Democracies allow people to participate equally, whether directly or indirectly, though there is a significant level of variation in how they are implemented.

I expect that a democratic form of government would be negatively impacted by a lack of participation. Would this be the result of an abandonment of the social contract at the foundation of democratic governance? Is that indicative of a lack of interest or insufficient understanding?

I am concerned by the apparent disinterest I've observed, and have become curious if this occurred in other Democracies.

  • I mean a computer program is just a series of rules, and if you don't do checksums on those rules to make sure no hackers have changed them, then you have no idea that the rules have even changed, and even if you do know that the rules have changed you don't know which ones or in what way to find out what your program is doing; it seems to me that unlimited political campaign contribution is about the same thing as not checking your checksums.
    – leeand00
    Aug 16 '16 at 10:57
  • When citizens don't participate in democratic processes, then campaign donations don't help either. A completely depoliticized citizen doesn't pay attention to campaign advertisement and won't vote anyway. Campaigning can only sway the opinion of those citizens who still have an interest in politics (but not enough to form their own opinion based on non-biased sources).
    – Philipp
    Aug 16 '16 at 11:22
  • 1
    @leeand00 I'm pretty sure citizens of old Athens weren't so distracted by TV and Internet that they forgot to vote (also, it was compulsory). And I'm not even sure you'd find a correlation between the amount of time in front of TV and/or Internet and the voting rate. Aug 16 '16 at 12:45
  • 5
    @leeand00 no, it was foiled by not properly defining the scope of the question. Follow the suggestions by bilbo_pingouin and Drunk Cynic and the question might get reopened. The only police around here is the bad question police.
    – Philipp
    Aug 16 '16 at 13:47
  • 3
    @leeand00 Eh, no. Calling the crowd stupid and distracted establishes the derogatory tone of your question: rant. Unsupported claim that Citizens United allows foreign individuals to funnel money into campaign coffers: provide a citation. Question then redirects towards asking if these reason's are why monarchies were the dominate form of government: demonstrative of a strong misunderstanding of history. As one of the few open conservatives visiting this stack, I challenge you to do better. Aug 16 '16 at 14:19

The problem you identify isn't really one of how government is selected but of the dangers of government having to much power over it's citizens. Really what is required are unambiguous legal protections for the rights and freedoms of citizens so no matter what the makeup and intentions of the government they cannot act, at least not within the law, as a tyranny. A well armed citizenry able to offer resistance can also help.

For example I am from the UK, right now we have people in our prisons that are there solely for tweeting unfashionable or 'tasteless' remarks. That couldn't happen in the US, although there are many that would like it to be otherwise, because your free speech is protected by law that the government cannot easily overturn.

Any system, institution or power could become co-opted, which is why they should always be very restrained and limited in the power they wield.


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