Showing posts from February, 2004

The U.S. Model vs. European Democracy

As I understand it, the "federal" system in most countries has a lot of power -- such as a national sales tax, national education system, national health care, national law enforcement, national regulations (versus national "minumums" in the United States), and so on.

For example, the GST or VAT is a national sales tax used for national programs. The United States could not have such a tax without a change to our Constitution, which requires approval of three-fourths of the states. (Switzerland has an "easier" two-thirds requirement for national referendums on Constitutional matters.) It was a long battle just to have a federal income tax in the United States. Even today,
people debate if the Amendment was passed properly.

I also believe a teaching certificate is good nation-wide in most countries. In the United States, my California credential was accepted by two states, as long as I took some additional courses. California accepts no other states' (…

Comparing Democracies: Switzerland

Regardless, calling something "direct democracy" does make it sound, to the public, as if they are in control. On this matter, I must admit Chomsky is correct (gasp!) -- you can tell people they have rights and powers, yet make them so difficult to exercise as to render those rights almost meaningless.

Sartre and Camus claimed words were both meaningless and all we have. We can manipulate them to control people, or to free ourselves.

If women could not vote until 1971, and men (the voters) made the decision to allow them power, it's almost laughable. That's like saying "All men are created equal" then making Africans count as only a portion of a man (which the United States did). French-speaking Catholics were restricted in Switzerland until 1978, when public protests (phrasing it nicely) resulting in full rights and even a Catholic state.

You can call yourself a democracy, but is it democracy when only certain people get to decide the rules and laws for ev…