dēmos kratos

uh … what was the question again?

from the world values survey, 2005-2008:

“Many things may be desirable, but not all of them are essential characteristics of democracy. Please tell me for each of the following things how essential you think it is as a characteristic of democracy. Use this scale where 1 means *not at all an essential characteristic of democracy* and 10 means it definitely is *an essential characteristic of democracy*: People choose their leaders in free elections.”

percentage of those people in each country who answered 10 – free elections are definitely an essential characteristic of democracy:

jesus h. christ – we scored lower than burkina faso. *facepalm*

i got to thinking about what people(s) think ‘democracy’ is after hail wondered what libyans think ‘democracy’ means (’cause only 29% of libyans recently surveyed want to live in a democracy).
_____

update: here’s an ethnic breakdown for the u.s. on who responded what to the take me to your vote for leader question. 61.5% of white americans think that that’s an essential part of democracy, only 33.2% of black americans think so (click on image for LARGER view – should open in new tab/window):

(note: comments do not require an email. not gonna happen.)

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27 Comments

  1. The wording may have tripped people who think of democracy in more direct terms i.e. the word leader instead of representative. To my ear electing a leader actually sounds anti-democratic i.e. something you might do in wartime but not otherwise.

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  2. @g.w. – “The wording may have tripped people who think of democracy in more direct terms i.e. the word leader instead of representative.”

    hmmm. but why did switzerland score so high then?

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  3. “see update in post for ethnic breakdown for the u.s.”

    i was gonna post a similar table for great britain, but the sample sizes for minority groups look really small to me. here’s the breakdown anyway for answering 10 to the question:

    central asian – 40.1% (n = 4)
    east asian = 37.1% (n = 9)
    black = 60.9% (n = 28)
    south asian = 29.9% (n = 64)
    white = 47.6% (n = 882)

    the british survey was done by that well-known british company: gfk marktforschung.

    *facepalm*

    it looks like a legit survey, too, but it was done face-to-face whereas the american one was conducted online.

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  4. “but why did switzerland score so high then?”

    that would be a pretty good counter point

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  5. @g.w. – the world values survey people prolly chose the word “leader” ’cause it would be comprehensible to most people on the planet from burkina faso to malaysia. but, yeah, like you say, a lot of us in the west are pretty aware that we’re voting for representatives (or at least we ought to be!). (and that should be how it works, although that’s debatable. =/ )

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  6. Am I a bad person for rooting for South Africa to fail miserably just so I can say “told you so”? Probably. Whatever the opposite of Ostentatious Moralistic Globalism is, that’s me. Anyway, this might have something to do with African polygamy. I’ve always wondered whether there is some connection between hoe cultures and homosexuality, which might account for the “down low” culture.

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  7. @bjk – “Whatever the opposite of Ostentatious Moralistic Globalism is, that’s me.”

    i’m right there with ya! contrarians of the world unite! (~_^)

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  8. It might be nice to see a further breakdown of the number of parties in local/central governments vs. demographics vs. population size. Small, homogeneous, exogamous cultures vs. not so much….

    Okay, not going to happen.

    Switzerland has a host of political parties which actually hold some office in the cantons and the two houses/executive.

    Whereas here we have tweedledee and tweedledum in a magical, luxurious horse race – straight out of Lewis Carroll. Good god, if Gingrich isn’t the embodiment of one, I don’t what is!.

    Maybe we could come up with the quips most used by the different demographics as their main reason for answering the way they did.

    Mine would probably be, along Emma Goldman’s line, ‘if voting changed anything (given our political structure), they’d outlaw it’.

    Reply

  9. Rousseau and other leftist thinkers have asserted that true freedom is conformity to the will of the people. Elections are not needed to determine this. The Great Leader appears mysteriously and intuits the will of the people. The Vanguard of the Proletariate also has to be self-appointed until the Dictatorship of the Proletariat can be implemented. Only proletarians can vote.

    Older readers will remember “participatory democracy” and the SDS. They will remember the intense coercion exerted upon dissenters to not merely accept the outcome of a vote (always preliminary) but to publicaly adopt the position of the majority, so there the minority simply disappears and melts into the mass.

    So, what is this “voting is an essential element of democracy” nonsense?

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  10. data like this makes me wonder if the Athenians weren’t right from the beginning and we should be drawing lots to fill the offices.

    -at worst- they would be equally as corrupt the plutocratic figureheads we have now

    at best we might get a reasonably intelligent person with some virtue, which is impossible under the current system

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  11. @bleach – “data like this makes me wonder if the Athenians weren’t right from the beginning and we should be drawing lots to fill the offices.

    “-at worst- they would be equally as corrupt the plutocratic figureheads we have now

    “at best we might get a reasonably intelligent person with some virtue, which is impossible under the current system”

    absolutely! i’m right behind you on this — i think that drawing lots to fill public offices is a great idea (although maybe only people with an above average iq should be allowed in the draw?)!

    most people when they think about ancient athens being the birthplace of democracy — if they think/know about it at all — don’t know about this side of it, and so they miss a huge element of athenian democracy.

    i think the modern system of a hidden ballot is a better idea than the athenian public vote, though.

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  12. @anon – “Look at the spike of people putting 5 as the answer to said question. voter apathy indeed.”

    *facepalm* people really are pretty dense!

    Reply

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