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Welcome to Democracy Square

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this blog about the issues and challenges confronting democracy at home and abroad.

Published on: October 30, 2017
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  • Fat_Man

    “Our democracy is suffering from crippling polarization and now tactics of political intimidation reminiscent of Senator Joe McCarthy, with the same political fear and indulgence that gave McCarthy free rein to roll out his demagogic campaign of anti-communist scare tactics”

    Whenever the left gets into trouble, they dig up tail gunner Joe. Joe’s problem was that he was late to the party. Nixon’s HUAC had already exposed many Communists in the Roosevelt/Truman administration. Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White were neither innocent nor unimportant.

    • Tom

      McCarthy’s problem was that he was so over-the-top that I’m still not convinced that he wasn’t a deep-cover agent for the CPUSA.

  • Tom

    And the self-aggrandizing hysteria continues…

  • Bankotsu

    Hope that I won’t be getting more neo con garbage from this writer.

    I expect something fresh and new from him.

    If he continues to sprout the same old tired neo con drivel that had been sprouted for the past 20+ years, I will say fuck off to his fucking neo con blog.

  • Bankotsu

    I have a VERY bad feeling that this writer will continue to spread neo con garbage.

    He WON’T produce anything new.

    If that is the case, this bastard can go fuck himself and fuck off.

  • Bankotsu

    I will be watching for these code words in his next blog: China, Russia, Democracy, Threat, DICTATORSHIP, MILITARY, CONTAIN, Freedom, Allies.

    These are the usual words found in neo con garbage writings, if I detect any of these words in his next piece, I AM OUT.

    See sample neo con article for example:

    League of Dictators?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/28/AR2006042801987.html

  • Anthony

    The picture caption aptly gets to a particular American travail (all the more difficult when emotions and passions take priority). Yet, Larry Diamond, thanks for the reminder: “civility does not require passivity or tedious neutrality.”

    • CosmotKat

      It also requires honesty and a moral compass.

      • Anthony

        Disappear!

        • CosmotKat

          Are you offended by truth and ethics, Anthony?

          • Anthony

            Because there are interludes to your coming from under the metaphorical “rock”, you remain an internet stalker and harasser! Disappear.

          • CosmotKat

            It’s a straight forward question, Anthony. Why do you react by making delusional accusations and whiny protestations intended to demean? It seems whenever anyone responds to your limited world view you react like the woman who parades around the beach in a bikini top and thong and accuses anyone who glances at her limited clothing of rape.

          • Anthony

            Vanish, renown internet stalker (Troll) – I’ve bypassed you and your harangues on various web site and never reply, do like wise despite your interludes!

          • Dale Fayda

            Loser.

          • Anthony

            Well, the not certain Russian calling himself Dale Fayda – so full of anger/resentment – unable to contain his rage. Vanish!

  • seattleoutcast

    But civility does not require passivity or tedious neutrality.

    This rule only applies to the left. If the right does it, it’s extremism.

    Flake knew he wouldn’t be re-elected. He clothed his failure to represent Arizonans in a self-righteous speech.

  • seattleoutcast

    If Flake is sincere with his “conscience”, he’ll retire and get a job as the regional manager of Staples or 7-11. But we all know he’ll get mired in lobbying on either the state or local level, or do something that involves milking the taxpayers. Some conscience.

  • D4x

    “browbeating most Congressional members of his party to fall meekly into line behind him, lest they face a primary challenge from puritanical “true believers”.” reminds me of how Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and subsequent demotion to Minority Leader outdid Tom “The Hammer” DeLay in “browbeating”. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e96ae97116415f86242285b6a6cb12e935a4965c827adf1cf6b4c82a5cc3507f.jpg

    In case anyone who can still think, and has political memory of 2000-2016, is reading “Welcome to Democracy Square”, consider reading this thoughtful book review, for fun:

    https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/08/the-conservation-of-coercion/ REVIEW ESSAY The Conservation of Coercion by William Wilson
    “Technology and the End of Authority: What Is Government For?” by Jason Kuznicki Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 285 pages, $129

  • CapitalistRoader

    Our democracy is suffering from crippling polarization…I had hoped that Senator Jeff Flake’s eloquent and courageous speech last week might begin to turn the tide against this growing danger to our democracy

    We don’t have a democracy. We have a constitutional republic.

    And Jeff Flake abandoned the ship because he chose poorly and was looking at a devastating primary defeat. Ascribing noble aims to his speech is stupid. He’s a loser, and he knew he was a loser.

  • Bankotsu

    Since Larry Diamond said that he is starting new blog for new era of this site, I expect something NEW, CREATIVE and FRESH from him.

    No one wants to see more tired rehashed neo con propaganda garbage from decades ago.

    If people want neo con propaganda, they don’t have to hire writers, they can just program some keywords into an AI computer program to generate neo con propaganda. The keywords are: China, Russia, Democracy, Threat, DICTATORSHIP, MILITARY, CONTAIN, Freedom, Allies, Liberal.

    I hope that Larry Diamond’s next piece will be something new, not neo con garbage of the type that I have been reading for almost 20 years.

    Larry Diamond, you better not fucking disappoint me. If you produce neo con filth and come and give it to me, I think you better fuck off from this site and get a real and proper job.

  • Bankotsu

    You better not disappoint me Larry Diamond.

    I will be watching you on this website.

    Whether or not your next piece will be neo con garbage, the truth will be revealed soon.

  • CosmotKat

    “we have a President who has shown repeated and diverse forms of contempt for democratic norms, and who is now browbeating most Congressional members of his party to fall meekly into line behind him, lest they face a primary challenge from puritanical “true believers”.

    With stupid comments like this you are certainly sowing the seeds of incivility on your blog, Larry. In addition, the use of the term democracy is a unique to leftists and progressives in this country who prefer authoritarian style “democracy” to our 241 year old Constitutional Republic which tends to stifle the worst urges of budding despots that inhabit the halls of academia and the Democratic Party.

  • ltlee1

    Democracy begins with A PEOPLE, to the extend that the US is not substantially A PEOPLE, it cannot be a real democracy. Voting will give a government legality but it could not confer a government legitimacy.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I don’t think there’s any problem with American Democracy. We’ve just had our 45th peaceful transition of power (despite Leftist terror attacks by antifas, and old white snipers). Is there backsliding going on for the Institution world wide, yes. But only in those places where Democracy was never part of the Culture.

    Reminder: Western Culture only adopted the “Ideals of the Enlightenment” a few centuries ago. Monarchs, Dictators, Tyrants, and Central Governments have been steadily losing power since that time.

    Democracy has recently been on a roll. Taking scalps all over the world. Almost all of Latin America, Eastern Europe, and much of Asia fell in the 80’s and 90’s. So, Russia, China, and a few other problem cultures are failing to develop.

    America should focus on itself for the foreseeable future, and lead mankind by example. Get rid of the Globalist policy of uplifting inferior cultures like China with favorable trade policies, and $6+ Trillion in currency manipulations giving their exports to America an unjust price advantage (double edged sword that). We can’t change them into western cultures by assisting their inferior cultures survival. If they can’t look at successful western cultures, and their own failing states, in all their glory or horror, in an un-manipulated state, they’ve got no incentive to change their thinking.

    Cultures change at glacial speeds, even when given huge incentives and generations of time. The people in backward cultures need an America which is using its cultural advantages to lead and make them eat our dust (that’s the huge incentive, add time).

    You don’t inspire the American working class by trading away their economic interests to open up foreign markets, and expose those foreign cultures to the superior American Culture.

    America went from 13 agrarian colonies to 50% of a war torn world GDP at the end of WWII. I want that growth rate back! And America can have it, if just cuts the burden of the Government Monopoly to 15% of GDP, as the Rahn Curve shows.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f49c5069771760742b60fbeb5ba82a8c0c6fafa8217b24a314b8beec1ee21638.png

  • hecate9

    OK- so we’ve got polarization, and we’ve got authoritarian tendencies – which paradoxically are partly a reaction against the paralysis that polarization and a government of “Courts and Parties” creates. Hitler was enabled by a weak state (Weimar). None of this is exactly news, particularly to readers of Francis Fukuyama’s Political Order and Political Decay, Chapter 34 “America the Vetocracy”.
    To bring this discussion out of the gutter of Right-Left/Conservative/Liberal mudslinging (see most of the comments), lets examine some structural features of US governance and consider what implications they present for the maintenance, if not the perfection, of “Democracy in America.”
    We have a drastically non-proportional “democracy, whose structure is enshrined in a part of the Constitution that CANNOT be amended.
    During the Constitutional Convention of 1787-88 it was touch and go whether a ratification could and would happen. Small states, large states, more urban states, more rural states, northern states, southern states, slave states and non-slave states- all felt to a greater or lesser degree an insecurity that their interests, or even their future existence, were at risk, depending on the shape of the agreement that would ultimately be hammered out. In order to get to ratification, certain “features” that were mildly non-proportional at the time but which have grown wildly more so, were written in- and written in stone. All states would be given an equal representation in the senate, regardless of their population. This was insisted upon by some smaller states. They went even further. This one small part of the Constitution could NEVER be amended. The two famous “Exceptions to the Amendments Clause” were-and are- that the slave trade would be exempt from prohibition (but only until 1808), and that the two senators per state rule would be FOREVER. “No State, without its Consent, shall be Deprived of its Equal Suffrage in the Senate.” This “Received Wisdom” from the Founding Fathers (actually the result of some backroom politicking that was expedient at the time-but about which Madison and others had grave doubts) is UN-AMENDABLE. From 1787, fast-forward 230 years, where the representation in the Senate- arguably the most powerful legislative body in the world- of one particular state is: 2 and of another particular state that has almost 80 times as many voters is also: 2.
    An extreme historical analogue of this situation may be the “rotten borough” system of early modern Britain. In 1832 Manchester UK had no representation, while Old Sarum, with 7 voters, had a seat in the House of Commons. Many forward-looking men-Grey, Russell, Wellington among them, tory and whig- saw (with the French Revolution in the rear-view mirror) that this glaring defect in proportional representation was in fact a THREAT to British society and the British State. The Reform Bill of 1832 followed, as did other bills later on.
    Britain, because it lacks constitutionally “enshrined” and “encased” structural features of its governance was able to gradually move from a representational democracy that was less popular, and less proportional than ours (in the 19th Century) to one that is much fairer and more proportional than ours is today.
    Many respond- “we’re a republic, not a democracy- so get over it-move on- nothing to see here.” But in doing so they miss something very basic yet very important. The cognitive dissonance created by grossly anti-democratic features (of which the senate representation is only one), in a system of governance that clearly purports to be a Democracy (something I think we all internalized in grade school), sets up tensions in the population which, year by year, fester and lead to a sense of betrayal. In the last election 2.5-3M popular votes were essentially taken out out and thrown in a virtual dumpster. The popular will was thwarted yet again. This matters- it affects the “psyche” of the large number of people who feel that their votes counted for nothing.
    There are relatively “pure” democracies (e.g Australia?), there are failed democracies (or phony democracies) (Russia, Venezuela), and there is the odd hybrid-us. We’ve had 230 years to get used to it and work around it, and it often worked well enough because, as Prof. Fukuyama points out, Democrats and Republicans used to want to work together to get really important stuff done. But for this hybrid semi-democracy which seems to constitute the US, the structural impediments which limited the democratic principle in 1787 may now, like ravens, have finally come home to roost. When people don’t believe that the democracy is really democratic, it is at risk.

    • Anthony

      Excellent background information hecate9 but will those in real need of appreciating your post even read and project its currency, least of all seriously read Political Order (not just chap. 34). Thanks.

      • hecate9

        You may be right, since reading books has recently gone out of style. Still, I assume that at least some of TAIs readers would want to check out FF’s most recent work, since he was a co-founder of TAI and still active in its editorial direction. probably naive of me.
        Why do we post things on comments pages? There is always the little bird in the background saying- “who are you kidding- no one will read past the first sentence of this!” I’m reminded of something Ben Shapiro said in a recent interview about his time at Breitbart: “I didn’t follow the comments section too much, because you guys know from being online, following comments sections is a quick way to the asylum.”
        I guess we’re all inmates here- or, in Don henley’s words, “prisoners…of our own device.”

        • Anthony

          Perhaps so. But forum yet gives opportunity to both clarify one’s own thoughts and, if probable, affect less rigid points of view (optimistically hoping).

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