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For the optimal society, what is the primal method of political thought?
in Politics

By WilliamSchulzWilliamSchulz 240 Pts
While still a new concept, political governing has the potential to move markets, change ideologies, and reshape values. As such, which leads to an optimal society and why?
  1. ?

    6 votes
    1. Democracy
      16.67%
    2. Utilitarianism
        0.00%
    3. Republic
      16.67%
    4. Anarchy
        0.00%
    5. Oligarchy
      16.67%
    6. Socialism/Communism
      16.67%
    7. Any other Forms
      33.33%
A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 





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  • someone234someone234 572 Pts
    edited May 4

    I can rank others if you want. Oligarchy is last place.
    EmeryPearson
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • someone234someone234 572 Pts
    edited May 4
    Unfair glitch, forced me to post twice.
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • EmeryPearsonEmeryPearson 120 Pts
    edited May 4
    I am a Technocrat at heart, so Oligarchy. 

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/technocracy
    someone234
  • someone234someone234 572 Pts
    @EmeryPearson If you put thumb down to me, I can do same to you.
    EmeryPearson
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • someone234someone234 572 Pts
    @EmeryPearson

    Out of the ones he gives:

    Democracy>Anarchy>Socialism/Communism>Utilitarianism>Republic>Oligarchy
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • Here is my personal list of what I provided

    Democracy>Socialism>Republic>Communism>Anarchy>Utilitarianism>Oligarchy. 
    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • someone234someone234 572 Pts
    Here is my personal list of what I provided

    Democracy>Socialism>Republic>Communism>Anarchy>Utilitarianism>Oligarchy. 
    There is always oligarchy in republic...
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • The difference between the two though is that the people get to vote in a republic, in an oligarchy, the people have no control and are subject to the rich. You could argue that we are subject to the rich in a democracy because we elect the person with the most money to his/her campaign.
    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • ih8shartsih8sharts 50 Pts
    Benevolent dictatorship.
  • ih8sharts said:
    Benevolent dictatorship.
    Can you define for me how this might work, out of curiosity?
    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • ih8shartsih8sharts 50 Pts
    @WilliamSchulz

    It is pretty much like a good king. Somebody who has the best interest of his people in mind and the absolute power to enforce those interests. 

    The downside of democracy is that people prefer immediate gratification over long term benefits and base their decisions upon those urges.

    Consider the dictator like a loving father who makes his kids eat their vegetables.  

  • If the king had power to enforce the best interests of the people, (a) how would this function differently than the presidency and (b) how do the people retain power in the event of a wretched king?
    someone234
    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • funpersonfunperson 45 Pts
    1. Anarchy; it is the belief in peaceful solutions to problems.
    2. Republic; the belief that people have inalienable rights that a gov't cannot take away. Not quite a belief in peaceful solutions but at least it respects rights.
    3. Utilitarianism; the belief that actions are right if they benefit society as a whole. It doesn't necessarily have to respect people's rights but it doesn't automatically take them away.
    4. Democracy; the belief that 51 people can control the lives of the other 49. Your rights can easily be taken.
    5. Oligarchy; the belief that 51 people can control the lives of the other million (numbers are arbitrary). I'd rather at least have the majority of society controlling me than a few people at the top.
    6. Socialism/communism; the belief that you can steal someone's property to create your personal vision of what society should be.

    But at the top, above anarchy, I'd put minarchism because I'm not totally sure how well an anarchy can work.
  • ih8shartsih8sharts 50 Pts
    If the king had power to enforce the best interests of the people, (a) how would this function differently than the presidency and (b) how do the people retain power in the event of a wretched king?
    (a) presidents' powers are limited
    (b) regicide 
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 271 Pts
    @WilliamSchulz

    The interpretation of optimal society depends on the evaluation criteria used. For example, some people value technological achievements above everything else, others might be more interested in eradicating what they consider to be poverty, others still want to be free to pursue their personal goals with little interference from the state... And since one society is supposed to work best for the entire society, rather than only for one specific individual and his personal interpretation of optimal society - you could say that the question is ill-posed.

    We can, however, ask a question of a different kind, taking personal views into account. For example: “What system leads to the highest collective happiness?” Again, you need to first establish how you measure this collective happiness (is it higher in the society of 90% extremely happy and 10% miserable people, or in that of 100% mildly happy people?), and there is still no assurance that the answer exists independently of the specified society (what works for Japanese might not work for Americans as well, for example) - but my general answer would be that Republic is the closest to that among the suggested systems, based purely on empirical historical evidence. Arguably the two most successful states in history out of three (Ancient Rome and the US) were/are republics, and the third one (British Empire) was constitutional monarchy closer to republic than any other non-monarchic system.

    Democracy could work in theory, but in practice it is very unstable against temporary shifts of the political landscape. Anarchy (or, at least, extreme libertarianism) is probably what the world will eventually evolve into, when the technology surpasses human ability to control it, but for now it doesn’t seem sustainable.


  • WilliamSchulzWilliamSchulz 240 Pts
    edited May 6
    ih8sharts said:
    If the king had power to enforce the best interests of the people, (a) how would this function differently than the presidency and (b) how do the people retain power in the event of a wretched king?
    (a) presidents' powers are limited
    (b) regicide 
    First, to any other people who posted, thanks!, and I will respond in due time. 

    In these two answers, I am seeing two conflicting viewpoints, and I am not quite sure how they are supposed to function. In your idea of a benevolent dictatorship, you think that the good king can collectively support the interests of his people, yet you mention that his powers would far exceed the presidency in terms of scope and influence. This is precisely the issue that I have with "benevolent dictatorship", because benevolence is only an ideal or a hope, when in fact, having no organized system to bring down a king, say a court of law and justice, would lead most kings to becoming wretched. If I had the power that you suggest, I might even take shortcuts because in that position, I could benefit the people while moreover benefiting myself. I could become corrupt and the people might not even realize it from the actions that I would supposedly take. You mention that the only method to bringing down such a king would be to kill him, but where are you getting the means to do so, conspiracy? The king would probably be in a protected place and since his powers exceed the president, he could literally declare war on the people. What you are suggesting is a tyranny, and not a dictatorship, because benevolence is arbitrary in a general sense. Thus, I am faced with two more questions, namely (a) are there alternate forms of impartial justice, and (b) where would the people establish a means to bring down a king, perhaps in a way that doesn't involve murder, because the second that death has to be used to establish peace, something is flawed in the societal practice in order for it to occur. For instance, in the French Revolution, the French gained their 'freedom' by killing King Louis, but the French already had the Reign of Terror due to the frequency of being convicted to the guillotine, which was a practice accepted by the aristocracy, and that was flawed. Unless there are alternate means to a one-sided power switch, the system is bound to fail because of human flaws.
    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • WilliamSchulzWilliamSchulz 240 Pts
    edited May 6
    funperson said:
    1. Anarchy; it is the belief in peaceful solutions to problems.
    2. Republic; the belief that people have inalienable rights that a gov't cannot take away. Not quite a belief in peaceful solutions but at least it respects rights.
    3. Utilitarianism; the belief that actions are right if they benefit society as a whole. It doesn't necessarily have to respect people's rights but it doesn't automatically take them away.
    4. Democracy; the belief that 51 people can control the lives of the other 49. Your rights can easily be taken.
    5. Oligarchy; the belief that 51 people can control the lives of the other million (numbers are arbitrary). I'd rather at least have the majority of society controlling me than a few people at the top.
    6. Socialism/communism; the belief that you can steal someone's property to create your personal vision of what society should be.

    But at the top, above anarchy, I'd put minarchism because I'm not totally sure how well an anarchy can work.
    I will list my contentions down the line from your proposed list including your alternative listed at your argument's conclusion. 

    1. The very basic definition of anarchy is that there is no government and people are in control of themselves. The only way that this could possibly function properly is if everyone was a perfect person, but we are not. Without a government, who is going to stop the thief that breaks into a store, or are we now bound to punish the same person. What if our punishments are different from what is fair. Who would oversee the justice system occurring? The fact is, a lawless society would be bound to fail, namely that without some institution of accepted authority, people will turn on themselves with arbitrary definitions for their own justice, liberty, court system, and because there is no one set method for dealing with people, anarchy is bound to fail. You mention the alternative of extreme libertarianism, but if the state only participates minimally, what would it function in to begin with?

    2. While your first clause might be true, the true nature of a republic is that the citizens uphold the right to elect a ruler, and although there is a ruler and not a checking power, it is backed by a founded court system that oversees the life of people and is run by the people. Similar to ancient Rome, the system is bound to fail due to certain powers corrupting, namely the ruler, because even the courts can not survive by killing the ruler, as I already mentioned in a previous post, this is not how justice functions, so a republic would still need a proper checking system and a better method of electing rulers that are people based and not wealth based. However, this is certainly not the worst form of governing, because at least some institution is in place and has power in their own branches. 

    3. Utilitarianism is built on the basis that as you state rights are only valuable if they are beneficial to society as a whole. However, this fails to answer the fundamental question, who decides the benefits, the people or the State? The clear indicator is the State, but this leaves many gaps for flaws, namely if I killed my brother, perhaps the state will say that my killing was beneficial because it was one way to solve the increasing birth rates. Unjust, yes!, in the eyes of the State, no! Thus, there has to be a flaw in Utilitarianism as there is no set boundaries for what we consider moral, because people are only valuable if they contribute to the greater good, and when they go against the good, it is okay to exterminate them. Say for instance I have three people, one a person who is on the verge of curing cancer, the other one a person whose political influence has risen the economy to record high levels, and the other a singer whose music benefits millions of people. Now, the doctor needs a heart, the politician needs two kidneys, and the singer needs lungs. Now, the transplants would be successful if only a person had a proper blood type. The person overseeing such searches and searches, but can not find a person, until he miraculously finds a janitor with Down-Syndrome with the matching type. Now, a Utilitarian would have to state that because the people who need the heart, lungs, and kidneys make greater good occur in society, then we should kill the janitor as his benefits are far less to those in need. However, morality would state that the janitor did no harm, and he does not have a right to be murdered, no matter what good might be achieved. Thus, there is a flaw in Utilitarianism because it tries to quantify the value of a person and not morality as a whole. 

    4. I will not be the first to admit that democracy is a major problem, however, as of current, it is more stable than one might think, and this is due to person representation. When a society is governed by the people who can elect other people, and has a court run by qualified people, it is going to be optimal on the basis that while corrupt, it would take a long time to crumble, because of the system set in place that prevents this from concurring. Yes, you might have a distasteful president, but both Congress and the Courts can check his actions with Constitutional law. You might state, this is only dealing with American politics, yet most other nations who form a democracy draft a Constitution based off of the American Const. Yes, democracy fails from time to time, but never to a point where lawlessness and disorder seem optimal. Thus, while there are many methods to improve such, the election system and the voting system keep politicians in balance with the needs of the people, and the party system ensures a swinging motion in the political field. 

    5. I don't feel as if I need to explain myself here, as both you and I seem to agree that oligarchy is an infinitely worse system based on scope alone and an unlelected minority making laws for the majority. 

    6. I disagree with your clauses above, and not because humans can steal property, but because the State divies up the property to best suit the needs of the people, and this is bound to fail due to a government taking loopholes and measures to ensure personal wealth in government while the rest of the population is left to starve. I am okay with moderate forms of socialism, because at least it is rooted in the basis that we share responsibilities in certain things, though the government can enforce these interests accordingly, while communism is too extreme and has already been proven to fail, as well as disregarding morality. While I would consider this better than oligarchy and anarchy, it is only because it would work if humans were not corrupt, whereas the other two systems would fail regardless. 
    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • MayCaesar said:
    @WilliamSchulz

    The interpretation of optimal society depends on the evaluation criteria used. For example, some people value technological achievements above everything else, others might be more interested in eradicating what they consider to be poverty, others still want to be free to pursue their personal goals with little interference from the state... And since one society is supposed to work best for the entire society, rather than only for one specific individual and his personal interpretation of optimal society - you could say that the question is ill-posed.

    We can, however, ask a question of a different kind, taking personal views into account. For example: “What system leads to the highest collective happiness?” Again, you need to first establish how you measure this collective happiness (is it higher in the society of 90% extremely happy and 10% miserable people, or in that of 100% mildly happy people?), and there is still no assurance that the answer exists independently of the specified society (what works for Japanese might not work for Americans as well, for example) - but my general answer would be that Republic is the closest to that among the suggested systems, based purely on empirical historical evidence. Arguably the two most successful states in history out of three (Ancient Rome and the US) were/are republics, and the third one (British Empire) was constitutional monarchy closer to republic than any other non-monarchic system.

    Democracy could work in theory, but in practice it is very unstable against temporary shifts of the political landscape. Anarchy (or, at least, extreme libertarianism) is probably what the world will eventually evolve into, when the technology surpasses human ability to control it, but for now it doesn’t seem sustainable.


    Thank you for your post concerning the nature of the heading. For this, I would like to examine your wording and where you find flaws to best address them for the future. 

    In the first portion, you attack the nature of my heading on the basis that it is ill-worded. Your evidence for this is that people value different goods, services, and ideals, and that my question seems to propose that there can only be one method of governing society, which you conclude does not work for the entirety of society, but for one individual of the society. To break down your argument, you state that some people value technological achievements above all else, however, technology stems from an open or optimal method of governing. In a communist economy, technological advancements would be regulated and distributed by the state whereas under a democracy, the technology would be in the hands of the people at their own cost of purchase and any regulations would be made as a result of the product's influence and regulations, so the government would be acting in relation of the advancement, and not actively to restrict the tech. This exposes the line of reasoning, namely that people have different values and ideals concerning technology and philosophy, but this is either hindered or benefited under certain types of governed society. The reason I pose the question is because if different beliefs are affected by government, which one ensures the best representation of all the proposed ideals from individual persons? You seem to say that when people have different ideals, one form of governing can not encompass such, but the truth is that the beliefs can be expressed differently under certain forms of governing, thus the question holds. 

    Second, I do take issue with the wording of your second question, in that anything that leads to the highest collective happiness must be good in nature to some degree. You further mention that a republic leads to the highest collective happiness off of previous events in world history. However, this completely disregards the moral aspect of your original question, namely that happiness differs from individual to individual, and that there needs to be an optimal government to judge this 'happiness'. For instance, what if I am a psychopath who takes happiness in killing people because it makes me happy. If I was in a court according to your system, I could argue that my collective happiness I took from the action was greater than the pain experienced by the other people who I killed, and I would win the courts on that basis. Rather, we need to examine the moral aspect of an optimal society, and not the greatest contribution for collective happiness. For instance, I might be incredibly unhappy on the basis that I must pay taxes, but is that a contributor to society's overall happiness quota? No, in that taxes help the government pay for services that improve the economy. Thus, happiness is arbitrary and we need to focus on more relatable or more definable aspects of a society, such as the moral and economical capacities held by a nation with the prime form of governing.  

    However, I do agree that democracy will eventually fail and that anarchy might become a reality. The question is therefore, on the basis of what democracy represents, will it produce moral justice exceeding anarchal justice, or will the opposite occur? To me, democracy is flawed, but I see its continuation on the basis that it would be hard for it to fail based on the measures that society takes to ensure its success or optimization, via economic and moral decisions affecting the majority of their (a country's) citizens. 
    A good debate is not judged by bias, but in the context of the debate, where objectivity is key and rationale prevalent. 


  • ih8shartsih8sharts 50 Pts
    @WilliamSchulz
    I also think that a benevolent dictatorship is a pipe dream since power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find a person that stays benevolent after being given absolute power.

    However your initial question was "which leads to an optimal society and why?"
    WilliamSchulz
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 271 Pts
    @WilliamSchulz

    Your objection to the first point I made is reasonable. In fact, I would say that it expands on it, rather than objects to it. It is definitely true that different needs of different people can often be fulfilled by the system resulting from the same form of governing. In details, however, I think there always will be some disparity between people's preferences, making finding the single optimal system for everyone impossible or very difficult. In our example, technological advancements can happen both in a communist and in a democratic-capitalist economy - but the person who makes a rational argument for the latter leading to faster technological evolution than the former will always be somewhat unhappy in a communist economy, even if their basic interests are taken into account by that economy. And if we include all other possible criteria of the system of governing evaluation into consideration, then optimizing the system for all individuals becomes a truly @WilliamSchulz
    There will also always be some fundamental disagreements that cannot be satisfied simultaneously. If one person believes that tax collection is a form of theft, while another person believes that tax collection is a fundamental element in any government - and they have personal systems of values leading them to have these views - then one of them will always be somewhat unhappy with the current system. Clashes of interests are very common in every political system, and likely can never be fully resolved. 

    For the second point, I did not necessarily imply that the highest collective happiness is a proper criterion to use in evaluating performance of a given system of governance. It is simply one of the infinite number of criteria that can be used for comparing different systems. One could indeed compare them, instead, based on how well they abide by a certain moral system. The problem I see with this approach is that morals are highly subjective, and what is deemed moral in one society can often be seen as a heinous crime in another (for example, expressing non-traditional sexual orientation in the Finnish society is considered a fundamental right, while in Saudi Arabia it is deemed absolutely unacceptable and justly punishable). I would advocate for a criterion with a metric based on more directly observable properties, and some formula for a degree of collective happiness seems reasonable to me. After all, the purpose of a state is to facilitate people's fulfillment from life (directly related to happiness), and the necessity to abide by a certain moral codex can be seen as one of the requirements for achieving that purpose. However, as you correctly noted, the concept of collective happiness also isn't universally applicable for the evaluation purposes. 

    In my view, the anarchy will result not from an inherent shift in collective consciousness, but from the technological evolution changing our everyday lives. At some point we will be able to easily fly to other planets on personal space ships, we will be able to perform any economical interaction over secure channels spanning light years wide volumes, the pace of our life will become extremely fast... The traditional forms of the government simply won't be able to regulate such a vast array of events, and instead some form of a truly open market with lack of any governmental interaction might arise. On the other hand, as of now, I think democracy/republic are the most reliable and stable systems available, partially because, as you mentioned, they are somewhat self-supporting, with the society reflecting its values in the governance - and partially also because they are very "fool-proof" due to the extensive feedback the society provides in response to the government's activities. However, republic and especially democracy still have their downsides, namely the fact that they are prone to populism, and their survivability strongly depends on the quality of the education system, making sure that people know what consequences their decisions are likely to have. Is there a more reliable system that would be viable in this day and age? This is an interesting question, worthy of a separate discussion.

    WilliamSchulz
  • funpersonfunperson 45 Pts
    @WilliamSchulz
    Hey, sorry for the wait. So we can discuss my proposed list one at a time. We'll start with the first. It looks like your argument is "Since anarchy is the absence of gov't, there will be no laws. With no laws, people will not be able to stop and punish thieves. They will also turn against each other with their own vigilante justice. If that's the case, anarchy will fail."
    So your first premise is no laws, but an anarchy can still have rules. For example we can say that you cannot murder or steal from others.
    Your second is that people will not be able to stop the rule breakers such as thieves and punish them. However, if somebody breaks into a house, the homeowner can still stop them by shooting them. So the government would not stop the thief, the citizen would. As for the punishment (assuming the thief lives) there could also be a rule about that.
    You then say people will turn against each other if there's no standard of rules. As I said above, the standard can still exist. I think the issue here is whether we can get everyone on the same moral standards, not the government. Because with a gov't, people can still have different standards of morality.
    As for my alternative of extreme libertarianism, I think a state could exist if it solely protects people from each other. There will only be a few laws such as ones that prevent murder, theft, assault, and maybe animal cruelty and pollution. This is independent of the type of government, I think any type of gov't could exist as long as it is severely limited. 
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