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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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117
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14answers
42k 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", ...
91
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16answers
28k 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 ...
77
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16answers
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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 ...
60
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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 ...
50
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12answers
9k 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 ...
43
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8answers
14k 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 for politicians justify saying that? Is there a way to ...
41
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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
12k 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 ...
36
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4answers
10k 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 ...
31
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14answers
14k views

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 ...
29
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10answers
13k 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 ...
28
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16answers
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 ...
25
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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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7answers
16k 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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3answers
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 ...
17
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7answers
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 ...
17
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4answers
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 ...
16
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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 ...
16
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8answers
4k 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 ...
15
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11answers
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, ...
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
2k 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 ...
15
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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: ...
14
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5answers
10k 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 ...
14
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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
6k 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 (...
13
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4answers
920 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 ...
13
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
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 ...
12
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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
480 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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6answers
4k views

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 ...
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
701 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 ...
11
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6answers
726 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 ...
11
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6answers
4k views

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?". There are ...
10
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10answers
2k 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 ...
10
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7answers
1k views

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
826 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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1answer
2k views

Lumpenproletariat In Marxist Theory?

I am having a lot of trouble visualizing Karl Marx's socio-economic class Lumpenproletariat. Marx gives these examples: Alongside decayed roués with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious ...
9
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3answers
7k views

What exactly is ineptocracy?

I heard about some people arguing about ineptocracy as applying to the country I live in. I searched up the term and found these definitions: The phenomenon of governance or leadership by the ...
9
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2answers
2k views

What are the advantages of the French two-round voting system against a one round alternative?

In regards to the French Presidential election of 2017, what are the advantages of the French two-round voting system against a one round alternative? If two-round is better than one round, what ...
9
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4answers
1k views

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 ...
9
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3answers
356 views

Do politicians test new policies before executing them?

As the title says, do politicians test new policies before executing them? I'm no politician - I have a scientific background - but I would personally want to simulate a policy against current law to ...
9
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6answers
3k views

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 ...
9
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2answers
287 views

Is there an equivalent to Arrow's Impossibility Theorem that applies to systems where voters can give multiple candidates the same ranking?

Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem very specifically applies only to rank-order voting systems. All candidates must be ranked in order, with no two candidates being given equal rankings. Has there been any ...
9
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2answers
530 views

When in modern history (since 1789) did “democracy” become important?

The French Revolutionary mantra was "liberté, égalité, fraternité". There was no mention of "democracy". The word does not appear in Edmund Burke's Speech to the Electors of Bristol (1774). The US ...
9
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2answers
638 views

By what measures can the political power of an organization be estimated?

I asked this question earlier: Which is more dangerous to US democracy: Far-left or far-right ideologies? and after thinking about the comments received, I realized that I should start with some ...