311 votes

Why allow convicted criminals to vote?

The most trite answer is a civil rights protection against the following algorithm: Win a legislative election. Pass any law which disproportionately imprisons the supporters of your opponents. ...
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  • 20.6k
172 votes

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

What arguments are typically offered by those supportive of this taxation technique, both ethically and economically, in order to defend and promote its use? Inheritance Taxes As Taxes In Lieu of ...
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  • 54.6k
170 votes
Accepted

Why is populism seen as being negative or bad?

Populism suggests emotion over reason to many. The negative connotation of the term populism respects the dichotomy of emotion vs. reason as it relates to public policy and its effect on political ...
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  • 3,982
136 votes

Why allow convicted criminals to vote?

Democracy: Criminals (including those in jail) are affected by the results of the political process. Allowing them to vote gives their an option for their opinions to be heard. If you want to signal ...
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  • 27.6k
122 votes
Accepted

When is a democratic vote actually the wrong tool?

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. ~ a quote commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin So, to answer your question: When is a democratic vote actually the wrong ...
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91 votes
Accepted

Why do politicians refuse to answer hypothetical questions?

The vast majority of the time, a politician's negatives come from what they have said, not what they haven't said. A politician can refuse to answer questions a thousand times without it hurting ...
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  • 4,651
86 votes
Accepted

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

This is The Paradox of Tolerance, as mentioned in the comments, and it is a debated grey area. Let's use your three examples, and let's observe that these all happened in the US. This constrains their ...
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  • 4,206
80 votes

Why should the state not provide for basic necessities?

The state cannot wave a magic wand and generate the water, food, and raw materials necessary for providing what you've defined as basic necessities. The state has to either pay for those resources, ...
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72 votes

Why is populism seen as being negative or bad?

A European perspective: in our part of the world, current populists are often perceived as crossing the line from saying "We are the people" to saying or implying "Only we (and no one else) are the ...
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72 votes

What is an alternative theory to the Paradox of Tolerance?

The counter-theory is the free market of ideas. Basically, despicable beliefs will struggle to gain popularity when forced to compete for attention fairly against moderate beliefs. By suppressing ...
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  • 7,426
69 votes

Why should the state not provide for basic necessities?

DISCLAIMER: The question can be interpreted two ways: (1) "What are the reasons not to provide" - which is a subjective question because not everyone agrees with said reasons; and (2) as @J.Doe's ...
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  • 89.3k
68 votes
Accepted

Is Communism intrinsically authoritarian?

It depends what you mean by communism. If you mean what the Soviet-bloc states ended up like then, yes, all historical examples of this communism were pretty authoritarian. If you want indulge the [...
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  • 110k
65 votes

Why allow convicted criminals to vote?

Here are some actual arguments given in cases around the world, extracted from a paper focusing on the Irish case: Israel: after Yigal Amir assassinated Rabin, there was a court case asking for Amir'...
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  • 110k
60 votes

What purpose does economic inequality (inequality in wealth) serve?

The conservative view on this topic is that wealth inequality allows to create incentive systems which encourage people to contribute to society in order to increase their wealth. In other words: ...
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  • 68k
54 votes
Accepted

Alternatives to money and power as social incentive mechanisms

The trouble with plain "social recognition" is that it doesn't scale. Dunbar's Number is the number of people you can "know" in the sense of having stable social relationships with ...
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  • 18.1k
53 votes

What is the purpose of democracy?

What is the purpose of democracy? It's more a philosophical question than a political question but let me try a brief answer: First, it's a reasoning bias to imagine that things always exist for a ...
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  • 15k
53 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between totalitarianism and authoritarianism?

From a very abstract point of view, the difference is that totalitarianism desires to completely (totally) influence the thoughts and actions of its citizens, even into the private sphere, while ...
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  • 12.8k
51 votes
Accepted

Can the U.S. technically be called an oligarchy and a democracy?

All modern democracies are representative; it's for purely pragmatic reasons hard to see how a large community could govern itself directly by the people without introducing representative ...
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50 votes

When is a democratic vote actually the wrong tool?

Democracy works for decisions where (a) everyone is equally informed (or at least there is no reasonable way to exclude the ill-informed) and (b) everyone is equally affected by the outcome. So, bad ...
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50 votes

Is Communism intrinsically authoritarian?

First, I wanted to make clear that "authoritarianism" does not mean "enforces rules with some form of force" - if we were to use that definition, then every single system of ...
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  • 785
47 votes

Why do politicians refuse to answer hypothetical questions?

Not answering hypothetical questions is basic politics. There is nothing to gain in answering them. If you are running for political office (or even getting a promotion in your job) you should realize ...
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  • 3,926
46 votes

Difference between nationalism and patriotism

George Orwell in 'Notes on Nationalism' said it best I think, By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of ...
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  • 1,123
46 votes

What are some examples of Ur-Fascist Newspeak?

Chomsky tackled one angle on this by adumbrating what one might call corporate fascism (fascism was after all historically supported by big business against working class movements) but which he ...
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45 votes

Why does partisanship trump concerns about hypocrisy with voters?

Short answer: everybody hates somebody, and by extension that person/group's cherished pet cause. Seriously. Consider the following conversation: Person A: Hey there gun owner, did you know that you ...
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  • 8,328
41 votes

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

Political parties, lobbyists, and interest groups will exist the same: in your voting platform you will need ways to make proposals stand out: how would you deal with 10000 proposals per week? No one ...
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40 votes

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

There's a number of misconceptions about the estate tax in the US. It's a tax that only affects the very wealthy, it taxes income that can otherwise go untaxed, people with vast amounts of wealth are ...
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  • 1,316
38 votes

Why allow convicted criminals to vote?

A few points not brought up by the other answers: Criminals are not uniformly of one party. In certain cases reformed criminals, or even unreformed criminals, might be much wiser voters who are less ...
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  • 12.5k
36 votes

Why do working class people vote for the political right?

How could so many rich men like George Clooney and Bill Gates vote for Hillary Clinton? After all, she openly said that she thought it was sexist to hire a man (Donald Trump) over a woman (her). And ...
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  • 88.2k
35 votes
Accepted

How would libertarianism deal with deceptive contracts?

Perhaps the single, most fundamental principle within libertarian thought is voluntarism. Almost all other libertarian ideals (freedom of contracts, autonomous judgement, informed consent, individual ...
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  • 11.4k
34 votes

Is Venezuela an example of socialism?

Venezuela's economy Venezuela is a communist planned economy with an authoritarian government. It is, therefore, an example of Socialism. Under Chavez and Maduro, Venezuela's economy became a ...
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  • 4,651

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