Questions tagged [political-theory]

Political theory is the study of the concepts in politics. Use this tag for questions regarding political philosophy or scientific theories.

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124
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15answers
44k views

Why is populism seen as being negative or bad?

The definition that I found for populism is "support for the concerns of ordinary people". Democracy is form of government where the people rule by majority. If Democracy is considered to be "good", ...
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16answers
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Why allow convicted criminals to vote?

According to a 1998 HRW report, The United States may have the world’s most restrictive criminal disenfranchisement laws. We know of no other democracy besides the United States in which convicted ...
92
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15answers
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What is the purpose of democracy?

In many modern political debates democracy is often considered an unalloyed virtue: things are good because they are democratic. Things the people have voted for are good because they represent the "...
78
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17answers
20k views

What ethical (if any) or economical arguments are offered in defense of the inheritance tax?

Although I am normally quite supportive of higher taxation, I've never really felt comfortable with the inheritance tax. I see no reason why the government should tax the money a parent wishes to ...
61
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19answers
18k views

When is a democratic vote actually the wrong tool?

Democracy is defined as: Democracy is sometimes referred to as "rule of the majority". Democracy is a system of processing conflicts in which outcomes depend on what participants do, but no ...
52
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13answers
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Why does partisanship trump concerns about hypocrisy with voters?

Politicians are routinely hypocritical in support of partisan ends. I'll provide a few examples to demonstrate what I mean: When their party's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court is facing ...
49
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19answers
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Is Communism intrinsically authoritarian?

As a consequence of the recent developments in China, I’ve heard a lot of commentary which characterises authoritarianism as an inevitable consequence of a Communist state. How true is this statement?...
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5answers
8k views

Apparently many US voters think their candidate supports their politics even if they do not. Does this also apply to voters in other countries?

This surprising New York Times article says many US voters can't tell what political positions their candidate espouse, and in fact appear to simply attach their favored positions onto their candidate....
43
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8answers
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Why do politicians refuse to answer hypothetical questions?

Often you hear politicians say this "I don't answer hypothetical questions". Why can't hypothetical questions be answered? What are the grounds for politicians justify saying that? Is there a way to ...
42
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3answers
10k views

Why did the World Bank set the global poverty line at $1.90?

In early 2019 Bill Gates tweeted an infographic during the 45 meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos that showed that the proportion of people living in poverty had decreased from 94% in 1820 to ...
39
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14answers
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Why should the state not provide for basic necessities?

What are the major arguments for why the state should not provide for the basic necessities of its people? I am thinking of things like water, food, and housing as "basic necessities". I think some ...
36
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4answers
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Difference between nationalism and patriotism

Nowadays, nationalism has a strong negative connotation attached to it. This stigma doesn't apply to patriotism. What's the difference between them? If there is a difference to what extent could ...
34
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12answers
5k views

Alternatives to money and power as social incentive mechanisms

Capitalism does a pretty good job of incentivizing people to work on what's economically profitable, e.g., finance, law, tech, and what gives them power over others, e.g., becoming CEOs. Now let's ...
33
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6answers
8k views

What is the difference between totalitarianism and authoritarianism?

Both ideologies seem to have a dictatorship-like system of governance, no tolerance of dissenting opinions, and an executive which holds absolute power. What is the difference between these two ...
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14answers
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Direct voting on every issue (referendum) - new political system [closed]

First of all, I am not a politician. I am just a computer scientist. I asked this question because I do not think that I have adequate knowledge of various political systems. Background: Over the ...
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10answers
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Can the U.S. technically be called an oligarchy and a democracy?

I thought theoretically the U.S. could be a democracy (because people have a say in the daily workings of the government) and an oligarchy ( the president, the Supreme Court, etc... are the only ones ...
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16answers
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Is 'identity politics' vs 'freedom of speech' a valid dichotomy?

I've heard one friend say: I'm sick of all this political correctness. People should be able to say what they think. Words never physically hurt anybody. Freedom of speech is part of the US ...
26
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4answers
7k views

Why can't voting be fair if there are more than two alternatives?

I've heard that mathematically it can be shown that given any voting system with more than two choices, voters can cheat the system by not voting their true opinions in order to game the system and ...
23
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6answers
18k views

How accurate is the horseshoe theory?

From Wikipedia: The horseshoe theory in political science asserts that rather than the far left and the far right being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political continuum, they in ...
23
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2answers
2k views

Without government, who would build the roads?

In an Anarcho-capitalist society, where there is no government, who would build the roads?
20
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4answers
8k views

What are the main differences between different types of Marxism?

Socialism, Communism, Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc are different political idioms with some similarities in ideology. But my question is about their differences: Question: What are the ...
18
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16answers
4k views

Why do working class people vote for the political right?

Some analysis of the 2017 General Election in the UK has been published in the Financial Times, which seems to indicate that people without a university degree, who were working class, and had poor ...
18
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2answers
473 views

Is there a term for the practice of defunding a public asset in order to privatize it?

In a lecture entitled The State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom and Survival given by Noam Chomsky in 2011, at the University of Toronto, a 'standard technique of privatization' is described: ...
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6answers
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Why don't many of the Republicans in the House and Senate believe in climate change?

In their foundations, they support the laissez faire (economics) but they don't accept the green economy. Are there any logical reasons of why most Republicans (not all) refuse to acknowledge climate ...
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4answers
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Do any theories justify majoritarian election outcomes?

At legislative elections, parties can experience different biases in the translation of votes to seats. Grofman, Koetzle, and Brunell published a taxonomy of these biases (Malapportionment, turnout ...
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4answers
4k views

Is there a theory discussing fines based on income?

The question is quite straightforward, as in the title. I found myself discussing with a colleague the fact that according to some, fines should not be an absolute amount (e.g. 50 USD/EUR) but rather ...
15
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11answers
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What purpose does economic inequality (inequality in wealth) serve?

What purpose does economic inequality (inequality in wealth) serve? While one can argue that it's a result of differing productive capability, this is not the case with e.g. inherited wealth. Also, ...
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8answers
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Is there something inherently better in a 3-branch government system?

I will make mine this question: Is there something innate about the 3-branch-government design, or is its prevalence (even degraded) only a historical function? While thinking about it, I have to ...
15
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2answers
3k views

Who coined the term “madman theory”?

Madman theory revolves around the idea of appearing more "crazy" than one actually is. It is actually a signaling game in its simplest form. At least nowadays such games are exemplified with a "...
15
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6answers
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In what sense did Jefferson consider the right to life “unalienable” in light of his support for capital punishment?

Thomas Jefferson famously wrote in the 1776 Declaration of Independence that, "All men ... are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the ...
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5answers
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Is Venezuela an example of socialism?

I've been hearing a lot about Venezuela in the news lately. And it seems there is a big debate over whether it was socialism or not, or whether it was implemented properly. Is it safe to assume that ...
14
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7answers
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How would libertarianism deal with deceptive contracts?

Also, what about if you buy a software, and some terms in the software TOS says that you agree to be sex slave. A more concrete samples Unit link insurances. In most regions, people are selling unit ...
14
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3answers
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Can a monarchy become a US state?

I'm wondering if a monarchy could technically become a State in the US (without switching to republic, obviously), according to US constitution and to US laws. I.e., for the sake of the question, it ...
14
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5answers
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What does the non-dictatorship principle of the Arrow theorem mean exactly?

According to Wiki: The property of non-dictatorship is satisfied if there is no single voter i with the individual preference order P, such that P is the societal ("winning") preference order, ...
14
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7answers
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What does “far-right extremist” mean?

I often hear the expression "far-right extremist" to identify a person who goes on a killing spree based on his/her political beliefs. Examples would be Breivik and the perpetrator of the Trollhättan (...
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3answers
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Would the Founding Fathers have supported an inheritance tax?

I recently had someone make the claim that several of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution would have likely agreed with an estate or inheritance tax. This theory was backed up by a few quotes from ...
14
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1answer
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Why did Aristotle refuse democracy?

I've read a book about antique political systems and I read that Aristotle refused democracy because he didn't support the idea of the rule of the poor. Here's my two explanations of this statement: ...
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5answers
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Why do we collect taxes on income from labor?

This question tries to illuminate why it is probably good if within a country/an economy there are more jobs rather than fewer jobs. I would agree, it seems to me that employment is likely to lower ...
12
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4answers
966 views

From state's point of view - what makes state's authority over me legal?

What makes state's authority over me legal? I was born to my parents in a given country but I did not sign any contract with the state, nor have I sworn to any oath. Yet, the state applies force to ...
12
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6answers
763 views

Why should I care about federal vs state rights?

The premise behind most arguments about Obamacare, and other programs is that it's a "Federal" vs "State" rights issue. I come from a corporate business background, and it seems to me that if enough ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Who first proposed the idea that “Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses”?

King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry ...
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3answers
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How significant was Chernobyl in the collapse of the Soviet Union?

In 2006, Mikhail Gorbachev called the Chernobyl accident the "real cause" for the collapse of the Soviet Union: The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl 20 years ago this month, even more than my launch ...
12
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1answer
540 views

Is the UK a republic?

Obviously not in name, but in theory. The UK is a representative democracy; its administration is elected by the people, who are recognised as citizens, not subjects, enjoying the various freedoms (...
11
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3answers
4k views

What is ethical liberalism?

I have recently seen a conference organized by an ex-PM which discussed about the creation of a new political party. One of the speakers mentioned that the party will be centered around "ethical ...
11
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4answers
745 views

Is there any form of political system using math, informatics or psychology as a basis for decision-making?

Politician are often demagogic. They can say things without citing sources, statistics, etc. The laws are created to fulfill some purpose but this purposes are not defined in a formal language. The ...
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5answers
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Differences and Similarities Between a Democracy and a Republic

What are the key differences and similarities between republics and democracies? Here on politics.SE there are a fair number of questions like "Is X a Democracy?" or "Is Y a Republic?&...
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7answers
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What is the point of countries not recognizing the physical reality of who controls a certain territory?

There has recently been a lot of controversy regarding President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. However it seems odd to me that this is a point of contention in the ...
10
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6answers
848 views

What's the difference between repeating elections every few years and repeating a referendum after a few years?

There's a lot of talk in the UK these days about how holding a second referendum on Brexit would be "undemocratic" and "go against the spirit of referendums". However repeating a vote doesn't seem all ...
10
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7answers
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If authoritarian regimes are so bad, why do we see so many of them?

This is my first question here... If authoritarian regimes are so bad, why do we see so many of them? I don't understand why they are so prevalent in the world. It can't be because people are gullible ...
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5answers
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What has divided the country so severely since Bill Clinton's election?

I recently saw this article by the New York Times' Upshot showing that last 50 years of electoral college results from the presidential elections. Something that stand out is how drastically voting ...

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