No Reforms Needed.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Plutonius, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. Plutonius macrumors 604

    Plutonius

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #1
    Justin Trudeau of Canada ran and was elected on his promise of electoral reform. Now he is talking about abandoning his promise.

    Do you expect any of the elected politicians to honor their agreements or do you cynically vote for them knowing that they will not ?
     
  2. Scepticalscribe, Oct 20, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #2
    @Plutonius, what is it with all of these weird threads that you have started in recent weeks (maybe months)?

    Anyway, I suspect that you have little understanding of how politics and power actually work, as opposed to how people might wish that they would work..

    Political Promises:

    1. Some are made to woo the electorate.
    2. Others are deeply ideological - positions to which the party is deeply committed.
    3. Some may be somewhat ideological.
    4. Some may be opportunistic.
    5. And some may be necessary - necessary for the society, even if you find them distasteful or not a personal or political priority, or necessary in response to - let us say - compelling or pressing international events, political, military, economic - over which you have no control.

    When you get into office, you may find yourself constrained:
    1. For constitutional reasons.
    2. For financial reasons. (Such as: The state cannot afford it, the books are in far worse condition than you realised when you were out of office, there has been a crash since you took office).
    3. Pragmatic reasons: The electorate - (or key sections of it, or your party's support base, or the support base of your coalition partner, or public opinion) won't wear it, and you are not prepared to spend the political capital necessary to pass it because there are other equally important things that need to be done which will cost you less in terms of energy, political capital, time, and boring stuff such as actual costs, measured in state funding.
    4. Horse trading - the wheeling and dealing and compromises and negotiations that actually gets things done in a democracy; as you rarely have outright majorities in a democracy, you sacrifice some of your stuff - some of your preferred policies - in order to ensure that others can be allowed to pass; it can look unsavoury, but it is a lot better than mindless binary zero sum politics, - which can lead to gridlock, as you know well from the sad and sorry example on view from the US, and far, far, better than armed conflict.
     
  3. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    USA
    #3
    Are there no other possible reasons of any kind, Scepticalscribe?
     
  4. twietee macrumors 603

    twietee

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    #4
    He is making PRSI great again!
     
  5. Scepticalscribe, Oct 20, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #5
    Of course there are, including bloody minded cynicism - but I was merely attempting to persuade people that there can be a great many reasons - not all of them with twisted motivations of the 'sold my soul' variety - why promised policies cannot be implemented. The reasons such promises are discarded, or dropped or jettisoned are not always negative, - and it is wrong to assume that they are - and sometimes, they are not even remotely negative.

    I replied to the thread for a number of reasons, but mainly because I am getting very tired of this intellectually lazy default reaction which automatically assumes a wholly negative explanation - or motivation - when a politician abandons or jettisons, or quietly drops, a political promise.

    There are other reasons, why such promises get quietly (or noisily) dropped, and I wished to mention some of them.

    Anyway, I responded because I studied and taught politics, (and know how it is supposed to work in theory), know politicians, and have worked as a public servant in parliaments, and in international organisations, and have seen - at close quarters - how some of these things are hammered out in reality.

    Sometimes, the optics are tawdry, but often the price of political (social, legal) progress are little, mincing, wobbling baby steps, incremental legislative change, rather than grand sweeping statements of vision.

    The old cliché "you campaign in poetry but you govern in prose" is more than a little apposite here.
     
  6. Plutonius thread starter macrumors 604

    Plutonius

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #6
    I can read the news as well as most people and, in my opinion, most of the promises, no matter what party the politicians are in, are never implemented. You stated some valid reasons why promises are not implemented but, if the promises are made with knowledge that they will most likely not to be implemented, isn't that pandering for votes ?

    I'm just curious if other posters agree with me, that for the most case, politicians are simply pandering for votes.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 20, 2016 ---
    So true !!!
     
  7. appleisking macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    @Plutonius I agree with you politicians are the biggest scum of the Earth
     
  8. twietee macrumors 603

    twietee

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    Jan 24, 2012
    #8
    ...and he lets us all pay for that!
     
  9. Plutonius thread starter macrumors 604

    Plutonius

    Joined:
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    New Hampshire
    #9
    I can't agree that all the politicians are bad (the politicians that agree with me can't be bad :) ). I do however generally dislike politicians that were lawyers (the worst of both worlds).
     
  10. twietee, Oct 20, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016

    twietee macrumors 603

    twietee

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    #10
    There is a saying that every country gets the politicians it deserves.

    Let that sink a bit.

    To give an example in case that's too abstract: If there weren't a basket full a racist/misogynist/stoopid voters out there no candidate representing racist/misogynist/stoopid ideas worth talking about would exist.

    But to explain myself a bit better: I agree that politicians should, of course, held up to their promises. So yes, in case they "don't deliver" there is some explaining to do. Sometimes those explanations are reasonable and comprehensive sometimes not. So come re-election it's also up to the voters to send a sign.
    I'm not pretending I'm fully understanding the mechanics of your political party system, but I can imagine that there is some damaging potential possible in case that party frontiers are so rigid that no matter how "my" candidate actually performs I'm backing him/his party up no matter what (or her for that matter, of course). That's why I personally like a multi party system, not 20+ parties either, because you have more options hence repercussions are theoretically easier to express - but as I said I have just a basic idea about the specific US system so I'm not really judging it either.
     
  11. Plutonius thread starter macrumors 604

    Plutonius

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    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #11
    I agree 100%. The voters keep voting in people who break their promises.

    My original question still stands though. Do the voters cynically vote for politicians knowing that the promises will not be kept or do the voters vote for politicians thinking that this time the promises will be kept ?

    Another question also might be do you trust elected politicians or unelected bureaucrats more ?
     
  12. Scepticalscribe, Oct 20, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #12
    Your understanding of this - to be honest - is far too simplistic, and lacks any real understanding of how this happens or analysis of why it can happen.

    I have given you some reasons why such things happen, but I also think that @twietee has made a number of very good points.

    Your own political system - like your society - is frozen in a mindless and moronic zero sum mentality, a mentality where compromises are equated with selling-out, where fanaticism is equated with adamantine adherence to principles, and where competence and pragmatism are derided in favour of those prefer to kill any legislative initiatives as long as they have been proposed by the other side.

    Your society sets and demands impossible standards of candidates and is then incredibly judgmental and unforgiving when those you put on pedestals fail to act like gods, demonstrating human flaws instead.

    The sentence "if most promises are made with knowledge that they will most likely not to be implemented, isn't that pandering for votes" simply reiterates the nonsense that those engaged in politics are cynical manipulators devoid of principle.

    In truth, it is more murky and muddy than that. I have known a lot of politicians, including some who have held very high office. In my (pretty extensive experience) most are a mix of the principled and pragmatic, and strive to balance the two.

    Some are idealists, with awe-inspiring visions, but their supporters fear that they lack either the common touch, or the ability to craft solid workable laws out of dreams and ideals, or the patience to hammer out deals in all night negotiating sessions without getting everyone else's back up.

    Yet others are so unprincipled that their mere propinquity to high office might damage the very institutional or constitutional integrity of the state; yet, as is the ironical way of such things, these are often very able people, with a pronounced knack for being able to get things done, and done without putting noses out of joint.

    But the majority are motivated both by principle, and pragmatism, by the desire for power, by ego and pride, professional pride as much as personal pride. And much of politics is the challenge of trying to manage the possible - and aim for (or seek to avoid) the absolutely impossible.

    In a democracy, you can give visionary leadership (and you should) but - as your rule, and your right to governance is by consent - such as is conferred by an electoral mandate, confirmed by parliamentary vote - you can only do so if you bring your parliament, or, your electorate - or much, or most - of your electorate with you when you give voice to your visions.

    Sometimes, the 'time is right' and you can surf the tides of history and engineer much needed and long overdue change. Other times, even attempting incremental change is soul-destroyingly difficult.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 20, 2016 ---
    Your original question is flawed in its understanding of how politics works, and you are showing a characteristically judgmental attitude because your society demands perfection then condemns those it elects because they fail to aspire to, or achieve, perfection.
     
  13. Plutonius thread starter macrumors 604

    Plutonius

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    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #13
    So you are saying that, at least in the US, you can not get elected unless you make promises you can't deliver on ?

    I would agree with that but does the typical voter actually believe the promises will be implemented ?
     

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