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Show notes for Episode 66

Posted by Ethan Clow on June 8, 2010

Radio Freethinker Episode 66 – How did confronting Deepak go? Lucky charms, and a Skeptical look at Democracy

Download the episode here!

Song: The Case for Mars by Symphony of Science

Skeptical News:

Coverage of the Anti-Deepak Chopra Gathering

Social authority effects on belief in pseudoscience claims

Lucky charms and superstitious rituals improve performance

Topic:

Info on the origins of democracy:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/157129/democracy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_democracy#Pre-historic_origins

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athenian_democracy

- According to Encyclopedia Britannica these 5 basic initial questions need to be answered when forming a government and then 2 more for its continued existence (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/157129/democracy )

(1) What is the appropriate unit or association within which a democratic government should be established? Town, region, country etc?

(2) Who should be a citizen?  Is every member of the association entitled to participate in governing it? Assuming that children should not be allowed to participate (as most adults would agree), should the dēmos include all adults? If it includes only a subset of the adult population, how small can the subset be before the association ceases to be a democracy?

(3) Assuming a proper association and a proper dēmos, how are citizens to govern? What political organizations or institutions will they need? Will these institutions differ between different kinds of associations—for example, a small town and a large country?

4) When citizens are divided on an issue, as they often will be, whose views prevail, and in what circumstances? Should a majority always prevail, or should minorities sometimes be empowered to block or overcome majority rule?

(5) If a majority is ordinarily to prevail, what is to constitute a proper majority? A majority of all citizens? A majority of voters? Should a proper majority comprise not individual citizens but certain groups or associations of citizens, such as hereditary groups or territorial associations?

(6) The preceding questions presuppose an adequate answer to a sixth and even more important question: Why should “the people” rule? Is democracy really better than aristocracy or monarchy? what about meritocracy?(Meritocracy seems pretty impossible to me – who decides who has merit?)

(7) No association could maintain a democratic government for very long if a majority of the dēmos—or a majority of the government—believed that some other form of government were better.  What conditions favour the continued existence of democracy? What conditions are harmful to it?

Info on Public Choice – Why a rational and informed populace is impossible:

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2010/03/don_boudreaux_o_3.html

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Arrow.html

Canadian Regulations:

http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/RegsByTitle/%23.htm

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