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The Intrinsic Danger of Presidential Systems of Government

Discussion in 'Political Debates' started by Sunstone, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Several years ago, I read an article in The Atlantic about the risks and vulnerabilities of presidential systems of government that was quite an eye-opener. The author's thesis was that presidential systems are intrinsically unstable forms of government which tend to rapidly devolve into tyrannies.

    In support of his thesis, he offered the fact that all but two of the presidential systems the world has seen have done exactly that -- devolved into tyranny -- within roughly twenty years of their founding. Only the United States and (for the most part) Chile had escaped the fate of the overwhelming majority of presidential systems.

    Why were presidential systems so fragile? The author advanced the theory that they promote two party politics, which then is extremely susceptible to gridlock whenever the presidency is controlled by one party, while the legislature is controlled by the other. Finally, if the gridlock becomes entrenched such that the government can no longer operate, people start looking for a 'strong man' (as he called it) to take over in order to get things running again. But of course, the strong man is very likely to soon enough becomes a dictator -- a
    president for life with unchecked powers.

    Again, he was basically describing what has happened to nearly every presidential system the world has ever seen. But please note: We should not confuse a true presidential system with a parliamentary system in which there is a 'president' at the head of government while real power resides in a prime minister.

    The author then turned to the question of why the US had survived for over 200 years, while most presidential systems were lucky to stay out of trouble for 20 years. His answer was that the US had (with the exception of the Civil War period) enjoyed over 200 years during which the two parties agreed on the basics and only argued over less than basic things. In other words, the US had been very lucky.

    Given the above, it seems to me quite possible that the intrinsic weakness of presidential systems has at last caught up with the US, and that now we are on the brink of going the way of almost all other presidential systems. That's to say, it might not be too long until we, too, devolve into a dictatorship.

    Comments?


     
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  2. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    you left out France, and others I'm sure
     
  3. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus retired astronomer

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    "..enjoyed over 200 years during which the two parties agreed on the basics and only argued over less than basic things."

    I think there is a lot to that. Certainly on economic issues both parties are pretty much the same.
     
  4. MNoBody

    MNoBody Well-Known Member

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    when the government is afraid of the people ..that is democracy.
    when the people are afraid of the government ..that is tyranny.
     
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  5. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    That seems to miss the decentralized and fractured power structure that has thwarted Trump at many turns, a system that is intended to make it more difficult for anyone person to call the shots.
     
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  6. Aštra’el

    Aštra’el Member

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    Devolve... or evolve?
     
  7. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    yeah. i've always thought the checks and balances were key. But the last 4 years have shown that they're not quite as balanced as they ought to be.

    i've also thought for a while now that multi-party, coalition-forming systems might be a better way to go.
     
  8. Cooky

    Cooky Yuck

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    if you ask me, there almost always seems to be a strong bias by Europeans to anything not European... So it would come as no surprise that European political analysts would suggest that presidential systems tend toward Authoritarianism (dictatorship), when in truth, it's the European models that tend toward Authoritarianism.

    It's just a falsity being promoted by biased people.
     
    #8 Cooky, Dec 4, 2020
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  9. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Ov Fire and the Void
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  10. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    They're just messing with us right now. That's why I want Americans to come together and try to ignore the divide and conquer tactics of the rulers that shouldn't be. They want to destroy your faith in the system. So even though I know it's all rigged ... I want Americans to keep faith in the system such as it is. It's illusion but it's all you got.

    USA was set up as the buggyman since 9-11 to the world so it could be disintegrated ... Yay! All Americans cheer as the country breaks down and they squabble over trinkets and petty minded nonsense. My point is that people should keep on believing in the USA and keep loving their country because it's kind of the only boat you're stuck in. And if you put holes in your own boat you're going down with it.
     
  11. Cooky

    Cooky Yuck

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    This whole notion of presidential systems being inherently authoritarian is just more of the same hole shooting that the haters of freedom typically resort to. It's a total falsity... A flat out lie.
     
    #11 Cooky, Dec 4, 2020
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  12. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    So is your labeling them haters of freedom.
     
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  13. Cooky

    Cooky Yuck

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    I disagree. Most parliamentary governments have rules that restrict free speech upon citizens. you can't say you support basic freedom on the one hand, and then pass laws that restrict speech on the other.
     
  14. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    They don't place overbearing restrictions upon speech for the most part, but they do clamp down on speech that can be problematic, such as speech meant to incite violence. If someone is motived by your words to do harm, in some countries they would hold you responsible. That's not freedom hating.
     
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  15. Cooky

    Cooky Yuck

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    Shadow it's against the law to say certain words in many parliamentary systems even if they aren't flat out death threats... That's not freedom. It's authoritarian.

    ...That's why I said the whole notion of presidential systems being Authoritarian is a falsity. it's a flat out lie -- it's totally the opposite.
     
  16. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Then it is totally true by your standards, and America long ago slipped into authoritarianism because theres a whole bunch if stuff you can't say here that isn't an explicit death threat. Sometimes we even require warning stickers because we regulate speech.
     
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  17. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Even if you came up with six or so more examples of presidential systems that had endured longer than a couple decades, I doubt you'd move up the average duration much. That's around twenty years, according to the author of the article I read. Remember, he was taking into account the numerous presidential systems that have come and gone on the African and South American continents -- especially since the 50s.
     
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  18. Cooky

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    It's true that freedom isn't free, and it's a constant battle to maintain it. it might be true that we have lost some battles by those who idolize everything European, if what you say is true.
     
  19. Cooky

    Cooky Yuck

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    Have you considered that it might not be the system but the people, through their own nature, who have trended toward dictatorship? There are other examples of people and cultures who reject mainline Western qualities (freedom and equality), such as Afghanistan.

    Also note the difference between western European, so called "socialist" countries and Venezuelan style socialism.
     
    #19 Cooky, Dec 4, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
  20. Cooky

    Cooky Yuck

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    Are you talking about the media entertainment industry, such as CNN?
     
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