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You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution. Options
Daemon
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM
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You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.

Gilbert Chesterton (1874-1936)
yassou
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 3:29:34 AM

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what to do when you live in a dictatorship Brick wall !!! In Tunisia, we had a revolution that ousted a dictator! Now we are hopeful! We are yearning for democracy...Applause

I take pleasure in improving my English
Rusty
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 3:48:00 AM

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Why can't you have a revolution to establish a democracy and why do you need a democracy in order to have a revolution?? Doesn't make sense to me.

The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
MTC
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 5:54:46 AM
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To yassou who wrote: "what to do when you live in a dictatorship !!! In Tunisia, we had a revolution that ousted a dictator! Now we are hopeful! We are yearning for democracy..."

Congratulations on your brilliant achievement. The road to democracy may well be rocky, but we here in the States wish you all the best in your efforts.
Aziz
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 6:43:32 AM
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The context and interpretation ascribed to word ‘revolution’ seem to be key in drawing any conclusion from this quote and for that purpose any alternative view thereon. Apparently, by the word ‘revolution’ author is referring to fruits of democracy instead of implanting a system ‘democracy’. Qualitatively, the democracy could refine as it gets mature but if there is no democracy, people have no alternative but to overthrow existing system and for them it is called ‘revolution’.
Joseph Glantz
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 7:08:22 AM
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Wonder what he would think of the Arab Spring?
pedro
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 7:43:35 AM

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I'm not sure if have been any democracies in a meaningful sense. The Greeks are credited with it's invention but they had slaves. Romans had emperors. Democratic Great Britain used to send children up chimneys. Votes for women, black people or other racial groups are very recent developments in many nations. In any case, even the basic workings of democracy (eg counting the votes properly) seem lacking in most 'developed' countries. The lack of any other involvement for the electorate between elections and the power of persuasion of the press lead me to be sceptical of the whole process. Still...could be worse I suppose.

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
nw3bk3y
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 8:30:00 AM

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I can see where that makes sense if you consider that the word 'democracy' means power from the people.

If a revolution is to be successful then you need a foundation of cooperation from as many people who are being oppressed as possible. Like a tug of war, if only a few people are pulling on the rope, you can't hope to succeed against the few who have amassed great power and strength at the other end. For a population of citizens to have the ability to revolt, they need to be free enough to organize and to fight. If they have been subjugated to the degree that they cannot interact freely and voice their dissent so as to find a common purpose, then there is no chance of having a revolution that could bring about a political change that the majority approves of.

The 'astroturf' uprisings that we see on TV: the 'stop the count' mob down in Florida during the Gore v. Bush debacle, the Koch-brothers-funded Taxed Enough Already party rebellion, etc. These media spectacles pretend to portray a healthy democracy in the US, when in fact they show the exact opposite.






“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” -- Chinese proverb
KAMRAMNA
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 9:43:18 AM
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Initially I thought like rusty ... I was perplexed ... but after reading the comments and reflecting on them I figure understanding this quote hindges on grasping the context of the words "revolution" and, "democracy" ... seems to me (my view) that democracy is "the revolution" ... wait, now I'm confused again ...
MTC
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 10:59:53 AM
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nw3bk3y wrote:
I can see where that makes sense if you consider that the word 'democracy' means power from the people.

If a revolution is to be successful then you need a foundation of cooperation from as many people who are being oppressed as possible. Like a tug of war, if only a few people are pulling on the rope, you can't hope to succeed against the few who have amassed great power and strength at the other end. For a population of citizens to have the ability to revolt, they need to be free enough to organize and to fight. If they have been subjugated to the degree that they cannot interact freely and voice their dissent so as to find a common purpose, then there is no chance of having a revolution that could bring about a political change that the majority approves of.

The 'astroturf' uprisings that we see on TV: the 'stop the count' mob down in Florida during the Gore v. Bush debacle, the Koch-brothers-funded Taxed Enough Already party rebellion, etc. These media spectacles pretend to portray a healthy democracy in the US, when in fact they show the exact opposite.







I concur.

With respect to Chesterton's quotation, ironically Marx and Mao agreed that a democratic revolution of the proletariat was necessary before Communism could be installed.

Democracy gives each citizen his say, and does not limit the volume. Here in the U.S., corporations and special interests shout, and individual voters squeak. The halls of Congress teem with lobbyists eager to buy access and influence. In a political system that has come to demand legislators spend a full one third of their time raising money just to stay elected, the lobbyists' dollars have become indispensable. Money does indeed talk. The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled (Citizens United case) that corporations can make unlimited anonymous political campaign contributions. Our democratic system has been sadly subverted so that the individual voter's voice is nearly drowned out in the din of dollars.
Jean_extraterre
Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 4:09:09 PM
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The great human dogma, then, is that the wind moves the trees. The great human heresy is that the trees move the wind. When people begin to say that the material circumstances have alone created the moral circumstances, then they have prevented all possibility of serious change. For if my circumstances have made me wholly stupid, how can I be certain even that I am right in altering those circumstances?

The man who represents all thought as an accident of environment is simply smashing and discrediting all his own thoughts—including that one. To treat the human mind as having an ultimate authority is necessary to any kind of thinking, even free thinking. And nothing will ever be reformed in this age or country unless we realise that the moral fact comes first.

For example, most of us, I suppose, have seen in print and heard in debating clubs an endless discussion that goes on between Socialists and total abstainers. The latter say that drink leads to poverty; the former say that poverty leads to drink. I can only wonder at their either of them being content with such simple physical explanations. Surely it is obvious that the thing which among the English proletariat leads to poverty is the same as the thing which leads to drink; the absence of strong civic dignity, the absence of an instinct that resists degradation.

When you have discovered why enormous English estates were not long ago cut up into small holdings like the land of France, you will have discovered why the Englishman is more drunken than the Frenchman. The Englishman, among his million delightful virtues, really has this quality, which may strictly be called "hand to mouth," because under its influence a man's hand automatically seeks his own mouth, instead of seeking (as it sometimes should do) his oppressor's nose. And a man who says that the English inequality in land is due only to economic causes, or that the drunkenness of England is due only to economic causes, is saying something so absurd that he cannot really have thought what he was saying.

Yet things quite as preposterous as this are said and written under the influence of that great spectacle of babyish helplessness, the economic theory of history. We have people who represent that all great historic motives were economic, and then have to howl at the top of their voices in order to induce the modern democracy to act on economic motives. The extreme Marxian politicians in England exhibit themselves as a small, heroic minority, trying vainly to induce the world to do what, according to their theory, the world always does. The truth is, of course, that there will be a social revolution the moment the thing has ceased to be purely economic. You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.


This is the corresponding section of chapter XII "The Wind and the Trees" of Chesterton's "TREMENDOUS TRIFLES" (see here for the full text).
blueberry
Posted: Saturday, July 9, 2011 8:13:33 AM

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Thanks for the extract, Jean_extraterre.
Poor Chesterton was very confused. Pretentious language and dubious reasoning. He must have been popular at dinner parties, but I cannot imagne him taking part in a revolution. ... and as we know, 'democracy' is one of the most abused terms; it can mean anything you want.

Every generalisation is wrong.
thar
Posted: Saturday, July 9, 2011 11:57:27 AM

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Apologies to americans, (but that was not revolution, was it, it was independence) (but NOT the french) but it seems my experience that what you end up with after a revolution is usually even worse than what you had before:


•"No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

- George Orwell, Animal Farm

yassou
Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 2:38:37 AM

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MTC wrote:
To yassou who wrote: "what to do when you live in a dictatorship !!! In Tunisia, we had a revolution that ousted a dictator! Now we are hopeful! We are yearning for democracy..."

Congratulations on your brilliant achievement. The road to democracy may well be rocky, but we here in the States wish you all the best in your efforts.




Thank you MTC.
The road to democracy is rocky, indeed. Those who are against the revolution are doing everything to make Tunisians regret the dictator...Yet, we won't give up.

I take pleasure in improving my English
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