Death to the Republic

Author: triangle.128k ,

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  • triangle.128k
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    American Democracy, in its current state, is corrupted. The institution itself was fragile, and bound to collapse at some point. Various founding fathers such as John Adams believed that democracy would never last for a long time. 

    America is showing signs of structural weakness and poor governance. Candidates and politicians are corrupted and self-serving, lobbyism influences politics more than public opinion, there's a political gridlock, the two party system, and so forth. 

    This is quite analogous to the late Roman Republic. Eventually, the crumbling Republican system was replaced by despotism. But was it a bad thing? Julius Caesar introduced various reforms to improve Rome and its poorer classes, while the Senate was full of corrupt and greedy oligarchs, of whom were unwilling to do anything and keep a gridlock of instability.

    Is this event in history analogous to America? Should we declare Democracy expired, or can it be saved? What are your opinions on a sort of neo-Caesarism that may eventually rise with growingly authoritarian-populist leaders in the western world?
  • Earth
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    Who is our leader? Trump? lol
  • triangle.128k
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    --> @Earth
    Trump is a proto-Caesar or a proto-proto-Caesar at best. What kind of "Caesar" allows for the whole media to slander the type of toothbrush he uses, or for ultra-progressives holding degenerate marches every other day? 



    I'm talking about a true strong leader that could rise up and potentially undermine the democratic election process. Trump hasn't been extremely effective in doing so. 

  • Earth
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    --> @triangle.128k
    What kind of leader gets triggered over a toothbrush?
  • Swagnarok
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    Dictatorship simply isn't cool nowadays. Even a thug like Putin would rather have a veneer of democracy (thus, popular legitimacy) to his government. Under the new framework, master manipulators will rise to the top of the pack. These are men who know exactly what buttons to push to get the public to keep voting them in, no matter how unscrupulous their methods are. They rely heavily on the intelligence apparati of the government in their attempts to manipulate the public (such as to suppress unfavorable information), upon the promise of stability and national unity (especially in the face of an external threat, often conjured from thin air), and upon the ideal of themselves as the face of their country to the rest of the world.
    This is simply an adaptation by old-fashioned strongman to the threat posed to them by the global export of democracy by the US. It's most likely to happen in countries that've fallen into the middle income trap and/or where there's an exceptionally strong sense of national pride, usually in countries that've existed for a very long time.

    People can use nationalism as an opiate to avoid having to face the hard realities of their country, which in turn leads to social, political, economic stagnation and decline. History has shown that a country whose people were stupid enough to turn down hard work and gradual progress for the siren's lure of a messianic leader who'll fix all their problems in one generation will one day end up being remembered as a "s**thole country".
  • Swagnarok
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    A blatant dictator can solve the problems of his country easier than a democratically elected leader in that he can simply force unpopular changes that are necessary.
    An elected dictator cannot do this, nor is he usually interested in helping anyone but himself. This is arguably the worst form of government, second only to a dictator who outright desires to inflict harm. There was an Ancient Greek philosopher (Plato, maybe?) who predicted that all democracies would ultimately end with a lawless, amoral demagogue, resulting in an endless loop of Dictatorship-to-Democracy-and-then-back-again-to-Dictatorship.
    It should be noted that all of this is contingent on a citizenry who lack discipline and fail to put in the work needed to maintain a Republic.

    I suspect that what you want is an outright dictator who'll force the nation to reform and rejuvenate itself. A benevolent dictator. But a people who would try to vote in somebody like that usually end up with a dissolute and corrupt fellow over them.
  • Swagnarok
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    In this world there is a type of person who believes himself to be altruistic and deserving to be above the rules so that he can impose his "help" upon other people. This kind of person is in practice shallow and narcissistic, and he will only hurt those who he claims to be helping, since he is not actually a good person, his "charity" doesn't actually have altruistic motives behind them, and the fact of his dishonesty to even himself makes him unable to realize the damage he's causing. Rather, what he does is exploitative. For purposes of narcissistic supply he must be in control of everything, though he isn't near competent enough to run everything competently, and all the countless inefficiencies of this arrangement inevitably come to the surface soon enough.

    Thus is the danger of overambition. That's why in a functional society national leaders understand the limits to how much they can accomplish for their people in the span of their administrations, the boundaries which they must always operate within, and the fact that they are ultimately insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and indeed replaceable, and not a lick smarter than their peers.
  • triangle.128k
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    --> @Swagnarok
    You do have some good conjectural points, that being said... Empiricism would dictate otherwise. 

    With the examples of Benito Mussolini, Antonio Salazar, Francisco Franco, or even Julius Caesar if we want to go back far enough, I fail to see how a democracy to despotic transition can't effectively work if a proper passover of power is organized (which is what these regimes lacked) or the political climate isn't fulled with the horrendous western liberalism forcing itself upon the world. 
  • Castin
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    The human race has to stop falling for, "Give me complete power and I'll quickly solve all your problems." We keep going for the miracle product. We keep buying the ShamWow.

    You're never gonna sell me on a system where dissenting opinions are not tolerated. Does your definition of fascism include totalitarian power where dissenting speech is suppressed?
  • vagabond
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    The funny thing is that those who yearn for a dictator who will make all of their hateful wishes come true actually believe that they will be immune to the human destruction they so fervently yearn for. Fools and their paradises.
  • triangle.128k
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    --> @Castin
    The "ShamWow" that's worked fine for ages? Many of the most prosperous societies in the world, before the age of western enlightenment liberalism, were absolutist. The Roman Empire flourished under the rule of despotic leaders, and the Eastern Roman Empire flourished as a dictorial theocracy. 

    And look at other examples: The Persians, Imperial Chinese dynasties, Caliphates, etc. 

    Sounds like a "miracle product" to me.
  • Castin
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    --> @triangle.128k
    The second half of my post is the most pressing to me.
  • Imabench
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    I don't think Americans will be eager to convert to autocracy and have the country ruled by a series of despots. As corrupted as the current Democracy is, the current enforcement of term limits and mostly free and fair elections makes it more than possible for unpopular leaders to be removed from power. 

    My main worry is if democracy continues to deteriorate to the point that average citizens start to think their only option for reform is through political assassination. One of the reasons the Roman Republic fell was because people figured out that you could just assassinate senators and emperors who disrupted the norm and threatened the wealth of the rich. I completely fail to see Americans supporting a dictator, but I can certainly see  Americans feeling that assassination is the only way to weed out politicians they don't feel should be in office. 
  • triangle.128k
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    I don't think Americans will be eager to convert to autocracy and have the country ruled by a series of despots. As corrupted as the current Democracy is, the current enforcement of term limits and mostly free and fair elections makes it more than possible for unpopular leaders to be removed from power. 
    Americans might not seem as eager as they are now, though neither were the Romans. Attitudes can change, especially due to a single person. The current enforcement seems strong enough to prevent the rise of a despot, though democracies have always crumbled to dictators in spite of how rigid the system may have been.

    This "single person" I mentioned would probably have to have certain characteristics... They would have to be charismatic, populist, controversial, somewhat "radical," not aligned to traditional Republican/Democrat ideas, nationalist, etc. 

    Donald Trump fits much of these, though he's far from charismatic. I don't see his emotional intelligence and leadership ability as high enough to fit the type of a hypothetical American Caesar. 


    My main worry is if democracy continues to deteriorate to the point that average citizens start to think their only option for reform is through political assassination. One of the reasons the Roman Republic fell was because people figured out that you could just assassinate senators and emperors who disrupted the norm and threatened the wealth of the rich. I completely fail to see Americans supporting a dictator, but I can certainly see  Americans feeling that assassination is the only way to weed out politicians they don't feel should be in office.
    It seems as if political violence is growing. I'd say it's more likely than not that asassination will become an option for reform.