So we all enjoyed George Carlin's Comedy....

magomago

Lifer
Sep 28, 2002
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I noticed through the Carlin thread that many people said they enjoyed his comedy. Listening to the radio there were many others who described him as a social commentator and people would often talk about spot on he was right about many things.
For the sake of keeping this discussion focused, I want to pick out one of the beliefs he often returned to : that we do not live in a democracy, and that it is an illusion. This country is really an oligarchy that is carefully controlled.

What do you guys think about that statement? George Carlin was one that was always skeptical of authority all forms of authority be it religious or political, but do you think he was off target right here? Do you laugh anyways because his presentation and delivery was excellent, but think he was simply too pessimistic about the society we live in?

edit:

I forgot to mention I don't give a shit about this whole "republic" or "democracy" argument. Democratic Republic, bla bla bla... It should easily be understood what I'm referring to without needing to descend into semantics I stated directly in my poll the term "republican style democracy" in case anyone wanted to bring up this argument. I should have been explicit about it in the body as well.
 
Feb 6, 2007
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We don't live in a democracy; we live in a democratic republic. This is not the same as a "Republican style democracy" as in your poll, since the capital R indicates that you are speaking about the Republican political party and not the style of government.

Therefore I voted for chicken and beef. I'm hungry.
 

spidey07

No Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
65,469
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Originally posted by: Atomic Playboy
We don't live in a democracy; we live in a democratic republic. This is not the same as a "Republican style democracy" as in your poll, since the capital R indicates that you are speaking about the Republican political party and not the style of government.

Therefore I voted for chicken and beef. I'm hungry.

This. Change poll.

Remember "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all"?
 

Vic

Elite Member
Jun 12, 2001
50,415
14,305
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We do live in an oligarchy, but it is anything but 'carefully controlled.' Ayn Rand used a term for describing it that I always liked: "gangs of thugs."
 

heyheybooboo

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2007
6,278
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"But the damned and the guiltiest among you are the men who had the capacity to know, yet chose to blank out reality, the men who were willing to sell their intelligence into cynical servitude ..." - John Galt

Gonna miss George.

One of my favs came off the original 8-track (!) with the 7 words ...

George: "...Tonight's forecast from the airport. Dark. Continued mostly dark until sunrise ..."

That bit was classic ...
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
83,892
47,734
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Originally posted by: Vic
We do live in an oligarchy, but it is anything but 'carefully controlled.' Ayn Rand used a term for describing it that I always liked: "gangs of thugs."

Although Ayn Rand was pretty much arguing for an oligarchy, just one of the Captains Of Industry. (who of course would only be the oligarchs because of they were mythological Men Of Ability)

She seemed like someone I have always wanted to punch. When I think about it though, I can't really see a good outcome to punching an elderly (well, now dead) lady.
 

Tom

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
13,293
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appelate court finds guantanomo detainee not enemy combatant.

justice dept probe finds political bias in hiring of attornies.


this republic ain't dead, just wounded.
 

Tab

Lifer
Sep 15, 2002
12,145
0
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Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: Vic
We do live in an oligarchy, but it is anything but 'carefully controlled.' Ayn Rand used a term for describing it that I always liked: "gangs of thugs."

Although Ayn Rand was pretty much arguing for an oligarchy, just one of the Captains Of Industry. (who of course would only be the oligarchs because of they were mythological Men Of Ability)

She seemed like someone I have always wanted to punch. When I think about it though, I can't really see a good outcome to punching an elderly (well, now dead) lady.

Heh. I've always enjoyed her books. :(
 

Vic

Elite Member
Jun 12, 2001
50,415
14,305
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Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: Vic
We do live in an oligarchy, but it is anything but 'carefully controlled.' Ayn Rand used a term for describing it that I always liked: "gangs of thugs."

Although Ayn Rand was pretty much arguing for an oligarchy, just one of the Captains Of Industry. (who of course would only be the oligarchs because of they were mythological Men Of Ability)

She seemed like someone I have always wanted to punch. When I think about it though, I can't really see a good outcome to punching an elderly (well, now dead) lady.

She was a follower of Plato and Aristotle philosophy. Meaning that she believed that someone must always be in control, the only question is who. In her case, she chose these captains of industry. In the past, societies chose kings borne of 'divine right.'
Which is better? :)
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
72,390
6,066
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Originally posted by: Vic
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: Vic
We do live in an oligarchy, but it is anything but 'carefully controlled.' Ayn Rand used a term for describing it that I always liked: "gangs of thugs."

Although Ayn Rand was pretty much arguing for an oligarchy, just one of the Captains Of Industry. (who of course would only be the oligarchs because of they were mythological Men Of Ability)

She seemed like someone I have always wanted to punch. When I think about it though, I can't really see a good outcome to punching an elderly (well, now dead) lady.

She was a follower of Plato and Aristotle philosophy. Meaning that she believed that someone must always be in control, the only question is who. In her case, she chose these captains of industry. In the past, societies chose kings borne of 'divine right.'
Which is better? :)

If which is better I will chose which.
 
Oct 30, 2004
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Originally posted by: eskimospy

Although Ayn Rand was pretty much arguing for an oligarchy, just one of the Captains Of Industry. (who of course would only be the oligarchs because of they were mythological Men Of Ability)

You don't understand her at all then. She never advocated an oligarchy and seemed to support the notion that the government should be elected. However, regardless of whether you had an oligarchy, you wouldn't feel it as much because she advocated having LESS government. She advocated getting the government out of people's lives as much as possible and reducing it to a military, police, and courts. She was a staunch advocate of individual rights in all things.

Now, in practice, contrary to what she may have believed, real laissez-faire capitalism could end up as a dictatorship depending on certain factors (amount of labor, capital, and available resources relative to one another). We're already seeing some aspects of this today as businesses are trying to dictate what people do in their private lives, requiring that they quit smoking, etc. (Just imagine what it would be like if businesses could engage in racial, religious, sexual, age, and sexual orientation discrimination and whatever else they wanted to do.)

She seemed like someone I have always wanted to punch. When I think about it though, I can't really see a good outcome to punching an elderly (well, now dead) lady.

And in physically attacking someone for advocating ideas you would be demonstrating yourself to be a brute animal and the kind of guy who would support an oligarchy and dictatorship. Supposedly she was extremely convincing and an excellent debater if you ever met her in person, helping people to use their own reasoning and logic to see things her way.


 
Oct 30, 2004
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Originally posted by: Vic
She was a follower of Plato and Aristotle philosophy. Meaning that she believed that someone must always be in control, the only question is who. In her case, she chose these captains of industry. In the past, societies chose kings borne of 'divine right.'
Which is better? :)

<Sigh>

Could you please show me a reference to where she said that someone must always be in control (as a dictator, which is what you're implying)?

She believed that anarchy was bad and that you needed to have a government to regulate the use of physical force but that's not the same thing as what you imply when you say "someone must always be in control" unless I misunderstood your context.

Also, I'm sure she would have vehemently disagreed that she was a Platonist (who advocated a type of subjectivism) and she would have said that she was a follower or at least heavy admirer of Aristotle.

I myself am not an Objectivist (someone who ascribes to the philosophy of Ayn Rand) as anyone could tell from many of my pro-socialist type of posts, but I am a great admirer and agree with many if not most of the basic tenets of her philosophy (objective reality, atheism, reason, individual rights, rational self interest, capitalism (in a generalized sense)), and I just want people to get the story right.

 

Bitek

Lifer
Aug 2, 2001
10,647
5,220
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The correct answer is that we live in both. I'm sorry to all who answered wrong.

The powerful, wealthy and connected class will always try to manipulate it to their advantage. They will always have varying degrees of success.
It only remains a democracy for the masses as long as the voters are educated and engaged. The advantage of power will always swing back and forth depending on the degree of excess on one side or another.

We are probably in a swing back from the elite and powerful to the less so. Time will only tell how far it goes.