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What is the Sandbox?

This "Sandbox" is a place where Politics users can get feedback on prospective questions they wish to post to the main page. This is useful because writing a clear and fully specified question on your first try can be difficult, and there is a much better chance of your question being well received if you post it in the Sandbox first.

To post to the Sandbox, scroll to the bottom of this page and click "Answer This Question", or click on the "Add Proposal" link below. Click "OK" when it asks if you really want to add another answer. Write your question exactly as you would when actually posting it. You may also add some notes about specific things you would like to clarify before posting it. Other users will help you improve your proposed question by rating and discussing it. When you think your question is ready for the public, go ahead and post it, and replace the post here with a link to the question on the main site and delete the Sandbox post.

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  • You might also consider asking a feature request to drop the rep requirement for meta participation to 1. Otherwise, new users cannot post on this sandbox.
    – Andrew T.
    Jun 6, 2021 at 17:31
  • @AndrewT. if this sandbox actually becomes used, sure, but making feature request for a feature nobody uses doesn’t sit right with me. Jun 6, 2021 at 17:33
  • How should votes be used here? Do upvotes mean: I think this question is good to be asked on the main site?
    – divibisan
    Jun 7, 2021 at 15:12
  • @divibisan yes, that’s what they mean. I’ll update my post. Jun 7, 2021 at 17:45

4 Answers 4

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Now posted on the main site. View revision history to see previous versions of this question.

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  • Do you still plan to post this question or have you abandoned it? Mar 16, 2022 at 14:31
  • @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica Yeah i guess i got carried away and forgot about, might have to delete it or put it up for adoption. I completely forgot about all reading work i did and what else i had to do. Do you suggest me to upload it as it is on th main site or delete? Mar 16, 2022 at 15:29
  • If I were you I'd post it on the main site, but it's up to you. Mar 16, 2022 at 15:31
-1

Question

Is possible to implement a true democracy, so that persists in time?

The questions is very much in the title, but some clarification are necessary

  1. For the porpourse of this question the term true democracy means representative democracy without any kind of oligarchy.

  2. The democracy must be the a arbritary quantity of participants.

Answer

No, the Iron law of oligarchy will prevent it

The iron law of oligarchy is a political theory first developed by the German-born Italian sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties. It asserts that rule by an elite, or oligarchy, is inevitable as an "iron law" within any democratic organization as part of the "tactical and technical necessities" of organization.[1]

This imples that all fomr of organization, regardless of how democratic they may be at the start, will eventually and inevitably develop oligarchic tendencies, thus making true democracy practically and theoretically impossible, especially in large groups and complex organizations.

[1] James L. Hyland. Democratic theory: the philosophical foundations. Manchester, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Manchester University Press ND, 1995. p. 247.

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  • 1
    This question was already posted on the main page, but without a self-answer. I closed it for reasons explained there.
    – Philipp Mod
    Nov 1, 2021 at 14:30
  • 3
    Regarding the self-answer: I would downvote it, because Robert Michels is not uncontroversial. People still debate whether or not his "iron law" is actually all that inevitable. It is also worth mentioning that his personal conclusion of his theory was to support the Fascist party of Mussolini, which made him definitely end up on the wrong side of history.
    – Philipp Mod
    Nov 1, 2021 at 14:31
  • @Philipp " worth mentioning that his personal conclusion of his theory was to support the Fascist party of Mussolin", So is worth mention an ab hominem?. "because Robert Michels is not uncontroversial.", there is something in social sciences that is no controversial? Nov 1, 2021 at 14:32
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    Political science indeed has a lot of open questions like this which are controversial and lead to heated debates whenever bought up. And because Politics Stack exchange is not a website for opinion and debate, we leave those to websites like Reddit or to the political bloggers.
    – Philipp Mod
    Nov 1, 2021 at 14:36
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    When we discuss questions on political science, then we usually don't phrase these questions as "who/what is right?" but rather in the form "who said what about this?". For example: "What is the capitalist answer to automation?". Note that it does not ask "what is the right answer?" it asks "what do capitalists have to say about this?" without demanding a judgment on the validity of their standpoints.
    – Philipp Mod
    Nov 1, 2021 at 14:43
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    This self answer also makes it seem like you are pushing an agenda and are writing a question to to fit your answer.
    – Joe W
    Nov 1, 2021 at 15:45
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Can the President of the United States use visuals or PowerPoint presentations when giving the State of the Union address? If so, why hasn't any president so far done so?

Whenever I watch the State of the Union addresses from recent history (within the last 20 years), I often think that their points would be better presented if they had visuals to go along with it, such as if they had a PowerPoint presentation explaining the central tenets of their speech, along with diagrams such as graphs and charts.

I'm certain that just about every president in recent history has been aware that not everyone is a primarily auditory learner, and that they can get their points across to a broader audience by using visuals as part of their speech.

Is it possible for a U.S. president to use visual aids (e.g., a slide presentation) as part of their State of the Union Address? If so, why hasn't any president so far done so?

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  • I would judge this question as not about politics and anything around it but more about how to give a presentation and how people are impacted by that.
    – Joe W
    Mar 5, 2022 at 14:13
  • @JoeW no, it does seem like a question about government procedure. I don't know the answer, but a possible answer could be that the paper-record of the proceedings has to be submitted into the record, by law.
    – wrod
    Mar 11, 2022 at 3:39
  • @wrod As far as I am aware there are no procedures, rules or laws about what tools the president uses in their state of the union speech and they are free to use whatever they want to. But honestly there is a reason why powerpoint isn't used in many speeches
    – Joe W
    Mar 11, 2022 at 4:15
  • @JoeW I am not trying to solicit an answer here in the comments. The point of sandbox is to improve the question before it gets published. All I am saying is that there are questions about this practice which can be of interest to someone learning about the government. And those would be different questions from the ones that would be of interest to someone trying to learn about best presentation practices. And questions about how the government functions are on-topic on this site.
    – wrod
    Mar 11, 2022 at 4:18
  • @wrod And I am providing feedback on the question by stating that I would find it off topic as it has nothing to do with politics. You make a claim that this is for improving questions and reject feedback stating that the question appears to be off topic?
    – Joe W
    Mar 11, 2022 at 13:10
  • @JoeW despite the name, the purpose of the site is not to only explore political issue. The point of the site is also to ask questions about the way governments function. Which makes procedure questions on-topic.
    – wrod
    Mar 11, 2022 at 21:53
  • @wrod There is a close reason that talks about the reasons I said this question would be off topic. "This question does not appear to be about governments, policies and political processes within the scope defined in the help center." If you feel so strongly about the question you are free to ask it on the main site and see what kind of reaction it gets.
    – Joe W
    Mar 11, 2022 at 21:55
  • @JoeW but it is a question "about governments." The only reason you think otherwise is because you say that you believe the best answer to the question is that the reason for not using power point is its efficacy rather than procedure. That would not be a good reason to close the question. It would be a good reason to answer it. This falls into a common SE trap. People often think questions are off-topic just because the best answers to those questions happen to be "no."
    – wrod
    Mar 11, 2022 at 21:58
  • @wrod Why are you so worried about a question another user proposed. I provided feedback that suggested the question was not on topic. If you are so worried about this question you are free to as it as you see fit.
    – Joe W
    Mar 11, 2022 at 22:00
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Warning: this will be controversial!!! While I am tempted to ignore the issue, its subject matter is increasingly becoming a more common topic of the public discourse. It would be useful to be able to learn more about it before the inevitable 1-dimensional rhetoric wins out on one side or the other.


Question: given a number of conflicting claims about goals, methods and efficacy of the Azov Battalion, what is the best way to view it in its current form?

Warning: the subject matter is highly controversial. It is currently a subject of an ongoing public discussion and the opinions on it seem to evolve.

Please, make sure your answers are FULLY SUPPORTED WITH REFERENCES to authoritative sources. Because the claims on the topic happen to be related to an ongoing war, it is fair to link to sources which are claims made by the governments involved in the hostilities. However, such references should be clearly labeled as being one-sided.

Here's a picture which continues making rounds in the social media:presumed photo of members of the "Azov Battalion"

I don't know if the photo is real. I don't know if those pictured in it are actual members of the "Azov Battalion." But I do know it is being commonly shared on Twitter. For example, it has been shared by Lara Logan, a reporter who is blue-check verified on Twitter with over 200k followers.

Some of the claims made about Azov Battalion on its Wikipedia page

  1. It is "neo-Nazi"
  2. It's founder Andriy Biletsky is a White Supremacist who had expressed ethnic superiority views closely resembling, and sometimes mirroring, the views of the German Nazi party.
  3. The same Andriy Biletsky has expressed admiration for Israel and Japan, as role models for the development of Ukraine.
  4. "Some members of the Jewish community in Ukraine support and serve in the Azov Battalion. One of its most prominent members is Nathan Khazin, leader of the 'Jewish hundreds' during the 2013 Euromaidan protests in Kyiv."
  5. The group received early funding from a regional governor, and 3rd wealthiest man in Ukraine, Ihor Kolomoyskyi (who was Jewish). Presumably this was done, to counteract un-uniformed Russian saboteur groups operating in Ukraine in 2014 which could not be handled by the Ukrainian government forces.
  6. The group has foreign members, including from non-slavic countries.
  7. The founder of the group, Andriy Biletsky, formed a political party which received 2% of the vote, allowing him to become a member of parliament. By law he had to leave the group to join the parliament.
  8. The group has assisted various local governments in managing street chaos caused by hired saboteurs such as Titushky.
  9. A spokesman for the unit has said "only 10–20%" of its recruits are neo-Nazis, with one commander attributing neo-Nazi ideology to misguided youth.
  10. The group claims that its symbol is derived from the 1st 2 letters of the words "Ідея Nації" (which can be translated as "the idea of a nation" in the sense of "the dream of a nation").
  11. Others have pointed out that it very closely resembles the German "Wolfsangel" symbol incorporated in Nazi iconography.
  12. Ukraine has formed a "National Militia" in 2017 (3-4 years after Euromaidan) which consists of all volunteer groups and Azov is part of this "National Militia"

Obviously there is a lot of contradictions here. It doesn't help that the government of Russia waged a war on Ukraine under the pretext of "de-nazifying" it. Of course, the war is near-universally recognized as unprovoked. UN, for example, has voted 141-5 to demand that Russia withdraw from Ukraine.

Because the the accusation is a serious accusation and because it is now a subject matter being prosecuted in a full-out large-scale war, it would really help to understand what is the appropriate view on what the Azov Battalion is.

The contradictions in the picture.

  • the "photograph" contains 3 flags: a NATO flag, an Azov flag, and a flag with a swastika. NATO does not espouse Nazi views, nor does it promote or approve of Nazi iconography.
  • all the faces in the photograph are partially abstracted. They are not wearing all-black attire that (according to Wikipedia) Azov is known for.

The picture could be real though (and I don't know if anyone know if it is).

The contradictions in the claims made in Wikipedia.

  • Despite the claim that the group is paramilitary neo-nazi, no history of attacks on Jewish community centers, or on ethnic minorities is listed. Although there is an accusation of war crimes associated with their paramilitary conduct.
  • The group appears to be tolerant of antisemitic views despite financial ties to Jewish individuals and Jewish groups.
  • Despite its appeals to Slavic ethno-centricity, it appears to be welcoming to individuals of various ethnicities and nationalities.

The conundrum.

I have never visited Ukraine. So I can't formulate a 1st hand view of what to make of this group.

The general sense that I get is that the group had roots which were similar to the early German Nazi roots (before Hitler joined them).

They were unified by loss of national direction, corruption and general malaise existing in Ukraine at the time. But it also seems to me that it took a different turn than the Nazis did. They abandoned the early ethno-purism notions as defining ideology, but remained tolerant of it as a dimension for channeling aggressive tendencies of some of its members.

I don't want to excuse the tolerance that the group has towards intolerance. But I can't find a good reason to view them as being driven by some desire to build death camps, or something along those lines.

Maybe they can be viewed as an extreme version of "Proud Boys"? Another way I can describe the sense that I am getting is by seeing them as a middle ground between English soccer hooligans and French Foreign Legion.

In other words, they appear to be recruiting young men with a lot of animus and giving them a chance to channel that animus into violence on behalf of the state.

I realize that any Nazi association can be seen as damaging, but I am trying to see why so many people who would presumably be their potential victims would join their ranks.

My view may be biased by the fact that Russia has lied as much as it has in its prosecution of the war on Ukraine. I could also be biased by the fact that they don't seem to have a problem serving in Ukrainian army, whose commander-in-chief is Ukrainian's President Zelensky (who is Jewish).

The reason I want to understand this further is that it is entirely possible that the leadership of Azov is just lying in wait and playing coy to build up its ranks. But it's also possible that at some point they came to a cross road and took a step away from ethno-purism for the sake of nation-state-centric views.

I am not looking for opinions. I am looking for well-sourced references which can point in one or the other direction.

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    great. what's the point of downvoting without commenting in the SANDBOX?? seems to defeat the purpose, don't you think?
    – wrod
    Mar 11, 2022 at 6:04
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    Ignore the score here, it's just decoration. My comment (have only read the first paragraphs, then skipped the rest): Your question in the current form is much too long and not clear enough. I would shorten it and try to clarify what exactly you want to know. Also the spoiler alerts may be a bit too large. Either a question is appropriate for this site or it isn't. It doesn't become more appropriate because of a spoiler. You could also leave the graphic display out and just link to it or describe it if it doesn't directly help the question. Mar 11, 2022 at 7:59
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    A good question motivates the subject (answering: why would it be interesting to know the answer) but doesn't argue itself much about sides. Keeping questions short and to the point is almost always perceived better than lengthy explanations, which are better suited for answers. Mar 11, 2022 at 8:02
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    "What views should one have about [organisation]?" is an opinion-based question. We are not here to tell people what to think. We can only give them all the information and let them form an opinion on their own. Some of the content of this question could be part of an answer to a question like "On what grounds does the Azov Battalion get accused of following Nazi ideology?", but it's not really a good question for the site.
    – Philipp Mod
    Mar 11, 2022 at 8:43
  • @Philipp what about the somewhat different question of "which of the two views is better supported by evidence and what is that evidence?"
    – wrod
    Mar 11, 2022 at 22:04
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    @wrod That sounds like an invitation to a debate.
    – Philipp Mod
    Mar 12, 2022 at 19:02
  • @Philipp hmm. fair enough!
    – wrod
    Mar 13, 2022 at 0:21
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    I think this is far too long to be a (single) question. From the reporting I've seen, there were some real neo-Nazis in those volunteer battalions. But then some were discovered in the German army too. There was an article in Der Spiegel which has some insight how neo-Nazis are alas attracted to the armed forces and how filtering them out is not always easy, especially if they manage to become the majority in some unit. If you want to focus on one topic, e.g. the veracity of that particular image, Skeptics SE is probable a better venue. Mar 16, 2022 at 1:19
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    @Fizz I am abandoning the efforts to try to figure out the best way to formulate this question. The comments here have convinced me that the topic is too complex for 1 question. For now, at least, my thinking has settled on the understanding which I outlined at the end of it.
    – wrod
    Mar 16, 2022 at 1:38
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    i think you wrote some parts like it was a blog. As for the disclaimers, make them short. just say i understand this may be controversial and blah Mar 16, 2022 at 15:37
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    A BBC documentary you might find interesting youtube.com/watch?v=hE6b4ao8gAQ Mar 22, 2022 at 16:20
  • Interesting. Still clear as mud, but interesting. It's a 2018 video. So it was before Zelensky was elected. BBC also says that it's unclear who is behind them. While the Wikipedia said Kolomoyskyi gave the group their early funding. They are clearly funded. They have uniforms, logistics, organized communications. And they clearly have a command-and-control structure. Their engagements are not chaotic. The rules of engagement change from 1 engagement to another, but in each engagement the rules of engagement are uniformly followed.
    – wrod
    Mar 22, 2022 at 16:52

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