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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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137 votes
18 answers
47k 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", ...
ryan G's user avatar
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101 votes
18 answers
31k views

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 ...
got trolled too much this week's user avatar
99 votes
20 answers
10k views

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 &...
matt_black's user avatar
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85 votes
16 answers
21k 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 ...
Man's user avatar
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62 votes
19 answers
19k 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 ...
Wadih M.'s user avatar
  • 703
58 votes
23 answers
33k views

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?...
CDJB's user avatar
  • 108k
54 votes
13 answers
10k views

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 ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
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50 votes
5 answers
9k 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....
Allure's user avatar
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48 votes
8 answers
16k views

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 by which politicians justify saying that? Is ...
user1589188's user avatar
42 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
41 votes
14 answers
14k views

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 ...
hunter 2050's user avatar
41 votes
9 answers
13k 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 ...
CDJB's user avatar
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39 votes
18 answers
6k views

How do Western countries get people who vote against the authorities?

I was born in the USSR, Russia, so this is the question that always puzzled me: how it happens that in some countries there are people who vote against the authorities, for instance, the president? If ...
Anixx's user avatar
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38 votes
12 answers
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 ...
Eike P.'s user avatar
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37 votes
2 answers
7k views

What is an alternative theory to the Paradox of Tolerance?

The Paradox of Tolerance expresses the idea that a society that is unlimited in its tolerance of intolerant philosophies is unlikely to survive, and therefore that an otherwise tolerant society should ...
DerekG's user avatar
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35 votes
4 answers
11k views

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 ...
El Shteiger's user avatar
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32 votes
5 answers
8k views

What conditions must happen to end a cult of personality?

Background Cults of Personality are a long standing phenomenon going back to at least the Roman Emperor Commodus. However the term really only entered popular lexicon after Nikita Khrushchev's Secret ...
isakbob's user avatar
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31 votes
16 answers
15k views

Direct voting on every issue (referendum) - new political system

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 ...
Node.JS's user avatar
  • 575
30 votes
7 answers
5k views

Is it a fundamental tenet of liberalism to allow the expression of illiberal ideals?

In recent years, the US has seen a rise in a priori rejection or "cancelling" of illiberal ideas on the left. In essence, these ideas are being rejected from mainstream liberal society ...
DerekG's user avatar
  • 1,188
30 votes
10 answers
14k views

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 ...
user50780's user avatar
  • 548
28 votes
16 answers
6k views

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 ...
hawkeye's user avatar
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27 votes
4 answers
8k 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 ...
WilliamKF's user avatar
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24 votes
4 answers
3k views

What does the term "Equity" mean, in "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion"?

The use of the term Equity has been on the rise for years, especially with the emergence of the new political term of "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion", or DEI, being bandied about in the US....
Machavity's user avatar
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24 votes
6 answers
21k 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 ...
falcon's user avatar
  • 1,125
23 votes
7 answers
8k views

If the goal of communism is a stateless society, then why do we refer to authoritarian governments such as China as communist?

The actions taken by these governments seem to be more fascist than communist. The term communism is used to describe so many contradicting policies and it is very confusing.
Aaron's user avatar
  • 355
23 votes
11 answers
10k views

Why would a state retaliate to a nuclear strike if the consequences could be human extinction?

The entire mutually-assured destruction (MAD) concept is based on game theory and mutual belief. Suppose we have two states (A and B) with massive nuclear arsenals which together suffice to plunge the ...
Stop Gaza Genocide's user avatar
23 votes
9 answers
12k views

What does "the Balkanization of the United States" mean?

What is Balkanization? How does a country/political entity/area become Balkanized? What does Balkanization mean specifically for the future of the United States? Edit: "The Balkanization of the ...
Jaol's user avatar
  • 339
23 votes
2 answers
2k views

Without government, who would build the roads?

In an Anarcho-capitalist society, where there is no government, who would build the roads?
Chloe's user avatar
  • 6,048
22 votes
9 answers
4k views

How do unpopular policies arise in democracies?

Very recent example: Macron bypassed parliament to enact French retirement bill amid protests against the bill. There are several pedestrian explanations I can think of: The decision makers believe ...
LudwigNagasena's user avatar
21 votes
6 answers
8k views

What are some examples of Ur-Fascist Newspeak?

I'm a big proponent of Umberto Eco's definition of Fascism that he gives in his essay Ur-Fascism; I find it really helps break down the very nebulous and poorly defined - but unmistakeable - concept ...
T.S's user avatar
  • 335
21 votes
6 answers
7k views

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 (...
Slazer's user avatar
  • 335
21 votes
4 answers
9k 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 ...
user avatar
20 votes
16 answers
5k 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 ...
SleepingGod's user avatar
  • 8,457
19 votes
7 answers
7k views

What has divided US politics 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 ...
Saja's user avatar
  • 375
19 votes
4 answers
1k views

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 ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
18 votes
6 answers
3k views

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 ...
Brian Turner's user avatar
18 votes
6 answers
3k views

Do more legislative seats make Gerrymandering harder?

In a system of single member districts, elected for an entire legislative body all at once, is it easier to gerrymander the map to favor one party over another in a two party system, with more ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 82.6k
18 votes
2 answers
617 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: ...
CDJB's user avatar
  • 108k
17 votes
3 answers
2k views

How did the US end up so evenly split?

When looking at the popular vote for 2016, about 49% to 51%, and the current numbers for 2020, it's astonishing how close it is — how evenly the country is divided. Surely this is unexpected and ...
Luke Sawczak's user avatar
17 votes
6 answers
5k views

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, ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
  • 50.9k
16 votes
11 answers
8k views

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, ...
mavavilj's user avatar
  • 523
16 votes
7 answers
4k views

According to Marx, is Communism a workable system or an unreachable ideal?

I have heard opposing arguments about whether or not Communism was intended to be an unreachable ideal, or a workable system. Has Marx ever commented, either in the communist manifesto or otherwise, ...
Ekadh Singh - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is there any document (letter, quote) linked to the Founding Fathers that indicates their support for 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 ...
Aporter's user avatar
  • 665
15 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is the conspiracy theory of "Cultural Marxism" inherently tied to antisemitism?

According to Wikipedia, cultural Marxism is a conspiracy theory that says that the Frankfurt School wants to destroy Western culture by controlling the media, academia, etc., using as its method the ...
tim's user avatar
  • 37.1k
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

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 ...
o0'.'s user avatar
  • 1,133
15 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Federico's user avatar
  • 6,735
15 votes
8 answers
5k views

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 ...
Federico's user avatar
  • 6,735
15 votes
6 answers
3k views

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 ...
Mr. Bultitude's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
1k 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 (...
Alex Celeste's user avatar
14 votes
5 answers
11k views

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 ...
Deirdre Monaghana's user avatar

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