18 February 2008

Undermining Democracy

Since the National Elections in 2000, has there been any election in the world that has escaped accusations of corruption?  In Mexico, Pakistan, the former Soviet Republic in Georgia, Iraq, Armenia, Russia, Kenya, our own elections in 2004 and 2006, among many others, there have been accompanying cries of “foul”.  While a few accusations may appear credible (or at least sincere), most accusations of fraud or corruption seem to be made without a shred of evidence.  Sometimes these accusations even come before the actual election.  Is this becoming standard practice just because the losing side wants to disrupt or discredit the results?  Do they hope to win concessions from the winners or the courts?  Or is there something more?

Two major systems that hate democracy are the Socialists and the Radical Islamists.  Both are failed systems that promote misery and consolidate power in a select few who have no regard for the freedoms of others.  Is it possible that one (or both) of these groups routinely contest election results in order to undermine democracy as a system?  I believe this is already happening. 

After creating controversy where none rightly exists, Socialists and Radical Islamists then point to that manufactured controversy as proof that Democracy is unworkable.  The other thing we keep seeing is attacks on voters during elections.  Terror, death, and discord all to undermine Democracy.  We will see more and more of all this over the next few years as they continue to attack our government and way of life.  The Socialist and Islamic Radical systems cannot outperform Democracy at any level.  They can only try to tear it down hoping to fill the resulting power vacuum.  Creating discord and lowering confidence in the Democratic process is just one more way of attacking their much-stronger enemies… us.

Posted by: Stashiu3 at 01:27:00 | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 This is one of the reasons i'm uncomfortable with the debate about the use of computerized voting systems in the United States.

I mean, on the one hand ... i'm a computer programmer, and I work as a polling place officer. I know from my understanding of software that these things simply aren't secure in any meaningful sense, I'm aware as a precinct officer of how surreptitious access to them might be gained, and my impresison of the nature of political systems is that, if the opportunity to abuse the system exists, someone will eventually take advantage of it.

On the other hand, there's no evidence whatsoever that advantage *has* been taken. So how do I argue that these systems are too risky to use (which I believe), while keeping that argument entirely in the theoretical, and without undermining belief in democracy itself?

It's an astonishingly difficult thing to do.

Posted by: aphrael at 21 February 2008@13:54:22 (qUuc4)


I don't think we'll ever have a foolproof system of voting, computer-assisted or otherwise.  As you say, if the opportunity for abuse exists, some lowlife (my word) will take advantage of it.  We do the best we can with what we have (paraphrasing John Paul Jones).  Good faith skeptics are invaluable to minimizing that abuse.  They point out potential flaws, usually (if they are truly "good-faith") suggesting fixes.

My concerns are not so much with them as the intentional undermining of our faith in the idea of democracy.  We've seen too many times where objections and cries of "foul" are pro-forma and expected, completely without evidence.  Doing this as a political strategy, IMHO, is reprehensible.  I've seen it on both sides of the aisle within our system (politicos who believe that by casting doubt on the legitimacy of the process, they can limit an opponents' effectiveness), and from outside our system (claiming election shenanigans routinely just so they can point to their own claims as proof that the system is corrupt.)

Posted by: Stashiu3 at 21 February 2008@17:47:57 (Q5ggV)

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