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Thread: The very basics of oppression (hierarchy,etc)

  1. #1 The very basics of oppression (hierarchy,etc) 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    I would like peoples thoughts about factors and mechanisms relevant or required to basic or ancient forms of oppressive organizations.

    St-Augustine compared Emperors to Pirates (in a very simplified sense), Emperors being Pirates but on a larger scale allowing them, unlike the pirates, to set the laws that make whatever they're doing legal. And early chieftains or warlords, being in charge of a domain (until killed by a rival or something) could proclaim a right to its, Im the king. You may also draw paralels to mobsters, a gang leader, members, and the population, the mob both exploiting the population and selling protection from other mob groups(or mostly from themselves).

    If some prefer having a scenario as a base of disussion here's one:

    Lets say a chieftain and two dozen men of arms conquers a valley with 3 villages and declares himself King.
    That the King can punish, even by death, any of his soldiers, although if his soldiers banded together they could easily slay the king, and any villagers even if villagers could, should they revolt, overwelm the soldiers. Actually, lets say the Soldiers dont even need to fight the King in combat to overwelm him, all they have to do is to all disobey and tell him to take a hike because he is powerless without them, though this thought may never have emerged in their minds. If the King is oppressive, having the peasants toil for his own opulent palace while they live in a hut, toiling on food that the king eats and distributes, severely punishes, etc. Some of the peseants are apparently loyal to the king but get no apparent rewards for their loyalty, while others and some of the apprently loyal soldiers get a little extra perks, but overall the majority of peasants and soldiers dislike the King.


    What mechanisms that maintain the established hierarchy and prevent the population from overthrowing the soldiers and the regime, or the soldiers from overthrowing the king?


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    Forum Professor arKane's Avatar
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    There's always somebody willing to rat you out in an attempt to curry favor or get a reward. Disloyalty was frequently punished with torture. I can't see anybody making an attempt to take over without first thinking they have a chance, and getting to a point where you might think you had a chance is going to be very dangerous by itself.


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  4. #3 Re: The very basics of oppression (hierarchy,etc) 
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    What mechanisms that maintain the established hierarchy and prevent the population from overthrowing the soldiers and the regime, or the soldiers from overthrowing the king?
    The main thing to consider is that perfect heirarchies are a myth. In the real world, power is always decentralized. The king is just the figure head at the forefront of a syndicate of like minded individuals, each of whom wants their share of the pie and gets it. Among that syndicate, there is actually a lot of internal democracy happening. His top officials would quickly overthrow him if he should try to oppress them.

    The idea of the "king as absolute monarch" is a fairy tale story presented to the masses in order to make them feel like they've got a patriarchal figure looking over them.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    The idea of the "king as absolute monarch"

    Indeed in many cases theres an Oligarchy behind which ever form is the front, but on occasions, like Henry the 8th, you get a sense that various people and factions play each other in intrigue to influence the king but that the king can nonetheless in the end arrest any of them on grounds of treason if he really wants to an place the lucky ones head on a pike. As if divisions among courtisants/nobles/generals etc make the king a king maker(of factions) and a central figure of power. In other words, though he needs some support the king can pick and choose his allies among many powerful individuals whose fortunes can easily shift overnight and that still are reliant on the king's favor and vulnerable to his command of third party groups(soldiers, guards, spies, etc).

    Theres also examples I forget of very uncharacteristic situations where a gutsy King appears to side with the populace against the nobles, as if hes for the people when such a move is calculated to undermine his rivals and increase his own power with respect to the aristocracy/feudal lords/etc that otherwise can become strong enough to get rid of the king and replace him. Some of the Kings that have made it illegal for feudal lords(dukes, etc) to keep a private army may have been doing so with this in mind.
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    The Romans had the Praetorian Guard , Hitler the Schutzstaffel ( SS ) an army within an army.
    .
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    The idea of the "king as absolute monarch"

    Indeed in many cases theres an Oligarchy behind which ever form is the front, but on occasions, like Henry the 8th, you get a sense that various people and factions play each other in intrigue to influence the king but that the king can nonetheless in the end arrest any of them on grounds of treason if he really wants to an place the lucky ones head on a pike. As if divisions among courtisants/nobles/generals etc make the king a king maker(of factions) and a central figure of power. In other words, though he needs some support the king can pick and choose his allies among many powerful individuals whose fortunes can easily shift overnight and that still are reliant on the king's favor and vulnerable to his command of third party groups(soldiers, guards, spies, etc).
    A smart king polls the nobles to find out what the majority of them want, and then makes sure to only arrest the ones who are running against that grain.

    Half of being a strong king is (at least appearing powerful) is figuring out what was going to happen anyway, and then giving orders designed to make it appear that you were the one who made it happen. For example: finding a guy who the other nobles were already getting tired of anyway, and having him executed before they get the chance to make their own move against him.

    Governments do that kind of thing all the time. If someone becomes so unpopular that a lynch mob is likely to form, that virtually ensures the police will be hurrying to his door to arrest him on some charge or another. Better to have the guy in custody, even on a trumped up or weak charge, than let the people go over their heads.
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    As someone who lives in an absolute monarchy today, and who has ancestors who come from Imperial China, my primary focus is in political science in this area.

    I would have to counter Kojax's argument that an intelligent king polls his nobles. What the majority say does not make it moral nor does it make it right. By having ministers who are chosen on their own merits and skill and combining them with a nobility who have been well educated into being impartial judges, a government can combine intelligence with honor quite gracefully.

    The first priority of any monarchy should be loyalty. If the people are not loyal then the state has no standing; corruption should be seen as the worst of all crimes. Where I reside now corruption is considered on par with mass murder by most people, and is listed as the worst crime anyone can make. While that may seem strange at first to many people, you would have to remember that a corrupt official can do more damage than any one man with an intent to kill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Asriel Liu
    Where I reside now corruption is considered on par with mass murder by most people, and is listed as the worst crime anyone can make. While that may seem strange at first to many people, you would have to remember that a corrupt official can do more damage than any one man with an intent to kill.
    This concept has my vote.
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    Thank you for the support of my anti-corruption beliefs, though the 'vote' part is perhaps against my government belief! After all, if it were up to a vote the majority would decide, whereas I believe decisions need to be made on their merits.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Asriel Liu
    Thank you for the support of my anti-corruption beliefs, though the 'vote' part is perhaps against my government belief! After all, if it were up to a vote the majority would decide, whereas I believe decisions need to be made on their merits.
    I only have my one vote, but if I believe in something I can try and influence the votes of people I know. While I some what agree with you about our so called democracy, I have a great deal of fear in seeing another Hitler coming to power. So any system that makes it extremely unlikely that that happens is a big plus. Aside from that I agree that decisions need to be made on their merits and I think that should be able to happen under a variety of government formats.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Asriel Liu

    The first priority of any monarchy should be loyalty. If the people are not loyal then the state has no standing; corruption should be seen as the worst of all crimes. Where I reside now corruption is considered on par with mass murder by most people, and is listed as the worst crime anyone can make. While that may seem strange at first to many people, you would have to remember that a corrupt official can do more damage than any one man with an intent to kill.
    You'd be surprised how much Americans agree with you on that. The only difference is that, in the USA, loyalty to the monarch is replaced by loyalty to one's constituents. Essentially, the people are the monarch. That's why serving the will of the majority is considered a matter of moral obligation.

    It's why we talk so much about deciding things by voting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    You'd be surprised how much Americans agree with you on that. The only difference is that, in the USA, loyalty to the monarch is replaced by loyalty to one's constituents. Essentially, the people are the monarch. That's why serving the will of the majority is considered a matter of moral obligation.

    It's why we talk so much about deciding things by voting.
    That's not loyalty in my eyes. Loyalty is when you serve someone in power, not when someone in power serves you. That would be benevolence. Of course I have never found any elected official who puts the needs of the people first. With votes they will fight to be elected, ignoring what is right or what is best. My government to me is like a father figure, no elected official can ever be a father to the people as they are the people, and not only that but they also have term limits.

    Serving the will of the majority is not morality, that is tyranny. To serve the needs of all the people; that is morality. Just because the majority will something does not make it moral, and therefore to allow them it would not be moral.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    I'm sliding off topic here, but here it goes

    "Serving the will of the majority is not morality, that is tyranny"
    Because serving the will of the minority or the one (Dictator/King/Warlord) over that of the majority is not tyranny but morality? Its moral to have one person live in the opulence of a 3rd palace, maintained by people that have a fraction of the living standard?

    I realize that you may have been brought up soaking in that ideology so probably beleive that and have a good reason to(some people in North Korea might even think their system is good), and you might otherwise still not wish to oppose a ruler in your potentially monitored communications (sweating and smilling nervously: "yeah, the king is good, yes. Did I tell you I love the king? He's moral and the majority of petty lowly undeserving mortal subject folks that are in majority are mini tyrants beneath any noblility. Thank god we have a king! [eyes looking left and right] Viva Monarchy! Its the best system in the whole world. Did I tell you I am devout and loyal? no one worships the king more than I do!")


    "After all, if it were up to a vote the majority would decide, whereas I believe decisions need to be made on their merits."
    Questions can be placed on a spectrum between issues that have high degree of arbitrairy preference(more subjective) and issues that are highly technical(more objective).
    Preference questions are subjective but also best adressed by a)maximizing the variantions allowed(so that many people have access to their preference when practical), b)weighted by the majorities preferences(to optimize preferences when practical reasons limit variation), c)weighted by functional considerations and d)its effects on society(cummulative effects, mutual-interference, synergy, etc). So from one perspective there are technical considerations to issues of preferences in a population, but information about subjective preferences(vote, poll, analysis, personal choices) is essential.
    Technical questions are easier to measure with regards to a given objective and predetermined parameters, but often contain at inception a degree of subjectivity that can be underestimated(you may agree about the outcome or what measurements match the objective, but question the endoeavor itself).

    Therefore, a vote or poll, is relevant to the merit of a descision when such a descision is related to preferences and has little objective techinal considerations.


    Where I reside now corruption is considered on par with mass murder by most people
    I agree corruption is very very serious, Im not sure its on par but its certainly one of the great threats to a society, more so than many individual crimes. By corruption I do not mean disloyalty but influence pedling, patronage, bribery, collusion, etc. Imo it should be punished much more severely(and procecuted more) and there should be much better protection for whistleblowers. Any society or system can result in utter failure if corruption is allowed to take root.
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    Because serving the will of the minority or the one (Dictator/King/Warlord) over that of the majority is not tyranny but morality? Its moral to have one person live in the opulence of a 3rd palace, maintained by people that have a fraction of the living standard?
    I didn't say that. If the ruler is a just and good person who follows the advice of ministers who are well educated then you should follow his lead rather than your own. It would be illogical to think you could know more than a government if that government is intelligent and moral. But if the ruler is not just or is flawed then it is not good to follow him, but even that does not mean your own view is correct. One of the reasons I oppose the will of the majority is that no majority can know what is best.

    Each individual has their own specialization. As a professor I believe I should have the right to have my voice heard in issues that effect my specialized fields (political philosophy and Asian history) but I don't believe I should have the right to be heard in issues I know little about (physics or chemistry). But a vote doesn't make that distinction, a vote allows anyone to speak about anything, not just what they know about. And even if it did make a distinction, that doesn't mean what a specialist says is automatically moral or that he is not working for personal interests. These are all issues that are not adequately addressed in a democratic society.

    As for living in a palace; one of our philosophies is that if the people are suffering it is immoral for the ruler to live in luxury. It is the duty of the government to care for the people, therefore if the people suffer then the government has failed in this task and must share in the suffering.

    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    I realize that you may have been brought up soaking in that ideology so probably beleive that and have a good reason to(some people in North Korea might even think their system is good), and you might otherwise still not wish to oppose a ruler in your potentially monitored communications (sweating and smilling nervously: "yeah, the king is good, yes. Did I tell you I love the king? He's moral and the majority of petty lowly undeserving mortal subject folks that are in majority are mini tyrants beneath any noblility. Thank god we have a king! [eyes looking left and right] Viva Monarchy! Its the best system in the whole world. Did I tell you I am devout and loyal? no one worships the king more than I do!")
    I'm not oppressed. The right to oppose and challenge rulers (from the nobility to the emperor himself) has always existed in my culture as long as it is a justified resistance. I like the system because I have studied political science and believe monarchy to be the best but only when it is backed by several conditions (benevolence, intelligence, and loyalty to name a few). You made me smile, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    Questions can be placed on a spectrum between issues that have high degree of arbitrairy preference(more subjective) and issues that are highly technical(more objective).
    Preference questions are subjective but also best adressed by a)maximizing the variantions allowed(so that many people have access to their preference when practical), b)weighted by the majorities preferences(to optimize preferences when practical reasons limit variation), c)weighted by functional considerations and d)its effects on society(cummulative effects, mutual-interference, synergy, etc). So from one perspective there are technical considerations to issues of preferences in a population, but information about subjective preferences(vote, poll, analysis, personal choices) is essential.
    Technical questions are easier to measure with regards to a given objective and predetermined parameters, but often contain at inception a degree of subjectivity that can be underestimated(you may agree about the outcome or what measurements match the objective, but question the endoeavor itself).

    Therefore, a vote or poll, is relevant to the merit of a descision when such a descision is related to preferences and has little objective techinal considerations.
    As I said above, a vote not only lacks merit but also lacks true preference. Some people do vote for what they want, but others may see logic and vote for what is best even if not what they wish for. In two party systems people may vote for a lesser evil, not what they want. Even outside of two party systems people may still do the same, realizing a small party has little chance of winning. Therefore votes and polls are not the exact same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    I agree corruption is very very serious, Im not sure its on par but its certainly one of the great threats to a society, more so than many individual crimes. By corruption I do not mean disloyalty but influence pedling, patronage, bribery, collusion, etc. Imo it should be punished much more severely(and procecuted more) and there should be much better protection for whistleblowers. Any society or system can result in utter failure if corruption is allowed to take root.
    Corruption is by far a terrible crime. But whistleblowing and punishment is not the answer. I would rather live in a society with corruption that exists in secret than a society that must be kept in order through fear of punishment and espionage into my own government. Finding a solution outside of mere law and order will help you greatly. After all, once you have to punish someone it means you've already lost the fight to prevent corruption and can now only stop it after it has occurred.
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    @ Dr. Asriel Liu
    One of the reasons I oppose the will of the majority is that no majority can know what is best.
    I agree with that statement. I remember a professor saying he participated in a study that proved the majority is only right no more than 50% of the time, and that was voting on questions where the answers were known.

    When you think about it, in this country (USA) the majority is easily influenced by the media and the media is influenced by money and power. So when somebody says the majority rules, I cringe, because I know BS when I hear it.

    I think we are a democratic nation heavily influenced by special interest, who are not interested in doing what's best for the people. We do have our problems and I know I'm not going to provide the answers, but I will keep an eye open in case they present themselves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Asriel Liu
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    You'd be surprised how much Americans agree with you on that. The only difference is that, in the USA, loyalty to the monarch is replaced by loyalty to one's constituents. Essentially, the people are the monarch. That's why serving the will of the majority is considered a matter of moral obligation.

    It's why we talk so much about deciding things by voting.
    That's not loyalty in my eyes. Loyalty is when you serve someone in power, not when someone in power serves you. That would be benevolence. Of course I have never found any elected official who puts the needs of the people first. With votes they will fight to be elected, ignoring what is right or what is best. My government to me is like a father figure, no elected official can ever be a father to the people as they are the people, and not only that but they also have term limits.
    In the USA, the common people are very powerful. They'll quickly be rid of any leader who doesn't serve them.

    Maybe the difference between America and a lot of cultures is we don't need father figures. We are father figures unto ourselves.



    Serving the will of the majority is not morality, that is tyranny. To serve the needs of all the people; that is morality. Just because the majority will something does not make it moral, and therefore to allow them it would not be moral.
    An absolute basis of morality is an epistemological impossibility. How do you aspire to something if you don't even know what it is? At least democracy is an ideal that can be obtained.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Asriel Liu

    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    I agree corruption is very very serious, Im not sure its on par but its certainly one of the great threats to a society, more so than many individual crimes. By corruption I do not mean disloyalty but influence pedling, patronage, bribery, collusion, etc. Imo it should be punished much more severely(and procecuted more) and there should be much better protection for whistleblowers. Any society or system can result in utter failure if corruption is allowed to take root.
    Corruption is by far a terrible crime. But whistleblowing and punishment is not the answer. I would rather live in a society with corruption that exists in secret than a society that must be kept in order through fear of punishment and espionage into my own government. Finding a solution outside of mere law and order will help you greatly. After all, once you have to punish someone it means you've already lost the fight to prevent corruption and can now only stop it after it has occurred.
    If that corruption became widespread, then your economy would quickly crumble. Corrupt individuals are usually also cowards, and fear works best on cowards. Appeals to nobility only work on people who aren't cowards.

    Why not have both? Then you can appeal to everyone.
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    When you say the common folk will get rid of a leader who doesn't serve them, what do you mean by serve them? Do you mean serve their needs or their desires? If a leader did things that the people didn't want would they get rid of him even if what he was doing would help them in the long run?

    If you are father figures unto yourselves is that really the right thing to have? If a child was brought up without parents they would not get far in life. As an adult without guidance wouldn't you become opinionated and selfish?

    It is true that an absolute basis of morality cannot be obtained. But just because democracy can be obtained does not mean it should be. One can rob a bank and obtain money but it does not mean one should. Perhaps comparing the will of the majority in another way would be better. If you serve the majority then you do as they wish, but what if the majority just wish for money or power? Would it not, in this case, be better to serve their needs instead of their desires?

    You make an interesting point about corruption. But I have an interesting point to make. If corruption became widespread and we had two choices: to enforce a law that punished those who were corrupt, or to let the nation fall. What would you rather have? To most Americans the first would be the option, but is it the right one? After all, punishing people who are corrupt does not stop corruption. Your government officials will all still be corrupt, they will just not be open about it from fear of punishment. On the other hand if you let the government collapse you can then create a new form of government that does not have corruption. Rather than appealing to noble people, maybe we should try to change cowards in the first place or not let them work in government. Prevention is always better than cure.
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    "In the USA, the common people are very powerful. They'll quickly be rid of any leader who doesn't serve them."
    This can be seen as a myth from one point of view, although thats the way it could be, in reality its not turning out exacly like that. Heres a simplistic analogy: If the Mafia's most powerful godfather wants to rule with a minimal risk of being deposed, what he does is have two corrupt politicians in his pocket compete against each other with a pagentry of partisan bikering and wedge issues thrown in that are polarizing but which the Don doesnt give a crap about, and let people decide which corrupt politician will screw them based on the lies and promises catering different segments of the population. The people think they are ~getting rid of a leader that doesnt serve them~ but all they do is change proxy leader. Many believed the 2006 elections would bring the troops home but the new politicians that replaced the old did not change anything, because the interests behind the front did not choose to do so, these dont care if a leader is booted out because the next one will serve them. Its similar with Obama, he promised change but hes a fraud, continued Bush's bailouts, the wars, etc. Both major parties are corrupt, third parties have virtually no Mainstream Media coverage and can be banned from presidential debate if both major parties agree to(the presidential debates being controlled by both major parties that even have secret agreements about the debates). In addition when 1% of the population controls most of the wealth in a monetary system, the various mechanisms and trappings of democracy are diluted into virtual irrelevancy.

    "if you let the government collapse you can then create a new form of government that does not have corruption"
    A collapse is just as likely to end up with a worst situation, it usually creates a situation of chaos and conflicts where the most ruthless may impose the new way/government with corruption, favoratism, nepotism to favor those that facilitate the new group and disadvantage/oppress those who oppose the new group, etc. A better and more thought-through form of government is not likly to emerge from the disorganization of a collapse, unless all the details and mechanisms are well known and were elaborated before the collapse, in which case many may know the objective but then may falter in the implementation. To build a house you need a good plan, in the middle of a typhoon you might not be able to focus enough to make a good plan, and if you already have a plan it may be quite challenging to implement it during the storm.

    "Prevention is always better than cure"
    I agree. I find that a "ressource based economy" as proposed by the Venus Project instead of a monetary economy can in an ideal situation prevent many of the social problems we have and make repression marginal. Can you elaborate on how corruption can be prevented without the need for repression?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Asriel Liu
    When you say the common folk will get rid of a leader who doesn't serve them, what do you mean by serve them? Do you mean serve their needs or their desires? If a leader did things that the people didn't want would they get rid of him even if what he was doing would help them in the long run?
    That is why democracy only works well when you have an educated public. Basic education is mandatory in the USA. It is illegal for a parent not to let their children go to school.

    If you serve the majority then you do as they wish, but what if the majority just wish for money or power? Would it not, in this case, be better to serve their needs instead of their desires?
    Why not give them money and power? Is there something wrong with having those things?

    You make an interesting point about corruption. But I have an interesting point to make. If corruption became widespread and we had two choices: to enforce a law that punished those who were corrupt, or to let the nation fall. What would you rather have? To most Americans the first would be the option, but is it the right one? After all, punishing people who are corrupt does not stop corruption. Your government officials will all still be corrupt, they will just not be open about it from fear of punishment. On the other hand if you let the government collapse you can then create a new form of government that does not have corruption. Rather than appealing to noble people, maybe we should try to change cowards in the first place or not let them work in government. Prevention is always better than cure.
    You're falling prey to the fallacy of the "unobtainable perfect result". It's the same as punishing bank robbers. If you let people rob banks and don't punish them, then the frequency with which banks gets robbed would be very high. Most banks would experience attempted robberies on a daily basis. If, on the other hand, you do punish them, then only those few criminals who believe themselves to be sufficiently skillful that they can get away with it will attempt to rob a bank, and they are few in number. Clearly, the number of attempted bank robberies will never drop to zero, but it's better to have few of them than many of them.


    The same is true about corruption.
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    Icewendigo, corruption can be prevented in a large array of ways. It depends on the situation of your country, but some things to consider: Don't pay government officials so they work only for the benefit of the people and not themselves. Employ officials only after they have been tested by psychologists to ensure they are not liable to become corrupt. Have government officials pass stringent tests before gaining employment. Have corruption seen in a very shameful light. It all depends on the office in question and the culture related to it, but there are many more solutions that may help as well.

    Just because the public are educated, Kojax, does not mean they are good people. They may still be selfish or greedy, even when intelligent. Furthermore, it's impossible to have people educated enough to use a vote, for they would have to know everything about every subject. It is one thing training everyone to be doctors so they can vote on healthcare, but it gets very complicated when they then have to study physics to vote on the space program. It would take years of training before each vote to be intelligent enough to make a truly well informed decision, and even then they may not be just or moral.

    As for bank robbers, that's not true at all. We have no laws against bank robberies and yet have no bank robbers. The reason is because we educate people from a young age to be moral. By punishing people we are merely acting after the event has occurred, not before, and ruling by fear alone. That's not a very good way of preventing action, as the bank robbers in your case will still exist and still be willing to steal, they only don't through fear alone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Asriel Liu
    Don't pay government officials so they work only for the benefit of the people and not themselves. Employ officials only after they have been tested by psychologists to ensure they are not liable to become corrupt. Have government officials pass stringent tests before gaining employment. Have corruption seen in a very shameful light. It all depends on the office in question and the culture related to it, but there are many more solutions that may help as well.
    There seems to be a flaw in your reasoning. If we are subjects in a monarchy, say, then it would do no good to tell us how to pay government officials, or how to employ government officials. We are not making the decisions. Those decisions are being made by the monarch, who we can only hope is wise and not corrupt.
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  23. #22  
    Forum Professor arKane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Asriel Liu
    Icewendigo, corruption can be prevented in a large array of ways. It depends on the situation of your country, but some things to consider: Don't pay government officials so they work only for the benefit of the people and not themselves. Employ officials only after they have been tested by psychologists to ensure they are not liable to become corrupt. Have government officials pass stringent tests before gaining employment. Have corruption seen in a very shameful light. It all depends on the office in question and the culture related to it, but there are many more solutions that may help as well.

    Just because the public are educated, Kojax, does not mean they are good people. They may still be selfish or greedy, even when intelligent. Furthermore, it's impossible to have people educated enough to use a vote, for they would have to know everything about every subject. It is one thing training everyone to be doctors so they can vote on healthcare, but it gets very complicated when they then have to study physics to vote on the space program. It would take years of training before each vote to be intelligent enough to make a truly well informed decision, and even then they may not be just or moral.

    As for bank robbers, that's not true at all. We have no laws against bank robberies and yet have no bank robbers. The reason is because we educate people from a young age to be moral. By punishing people we are merely acting after the event has occurred, not before, and ruling by fear alone. That's not a very good way of preventing action, as the bank robbers in your case will still exist and still be willing to steal, they only don't through fear alone.
    Having a homogeneous relatively closed society is the main reason countries like China and Japan have very low crime rates. But a country like the USA which has been a melting pot for every nationality and religious belief that exist around the world has a very real different problem altogether, especially with the type of government we have and a strong capitalistic influence. I don't know what the answer is, but I know we could sure use one.
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  24. #23  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    "Just because the public are educated, Kojax, does not mean they are good people."..."selfish or greedy"
    Behavior is mostly a result of education and environement(personal, society/social, economic, etc). Many european social democracies have less crime than more repressive societies, mostly because theres less need to and the culture is different even without enforcing a strict moral code. To go one step further for example; if golf clubs were available for free in golf centers, like you can use a book at the public library , there would be no need to steal a club, it would not be worth much to steal it in order to sell it since virtually no one would bother, and if you were to bribe someone the person would no see the money as a means to obtain golf clubs.
    So Greed is imo a characteristic that is to a great degree amplified by the culture and our present monetary socio-economic system, a different education and system could be devised to make the expressions of greed and selfishness quite marginal(irrelevant).


    "It is one thing training everyone to be doctors so they can vote on healthcare"
    I think you overemphasize the technical nature of issues subjected to votes(as opposed to society, general, preferences, etc) and also overemphasize the silo view of general problems which can often be solved by examining multiple fields, a specialist might see a higly specialized solution to adress the symptom where as the problem may be prevented altogether by changing a different aspect(unrelated to the specialty). The story goes that the US spent millions with the best engineers to develop a pen that works in mirco-gravity of space, the Russians just used a simple pencil, this is a detail but it goes with the saying 'if all you have is a hammer you tend to see all problems as nails'.
    An ideal democracy imo doesnt have people vote on an airplane design detail, the plane performs its function. But there are issues that are political and related to what kind of society we want to live in(and may differ from one region/population to another(there might not be a right answer but an answer that is appropriate for and desired by the given community), what are our preferences, and other issues, for which a well educated population can make decisions on. The society, corrupting economic ststem and circus political system we have are not good examples to elaborate a better democracy.
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  25. #24  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Just to get back to oppression and hierarchy, i just want to point out that kim jon ill (not sure spelling) doesnt walk around with an AK47 pointing it at people, and hes not personally pointing a gun at the people pointing guns on his behalf, so his power of oppression comes from manipulation or group dynamics as well as hierarchic structure of groups
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