Meerkat Musings and Virus-X – Democracy

A short while ago I had a little discussion with one Virus-X on the topic of gun control, which ended when I twice attempted to post a comment to address some of the points he had raised, and twice saw my comment slip into a moderation queue, then disappear. Having been accused of dishonesty prior to this, I can’t say I was too impressed to then see my reply vanish. I subsequently posted it, and a summary of our gun discussion, right here, then followed this up a little while later with a critical look at his take on democracy. Virus-X has responded and my reply to his rebuttal will end up being posted directly to him, but it will also be posted here, so that an accurate record of the discussion exists – archiving via the Wayback Machine may also take place, for the sake of posterity. My original post regarding the issue of democracy can be found here.

So people are clear, Virus-X’s response to my article was added onto his original article – as before, I have placed his words in pink. Any quotations he makes from other sources will be in green.

Update:  Internet liberals took it upon themselves to criticize my page, and my disdain for socialism.  This is me fisking his long response that he tried to have me get into, on his own page.  I told him that if he had anything to say to me, next time, do it on my page, because I have no desire to go to  his.  I didn’t go to his page to challenge his viewpoint, he came to mine for that.  If you do that, you argue here, not elsewhere.  Anyhow, here’s the link to his blatherings that he believes I’m obligated to respond to, for context:

http://meerkatmusings.co.uk/democracy/

It ought to be noted straight away, for the sake of accuracy, that I do not believe he is obligated to respond to anything. That being said, the reason I posted to my own site rather than his is because of the previous, disappearing post fiasco on his gun post. Maybe there were technical gremlins that day, but for the same comment to twice disappear, after twice ending in a moderation queue where previously things had been ok, gave me cause to wonder if any further comments would get through. At any rate, he would have been immediately aware of my own post, thanks to WordPress setting up a ping whenever someone links to a page.

Like most apparent liberals, you choose to re-arrange language to suit your mood, at the moment. Nothing in the section you outlined even mentions the word “democracy”, and elections are not peculiar to democracies. Even communist governments have votes (but they’re just not for the people). Socialist governments, such as in the UK, have votes. Voting rights are not something that only exist in democracies. Apparently, you’re unfamiliar with basic history.

NUMBER:

1593

AUTHOR:

Benjamin Franklin (1706–90)

QUOTATION:

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

ATTRIBUTION:

The response is attributed to BENJAMIN FRANKLIN—at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation—in the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention.McHenry’s notes were first published in The American Historical Review,vol. 11, 1906, and the anecdote on p. 618 reads: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” When McHenry’s notes were included in The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ed. Max Farrand, vol. 3, appendix A, p. 85 (1911, reprinted 1934), a footnote stated that the date this anecdote was written is uncertain.

SUBJECTS:

Republic

WORKS:

Benjamin Franklin Collection

Hmmm.

For some reason, Franklin didn’t call the emerging government a “democracy”. Perhaps there is a difference? Again, in your mental dishonesty to twist arguments and gain 5 minutes of Internet fame, you avoid looking into such differences. Here, let me do the 30 seconds of footwork for you:

http://madisonproject.com/2013/09/we-the-people-a-constitutional-republic-not-a-democracy/

The weird table won’t go into quote bubbles, so apologies if things look a little askew. At any rate, before moving on, let’s define what a democracy is.The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines democracy as:

the belief in freedom and equality between people, or a system of governmentbased on this belief, in which power is either held by electedrepresentatives or directly by the people themselves:

The government has promised to uphold the principles of democracy.
The early 1990s saw the spread of democracy in EasternEurope.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has this to say.
1 a: government by the people; especially: rule of the majority b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections2: a political unit that has a democratic government

3capitalized: the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the U.S.

  • from emancipation Republicanism to New Deal Democracy
  • —C. M. Roberts4: the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority
5: the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges What system does the United States employ? Are there principles of equality, freedom and representation of the people, either directly or indirectly? The answer is a clear yes. Just because the US is not officially referred as a democracy doesn’t mean that democratic principles aren’t at work. The absence of the word from the Constitution is merely a poor attempt to split hairs. To take an example from later on, where Virus-X brings up Venezuela as an example of democracy. Interestingly, both the US and Venezuela are classed not as democracies but as presidential republics – if we are to turn Virus-X’s logic on its head, what does this say about the existing system in the US?
The answer here is obviously that it says nothing. Virus-X is attempting semantics, and arguments around semantics and minutia simply don’t hold water. Let’s move on.

It’s funny you should say that:

democracy only works if the ‘right’ candidate wins

because people that think like you (liberals) say exactly the same thing.

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/presidential-campaign/306350-sudden-liberal-opposition-to-electoral-college-not

Well.

Isn’t that a coincidence? However, you can keep getting exercise walking the strawman, pretending elections are only aspects of democracies, and not republics and constitutional republics.

Quite aside from Virus-X taking my remark out of context, it is worth noting that both sides of the political divide will make the argument, however it’s also worth questioning the value of a system that allows the least popular candidate to win the election. That is in itself an irrelevance, since it does nothing to rebuke my argument that the US is a democracy. By definition, since free elections are held on a regular basis, the US is a democracy. Are democracies perfect? Of course not. Are they better than one-party communist states, theocracies and dictatorships? Absolutely. Nor does a democracy have to be called a democracy in order to be a democracy, so once again, Virus-X is splitting hairs.
“Cast your minds back to a discussion I had on the subject of guns and Constitutional rights. It appears that the Constitution is to be used selectively – we can apparently ignore it when it comes to support for representative ideals.”
Yep. And I just posted an article about how leftists are doing that very thing. However, this isn’t about guns, it’s about government types. Maybe you should try keeping on topic. If you want to talk about guns, that can be done in another thread.
It seems Virus-X either does not understand the point raised or is being deliberately obtuse. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn’t get the point I was making, so I’ll clarify – on this occasion, he, as the staunch right-wing conservative (as other staunch conservatives have done) is quite happy to be selective with the parts of the Constitution he wishes to apply, and selective still further in other ways. Apparently the right to have access to lethal weapons with little in the way of checks and balances is absolutely immutable, yet the idea of representation and elections? He pours scorn on these ideals when he pours scorn on the democratic ideals the Constitution speaks of (and once more, for the record, the absence of the word doesn’t mean the principle doesn’t exist).

No, actually the gamut, if there is one, is coming from you. Since you’re quite obviously ignorant of the mechanics of government, I’ll educate you: representative government is not endemic only to democracies, but also constitutional republics, like the United States of America. What you’re doing is throwing out yet another strawman, in publishing what is a clear lie, stating:

“It appears the opening gambit is to accuse anyone who favours a system of representative rule of being an ‘unwashed leftie’, which, quite aside from being quite the insult to anyone who identifies as left wing, rather ignores all the right wing individuals who consider democracy to be a cornerstone of freedom.”

Allow me to educate Virus-X – a democracy is a system where two or more parties take part in free elections on a regular basis. This is not my definition, but rather the offcial definition of several dictionaries. Meanwhile, several former presidents, including Republican president George W Bush, had a few things to say about democracy:

Through much of the last century, America’s faith in freedom and democracy was a rock in a raging sea. Now it is a seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations. Our democratic faith is more than the creed of our country, it is the inborn hope of our humanity, an ideal we carry but do not own, a trust we bear and pass along. And even after nearly 225 years, we have a long way yet to travel.

I would hope Virus-X is not suggesting he knows better than a former president (and Republican at that). Then we have Ronald Reagan, who once said:

Democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/ronald_reagan_387305

George Bush Sr (another Republican at that) is quoted as saying the following:

I’ll never apologize for the United States. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are,” Bush told about 200 members of his newly formed Coalition of American Nationalities, a group with representatives of ethnic backgrounds from about two dozen countries. Bush attributed his indiscriminate support for the nation to his belief that the United States is “the only hope for freedom and democracy” in the world and that “no other country is strong enough to lead the free world.”

I would imagine that presidents are required to have a reasonable understanding of the Constitution that they swear to uphold – and I would imagine they do in fact have a greater understanding of it than most.

There is more, a lot more, but given the aggressive tone that Virus-X directs toward me at almost every turn, plus (more seriously) the demands on my time (most importantly I am a father, also a husband, and I have recently started a new job), I don’t consider it worthwhile to delve into every last detail that Virus-X has seen fit to expand. Barring any dramatic changes to any one of a number of circumstances, I feel it is unlikely I’ll respond directly to him again, though we shall see.


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