The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Climate change, is democracy enough? > Comments

Climate change, is democracy enough? : Comments

By David Shearman, published 17/1/2008

Liberal democracy is sweet and addictive: but unbridled individual liberty overwhelms many of the collective needs of citizens and the environment.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. ...
  7. 13
  8. 14
  9. 15
  10. All
What were the last 500 years of struggle for liberty and democracy all about then? If you canít convince the majority of your fellow citizens to follow the course of action you propose, tough! I have no desire to go back to the totalitarian regimes of the mid-twentieth century. We should no more hand over decisions on the environment to a group of scientists than we should hand over legislation on morality to a group of theologians.
Posted by Chris C, Thursday, 17 January 2008 9:06:29 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
More urinating into the breeze, I'm afraid. When will people recognise that global warming is only a symptom of the real problem. The real problem is overpopulation, and any solution that does not address overpopulation is doomed to failure. A friend of mine made a very insightful comment about it when we were comparing India and China and their reactions to the population problem. The insight was that India had done all it could to minimise population increase consistent with being a democracy (i.e. contraceptive information). China, on the other hand, was able to take far more effective measures (i.e. one child policy) because of its authoritarian form of government. The other insight was that the reason there is a global wall of silence on overpopulation is that not only are there many forces against it, but there seems to be no way it can be implemented in a democratic way.

The rational conclusion to all this is that we are all doomed.
Posted by plerdsus, Thursday, 17 January 2008 9:23:53 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
David Shearman you are a madman.

You are the latest in a long line of obsessives, generally with a scientific background, who have been convinced that a tyrannical government would elevate your bugbear to the number one, indeed, the sole social priority of the nation, over the demands of all other citizens.

That you would choose China as your only evidence for this proposition merely shows how far your feverish obsession with global warming has taken you from sanity.

As someone who has just returned from two years of living in China I can only report to you that the disgustingly polluted air and barren deforested landscape there argue more eloguently than words exactly the opposite case. Liberal Democracy is by far the best system for protecting the environment while dictatorship is the worst.

While the Chinese government may have passed a tokenistic ban on plastic bags it has also been pushing economic development at a breakneck pace and approving scores of carbon-emitting coal-fired power stations.

However, if it pleases you to imagine that a dictatorship would adopt your goals for society (which in your own mind are self-evidently desirable - why can't everybody see.. the fools), instead of exterminating minorities or class enemies, enforcing a state religion, expropriating private wealth to lavish on the rulers, or trying to build the world's tallest building, then by all means keep scribbling.
Posted by Duncan73, Thursday, 17 January 2008 10:13:05 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Professor Shearman's argument is of the same coin as the Neocons who sent us into Iraq:

1) There is an imminent existential threat wot is backed up authorities and all. Look, we have the powerpoints and everything to prove it!

2) Therefore, in order to protect and preserve our freedoms and way of life, we must surrender our freedoms and way of life.

3) If you have any doubts or misgivings about proposition #2, please refer again to proposition #1 until you are sufficiently panicked to accept proposition #2.

Such arguments cut no ice with me when Colin Powell put them on the floor of the UN in 2003, and they cut no ice with me today when Prof. Shearman invokes another imminent existential threat as a reason to surrender more freedoms.
Posted by Mercurius, Thursday, 17 January 2008 10:20:28 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Perhaps we can go back to the 1940s for an analogous situation. Private, low-staffed, low budget R&D centres realised that there was a possibility that an atomic bomb could be made. The US was at war, and realised that for its own security, it needed to develop the technology before anybody else. It did not just wait for it to evolve, using the liberal-democratic model, but the government invested millions of dollars into a few laboratories (virtually nationalising them, since they did what the government appointed and government funded leaders wanted) and were able to develop and build two atomic bombs by 1945. It is ironic, is it not, that to ensure that they developed the bombs before the Russians in particular, they changed from their liberal-democratic approach and adopted a model closer to their adversary's.
It is not until our governments, pushed by the people or led by statesmen and thinkers, have a mind to address a serious problem that these problems will be addressed and hopefully overcome.
Professor Shearman has a pretty sound point. Because of the authoritarian nature of the (say) Chinese government, it is likely to take firm action before our democracies can stir themselves adequately. I am nevertheless optimistic that our democracies can stir themselves, but unfortunately, many people will suffer first. Which is surely Shearman's point!
It is a pity that contributors to these discussions are so polarised and vitriolic. Whatever point they may have loses its impact. So let us have none of that, unless we are criticising Howard!
Posted by HarryG, Thursday, 17 January 2008 11:24:25 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
and besides, this guy has no notion of what democracy is. one reason we're in deep trouble is that the people do not rule, pollies do- with a corporation hand up their skirt.

that's fair, in a way. if the people can not organize, are too dim to see the use of democracy, then oligarchy is what you get. continuing with oligarchy and it's resultant looting of society and nature by the corporations in a finite world will lead to environmental disaster.

if you're too dumb to see it, too lazy to do anything about it, too cowed by your culture to rebel- then wear the disaster with a smile.
Posted by DEMOS, Thursday, 17 January 2008 11:35:24 AM
Find out more about this user Visit this user's webpage Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. ...
  7. 13
  8. 14
  9. 15
  10. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy