neverfail wrote: ↑
Fri Jun 12, 2020 4:08 pm
cassowary wrote: ↑
Fri Jun 12, 2020 8:57 am
Athens went dark after a short time. Then came kings, Roman empire, feudal kings.
Historically inaccurate! Greece never experienced rule by feudal kings in the Middle Ages but went straight from being a Byzantine province to being an Ottoman Turkish one. How could the Greeks possibly develop a democratic form of government when, with government provided by foreign powers they were not free to choose?
I was not referring to Greece but to the world in generally with a focus on western civilization. After the light of Athenian democracy flickered off and the demise of the Roman Republic, western civilization was ruled by Roman emperors. When the Roman empire fell, it was replaced by feudalism. Kings and Nobles ruled western civilization. It was the same for the rest of the world.
It was only in the 19th century that the first light of democracy was reignited with the US. Yes, Switzerland, the Isle of Man, Iceland and the Swiss all claimed to the be first. But it was the one in the US that eventually made a global impact. That's because of its massive GDP and wealth that came about because of capitalism.
The bigger the GDP, the bigger your military. This made an impact on WWI. American influence demanded that the fallen Kings and Emperors me remade in the American image ie democracies. This failed eventually and you got the rise of Nazism in Germany and Fascism in Italy. America had to do an European redo in 1945.
After WWII was concerned US military protected the nascent democracies in Europe from the USSR. Interestingly, the USSR was the culmination of the forces of another revolution - the French revolution which was partly inspired by the American Revolution in 1776.
Marx was convinced that the rich (then the kings and nobles of Europe) would be overthrown by the poor and came up with a stupid theory that still inspires people today eg Antifa movement. This led to the Cold War between the US and its allies against the USSR and its allies. The USSR lost thanks again to the much larger GDP of the US.
After the USSR fell, there was a flood of new democracies. As you said, the Latins and others wanted to curry favor with the world's largest power after the fall of the USSR. People stupidly thought that this was the "history" and democracy is the natural eventual evolution of human society. Stupid, stupid stupid. Democracy, in its current forms, is a very new affair for most countries. And it may not last. It is still an experiment.
(Aside from the Scandinavian inspired Things in places where the Vikings settled and the Swiss democracy, the current flame was ignited by the US. This did not even begin in the American revolution. At America's founding, only a few could vote. American democracy only started in 1860 (when all white males could vote), if you ignore the matter of women and blacks voting. Otherwise, American democracy only started in 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was passed assuring that all blacks could vote. )
cassowary wrote: ↑
Fri Jun 12, 2020 8:57 amIsle of Man and Iceland
. In 1900,
only the US, Britain and its white parts of the Commonwealth, plus a few countries in western and northern Europe were democracies.
Go back one century further to the year 1800 and how many of these were democracies then? Only Iceland; and that did not count for much given that Iceland was then an overseas dependency of Denmark and Danish soverign territory. The fact that in the course of the 19th century the number of democracies multiplied several fold incicates that history was trending in the right direction.
As I said above, history trended in that direction only because the chief promoter was the US which happened to have the world's largest GDP and hence military. What is going to happen when China overtakes America?
Yet in light of your private propaganda war against the Peoples Republic and all of its works I get the impression Cass that you think too much in terms of quantity (or numbers). I think more in terms of quality. For instance: among the recent former Soviet bloc entrants; while the Baltic republics look safe for democracy the likes of Poland and Hungary currently look set to regress backwards into more authoritarian modes of government (well, what else is new? These two did the very same during the inter-World War years).
Exactly. They will remain democracies only if the US is strong enough to protect them. Otherwise, they may find it necessary (because of survival needs) to become authoritarian again. As you yourself said, there is a certain amount of currying the favor of the US because it is the mightiest power. Singapore did that. When LKY locked up opposition politician Francis Seow, the US gave him a BIG scolding. After that, the government stopped detention without trial of opposition leaders. What would happen when China displaces America? I don't want for my country to go back to the bad old days.
I looked into Roman history. Rome was a Republic for a few centuries after it overthrew its last king. The Republic gave a degree of representative power to the people through the assembly, and elected magistrates. But the Senate was hereditary institution. This worked well when Rome was a city state. But Rome became an empire. To govern a far flung empire in the days without modern communications, they needed to vest enormous powers of their regional generals and governors. They can't refer time critical decisions back to Rome who in either case could not possibly keep in touch with what's going on in faraway provinces.
Without checks, the regional governors became very wealthy by squeezing the conquered locals. The disparity of wealth between the elite and the common Roman citizen became very pronounced. This led to instability. Populist politicians like Julius Ceasre championed the plebians. Riots in Rome were common. The Roman constitution became outdated. It could not cope. It could not bring stability. So after throwing out its last king, it had to revert back to monarchy with enormous power vested in one man - the emperor.
So you see Neverfail, things are always changing. When I talk to westerners on this subject, they can't believe that their system of government is not permanent, has flaws that need to be rectified. Look at Venice's long history too. It started as a rudimentary democracy, then became ruled by one man - the doge, then became a aristocracy. Things are always changing.
... I have to run an errand. More later.