Fair point. But we have evolved, haven't we? And many of them had traces of democracy; eg Athens, Rome, the Vikings...
This would depend on what definitions one would use, and in all fairness, their are multiple definitions of both democracy and civilisation, which have very different criteria. Are we talking about "thin democracy" (the right to vote) or "thick democracy" (also including basic liberties and rights), and in the latter case, what rights/liberties do we consider essential for a democracy? In recent years (basically post WWII) it has become common to include the right to life as a basic right, because if you are not allowed to live, other rights hardly matter, do they?
I suppose in part, but also because it is a highly respected and widespread definition.
I disagree. The Economist is staunchly liberal, in the traditional sense, which to modern Americans probably could best be explained as libertarian. They frown on socialism (of which social democracy is a branch) as much as they frown on nationalism. The Economist backed both Reagan and Thatcher, since these two were reliable free trade, small government proponents. They of course oppose Trump, but that has nothing to do with the left-right scale, it's because he is sabotaging free trade and infringing on civil liberties, such as freedom of press and freedom of movement, not to mention that he disrespects the independence of the legislative and judicial branches. But I digress.
The Economist, like the founding fathers of the USA, are proponents of classical liberalism; ie free trade, freedom of speech, free press, universal suffrage, respect for private property, independent judiciary, etc. I would assume Paul Ryan agrees with them on most points.
And you base this on what exactly? There is no mentioning of capital punishment at all in the criteria listed under methodology. I mean, we all know that capital punishment is used extensively in authoritarian countries and extremely rare in democracies, but it is not listed among the things the Economist rate in order to produce their index. https://www.eiu.com/topic/democracy-index
The USA was considered a full democracy as late as 2015, and the Economist lists a number of trends that they see have eroded the state of democracy, and point out that this assessment was done prior to the 2016 election:
- l declining popular participation in elections and politics
l weaknesses in the functioning of government
l declining trust in institutions
l dwindling appeal of mainstream representative parties
l growing influence of unelected, unaccountable institutions and expert bodies
l widening gap between political elites and electorates
l decline in media freedoms
l erosion of civil liberties, including curbs on free speech
Actually, no. This is a complete fabrication. A strawman, if you want.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy, on a 0 to 10 scale, is based on the ratings for 60
indicators, grouped into five categories: I Electoral process and pluralism; II the Functioning
of government; III Political participation; IV Political culture and V Civil liberties.
Each category has a rating on a 0 to 10 scale, and the overall Index is the simple average of the five category indexes.
From my understanding, any reference to capital punishment ought to be in category V Civil liberties. Let's take a look, shall we?
They do mention torture, but they do not mention capital punishment.V Civil liberties
44. Is there a free electronic media?
45. Is there a free print media?
46. Is there freedom of expression and protest (bar only generally accepted restrictions, such as
banning advocacy of violence)?
47. Is media coverage robust? Is there open and free discussion of public issues, with a reasonable diversity of opinions?
48. Are there political restrictions on access to the Internet?
49. Are citizens free to form professional organisations and trade unions?
50. Do institutions provide citizens with the opportunity to petition government to redress grievances?
51. The use of torture by the state.
52. The degree to which the judiciary is independent of government influence.
Consider the views of international legal and judicial watchdogs. Have the courts ever issued an
important judgement against the government, or a senior government official?
53. The degree of religious tolerance and freedom of religious expression.
Are all religions permitted to operate freely, or are some restricted? Is the right to worship
permitted both publicly and privately? Do some religious groups feel intimidated by others, even if
the law requires equality and protection?
54. The degree to which citizens are treated equally under the law.
Consider whether favoured groups or individuals are spared prosecution under the law.
55. Do citizens enjoy basic security?
56. Extent to which private property rights are protected and private business is free from undue
57. Extent to which citizens enjoy personal freedoms.
Consider gender equality, right to travel, choice of work and study.
58. Popular perceptions on protection of human rights; proportion of the population that think that
basic human rights are well-protected.
59. There is no significant discrimination on the basis of people’s race, colour or religious beliefs.
60. Extent to which the government invokes new risks and threats as an excuse for curbing civil
Yeah, well, they are actually pretty close. They just use three categories instead of the gliding scale the Economist uses, so their cut off is at a slightly lower point.Strangelove wrote: ↑Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:55 pmBTW Freedom House measures democracy differently:
Using their definitions/factors, USA is right up there with all the other top countries in level-of-democracy.
As I said, in the list of countries that execute people, Japan, Botswana and the USA are the odd ones out. Apparently Taiwan as well.
I double checked, and they share the same green hue as the other three in the Economist's index as well. I guess I just missed them because they are such a teeny tiny country. The rest of the countries on that list are clearly not democracies.
And if you make a list of democracies, you'll note that hardly any of them execute people.
Well, I think so. And it seems the UN General Assembly does as well, as they have repeatedly called for an end to executions.
Yup. That's a fair summary.Strangelove wrote: ↑Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:55 pmBTW The Economist concludes that less than 5% of the world’s population currently lives in a “full democracy”
... and that 89 countries experienced a decline in their total score over the last year, while only 27 saw an improvement.
A lot of this has to do with less trust in the electoral process around the world.
A total non sequitor, but something we Swedes have been saying for centuries.