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Dissolution of Government Possible?

November 3, 2010
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Can you imagine what Locke portrayed to happen? And would it work?

This event in the video above is a protest held in my native country, Taiwan. It was named “Million Voices Against Corruption, President Chen Must Go”, which was a huge campaign led by the former DPP leader to join the public and gain awareness to let everyone know that our President is corrupting all our tax money. On the video, it was during the National Day of Taiwan, October 10th of the year 2006. Everyone who were against his vicious actions walked out on the streets of Taipei and flooded the entire city. There were hundreds of thousands of them all dressed in red expressing themselves. However, the President stood in office until his term was over which was another two years and after his term. He was later arrested together with his wife and son in law for serious corruption of more than $490 million US dollars.

In Locke’s writings he defined tryanny as the “exercise of power beyond right” where the executive abuses his power and his responsibliities. Locke suggested in the last chapter of the Second Treatise of the Government that when the government is dissolved and breaking up the people then have the rights to come in and make changes to it. As long as the majority are together on the same page looking for a change in the government. Locke stressed on how the rights are on the people’s hand to make decisions on what they want. Yet does it really work? We often portray the current democracy as a modified version of Locke’s thought in a modern/extensive way where everything is modified and made for people’s freedom. The real question behind both Locke’s teaching and the current system is that when there is really a corrupted and malfunctioning government will the people’s voices be answered and taken in account? Is democracy a true freedom?

5 Comments
  1. joshuacy permalink
    November 3, 2010 9:54 AM

    Usually, I’m all about freedom. Freedom is real, and freedom is attainable; you just have to look in the right places. I usually cite countries like America when I talk about how awesome freedom is.

    But today I’m feeling a little morose. I don’t think that, in this sense, freedom is real or attainable. The freedom to change government seems to be only a myth. We can vote once a year, when there’s a election, and we can write our legislators and try to make our opinions heard, but it doesn’t mean that anyone is listening. This country, like so many around the world, is being ruled by self-interests: people who aren’t afraid to con the American public into making them an extra million or two this financial quarter. And people are too dumb, or uniformed, or unenlightened to realize it’s happening.

    Freedoms may be real, but the freedom to revolt is imagined.

  2. vdeepa permalink
    November 3, 2010 11:31 AM

    Despite all the futuristic movies of totalitarian government, it’s hard to imagine a concept like Democracy being overthrown. Not that it needs to be. But even if the majority of people are looking for a change in government, it’s still hard to convince them the government actually needs to be changed.

    People are lured in by the idea of a system that wholly represents the people. What happens when the system stops representing the people? Even if a system seems perfect in theory, that is not always the reality.

    Sometimes it feels like we’re trying to change something that can’t be to be changed. What does our opinion matter in the big scheme of things? Because of the seemingly concrete nature of government, it is difficult for us to understand that people are the reason that government exists.

  3. Nick Weeks permalink
    November 3, 2010 8:14 PM

    Democracy as a philosophical government is a truly free system however in application it always seems to not really fulfill its promise. In our system today it is near impossible to run for office if one does not present one’s self a Democrat or a Republican. To succeed in obtaining national office one needs large amounts of cash, which is provided by other party members to fund ad campaigns, campaign trips, and other things necessary to campaign. This in itself is taking away the freedom for anyone to run for office and it seems that the two party system is entrenched, and that is not democracy. So in the real life democracy gets watered down and we still do not obtain complete freedom, yet I would still keep it over other more oppressive governments any day

  4. neilrab permalink
    November 3, 2010 8:36 PM

    There is no such thing as “true freedom.” Unless you live in a deserted island where you don’t have to answer to anyone and you make your own rules and do what you want, then you will always have some restrictions. While democracy allows us more freedoms, specially the right to choose our leaders, there are still laws that need to be followed. If everyone had freedom to do as they pleased, then we would live in a constant state of nature.

    On another note, I do believe that one of the benefits of a democracy is that the people have a say in who will lead them. If they aren’t happy with what their elective leader(s) is doing then they have the right to impeach them and pick a new one. Cases like what happened in Taiwan, shown in the video, are extremes, which I feel tend to happen more in nations where the people have no representation, since the leaders aren’t elected and are less interested in the people and more interested in themselves.

  5. xiaoyzhang permalink
    November 4, 2010 1:17 AM

    The problem I have with democracy is that many people say that people get to elect their leaders. People vote and still don’t see their representatives elected. Although, we do get to vote for which representatives, I sometimes wonder how much 1 vote makes. My personal opinion about government (regardless if its capitalist, communist etc.) is that it’s all lies. Government will trick you into what you want to believe. In society, everything is about survival of the fittest. If you are better than everyone else, then you will make it to the top.

    I disagree with the person who commented above me when he said leaders who aren’t elected and are less interested in the people and more interested in themselves. That is an extremely American comment to make. Most Americans don’t like any other form of government other than the one implemented in the USA, which is something that we are taught from a young age. I can think of many instances where leaders who weren’t elected cared deeply for the people. Just because someone doesn’t get voted into office doesn’t mean they don’t care for people.

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