When Conspiracists Psychoanalyze

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Woolery

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Claiming intellectual authority on all things American by appeal to nationality is droll.
I hear this a lot here. And it’s always made by a non-American in reference to their own perceived expert understanding of Americans. Funny how you don’t see Americans on this forum claiming a similar expert understanding of Europeans. I wonder why that is?

Say we were talking about the goings on at the monkey house at the local zoo. Would you care to consider the monkey’s assessment of what it was like to live there day after day or do you think it’s enough for someone passing by on the way to the elephant exhibit to know all there is to know on the matter?

Forgive us if we sometimes doubt your unquestionable expertise in our domestic affairs.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
so...he is anti-democracy because of his mental health disorder of narcissism?

Not strictly a mental health disorder. A lifelong narcissistic behavioural pattern strongly indicating a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). He should get officially diagnosed. Even with the NPD, there's still choice and deliberation involved. NPD is kinda like a clinical certificate on self-indulgent jerkhood.

you pointing out his narcissism as the reason he can't accept the results of the election could in fact be true, kinda ruins your (paraphrase) 'because he is anti-democracy' strategy.

Don't mince my words. For Trump, a narcissist, to predictably try to convince everyone including himself he's not a loser by calling into question the integrity of the elections, is both pathological (NPD) and an attack on the fundamentals of democracy. Absent of objective evidence for any major election corruption, to make a huge ruckus and noise about rigged elections begs the question of a sore loser to say the least. And provides an unmistakable indicator of someone who doesn't care nor respect what the actual result of democratic elections are. This is not rocket science.

Without even having to address the more outrageous attack on democracy by literally mounting a mob attack on America's democratically elected representatives.

To not have the mental sobriety to see these ugly facts for the ugliness that they represent epitomizes the psychology of a conspiracist.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
I hear this a lot here. And it’s always made by a non-American in reference to their own perceived expert understanding of Americans. Funny how you don’t see Americans on this forum claiming a similar expert understanding of Europeans. I wonder why that is?

Say we were talking about the goings on at the monkey house at the local zoo. Would you care to consider the monkey’s assessment of what it was like to live there day after day or do you think it’s enough for someone passing by on the way to the elephant exhibit to know all there is to know on the matter?

Forgive us if we sometimes doubt your unquestionable expertise in our domestic affairs.

You're forgiven. Your 'domestic' affairs and leaders are in everybody's face, and everyone's feeds. And they affect the well-being or lack thereof far and wide. There's no choice but for the rest of us to see their faces and hear their ramblings even when we don't want to. Forgive me in return.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
You guys do that anyway.
when? i dont even know what they are doing, how can i be doing that.

add: oh wait i may have commented on the ukraine letting nazi's serve in their military. [but only because someone else brought it up on MB here] and even though we are paying for it all..it does prove me wrong.
and i might have commented about China locking up it's people during covid. (are those guys elected?)
 
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Woolery

Banned
Banned
Your 'domestic' affairs and leaders are in everybody's face, and everyone's feeds.
I guess that’s true. Similarly, Brexit was big news here. Every day a new story for a while. But I don’t pretend to know what it’s really like to live in the UK (though I did attend a semester of college in London), nor does my opinion matter as much as a citizen of the UK. I might easily say something out of ignorance without knowing it. So I asked friends in the UK questions about Brexit instead of prescribing my own remedies for what I might perceive to be their condition.

I’m always just surprised that people who post here aren’t more concerned with the state of their own affairs and leaders. From what little I understand, there are a few other nations grappling with tough issues.

As a resident of the monkey house, I’ll get around to telling the elephants what’s best for the elephants once the monkey house is in order, though I fear that day may never come. It’s confusing work and every monkey has his or her own idea about how a monkey house is supposed to be.

But that’s me. You go on. You certainly will not be in the minority here if you see fit to tell Americans how ignorant they are about their home.
 

Woolery

Banned
Banned
To the original topic:

I don’t think people who believe in outlandish notions (whether correctly or not) are exceptional. I think they’re absolutely typical. A combination of social/economic pressures, human nature, confirmation bias, and narrow methods of data collection leads us all to believe outlandish things without knowing it. Even skeptics. In fact, I think skeptics pose the same danger as “believers” do to any functional, tolerant community. Skeptics develop a particularly strong confidence in their beliefs, due to their typically high levels of rigorous, formal education and general adherence (not without good reason) to accepted theories within academic circles. This confidence manifests itself in the most stubborn kind of confirmation bias and often leads skeptics to mistake opposing points of view on matters such as ideology, philosophy, politics and ethics as irreconcilable with reality itself, instead of a mere difference of opinion.

This is why the OP’s point of perceptional symmetry is so interesting to me. Ask the average person on the street and they might say skeptics are at one extreme end of the belief spectrum, with believers at the other. And as is the case with most extremist points of view, I find both perspectives (those of skeptics and believers) to be in the minority and largely detrimental to a cohesive and tolerant community.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
Skeptics develop a particularly strong confidence in their beliefs, due to their typically high levels of rigorous, formal education and general adherence (not without good reason) to accepted theories within academic circles.
I think skeptics pose the same danger as “believers” do to any functional, tolerant community.
Now how does one translate to the other? "Tolerance" may be a desirable characteristic to work in two directions, but facts do not. If believers think that UFOs with little green men from another planet travel the sky, most of the time that's silly but relatively benign. But if believers think that the earth's climate is not changing, it hampers any attempt to make meaningful improvements to our environment. If believers think that face masks are unnecessary and vaccinations are evil attempts to implant tracking hardware into our bodies, more people die. If believers think that "their" candidate was cheated out of an election and that the best way to settle the question is with physical violence, democracy is in peril.

"Both-siderism" is lazy thinking.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
If believers think that "their" candidate was cheated out of an election and that the best way to settle the question is with physical violence,
except believers dont think that. if believers thought that they'd be burning down the cities and beating up old people and murdering children in the street, like the blm riots did. and we know those tactics don't work because noone is defunding the police anymore.

democracy is in peril.
luckily we had an ultra conservative, ultra religious republican who said "NO" to the over turning of votes.
 

econ41

Senior Member
As a resident of the monkey house, I’ll get around to telling the elephants what’s best for the elephants once the monkey house is in order, though I fear that day may never come. It’s confusing work and every monkey has his or her own idea about how a monkey house is supposed to be.
Valid as far as it goes. But there is another perspective (one of several actually) that is equally legitimate. The higher level perspective of the Zoo Manager who can look at the similarities and differences between elephant housing and monkey housing. Within each "species section" is the space provided for either animal appropriate to the needs of that species? In the overall context of the zoo do the provisions look equitable to the visitors?

Then go up another level - 'Is the Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney "better" or "worse" than the National Zoo in Canberra' etc etc. We can legitimately make the comparisons. But discusion can get heated if it becomes "ours is better than yours" at whatever level of emotively expressed opinion.

During the peak of the COVID pandemic buildup/resolution, I was intrigued and challenged to compare and contrast the developments in several countries. The numeric results were vastly different. But so were the contextual parameters. Different scales of population, Different politics. Very different cultural attitudes to "rights" plus all the overlay of anti-vax complexities. And both AU and NZ had a big geographical advantage - remote islands, small populations, easy to lock the doors until vaccination could become effective. Was I wrong to think about it? No. Did I need to be cautious in attempting discussion? You bet. I gave up.
Now how does one translate to the other? "Tolerance" may be a desirable characteristic to work in two directions, but facts do not. If believers think that UFOs with little green men from another planet travel the sky, most of the time that's silly but relatively benign. But if believers think that the earth's climate is not changing, it hampers any attempt to make meaningful improvements to our environment. If believers think that face masks are unnecessary and vaccinations are evil attempts to implant tracking hardware into our bodies, more people die. If believers think that "their" candidate was cheated out of an election and that the best way to settle the question is with physical violence, democracy is in peril.

"Both-siderism" is lazy thinking.
Well said! There is a whole range of more complex issues in the theme that some conspiracy theories are more "dangerous" than others. "Flat Earth" AFAICS presents few risks. 9/11 Truth, derailed by technical issues, seems to have no direct threats. Climate denial is long-term dangerous. Anti-vax has shorter erm downside effects. And I think Apollo landings denial is neutral. << And those are stated as diplomatically as I can manage. ;)
 
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JMartJr

Senior Member
luckily we had an ultra conservative, ultra religious republican who said "NO" to the over turning of votes.
We did, and we owe him for the continuing existence of our Republic. I for one do not feel confident that we will always have somebody like that in place, especially when I see who has been winning so many of the GOP primaries this year. This is deeply concerning.

(Disclosure: I worked for the first part of my post-schoolin' career with consultants in GOP politics in the SE of the USA. I remain a political conservative, more in the region of economics than "culture war" issues, where I suppose someone could call me a moderate. I am no longer a member of my old party, and have dwindling hope of being able to return in the future.. Just so it is clear where I am coming from, POV-wise.)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I remain a political conservative, more in the region of economics than "culture war" issues, where I suppose someone could call me a moderate.
me too. im probably technically an Independent since i will vote left in local elections. But all my other Independent friends are Democrats, so i feel its cheating not just to admit what you are. :)

We did, and we owe him for the continuing existence of our Republic. I for one do not feel confident that we will always have somebody like that in place, especially when I see who has been winning so many of the GOP primaries this year. This is deeply concerning.
pretty sure i read they have strong bi partisan support for election reforms in Congress. states may be able (havent looked into the laws) to alternate electors if their legislatures vote for it, not sure. and i dont see why Congress can't overcome that with their bill.
the majority of Repubs dont actually like Trump, so i think they can get something passed.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
I guess that’s true. Similarly, Brexit was big news here. Every day a new story for a while. But I don’t pretend to know what it’s really like to live in the UK (though I did attend a semester of college in London), nor does my opinion matter as much as a citizen of the UK.

When it comes to 'what it's really like to live in the UK/US/pick your country', I would tend to agree with the gist of your argument. The locals are the real experts on that particular but important issue. (Not even going into a comparison on how much less UK issues are covered in the US media as opposed to US issues in the world media -- we're not living in isolated islands anymore.)

But on highly politicized issues the 'locals' are also more vulnerable to echo chambers and aggressive misinformation designed to target and fool 'the electrorate', rather than outsiders.

A close-range observer of a scenery in broad daylight, while wearing a virtual reality helmet over his head, is less able to see its features than a distant observer looking through a telescope with his own eyes. But if both are free from blindfolds, the local will of course be the one likelier to see the scenery and all its features clearer.

However, when it comes to globally significant public figures and leaders of superpowers, we're talking about much more than a strictly 'local' affair where the average local has 'automatically' a much better, closer and clearer access to the real person than the average non-local.

Intellectual authority to speak on any matter more than others must be earned and demonstrated. I for one was not making any such a claim of authority. But it was unmistakably suggested I have less authority than another poster by sole appeal to my location outside the US. Dismissal of voices merely by appeal to authority is a classical fallacy and hampers all learning. Especially if one is claiming authority on the basis of citizenship, on a political issue which as it happens splits the citizens of that country right in the middle, and thereby entirely obliterating the notion of 'living here makes me more right than you'.

The same applies to claiming authority based on one's expertise in a particular field. Galilei believed in astrology. Jung in the esoteric. Both greatly contributed to advancing scientific practice and non-outlandish/parsimonious theories in their professional fields. For an ignorant lay person (on astronomy, psychology, astrological myths and esoteric claims) it's not always easy to see where Jung's and Galilei's professional scientific expertise ends and where the fluff begins. Just as it isn't for the average American voter to distinguish between hard facts and subtle or less than subtle propaganda spouted by CNN and Fox News.

It is not unheard of that one can be a brilliant expert in a narrow professional field, or a great source of overall knowledge of one's native country, while simultaneously espousing religious or political beliefs that reflect a less professional methodology of establishing a truth.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
pretty sure i read they have strong bi partisan support for election reforms in Congress.
@JMartJr

yea the senate bill is all set. (the house bill passed but it's likely too expansive as only the 9 impeaching repubs voted for it)
Article:
The bill passed by the House is similar but not identical to somewhat narrower legislation that a bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have been working on this year.

Collins told The Washington Post this week that she prefers the Senate legislation, as it already has the approval of enough Republicans in that chamber to pass the filibuster threshold.

"I much prefer our bill, which is the product of months of study, input from constitutional and election experts, and is a bill that has garnered widespread bipartisan support," Collins said. "I believe that we can work this out, and I hope that we both do so."


a bit about the Senate Bill with enough support to pass
Article:
The proposal would also enact a few measures "aimed at ensuring that Congress can identify a single, conclusive slate of electors from each state," according to a fact sheet. The provisions include:

identifying "each state's Governor, unless otherwise specified in the laws or constitution of a state in effect on Election Day, as responsible for submitting the certificate of ascertainment identifying that state's electors;"
and requiring "Congress to defer to slates of electors submitted by a state's executive pursuant to the judgments of state or federal courts."
And the measure would "strike a provision of an archaic 1845 law that could be used by state legislatures to override the popular vote in their states by declaring a 'failed election' — a term that is not defined in the law."

The bill would also reaffirm that the "constitutional role of the Vice President, as the presiding officer of the joint meeting of Congress, is solely ministerial."
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Funny how you don’t see Americans on this forum claiming a similar expert understanding of Europeans. I wonder why that is?

Lack of education, experience, information and understanding would be my guess, coupled with a tradition of looking inward (if anywhere).

Probably some other things besides.
 

econ41

Senior Member
When it comes to 'what it's really like to live in the UK/US/pick your country', I would tend to agree with the gist of your argument. The locals are the real experts on that particular but important issue. (Not even going into a comparison on how much less UK issues are covered in the US media as opposed to US issues in the world media -- we're not living in isolated islands anymore.)

But on highly politicized issues the 'locals' are also more vulnerable to echo chambers and aggressive misinformation designed to target and fool 'the electrorate', rather than outsiders.

A close-range observer of a scenery in broad daylight, while wearing a virtual reality helmet over his head, is less able to see its features than a distant observer looking through a telescope with his own eyes. But if both are free from blindfolds, the local will of course be the one likelier to see the scenery and all its features clearer.

However, when it comes to globally significant public figures and leaders of superpowers, we're talking about much more than a strictly 'local' affair where the average local has 'automatically' a much better, closer and clearer access to the real person than the average non-local.

Intellectual authority to speak on any matter more than others must be earned and demonstrated.
Understood and agreed - very much the same as my own values and perspectives. By the way - I'm English by birth, Australian initially by choice of my parents - I'm 70/81ths Aussie by residence and a bit less de-jure. I have for many years had an interest in US constitutional arrangements and politics for a number of reasons. One being my involvement in online discussions which tend to be numerically dominated by Americans - the "white sheep" syndrome - there are more of them. I'll assume we all know why "white sheep eat more than black sheep".

The second issue for me, which I predict will again become an active debate issue here in AU - the latent issue in Australia of the possible change from Monarchy to Republic. Set aside the one issue of hereditary monarchy our system ain't broke. We don't have some of the problems facing the US. But there is no point playing "our's is better than your's games". The US has issues to address for the US people, within the US context. But....

I for one was not making any such a claim of authority. But it was unmistakably suggested I have less authority than another poster by sole appeal to my location outside the US. Dismissal of voices merely by appeal to authority is a classical fallacy and hampers all learning.
Welcome to the club! :rolleyes: Events of world significance over the last couple of years have needed intelligent comments on the differences between countries for events playing on the full width of the world stage. But I've mostly abandoned my efforts to discuss US-centric issues @after a number of suggestions - some expressed in rather derogatory form. e.g. "As an Australian, you cannot understand the US Constitution and supporting arrangements", "You should mind your own business and not comment on other country's affairs" (Even tho those countries on the world stage affect mine.) et simile.
Especially if one is claiming authority on the basis of citizenship, on a political issue which as it happens splits the citizens of that country right in the middle, and thereby entirely obliterating the notion of 'living here makes me more right than you'.
Put more crudely - a rational outsider can often see the domestic dispute with better balance than those trapped within the situation.
The same applies to claiming authority ..... the average American voter to distinguish between hard facts and subtle or less than subtle propaganda spouted by CNN and Fox News.

It is not unheard of that one can be a brilliant expert in a narrow professional field, or a great source of overall knowledge of one's native country, while simultaneously espousing religious or political beliefs that reflect a less professional methodology of establishing a truth.
Yes! Except isn't limited to "American" even tho there are more of them. ;)
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Yet you had just posted this, which appears to do just that:
when Biden talks about 'threats to democracy' he is talking about OUR democracy, as a republic. When the media talks about 'threats to democracy' they are talking about OUR democracy, as a republic.

If America is not a democracy, as foreigners here have suggested in the past, then how can Trump be a threat to a democracy we never had in the first place?

Put more crudely - a rational outsider can often see the domestic dispute with better balance than those trapped within the situation.
yes. Assuming you have all the pertinent facts and are evaluating events in THEIR context, not in your own context.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
When the media talks about 'threats to democracy' they are talking about OUR democracy, as a republic.

I wonder why they don't say that if that's the case?

What's the practical difference between democracy in a republic and democracy in a non-republic such as the UK or the Netherlands or Sweden?
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
Put more crudely - a rational outsider can often see the domestic dispute with better balance than those trapped within the situation.
That inside-outside dichotomy exists even within the USA. For example (due initially to the efforts of the Daughters of the Confederacy) there's a strong tendency for children in some of the southern states to be taught a completely different history in schools, and thus grow up unaware of facts that might prove to be embarrassing to the old confederacy of the nineteenth century. State laws differ from each other across the country.

But even within a state, people tend to self-segregate by choosing which news sources they use, and there are enough biased sources available that a good many people think they know what's going on, while never checking the other sources.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I wonder why they don't say that if that's the case?
they sometimes they do

Article:
PHILADELPHIA — President Biden delivered a forceful address Thursday on what he called a dangerous assault on American democracy, warning that “too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal” as “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”


https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/17/us/american-democracy-threats.html

'A Crisis Coming': The Twin Threats to American Democracy

https://www.nytimes.com › 2022/09/17 › american-demo...

Sep 21, 2022 — The United States faces two distinct challenges, the movement by Republicans who refuse to accept defeat in an election and a growing ...
Content from External Source


What's the practical difference between democracy in a republic and democracy in a non-republic such as the UK or the Netherlands or Sweden?
our "popular vote" is state specific, not federal. Like Connecticut votes who we want for President, then whoever wins the popular vote our electors then cast a federal vote for President that reflects what Connecticut decided as a state.

I personally dont think there is any practical difference. I only specified republic vs democracy because i know most posters here have small countries and straight votes. so i was just acknowledging when i say 'democracy' i'm talking about America's democracy set up vs european set ups.

add: but again my point, lest people forget, the trumpers believe they are protecting our democracy, they are not trying to do away with it.
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
our "popular vote" is state specific, not federal.

I only specified republic vs democracy because i know most posters here have small countries and straight votes.

I don't know about Sweden or the Netherlands but in the UK we don't go by popular vote, it's basically the same as the US (areas or "seats" instead of "states").

I don't think popular vote vs by areas/seats is related to whether a democracy is a republic or not. I could be wrong though.

[ADD: Sweden and Netherlands also employ "seat system", as I imagine most European countries do.]

they sometimes they do

What about the ones that don't?
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
What about the ones that don't?
if they are talking about democracy in America, do you have to always say "American democracy"?
it's like people saying UFO when they really mean ET UFO.

I did it to clarify, and now i'm stuck in some conversation i don't understand the point of.
Granted i imagine some writers may think (esp now) that 'threat to democracy' means threat to democracy all over the world.

why don't you just spell out what point you are trying to make, as you continue to ignore my original point. :)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I don't know about Sweden or the Netherlands but in the UK we don't go by popular vote, it's basically the same as the US (areas or "seats" instead of "states").

I don't think popular vote vs by areas/seats is related to whether a democracy is a republic or not. I could be wrong though
so your prime minister isnt elected by popular vote of every citizen?

wiki says you are a parlimentary democracy. hhmm so why does everyone keep going on about popular votes in america? anyway...

Article:
You see, many of today’s democracies are also republics, and are even referred to as democratic republics. So, the US and France are considered both democracies and republics—both terms point to the fact that the power of governance rests in the people, and the exercise of that power is done through some sort of electoral representation

Connecticut's Presidential vote is delivered not by us directly but through our electors. We vote on what the electors should vote. and the electors vote for President.
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
if they are talking about democracy in America, do you have to always say "American democracy"?

Kind of. Or at least understand that if they say something is a threat to a universal concept like democracy or mathematics or science some people will understand it as being meant universally rather than locally.

why don't you just spell out what point you are trying to make, as you continue to ignore my original point?

Presumably I had no interest in the original point. But I am interested in your understanding of the words republic and democracy and how you think things work in the US and other countries, so was asking about that since it seemed a bit skewwhiff.

so your prime minister isnt elected by popular vote of every citizen?

Nope. In fact, in 1951 the pm's party lost the popular vote but won the election, same as happened with Trump and Clinton.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Kind of. Or at least understand that if they say something is a threat to a universal concept like democracy or mathematics or science some people will understand it as being meant universally rather than locally.
so like Donald Trump poses a threat to democracy worldwide because others (even if they dont have the same law loopholes America currently does that Trump allies were using) might decide to do the same? ie. fight their election status? even though what Trump did, didnt work despite our current law loopholes.

?? is that the thinking? if your laws have loopholes you guys should address those, like we are :)

since it seemed a bit skewwhiff.
so am i still skewwiff? considering i was answering Fat Phils question?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
If you share how your understanding of those things has changed I can answer. :)
it hasn't changed. i think we are looking at two different pages, so i kinda need you to spell out what you are getting at.

add: if you dont even recall my original point, then you likely dont know what context i am having this conversation in.
*i dont understand what in my words you think i said wrong, or how you are reading what i said. i havent said anything controversial.
 
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Mauro

Senior Member
so like Donald Trump poses a threat to democracy worldwide because others (even if they dont have the same law loopholes America currently does that Trump allies were using) might decide to do the same?
No. It's because (from the European point of view) USA is one of the pillars of democracy worldwide, so when Trump undermines democracy in the US it undermines democracies everywhere.
 

tinkertailor

Senior Member.
@after a number of suggestions - some expressed in rather derogatory form. e.g. "As an Australian, you cannot understand the US Constitution and supporting arrangements", "You should mind your own business and not comment on other country's affairs" (Even tho those countries on the world stage affect mine.) et simile.
I totally understand how you might feel this way, and I get it, but I'd like to share another viewpoint.

One of the things that became very tiring for me as an American living in post-Trump America was that people from other countries found it really necessary to comment on how messed up our country was, using their countries as a comparison. So, the Canadians in one group would constantly make comments about how we don't have good healthcare, the Netherlanders would comment on maternity leave, and everyone would comment on how wacky and unhinged the president was. It continued with any recent newsworthy thing the USA decided to go through with.

I agreed with them wholeheartedly, but it grew very tiresome very quickly. My family literally was bankrupted by medical insurance, so "ha ha, you guys should totally have better healthcare!!" comments weren't useful or cute to me. Comments about abortion rights didn't sit right with me, either; when I was a teen, I was given The Talk--not the birds and the bees, the talk where your mother tells you that some woman in your lineage died of a botched abortion so you need to start thinking of birth control options that are reliable and last, in the event that Roe is overturned. And the Trump era was marked, for me, as a period of complete and utter political hopelessness.

Because of this, I didn't tolerate outside comments about my country. I lost the ability to be patient about it. I snapped, I told them to mind their own business or at least hold their tongue. You guys read headlines, but you don't live it. It reminds me of when other Americans hear I'm from California and joke about forest fires. What is to them a joke or headline is 7 months of constant vigilance and anxiety to me.

I find that, for the most part, the non-Americans here keep it at least topical to issues that are being hashed out worldwide. You guys offer a great viewpoint that is unaffected by my political and experiential bias. But I also see how frustrating it is to have someone who hasn't experienced US politics tell someone who has that they are wrong about something. Just my 2 cents.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Yes, well said @tinkertailor - I shall endeavour to bear that in mind in the future (and though no doubt fail, perhaps succeed more often than before because of what you wrote).

i don't understand what in my words you think i said wrong

I think originally I got curious by these posts:

noone was questioning the fundamentals of democracy*.

*American democracy not global, we are a republic.

when Biden talks about 'threats to democracy' he is talking about OUR democracy, as a republic. When the media talks about 'threats to democracy' they are talking about OUR democracy, as a republic.

and wondering why you were connecting being a republic - ie, not a monarchy - with being a democracy - ie, electing your government - when monarchies can be democratic and republics may not be (probably there's some modern/American take on those words that explains it).

And then:

I only specified republic vs democracy because i know most posters here have small countries and straight votes. so i was just acknowledging when i say 'democracy' i'm talking about America's democracy set up vs european set ups.

Which again connected being a republic with being a democracy and showed you thought (actually, "know") that European countries use popular vote to choose their governments and that there is some significant difference between US democracy and European (not really, other than many countries have more than two parties contending for power).

As for this:

If America is not a democracy, as foreigners here have suggested in the past, then how can Trump be a threat to a democracy we never had in the first place?

I think you can ignore those people (it's not many, surely). I mean, maybe it's not great - there's not much in the way of choice and some of the ways it's implemented are a little peculiar - but it's still a democracy by common definition. And one could make the same observations about a lot of countries, and indeed about democracy itself (not my preferred system of government).
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
But I also see how frustrating it is to have someone who hasn't experienced US politics tell someone who has that they are wrong about something.
Like it or not, one thing that has been severely damaged during the Trump era is the view that other countries have of ours. It's an important thing for us to know. We are not an isolated entity (indeed, very few nations are today), and any country that takes its place on the world stage, whether it's for politics or culture or commerce, needs to know where it stands with other countries.
 

tinkertailor

Senior Member.
Like it or not, one thing that has been severely damaged during the Trump era is the view that other countries have of ours. It's an important thing for us to know. We are not an isolated entity (indeed, very few nations are today), and any country that takes its place on the world stage, whether it's for politics or culture or commerce, needs to know where it stands with other countries.
I get it, and their opinions are completely valid. That's completely correct, and I'd be horrified if other countries didn't think less of us after Trump. But that's the macro, and I'm talking about the micro.

Let's imagine that I go on and on about Boris Johnson to a Brit. After a time, they ask me if I can stop, because what is a headline for me is a hellscape for them. Do I say "you know, I read the news, and I know what I'm talking about here, like it or not, your country is not an isolated entity?" No. Their lived experience is greater than my news-worthiness or lofty ideals of globalism. They may have been directly affected by his policies, and I need to respect that. That's all I'm saying here. There's a human story behind the headline, and after a while it gets hard to stay civil about other people commenting on my beliefs.

And keep in mind, this is with people I agree with. I can't imagine what it would be like if someone from the other side of the political coin told me my experience was wrong.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
wondering why you were connecting being a republic - ie, not a monarchy - with being a democracy - ie, electing your government - when monarchies can be democratic and republics may not be (probably there's some modern/American take on those words that explains it).

You might want to familiarise yourself with the historical usage of the terms from sources like Madison and his Federalist Papers, in particular number 10.
The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.
Content from External Source
-- https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed10.asp

It's clear that in that context the terms do not mean what they would colloquially mean nowadays. The term "representative democracy" wasn't in common use, and when Madison refers to "pure" democracy, it's what we'd now call direct democracy. The baggage of these historical uses is hard for some to shake, but can seem confusing to foreigners who are unfamiliar with them.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Which again connected being a republic with being a democracy and showed you thought (actually, "know") that European countries use popular vote to choose their governments and that there is some significant difference between US democracy and European (not really, other than many countries have more than two parties contending for power).
gottcha. i was using to differentiate popular vote in countries vs popular vote by state. I don't know another word for that. In my neck of America when people mention being a republic it is referring to "states rights" vs "federal rights". Like my quote.
I definitely wasnt thinking of the monarch part of the definition.

I was just trying to avoid another argument that America isnt really a democracy and i should stop using the word.
I didnt think all countries have popular vote, but figured many of them did because all we hear is "Biden won the popular vote" "Hillary won the popular vote", and i did assume they were somehow "better".
Appreciate the correction from a global point of view.

"we are not a popular democracy, we are a representational democracy"?
edit: just saw Phil's post so "we are not a direct democracy, we are a representational democracy"
 

econ41

Senior Member
You might want to familiarise yourself with the historical usage of the terms from sources like Madison and his Federalist Papers,
Thanks @FatPhil. I've been "biting my tongue" for some time over that bit of historic confusion. When today most of us refer to "democracy" we refer to the current concept of "representative democracy". Which is the system (and process) where the electors of a community select ("democracy") a small number of persons to form a governing body ("representative").
It's clear that in that context the terms do not mean what they would colloquially mean nowadays.
Exactly. Some posts seem to suggest that "democracy" and "republic" are mutually exclusive. They were in the historic context of the Founding Fathers' era. They are not in contemporary usage of language. The American Republic is a representative democracy. The UK, AU, NZ and similar "Parliamentary Monarchies" are representative democracies. US has a political Head of State. UK. AU etc have a head of State who is both by law and convention non-political. Other countries have a head of state who is not hereditary but is also denied from or constrained to limit political involvement.

The term "representative democracy" wasn't in common use, and when Madison refers to "pure" democracy, it's what we'd now call direct democracy. The baggage of these historical uses is hard for some to shake, but can seem confusing to foreigners who are unfamiliar with them.
It is not confusing to this "foreigner" BUT does get frustrating when members mix and match or conflate the two very different sets of concepts. The US was definitely established as NOT a "direct democracy". (Sorry for the awkward construct but it is necessary.) Maybe we should be pedantic and say either "direct democracy" OR "representative democracy" so we can avoid the confusion and be explicitly clear about what we mean. And none of our countries are "direct democracies" << I'll stop there before I open another door.
 
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