitist, neoliberal, conservative, aristocratic, authoritarian oligarchy once seen in 18th-century Britain where "let them eat cake" is the order of the day, irrespective of whether the powers that be refer to themselves as conservative, capitalist, socialist, communist, "liberal", nationalist, Islamist, Christian "democratic", or fascist, and in the absence of a formal, written constitution, nothing in the world can stop it from doing so.

Then again, a president in a presidential democracy can easily defect to the other side the day after taking office, making his entire election campaign one big lie.

EDIT: Speaking of Parliament vs. the People, fixed-term parliament acts must be struck down as undemocratic and unconstitutional.
Last edited by New Bremerton on Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Vistulange » Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:43 am

Broadly speaking, I tend to be in favour of parliamentary systems with a strong legislature, with a 5% electoral threshold and proportional seat distribution. I have two striking examples before me that actually make me support a threshold in the first place: Turkey between 1960-1980, where governments were consistently unstable and prone to collapse due to the large influence far-right parties held over the legislature despite their comparably small vote shares, and Israel throughout its existence, where the ultra-Orthodox parties (such as Shas and UTJ) make their inclusion almost mandatory for a meaningful government to be formed. The exceptions are the national unity governments in the 1980's, but their stability and success is most likely open for debate.

As for the head of state, I wholeheartedly agree that the head of state and government should be separate, with the former acting as a non-partisan and symbolic leader for the entire country, as opposed to the 50%+1 that happened to vote for them. Representative democracy, functions by the people delegating their authority to representatives that they themselves elect, thus, the actions the representatives undertake are legitimised by them being elected. It follows, in my opinion, that a head of state elected by a majority or a supermajority of these representatives is at least as equal as the head of state elected by 50%+1 of the popular vote. To put forwards an example, I would wager that Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the 10th Turkish President (elected in 2000), who was the joint candidate of the Democratic Left, Nationalist Action, Motherland, Virtue, and True Path parties, which were all the parties represented in the Parliament, comprising 80.81% of all votes cast in the 1999 general elections. (The biggest detractors from the vote percentage were the centre-left CHP, which fell below the threshold at 8.71% and the pro-Kurdish HADEP, which suffered the same at 4.75%.) In the end, Sezer was elected by 330 votes out of 550 total MP's, which amounts to 60% of the MP's. Had the CHP and HADEP been in Parliament, the number of votes Sezer got would likely have been slightly higher: he was a known secularist and former judge on the Constitutional Court, which would win CHP MP's instantly.

I can support bicamerality in the manner the OP suggests, just not in odd, anti-democratic means such as the Republican Senate we used to have, or hereditary peerages as they have (had? I'm not sure) in the United Kingdom.
Last edited by Vistulange on Sun Apr 12, 2020 7:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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