reductio ad absurdum, as usual, goes too far.
Posted May 19, 2006 7:53 UTC (Fri) by xoddam
In reply to: Maybe it's time to stop legitimizing voting in the first place?
Parent article: Diebold election insecurity systems
The linked 'dialogue' is so full of straw men it is absurd. No-one
running for office can honestly deny seeking the power of that office;
however they certainly *can* (and usually do) legitimately promise to
exercise that power in the public interest.
However it is impossible for the public interest to be a matter of
absolute consensus in every case, and it is the obligation of the
citizens of a democracy to expose and oppose the inappropriate exercise
of democratic power.
To suggest that to vote is to *mandate* and legitimise whatever use or
abuse of power an elected official chooses to make is merely to fall for
the arguments that elected officials make when they are caught abusing
their power. Opposition to governments in order to limit such abuse from
within and outside the formal political structure, is an honourable and
ancient task. The political structures of democracies provide for it by
separation of powers, different tiers of government, and (in most
democratic polities, and usually informally) by the representation of
multiple political parties within the institutions of government.
It is the *obligation* of the citizen of a democracy to oppose the abuse
power, whether the power was obtained legitimately in the first place or
When the structure of institutions supports it, it is logical (and
possibly most efficient in terms of effort) for the citizen to use the
institutional means of opposition. That includes voting and seeking
office. When the structure of the institutions does not allow this, or
prevents it from being effective as in the baroque, effectively two-party
system of the USA, it is of course necessary for opposition to proceed
outside the political institutions as well.
To suggest that to abandon democratic institutions is the only legitimate
path for those who oppose the abuse of governmental power is absurdly
narrow-minded. Democratic institutions exist for exactly that purpose,
to post comments)