Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

free and fair elections are being threatened...


Around the world, democracy is losing ground. Polarization and disinformation have rendered liberals and conservatives unable to agree on basic facts. State violence and suppression of citizens' rights are resurgent. Free and fair elections are being threatened.

In this special issue, we critically examine the state of democracy and how it must adapt to achieve its ideals in the 21st century. We need to meet the challenges and opportunities of living in increasingly multiethnic societies, of fostering democracy in a weakened international environment, of reducing inequality and elevating the political representation of the poor, and of organizing social movements and combating disinformation tactics in the digital age. Advances in technology are making it easier to distort true voter representation through gerrymandering, and political campaigns continue to struggle with reaching voters and persuading them to participate. Worryingly, state violence, which has always been a core feature of the democratic experience for some, is spreading in democratic societies.

Twenty years ago, it seemed inevitable that democracy would reach every corner of the globe. In this moment, we are reminded that we must fight for democracy and work to improve it. A scientific understanding of the social and behavioral phenomena that underlie its operation will help us enhance democracy and, by doing so, improve human lives and societies globally.


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This is an article distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License.



This site (YD) has been on the case since 2005, while commentators such as Gus Leonisky have been toying with the dreams of improving democracy since 1951... And we're still in a muddle...


As we all (should) know the democratic process tends to oscillate between to extremes with about 49 per cent of any democratic sides being shafted... Labour or Conservatives? Democrats or Republicans? What will influence our choices? The media? Sciences? Our fears? Our privileges? War (see: a message from asimov...)? Will the truth prevail? Whose truth? Religion? Should Assange be FREE? Is ignorance democratic? Is global warming going to punch us in the face or the arse?... Is socialism democratic? Compassion?


At this stage, Trump is scientifically ignorant and Biden is (has always been) a warmonger. Choice anyone? 

dancing on a volcano?...

voting in the USA is the least democratic of democracies. Yet it is it. 

There’s a scene in Christopher Isherwood’s novel Goodbye to Berlin where the author goes to visit Bernhard Landauer, the owner of a prosperous department store in Germany. The year is 1933 and Bernhard shows Christopher a vicious message he’s received, threatening to kill him and all his fellow Jews. Bernhard shrugs this off but Christopher insists he go to the police: “The Nazis may write like schoolboys,” he says, “but they’re capable of anything. That’s why they’re so dangerous. People laugh at them, right up to the last moment…”

Here in America, it’s been easy to laugh at those who have threatened political violence over the past four years, and even at those who have carried it out. Their rogue’s gallery can look like something out of a campy video game: ninja-like black masks who run through the streets LARPing revolution? Mostly white college students screaming “black lives matter”? I still haven’t figured out exactly what a boogaloo boy is supposed to be. Even after the horror in Charlottesville, the white supremacists yodeling about “the Jew” on their way back from the latest Wolves of Vinland potluck come off as more sad than dangerous. It’s easy to laugh at these people, to dismiss them as dorks and thumbsuckers; it’s easy to laugh until it isn’t, until your cities are burning, until you look down and realize you’ve been dancing on a volcano.

So it’s gone in America today. Our fraught and volatile political climate has even led some to compare us to the Weimar Republic that Isherwood was chronicling. The term “Weimar America” has come into usage, popularized by writers like TAC‘s own Rod Dreher. Just as in pre-Nazi Germany, these thinkers say, America’s streets are now roiled by unrest perpetrated by extremists who have no respect for mediating institutions and view violence as just another necessary means of political expression. The left is mostly responsible for this chaos, though the right has also gotten involved, at Charlottesville, in Kenosha and Minneapolis, and in Portland where rioters shot and killed a Trump supporter last weekend. There are other similarities too: hedonism, decadent elites, the so-called center falling away.

Certainly illiberal left-wing militants clashing with illiberal right-wing militants is a portent right out of the 1930s. And certainly, too, as Michael Davis has pointed out, if society’s traditional elements feel threatened by bullies, they’re more likely to unite behind a bully of their own, a Hitler or a Franco. There are also parallels between America and Weimar at the ideological level. One of the aptest descriptions of Weimar, attributable to the academic Finlay McKichan, is that it was “a republic nobody wanted”—and since its ideologues didn’t want it, they didn’t hesitate to look beyond it, to dream of an abstract and supposedly stronger polity. Likewise have some American thinkers come to see their own republic as indefensible and sickly. On the left, this strand has existed for decades, mostly among Marxists who see the United States as too capitalist and imperialist. On the right, it can be found among the postliberals, who view our Enlightenment roots as withered and who, at their edges at least, long for a monarchy or a Catholic integralist state.

These schools are on the rise among intellectuals, but they’re also hardly representative of America today. Outside of the ivory tower and Twitter, few Americans deplore their founding or want to see their nation radically overhauled. The recent Democratic and Republican conventions, star-spangled affairs in their own ways, were evidence enough of that. Contrast that to the Weimar Republic, whose very formation was opposed by powerful societal factions (including the military). Demonstrating the lack of public buy-in, before the Weimar constitution was even signed, Bavaria broke away and formed its own socialist state. Two years later, right-wing forces under Wolfgang Kapp briefly overthrew the government; three years after that, Hitler tried something similar in Munich with the Beer Hall Putsch.

In Goodbye to Berlin, Bernhard says to the author, who is English, “You, Christopher, with your centuries of Anglo-Saxon freedom behind you, with your Magna Carta engraved upon your heart, cannot understand that we poor barbarians need the stiffness of a uniform to keep us standing upright.” That might seem like an amusing observation today, given the paltry state of the German military, but it also gets at an important truth about the British and their American cousins. Even if we now seem to be coming apart, even if our Overton Window is widening, we have centuries of liberal democratic practice behind us, civic traditions and attitudes that can’t just be rolled up like a carpet. These have weathered chaos before and may yet again. They’re at least still sticky enough that even in these frenzied times, we don’t have rogue bands of Freikorps roving the streets, frequent uprisings by communists, regular assassinations of politicians.


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This of course is one point of view amongst many... Gus's view is that most scientists are naive. Political science ISN'T A SCIENCE but an art form which is based like most art on DECEPTION.

robin rupert or rupert hood?...

Indebted rural council asked to help pay for News Corp 'bush summit', documents show

The Daily Telegraph and Sky News summit was designed to help reinvigorate rural towns but some councillors unhappy they were asked to help fund it

The Daily Telegraph and Sky News asked the Snowy Monaro regional council for $15,000 in cash and services to help pay for the newspaper’s “bush summit” conference in Cooma last week, according to council documents.

The request was approved a week before the summit despite objections from two councillors, John Castellari and Bob Stewart, who argued the money should go to needy community groups in a region that was devastated by the bushfires and Covid-19.

The bush summit is the Sydney newspaper’s major branding event and Daily Telegraph editor Ben English hosted prime minister Scott Morrison, state and regional politicians and business leaders last Friday “to brainstorm a future driven from the bush”.

A week before the summit, council was asked to approve a $15,000 value sponsorship payment towards the conference and councillors were shown a document prepared by lobbyists Newgate Australia for the Daily Telegraph. The “consideration of sponsorship” document outlined how the council would benefit from brand exposure, networking and editorial opportunities.

“The Daily Telegraph, in partnership with Sky News has scheduled their annual Bush Summit for 2020 to be held in Cooma on 28 August,” council papers said.

“They have proposed that Council sponsor the Summit in line with their generic sponsorship package.”

The general manager for the council told the meeting the company had “in fact asked for $20k” but it was agreed to settle on $10,000.

Greens councillor Castellari told Guardian Australia he thought it was “very odd” that a “such a wealthy organisation would be expecting us to help them host this summit” and he had argued against it before the vote and lost.

“The Tele came along, they ran their summit and handed out all sorts of money to people, they came along and distributed largesse, and acted like they cared for the community and yet they don’t mention that they’re taking money from us,” Castellari said.


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No freebies... News corp (Rupert Murdoch) "steals" from the council and give cash to the poor, like Robin Hood... Non-typical philanthropy with an elastic band... Nothing new mind you...


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