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Should their be a "French" style revolution in the US?

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Should there be a revolution of this type in the US?

Yes.
14
33%
No.
25
60%
Other.
3
7%
 
Total votes : 42
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Post Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:39 pm
Not really.

If it were a French-style revolution it would be couched in the ideas of the Enlightenment and spreading equality. The petite bourgeoisie would probably be attempting to reverse the development of a world market and, judging by the OP, go against the haute bourgeoisie with extreme violence.

After that, the obvious failure to destroy the world market would occur and further means may be taken to right the situation.

Lenin wrote:
Proletarian historians see Jacobinism as one of the highest peaks in the emancipation struggle of an oppressed class. The Jacobins gave France the best models of a democratic revolution and of resistance to a coalition of monarchs against a republic. The Jacobins were not destined to win complete victory, chiefly because eighteenth-century France was surrounded on the continent by much too backward countries, and because France herself lacked the material basis for socialism, there being no banks, no capitalist syndicates, no machine industry and no railways...It is natural for the bourgeoisie to hate Jacobinism. It is natural for the petty bourgeoisie to dread it. The class-conscious workers and working people generally put their trust in the transfer of power to the revolutionary, oppressed class for that is the essence of Jacobinism, the only way out of the present crisis, and the only remedy for economic dislocation and the war.


Now, were it the petite bourgeoisie looking for a way to fight the other side of their burden, the working class, then we cannot and will not support it.
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Post Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:58 pm
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The four of you ignore a very important detail there: the meaning of democracy has changed with time. Modern democracy has absolutely nothing to do with the original concept of Greek democracy, except for the basic principle. And it certainly evolved a lot since the rise of the "modern" concept of liberal democracy. Democracy, as it is understood today, involves a series of civil rights and isonomia principles that weren't there at first. Women, for example, didn't get the right to vote until up into the 20th century, in most of the world. Yet most of those countries were already considered liberal democracies. Suffrage, in early liberal days, was never understood as needing to be universal in order to configure a democracy. With that in mind, we have to consider what exactly was understood as "democracy", for early liberal thinkers. And democracy is normally understood as the power of the 'people'. The people there, taken on context, is a synonym for 'commons', 'commoners' or 'bourgeoisie', that is, people who were not royals, nobles or clergymen.


1. Please provide evidence that 'most countries in the early 20th century' were contemporarily considered 'liberal democracies.'

2. Please provide evidence of an 'early liberal thinker' who defined 'democracy' as the 'power of the commoners and bourgeoisie.' It will be very surprising if you can, considering that 'democracy' in the 18th century was synonymous with mob rule (for example, in the works of Burke) and the chaos of the French Revolution. You will find no mention of democracy even in the French Constitution of 1791.

3. It's plain from this paragraph that your understanding of the Glorious Revolution is severely flawed. The Glorious Revolution did not in any way open the franchise for election to the House of Commons, which was still restricted to wealthy landowners and minor nobles. The House of Lords, of course, was filled by hereditary right. Elections, both before and after the Glorious Revolution, were still restricted to the aristocracy and gentry.

Quote:
I'll even go a bit far now, because most people will probably not agree with this, but 'democratic', taken into the same context, referring to the same time period, was also synonymous with 'liberal' or 'constitutional'. When we refer to a 'constitutional monarchy', for example, we are talking about a monarchy that is democratic, unlike an ábsolute monarchy'. And yes, nowadays those three words are not synonyms, anymore. The way we understand it now, a democracy doesn't need to be liberal or constitutional. But the point remains that, when talking about the liberal revolutions, 'becoming a democracy' meant having the poer shift from the aristocratic nobility to the liberal bourgeoisie.


Patently false. The concept of a constitutional monarchy predates the concept known as liberalism by centuries. In England/Great Britain, it dates back to Magna Carta. Are you going to claim that the monarchy under James I was liberal?

On the flip side, Frederick the Great of Prussia was personally liberal, and led a liberal monarchy, but his rule remained absolute.

If you are going to claim that those three terms were equivalent in the 18th century, then you need to provide proof. Considering that there are many examples to the contrary beyond the two I listed, I doubt you can.

Quote:
With that said, we need to get back into context here. The Parliament of England had been 'quasi-democratic' since the 13th century, when the House of Commons started being elected by means of popular vote. The real issue there was whether the House of Commons was powerful or simply an advisory council. And it was the latter up to the Glorious Revolution, when the power started shifting from the monarch towards the parliament. It was from that point that Britain made the transition from absolutism to liberalism. And that itself wasn't even the beginning of the entire process. Legislation was already starting in the parliament since a few centuries before that. And it certainly wasn't when the monarch's power dropped to becoming merely ceremonial. After the Revolution, legislation would always start and end in the Parliament. The last time a bill was vetoed by the Crown, for example, was in 1707.


'Elected by popular vote' is not synonymous with 'democratic.' The franchise for election to the Commons was restricted until the first Reform Bill was ppassed in the 19th century. Even though a tiny, tiny number of people got to vote for their MPs, that also does not change the fact that the unelected House of Lords had far more power than the Commons, or the fact that the King had the final power over law. The first Reform Bill was passed because William IV wanted it passed, and threatened to create hundreds of peers to sit in the Lords to get it passed. William IV also removed the PM of the day and installed his own PM as a part of the process.

Your definition of 'democracy,' like your knowledge of English and British history, is badly-flawed, and goes against settled academic consensus.

Quote:
Making this transition, the actual power started taking into consideration the opinions of elected officials, representing the common people. Starting then, it would be quite complicated for a king to defy the Commons on his own. Heck, the last monarch to enter the House of Commons was Charles I.


'Taking into consideration the opinions of the Commons' =/= 'bound to the will of the Commons.'

Quote:
This argument you guys are using is the same kind of argument people use when they start claiming that the French Revolution was socialist, and that the conservatives won, because Napoleon ended in the throne. The revolution (actually, neither of them) was not about that at all. It was about the commons/commoners/people/bourgeois/third estate rebelling against the Ancient Regime and establishing a liberal democracy in its place. Certainly, it was quite chaotic up to the rise of Napoleon as Emperor. Certainly, a lot of people died unfairly. But the main purpose of the entire revolution ended up coming true. The First French Empire was a liberal, constitutional and democratic (as I said, these three are synonymous with each other) monarchy. The Parliament was elected, and the power was shared between the executive and the legislative. Case closed.


Nice strawman argument in the beginning.

The Revolution was not a single-stage process, it is commonly divided by historians into three distinctive stages. The first stage was liberal, the second was radical, and the third was 'conservative.' None of those phases was about establishing a 'liberal democracy.' As already stated, the term did not exist, and it was not used by any of the contemporaries of the Revolution except in a negative light as a means of referring to mob rule.

Liberal, constitutional, and democratic have already been shown to be dissimilar to one another. The First French Empire was not democratic whatsoever, given that Napoleon acted as an absolute monarch. There is no consensus on whether the Empire was liberal. The Empire was constitutional in the sense that Napoleon had words put on a piece of paper that confirmed his right to rule. It was certainly not democratic.

All-in-all, you seem to lack knowledge of both European history and basic terms of political science.

Quote:
Straw man and an ad-hom (kind of)... For some reason, you seem to believe that me being used to using many smileys since I was little has anything to do with my argument


Like I said the last time someone accused me of this, if you believe I'm breaking a rule (there are rules against spamming - which I'm not breaking) by using more smileys than what would make you happy, the proper way to deal with it would be to make a thread in the basement complaining. Ad-homs are not tolerable in respectable debates....


Using the definition of both 'strawman' and 'ad hominem attack,' my comment was neither of the two. The fact that you, of all people, would be complaining about ad hominem attacks is laughable.

If you don't want people claiming that you engage in 'passive-aggressive emoticon spam,' then stop using emoticons.
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Post Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:03 pm
TIG wrote:
If it were a French-style revolution it would be couched in the ideas of the Enlightenment and spreading equality.

Do you really believe the OP meant something like that by "French" style revolution? I don't think so, he just meant a bloody and violent uprising.

As far as I can judge Lenin would oppose the idea as well perhaps, since the US is not backward, it doesn't lack the material basis for socialism, and it's not surrounded by strong neighbours on the continent who could overthrow the new government (it couldn't be overthrown from the outside anyway), so neither a Jacobin nor a Bolshevik dictatorship would be needed.

However, I think the situation would be more like that was in the Weimar Republic and the Jacobins would actually be Fascists or Nazis.
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Post Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:19 pm
Well then, I guess it has to do with what, "French Style" means. Obviously I'd oppose the fascists, Nazis, or other reactionary garbage, but I wouldn't necessarily oppose Jacobins coming to power on the backs of the Sans Culottes as a first strike that would hopefully usher in further change upon their failure to fundamentally change the world.
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Post Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:25 pm
TIG wrote:
Well then, I guess it has to do with what, "French Style" means.

And it has a lot to do with whether the current petite bourgeoisie is progressive or reactionary. Which one do you think it is?
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Post Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:47 am
Reactionary, obviously. But depending on the make up, it may not be a bad start. If, for instance, they view their enemies as the haute bourgeoisie, then they can go about trying to enforce it. This would, as it did in the French case, be cause for taking apart the church and the like.

I don't know, this is such an abstraction to think that these French Jacobins are going to show up in DC and start taking heads. I would really have to see the movement.
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Post Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:33 pm
TIG wrote:
Obviously I'd oppose the fascists, Nazis, or other reactionary garbage

TIG wrote:
Reactionary, obviously.

I'd advise you to be consequent/consistent.


TIG wrote:
I don't know, this is such an abstraction to think that these French Jacobins are going to show up in DC and start taking heads. I would really have to see the movement.

You can see its essence here on PoFo, it would be a Fascistic thing obviously. We don't live in a feudal monarchy, it's rather something like the Weimar Republic was. You'd better forget the Jacobins.
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Post Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:53 pm
J Oswald wrote:
1. Please provide evidence that 'most countries in the early 20th century' were contemporarily considered 'liberal democracies.'


I am talking about the free world. Not about African colonies, for example. The phase of liberal revolutions in the world came mostly in the 19th century. Later, especially after the 1920s, Europe and most of the world saw a transition towards authoritarianism. But there should be no doubt that democratic systems were already established in most of the world. Even if the American founding fathers did not favor democracy, the US was already governed solely (or majorly, depending on interpretation) by elected officials. The British Parliament was already elected. Brazil was already a constitutional monarchy. All Hispanic nations, despite all the flaws in their constitutions and coups, had liberal constitutions providing elected governments. France reached universal suffrage in 1848. And the US only really reached universal suffrage in 1920, universal male suffrage in 1870. Yet it was considered a democracy before that. Italy and Germany adopted liberal constitutions after unification.

By the turn of the century, most of the free world had already implemented universal male suffrage. If I'm not mistaken, some countries implemented that in the early 20th century, but I could be wrong about that. And no, I'm not gonna research on such a minor point.

Quote:
2. Please provide evidence of an 'early liberal thinker' who defined 'democracy' as the 'power of the commoners and bourgeoisie.' It will be very surprising if you can, considering that 'democracy' in the 18th century was synonymous with mob rule (for example, in the works of Burke) and the chaos of the French Revolution. You will find no mention of democracy even in the French Constitution of 1791.


Democracy, in the 19th century, was understood as universal male suffrage. Anyway, perhaps you have misread my post. I didn't say what early liberal thinkers considered democracy to be. I simply mentioned it, and proceeded to discuss what democracy is understood to be. Many (if not most) early liberal theorists were against the concept of democracy, for several reasons. Late 19th century liberals were mostly in favor of democratic ideals, though. Or at least the few I know were.

Quote:
3. It's plain from this paragraph that your understanding of the Glorious Revolution is severely flawed. The Glorious Revolution did not in any way open the franchise for election to the House of Commons, which was still restricted to wealthy landowners and minor nobles. The House of Lords, of course, was filled by hereditary right. Elections, both before and after the Glorious Revolution, were still restricted to the aristocracy and gentry.


I'm not denying that. In fact, that is exactly my point. It is not my understanding of the Glorious Revolution that is flawed, it is your ability to read what I just posted. Or at least in that particular stance. I did not say that the Revolution led to elections in the House of Commons at all.What I said was precisely that the Commons had been an elected body since the 13th century. And yes, voting continued to be censitary, I did not claim universal suffrage was in place at all. If I'm not mistaken, Britain did not adopt universal suffrage until after the 1950s.

My point was that who was supposed to be included under suffrage in order to constitute a representative democracy changed with time. I mean, seriously, would you disagree that the US was democratic before blacks and women got the right to vote, for example?

Quote:
Patently false. The concept of a constitutional monarchy predates the concept known as liberalism by centuries. In England/Great Britain, it dates back to Magna Carta. Are you going to claim that the monarchy under James I was liberal?


This is completely untrue. I have never heard of a single stance in which Britain was considered a constitutional monarchy in the 13th century. Actually, the Magna Carta itself is irrelevant. A country is not defined as a constitutional monarchy only if it has a constitution or something similar. Japan after the Meiji Era had its own constitution, but wasn't a constitutional democracy, since the Emperor retained all power. That is completely different from Britain, where the monarch stopped being influential to legislative and judicial decisions after the Glorious Revolution, and lost all executive power a few centuries after.

I'll give you wikipedia as a source here (and my apologies, in advance): [1] Constitutionalism in every country has always been understood as a synonym with liberalism. And those ideas were often in synchrony with the idea of democracy.

The United Kingdom is perhaps the best instance of constitutionalism in a country that has an uncodified constitution. A variety of developments in seventeenth-century England, including "the protracted struggle for power between king and Parliament was accompanied by an efflorescence of political ideas in which the concept of countervailing powers was clearly defined," led to a well-developed polity with multiple governmental and private institutions that counter the power of the state

Quote:
On the flip side, Frederick the Great of Prussia was personally liberal, and led a liberal monarchy, but his rule remained absolute.


Frederick was a proponent of the idea of enlightened absolutism, not liberalism. There is a huge difference there. He believed that absolute monarchs should remain powerful, yet that they should use liberal ideas as a means to govern...

Quote:
If you are going to claim that those three terms were equivalent in the 18th century, then you need to provide proof. Considering that there are many examples to the contrary beyond the two I listed, I doubt you can.


I have been providing examples already. I can do an extensive research on it, if you want, but not until my vacation starts again. But denying that democracy, liberalism and constitutionalism are inter-related is a bit too much, since pretty much every historian nowadays agrees that those terms are related...


Quote:
'Elected by popular vote' is not synonymous with 'democratic.'


Again, you didn't pay attention to what I was saying. The concept of democracy evolved with time. Many American democrats in the 19th century would never consider that having minorities and women vote was necessary for democracy.

Anyway, you haven't really provided one single counter-meaning to that. If democracy was not understood to be related to universal suffrage, what was it supposed to mean?

Quote:
The franchise for election to the Commons was restricted until the first Reform Bill was ppassed in the 19th century. Even though a tiny, tiny number of people got to vote for their MPs, that also does not change the fact that the unelected House of Lords had far more power than the Commons, or the fact that the King had the final power over law. The first Reform Bill was passed because William IV wanted it passed, and threatened to create hundreds of peers to sit in the Lords to get it passed. William IV also removed the PM of the day and installed his own PM as a part of the process.


The British king did not lose executive power until up into the 19th century and early 20th century.... And yes, all you said there was true. It still doesn't really disprove my arguments...

Quote:
Your definition of 'democracy,' like your knowledge of English and British history, is badly-flawed, and goes against settled academic consensus.


Again, like most of what you said so far, this is highly inaccurate. Especially considering that, without giving your definition of 'democracy', you can't really speak for what the academic consensus is...

Quote:
'Taking into consideration the opinions of the Commons' =/= 'bound to the will of the Commons.'


Not even the American president is bound to the will of the people... Would you also argue that the US during the 19th century was not democratic?

Quote:
Nice strawman argument in the beginning.


Straw man involves dodging the main argument and attacking something else. Making comparisons between what you said and other kinds of bad arguments does not qualify it as straw man...

Quote:
The Revolution was not a single-stage process, it is commonly divided by historians into three distinctive stages. The first stage was liberal, the second was radical, and the third was 'conservative.' None of those phases was about establishing a 'liberal democracy.' As already stated, the term did not exist, and it was not used by any of the contemporaries of the Revolution except in a negative light as a means of referring to mob rule.


Radicalism, in that context, was always interpreted as a 'radical liberal' position. You'll need a quite strong argument to convince the Radical Party in France that they are not liberal, for example. As for the "conservative" phase, that is also highly controversial. It is true that the many radical achievements of the revolution were taken down by the rise of the Empire. However, whether this constituted a real conservative phase or not is up to debate. Bonapartism, in France, has always been understood as a form of liberalism with a strong and centralized state, for example.

Quote:
Liberal, constitutional, and democratic have already been shown to be dissimilar to one another. The First French Empire was not democratic whatsoever, given that Napoleon acted as an absolute monarch. There is no consensus on whether the Empire was liberal. The Empire was constitutional in the sense that Napoleon had words put on a piece of paper that confirmed his right to rule. It was certainly not democratic.


I haven't found one single reference. And whether the Napoleonic rule was democratic or not is precisely the matter of the debate here. But claiming that he was an absolute ruler is not really helping you, since it is already established in the academia that the First French Empire was a constitutional monarchy, even if the Emperor remained with executive power.

Quote:
All-in-all, you seem to lack knowledge of both European history and basic terms of political science.


You see, that is the problem with the arguments you guys have used in this thread. They are all a product ad-hominem. Whether I have knowledge of political science term or not should be irrelevant to your arguments, and you shouldn't even have to state that. It doesn't happen your argument in the slightest and it is only there to try to create an environment of inferiority so my posts can be disregarded.

Quote:
Using the definition of both 'strawman' and 'ad hominem attack,' my comment was neither of the two.


Oh, really? So, attacking someone's choice of using smileys or not instead of focusing on the argument is not a case of straw man? We must be using different fallacy dictionaries...

Quote:
The fact that you, of all people, would be complaining about ad hominem attacks is laughable.


Go ahead, provide one single case in which I used an ad-hominem attack in this forum. I'll be waiting...

Quote:
If you don't want people claiming that you engage in 'passive-aggressive emoticon spam,' then stop using emoticons.


I seriously don't care about what others think about my choices of posting styles. I find the issue of whether one person personally prefers to add smileys or not, choose underlined text over italics etc to be completely irrelevant. In fact, if you can find one single post of mine in which I criticized someone's posting style, I can go ahead and apologize. I remember telling Rei once, that I found her choice of bicolored text to be harder to focus on, off-forum, where it should be addressed properly.

Anyway, I'm currently kind of busy
I took some time (a little bit over an hour) to write this reply, but I might not be available to reply to these lengthy issues for a few weeks. My apologies in advance. If you wish to continue the debate - and I seriously hope that, in case you do, you stop attacking my use of smileys or claiming that my knowledge on political science terms is poor, without explaining -, it might take a while for me to reply to it.
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Post Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:30 am
Smertios wrote:
I am talking about the free world. Not about African colonies, for example. The phase of liberal revolutions in the world came mostly in the 19th century. Later, especially after the 1920s, Europe and most of the world saw a transition towards authoritarianism. But there should be no doubt that democratic systems were already established in most of the world. Even if the American founding fathers did not favor democracy, the US was already governed solely (or majorly, depending on interpretation) by elected officials. The British Parliament was already elected. Brazil was already a constitutional monarchy. All Hispanic nations, despite all the flaws in their constitutions and coups, had liberal constitutions providing elected governments. France reached universal suffrage in 1848. And the US only really reached universal suffrage in 1920, universal male suffrage in 1870. Yet it was considered a democracy before that. Italy and Germany adopted liberal constitutions after unification.


Can you provide evidence that most countries, even those in the 'free world' were considered 'liberal democracies?'

You are basing your argument on the de jure wording of various constitutions rather than an examination of the de facto status of each country's political system. By that logic, any state that promises certain freedoms is automatically liberal. Recall that the 1924 constitution of the Soviet Union promised an independent judiciary and the right of individual member states to withdraw from the Union.

If you can find a reputable source of the period that claims a country such as Germany or Austria-Hungary was a 'liberal democracy,' I will be very surprised.

Quote:
By the turn of the century, most of the free world had already implemented universal male suffrage. If I'm not mistaken, some countries impl emented that in the early 20th century, but I could be wrong about that. And no, I'm not gonna research on such a minor point.


I never once mentioned universal suffrage.

Quote:
Democracy, in the 19th century, was understood as universal male suffrage. Anyway, perhaps you have misread my post. I didn't say what early liberal thinkers considered democracy to be. I simply mentioned it, and proceeded to discuss what democracy is understood to be. Many (if not most) early liberal theorists were against the concept of democracy, for several reasons. Late 19th century liberals were mostly in favor of democratic ideals, though. Or at least the few I know were.


You proceeded to discuss what you understand democracy to be. I am asking whether you can provide a source to support your definitions. Considering that you previously said, "we have to consider what exactly was understood as "democracy", for early liberal thinkers. And democracy is normally understood as the power of the 'people'," your lack of an 'early liberal thinker' to back up your argument is quite damning. You also did not define what you mean when you say 'early liberal thinker.' Considering that liberalism as an ideology first developed in the 18th century, most people would consider an early liberal thinker to be in the 18th century.

Quote:
I'm not denying that. In fact, that is exactly my point. It is not my understanding of the Glorious Revolution that is flawed, it is your ability to read what I just posted. Or at least in that particular stance. I did not say that the Revolution led to elections in the House of Commons at all.What I said was precisely that the Commons had been an elected body since the 13th century. And yes, voting continued to be censitary, I did not claim universal suffrage was in place at all. If I'm not mistaken, Britain did not adopt universal suffrage until after the 1950s.


1. You did not say that the Commons had been an elected body since the 13th century in the paragraph I responded to.

2. Again, why bring universal suffrage into this when I never mentioned it?

3. You are claiming that the Glorious Revolution led to democracy. You then claimed that 'democracy was normally understood by early liberal thinkers as the power of the people,' where the people are defined as "commoners or bourgeoisie" Given that the Glorious Revolution did not result in the extension of the franchise to the bourgeoisie (something that happened with the passage of the First Reform Bill 140 years later), this would demonstrate your claim that the Glorious Revolution led to democracy to be false.

Quote:
My point was that who was supposed to be included under suffrage in order to constitute a representative democracy changed with time. I mean, seriously, would you disagree that the US was democratic before blacks and women got the right to vote, for example?


As already stated, using your definition of democracy, the Glorious Revolution did not lead to such a system. The fact that liberals of the 18th century oftentimes saw "democracy" as being synonymous with "ochlocracy," only reinforces this point.


Quote:
This is completely untrue. I have never heard of a single stance in which Britain was considered a constitutional monarchy in the 13th century. Actually, the Magna Carta itself is irrelevant. A country is not defined as a constitutional monarchy only if it has a constitution or something similar. Japan after the Meiji Era had its own constitution, but wasn't a constitutional democracy, since the Emperor retained all power. That is completely different from Britain, where the monarch stopped being influential to legislative and judicial decisions after the Glorious Revolution, and lost all executive power a few centuries after.


You claimed that "democratic, taken in the same context...was also synonymous with 'liberal' or 'constitutional.' Your other claim that "when we refer to a 'constitutional monarchy'... we are talking about a monarchy that is democratic" is untrue, as it goes against the very definition of a constitutional monarchy. A constitutional monarchy is simply "A monarchy in which the monarch's power is limited by a written constitution" (source: Wiktionary). As such, Meiji Japan was a constiutional monarchy.

You yourself claim, in your original post, that "most people will probably not agree with [your following definitions]." That being the case, your inability to demonstrate evidence in favor of your definition, whether from reputable modern scholars or 18th-century sources, renders your point effectively null.

Quote:
I'll give you wikipedia as a source here (and my apologies, in advance): [1] Constitutionalism in every country has always been understood as a synonym with liberalism. And those ideas were often in synchrony with the idea of democracy.


Your source lists the 16th-18th century Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth as a constitutional monarchy. Poland-Lithuania during that period was neither liberal nor democratic, as the franchise was restricted to the aristocracy. As such, constitutionalism has not always been synonymous with liberalism. This reinforces my previous point regarding the definition of constitutional monarchy.

Quote:
Frederick was a proponent of the idea of enlightened absolutism, not liberalism. There is a huge difference there. He believed that absolute monarchs should remain powerful, yet that they should use liberal ideas as a means to govern...


Are you denying that Frederick was personally liberal and led a liberal monarchy?


Quote:
I have been providing examples already. I can do an extensive research on it, if you want, but not until my vacation starts again. But denying that democracy, liberalism and constitutionalism are inter-related is a bit too much, since pretty much every historian nowadays agrees that those terms are related...


You had previously said that those three terms were "synonymous." Synonymous is very different from "related."


Quote:
Again, you didn't pay attention to what I was saying. The concept of democracy evolved with time. Many American democrats in the 19th century would never consider that having minorities and women vote was necessary for democracy.


You yourself said that "democratic," to an early liberal, meant giving the right to vote to the bourgeoisie. Having a popular vote within the aristocracy would therefore not be democratic in the early liberal period by your own definition.

Quote:
Anyway, you haven't really provided one single counter-meaning to that. If democracy was not understood to be related to universal suffrage, what was it supposed to mean?


You said that democracy to an early liberal meant giving power to the bourgeoisie. Now you are saying that democracy was "understood to be related to universal suffrage," which goes against that. Which is it?

Quote:
The British king did not lose executive power until up into the 19th century and early 20th century.... And yes, all you said there was true. It still doesn't really disprove my arguments


The Crown has technically never lost its executive power. It disproves your argument that post-1688 Britain was democratic, given your definition of democracy.

Quote:
Again, like most of what you said so far, this is highly inaccurate. Especially considering that, without giving your definition of 'democracy', you can't really speak for what the academic consensus is...


The inaccuracies, or at least the inconsistencies, have been on your end, not mine. My definition of democracy has no bearing on this argument.

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Not even the American president is bound to the will of the people... Would you also argue that the US during the 19th century was not democratic?


The President is bound to the will of the people in an indirect fashion, as he can be charged with crimes by the judiciary and impeached by the legislature. The legislature is elected by the people, while the judiciary is directly elected in some states, although not at the federal level.

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Straw man involves dodging the main argument and attacking something else. Making comparisons between what you said and other kinds of bad arguments does not qualify it as straw man...


You inaccurately compared my argument to a completely different argument in an attempt to discredit it.

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Radicalism, in that context, was always interpreted as a 'radical liberal' position. You'll need a quite strong argument to convince the Radical Party in France that they are not liberal, for example. As for the "conservative" phase, that is also highly controversial. It is true that the many radical achievements of the revolution were taken down by the rise of the Empire. However, whether this constituted a real conservative phase or not is up to debate. Bonapartism, in France, has always been understood as a form of liberalism with a strong and centralized state, for example.


That is incorrect. Radical in the context of the Revolution has nothing to do with the 19th-20th century Parti Radical . Radical in the context of the revolution refers to the political movements such as the enrages, the Hebertists, Babeuf (a utopian communist), the sans-culottes, etc, which were not liberal groups. "Conservative" is relative to the political context, and its application to the rule of the Directory is not controversial. Bonapartism in France refers primarily to Napoleon III, not Napoleon I, and its definition is controversial (as it is a political epithet).]

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I haven't found one single reference. And whether the Napoleonic rule was democratic or not is precisely the matter of the debate here. But claiming that he was an absolute ruler is not really helping you, since it is already established in the academia that the First French Empire was a constitutional monarchy, even if the Emperor remained with executive power.


Napoleon's empire was constitutional in the sense that Napoleon let words be written on a piece of paper, thus satisfying the legal definition of "constitutional monarchy." The Empire was not a democracy by any stretch of the imagination, considering that Napoleon held absolute power over the legislature, while its liberal characteristics are debatable.

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You see, that is the problem with the arguments you guys have used in this thread. They are all a product ad-hominem. Whether I have knowledge of political science term or not should be irrelevant to your arguments, and you shouldn't even have to state that. It doesn't happen your argument in the slightest and it is only there to try to create an environment of inferiority so my posts can be disregarded.


Considering that this argument is over words, and also considering that the words being used have given definitions, knowledge of the terminology is not irrelevant.

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Oh, really? So, attacking someone's choice of using smileys or not instead of focusing on the argument is not a case of straw man? We must be using different fallacy dictionaries...


A straw man is an argument put forward by somebody that attempts to define their opponent's viewpoint in an easily-destroyable manner. An ad-hominem attack is a technique where a person tries to undermine their opponent's argument by insulting their opponent's personal characteristics. My comment about the use of emoticons was a side note, not part of the main argument.


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Go ahead, provide one single case in which I used an ad-hominem attack in this forum. I'll be waiting...


Your comments regarding my supposed lack of reading ability in regards to your points.

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I seriously don't care about what others think about my choices of posting styles. I find the issue of whether one person personally prefers to add smileys or not, choose underlined text over italics etc to be completely irrelevant. In fact, if you can find one single post of mine in which I criticized someone's posting style, I can go ahead and apologize. I remember telling Rei once, that I found her choice of bicolored text to be harder to focus on, off-forum, where it should be addressed properly.


We as posters aren't in bubbles. Our choices of text do indeed affect others, in the sense that they can make arguments harder to follow, or undermine one's points (such as by TYPING IN ALL CAPS).

Good luck with the workload (I'm assuming that's what it is that is keeping you away from here).
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Post Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:53 pm
I voted for "other" because it's not a question of "should" or "shouldn't" but instead "will" or "won't". And if there were these options, my vote is "will" because human political systems this far out of balance always right themselves. The aristocracy always becomes blinded by their own hubris. It's a matter of experiential atrophy. The rich after several generations remind one of Mitt Romney. They cannot conceive of anyone being poor enough to consider a $10,000 gentleman's bet over trivia as audacious. "What's the big deal? It's only 10k?" 10K is sometimes all a single mom and child have to live off of each year. There are scores and scores of single parents struggling with kids in the US alone.

Mitt Romney and his ilk, just as Louis XVI & his queen, cannot wrap their head around their own infuriating disdain for poverty. That's why the phrase "let them eat cake" brought down France. The actual words were a little different but the importance of the saying is this: when confronted with the poor's misery over the price of flour and bread, the phrase "well why don't they just eat cake instead?" demonstrated how deaf the ears of the aristocracy were towards the poor's plight. The poor at that point realized, en masse, that not only would the rich not hear their laments, but that the rich were incapable of understanding their laments. There was a disability on behalf of the rich to perceive reality as it existed.

So, long story short, the working and poor classes helped the rich "get real".. Whenever a society gets to the point where its wealthiest members cross that threshold into inherited wealth [vs earned wealth], their aristocrats lose touch with the value of labor and hence the value of the laborers themselves as the very props and foundation of the palaces in which they live so affluently. At this point the laborers remind them of their value. That's just how it works with homo sapiens.
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Post Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:10 am
The French Revolution happened because people were hungry due to bad harvests (not Louis's fault), and the treasury was bankrupt due to wars that had not netted France any effective gains (actually Louis's fault, but more a bad gamble than anything). None of these have anything to do with the natural isolation of the monarchy from its subjects. I doubt Napoleon cared about the people any more than the Aristocrats did. Or the Politburo, or Mao's CCP, or really any ruling body (post-revolutionary or not) ever. But more importantly given your actual case, the amount of people actually going hungry in the US is minuscule.
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Post Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:05 am
No.

Violent revolution isn't necessary from my political perspective.
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Post Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:46 pm
Sephardi wrote:
Uh... what? You're saying that the Dark Ages was the height of the West then? The Enlightenment, which is the reason why you have freedom of speech, is somehow terrible? The Enlightenment took us back to the humanist principles of the Athenians. I don't know what your beef is but I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in the Dark Ages.

You'd do well to note that "the Dark Ages" is a term rarely used by modern historians, as it's stupid and inaccurate. In the typical Western European town, there was a stronger sense of community and greater income equality than would exist in the West until the new and foreboding frontier of early America. Life was harsh for most of course, but it was harsh in the Enlightenment too.

With regard to principles, the so-called "Dark Ages" institutionalized the Judeo-Christian belief that all men are of worth. For instance, consider the reign of Louis IX, a man who personally sat under an oak tree in Paris to judge cases brought by shopkeepers, artisans, et cetera. He favored the poor overall, while sometimes recognizing that the rich are right, as seen here:

Louis IX wrote:
Dear son, if you come to the throne, strive to have that which befits a king, that is to say, that in justice and rectitude you hold yourself steadfast and loyal toward your subjects and your vassals, without turning either to the right or to the left, but always straight, whatever may happen. And if a poor man has a quarrel with a rich man, sustain the poor rather than the rich, until the truth is made clear, and when you know the truth, do justice to them.

There was likewise wide freedom in business affairs, legally agreed upon in royal charters, in exchange for a modest tax return. Capitalism thus began, with local home-rule and productive competitive economic rivalry between regions combined with inter-regional trade, as in English wool traders sending fleece to Flanders to be made into cloth, who sent it to Italy to dye, which would then be sold to anywhere ranging from Antwerp to Constantinople. Indeed, for the very first time since the Roman Empire's glory years, non-impoverished individuals in the West enjoyed bright attire and spices from the East, Mediterranean wine, et cetera.

In the arts, beautiful and ornate cathedrals were commonplace and the center of town life. Drama was reborn, with a civic creativity and rich symbolism that modern mass media just cannot compare to, generally fixating on existential theological themes or the beauty of nature. Town plays were a regular occurrence from Spain to Germany, a famous example being the Second Shepherds’ Play. In music, modern music is based in the nodes of Gregorian chant - Western musical notation was invented by a medieval man.

Intellectual creativity thrived in universities, with the certitude of the people of the era that absolute truth could be logically arrived at. Consider the works of Thomas Aquinas, rigorously pursuing every intellectual avenue in the pursuit of finding the truth rather than justifying any a priori conclusion, frequently correcting himself in such works as Contra Gentiles. Uniting factors between disciplines were emphasized, with specialization taking a backseat, noting that the same skillsets were used for many disciplines and focusing on developing formal logical capacity. Universities were actual institutions of learning, rather than the same thing as high school of two generations ago plus people studying French porn. Of course, they weren't devoid of fun either - students then spent plenty on drink in university towns.

That said, of course the early Middle Ages weren't the height of the West - the High Middle Ages were, and led to the fruits of the later Renaissance. The Enlightenment bred social atomism, leading to an independence from tradition wherein only a monstrously-sized state and self-imposed intellectual academic elites bring a semblance of order. This can be seen in the era itself, wherein religion (what had until the Reformation curbed the warring impulse among the nobility) was deemed unnecessarily divisive after the Thirty Years War, with many thinkers of the era coming to call for religion subsumed into the State or separated wholly from it. Arguments for an absolutist leviathan state directing the newly created individual atoms of society were thus made, as in the case of Thomas Hobbes. This supposed natural atomism affected the philosophy of the era, and tainted revolutions to come such as the French one with its irrational mobocracy and innately totalitarian conclusion - up to and including later Marxist and romantic nationalist ones, given their intellectual forebears. If the Enlightenment can be credited with scientific advancement, which it can indeed to a certain extent, it can equally be credited with triggering the West's slow decline that we are now seeing the culmination of.
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Post Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:52 pm
Yes, and televised !



Kman wrote:
It has already happened in middle age Iceland and Pennsylvania during colonial times, it is not a ''pipe dream'', I also dont give a shit whether you think it sounds marxist, the fact is that real anarchism is the direct opposite of the total statism that is Marxism.


The irony in you using the Icelandic Commonwealth is that it might have been the very transition from Left to Right-Anarchism that paved way for statism there.
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