||[Aug. 6th, 2006|03:44 pm]
You know, I just realized something. To a country with a decent ruler, or, not even a decent one, but a tolerable one, the United States election system has to seem crazy. Every four years, we take the 'ruler' of the country, and we try to kick him out. And then, even if he's the best 'ruler' we've ever had, we always kick him out after eight years. And replace him by someone who's never done the job before! He doesn't even need to have any ruling experience, there's no 'apprenticeship' in the form of a heir elect status...
To people who don't live under a democracy/republic, or similar roll over system, we have to seem absolutely insane.
I would say a reasonable person would think we were not insane, just unreasonably paranoid about bad rulers to the point of rejecting good ones.
I disagree. I think a reasonable person would recognize that no matter how decent your ruler is, the simple fact that they could spontaneously stop being decent provides a great incentive for having a built-in system for getting rid of them.
The consequences of having a mediocre ruler for 20 years are far, far worse than the consequences of having five consecutive mediocre rulers in the same time, because a person's power generally increases with time in office as they make more connections and earn more favors.
All authority is intrinsically evil. Even good people, the instant they get into positions of authority, will produce evil results every time they exercise their authority. Fortunately, constitutional governments (unlike, say, corporations, dictatorships, religions, etc) have strict limits on the exercise of authority, allowing them to achieve the positive effects of organizing people's efforts toward coherent societal goals while minimizing the negative effects of controlling and coercing people.
Of course, to most people raised in an authoritarian society (in other words, most societies in history, including most segments of American society, and all religiously unified societies) that attitude seems insane. Then again, all beliefs seem ridiculous or insane to those who don't share them.
I disagree with your disagree. :)
The likely hood of a good ruler becoming spontaneously bad, is far less then the likely hood of electing a bad new leader. So the concept of 8 years max is a bit paranoid. Though the impeachment process and various other safe guards we have on the power they wield and how they wield it would apply to having a leader going south in their good/bad list. If they do we can start to impeach, or simply not elect them next time.
Though I also disagree with the statement "All authority is intrinsically evil." So we probably won't agree on much of anything.
The damage done by a new bad leader is far less than that done by a long-established good leader turning bad. The goal is not to minimize the probability of having a bad leader, because sooner or later you will have one; it's to minimize the damage they cause when you have one.
Impeaching or not electing a person becomes harder the longer he's in power, impeaching in particular. The longer he's in power, the likelier it is that the people responsible for impeaching him are dependent on him to maintain their own power. Not electing a long-established leader is also difficult; most people will vote for the incumbent unless the challenger proves to them he's a better choice, rather than the more sensible other way around. The longer the person's been in office, the stronger that becomes.
Yeah, though. If you believe there's such a thing as good authority, we almost certainly won't agree on anything in politics. Government is a necessary evil, with equal emphasis on both words.