[ExI] Is the USA doing too much to prevent COVID-19?

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue May 5 03:44:27 UTC 2020

On Tue, 5 May 2020 at 06:36, Dan TheBookMan via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On May 4, 2020, at 1:35 AM, Stathis Papaioannou via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> On Mon, 4 May 2020 at 15:04, Dan TheBookMan via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On May 2, 2020, at 5:55 AM, John Clark via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> That's not entirely fair, the American people never supported Donald
>> Trump, not before the election during it or after it. The American people
>> made it clear they wanted Hillary Clinton to be the next president, but
>> under our system the wishes of the American people don't matter. Only the
>> 538 members of the Electoral College are allowed to vote in the only
>> presidential election that matters, and 304 of them decided that what this
>> country really needed was a president who was an imbecile; and so like it
>> or not that's exactly what the American people ended up with in addition to
>> unconventional suggestions on where to place Clorox to cure viral disease.
>> Meanwhile the German people picked somebody who has a doctorate in
>> Quantum Chemistry,  Angela Merkel, to be their leader, and because Germany
>> is a more democratic country than the USA the people got what they wanted.
>> And today only 80 people out of a million die of COVID-19 in Germany but in
>> the USA 199 die.
>> You must know more about the current German political system then me
>> because I was under the impression that like in many parliamentary systems
>> the prime minister (or, in this case, chancellor) is not chosen by direct
>> election of the “people,” but us instead is chosen by members of the
>> parliament (or, in this case, Bundestag). And I believe this is how Merkel
>> was chosen.
> In such systems, the people still effectively elect the leader, because
> the leader has already been chosen by the parliamentarians whom they elect.
> The parliament can change the leader by vote at any time.
> If the US adopted something like that, it would be more like the Congress
>> choosing the president. (And maybe the president only serving as long as
>> they had majority backing in the Congress.)
>> Also, another wrinkle on how the US president is chosen. They must first
>> go through their party choosing them. And that often involves popular
>> elections in primaries (usually limited to party members). I bring this up
>> because Trump didn’t just go straight to the Electoral College. He was
>> vetted via a nomination process that did involve a popular vote (amongst
>> his party members in most places) at some points. Though later on what
>> happens is delegates vote in a convention.
>> I’m no saying this because I agree with either having Trump in office,
>> with the specific presidential election process, or with having a
>> president. (Clinton, by the way, went through a similar but slightly
>> different process mainly because of superdelegates.)
> Yes, but they don't directly elect the leader, so that's similar to the
> Electoral College in the US: the voters elect the electors and the electors
> choose the president. Thus, John Clark was wrong here, in my understanding
> about how Merkel became and remains chancellor.
> I do agree, though, that the parliamentary approach is a bit more
> responsive since there can be things like votes of confidence pretty much
> whenever parliament is in session. In the US, once the president is
> elected, it's very hard to remove them from office -- something anyone can
> see with the current president.
> By the way, though I'm an anarchist, I've often told my non-anarchist
> friends that I believe a parliamentary system like the UK's might be better
> in the US than the presidential one -- better at restraining executive
> power. It wouldn't be foolproof, but it would likely discipline the
> executive better than the current system. Of course, it might not given how
> the Congress here, over the decades, has basically handed presidents ever
> more power. No reason that can't happen with slightly different political
> systems -- and the UK and Germany aren't known for having weak prime
> ministers. (Part of the problem here is thinking that constitutional
> restraints are real restraints. In effect, here the 1789 Constitution
> doesn't much control the real power because its restraints don't match the
> real power relationships. For instance, separation of powers doesn't mean
> much if one faction controls enough of the supposedly separate powers -- as
> now the presidency and the federal courts are dominated by the GOP. You'd
> want a court that isn't allied with the branch it's supposed to restrain,
> no?)

Anarchism is interesting, because there are both pro-capitalists and
anti-capitalists anarchists, each group claiming that anarchism would lead
to the ideal capitalist or communist system.

Stathis Papaioannou
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