Democracyógood or bad?

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  • #611577
    tzaddiq
    Member

    democracy. a word that many proud americans say defines their country, giving freedom to different ethnic and religious people, equality to all men and women, uniting people of all races.

    but on the other hand, do you think that democracy is perhaps detrimental for a jew? is it not a poisonous ingredient in our country’s cauldron of “Eisov Achicha”; encouraging intermarriage, promoting untold shameless cynicism, and THE factor that perhaps feeds this generation an intolerance to authority?

    #995070
    on the ball
    Participant

    “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

    Winston Churchill

    #995071

    @ on the ball: Didn’t Churchill say, “Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all the others”?

    #995072
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Timocracy is the answer. Or 42. I forget which.

    #995073
    Zushy
    Participant

    Democaracy may be fair – but it is not a always right.

    See Egypt, where democracy brought the muslim brotherhood to power.

    I think ut was R’ Don Segal shlit”a who said “democracy iz de groize getche fun America” – basically if it is pursued worshipped in it’s own right it is Avoida Zoro

    #995074
    akuperma
    Participant

    Democracy (or Tyranny) are good, or bad, depending on who is running it. The advantage of a democracy is that it requires many people to agree, and a large number of people are unlikely to go off on some horrible policy compared to a single man who can simply be deraged. Any policy you complain about under a democracy, and and does occur under tyranny, and is usually much worse (e.g. you complain about “intermarriage” in a democracy, but what about in tyrannies where they saw intermarriage of different groups as a social goal, such as the Greeks in Eretz Yisrael).

    #995075
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    In a democracy if you have a bad leader, he can be voted out or term limited out.

    In a tyranny if you have a bad leader you are stuck with him until he dies or is overthrown in a coup

    #995076
    tzaddiq
    Member

    i see and agree to what all your posts are noting, but i guess what i really was asking is hashkofo-wise, is there a tzad to say it is a good idea, or since we don’t find this derech of running a country anywhere in the torah it is perhaps not the ideal way, rather go with ‘Soim Tosim Alecha Melech’ (i.e. ruled by Monarchy)?

    #995077
    akuperma
    Participant

    tzaddiq:

    In Torah we have theocracy, rule by G-d, not rule by a government. A “king” who goes against Torah can be overthrown.

    Most Jewish commmunities throughout history were dominated by a coalition of the leading Talmidei Hachamim and the leading citizens (a typical method of election was to choose be at random and ask them to pick the leaders – since a leader in Jewish tradition is responsible for paying the community’s financial needs this was alway a very rich person – in fact in some communities they had a “CEO” with the title “Parnas”).

    #995078
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    a typical method of election was to choose be at random and ask them to pick the leaders – since a leader in Jewish tradition is responsible for paying the community’s financial needs this was alway a very rich person – in fact in some communities they had a “CEO” with the title “Parnas”).

    That’s what I said. A timocracy.

    #995079
    haifagirl
    Participant

    Democracy is bad. That’s why the Founding Fathers chose to make the United States a republic.

    #995080
    yytz
    Participant

    Democracy — meaning multi-party elections, checks and balances (executive, courts, legislature), freedom of speech, association and religion for everyone — is good. It is good because it protects unpopular minorities from harm, and ensures that an open discussion takes place about the country’s problems, rather than the closed group-think characteristic of dictatorships. For this reason, there has never been a famine in a democracy, though there have been plenty in dictatorships or colonial possessions.

    Democracy has existed in the history of Yiddishkeit. In Jewish communities in Europe, for example, it was common for taxpayers to vote on how taxes should be levied and what they would be spent on. It is not alien.

    Why do such regimes as the Taliban and Iran exist? In part, to show us that theocracy (even when partially or nominally combined with democracy, as in Iran) is inherently oppressive and dysfunctional, and prone to war and harmful nationalism.

    If the charedim, in a few decades when they become a majority, try to set up an Iranian-style regime (in which a council of gedolim hold all the real power but elections still occur and have some influence, and in which vice squads roam around arresting people for holding hands or looking too Western), this will lead to disaster — civil war (the dati leumi would rather die than be ruled by charedi mullahs), mass emigration by the chilonim, economic collapse, etc. This is why we should value democracy, as a peaceful way of settling our differences and coming to deliberative solutions to our problems.

    Even when Moshiach comes, who is to say there won’t be democracy (as in a constitutional monarchy, in which the monarch has certain powers and other powers are reserved for the legislature)? Even if Moshiach has ruach hakodesh and so on, he will not have unlimited time, and may not be able to decide personally on all aspects of how society should be run (what times should the local parks close, who should be the head dogcatcher of Tiberias, etc.)

    #995081

    @ haifagirl: Since when is democracy a contradiction to a republic?

    Besides, who says the founding fathers are right?

    #995082
    Chcham
    Member

    Many view the beginning of the United States as more of an aristocracy than a democracy. That’s why the Jacksonian Era, rather than the period of the founding Fathers, is more commonly associated with the rise of democracy.

    #995083
    Sam2
    Participant

    Tzaddik: If you want a shocking opinion, look at the Abarbanel on “Som Tasim Alecha Melech”.

    #995084
    charliehall
    Participant

    ‘A “king” who goes against Torah can be overthrown.’

    Not al pi halachah. Rechovam was a rasha, but it is clear from the text of Tanakh and the rabbinic writings that Yeravam ben Navat should not have rebelled. The Naviim are blistering in their criticism of the kings of Israel and Judah, but how many times did they call for a popular rebellion to overthrow those kings?

    #995085
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    It is for Sanhedrin to judge him, but they usually can’t. Where did you see Rachavam being referred to as a Rasha?

    If you think there is intermarriage when it is easy to be a Frum Yid, do you think it will happen less when people the desire to be like the outside will have physical reallity?

    By the way, besides for Kehuna and Melucha, Srara is supposed to be through votes. Chazal say that although Hashem chose Betzalel to be in charge of the Avodas Hamishkan, He told Moshe Rabbeinu to get the votes of the people.

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