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  • Government

    One of the important and interesting topics being discussed today is the role of government in society. The following video discusses why we need government and then it discusses different ideas of what the government should be based on. FYI if you let the video run once and refresh it you can skip the commercials.
    Last edited by Haykakan; 03-08-2013, 04:17 PM.
    Hayastan or Bust.

  • #2
    Re: Government

    "The question is valid, and the short answer is to have a strong enough protection of personal autonomy while still keeping in sight the perils of the world we live in. You will never maintain the loyalty of a "narcissist" through a dictatorship."
    Narcissists by definition are only loyal to themselves (if even that) thus their loyalty to me is a moot point. I have a very different view of when it comes to the matter of government. I am much less concerned about its form and much more preoccupied with the motives of those doing the governing. In my lifetime alone i have witnessed both good and bad Democracies, I have read about bad and good Monarchs, Dictators, Autocrats. It seems that the form of the government is much less important then the system of motives within those governments.
    Last edited by Haykakan; 09-23-2013, 03:41 PM.
    Hayastan or Bust.


    • #3
      Re: Government

      As much as I have a distaste for semantics, "Narcissism" in this is a variable, a placeholder term for independent, free willed, individual with powers of sovereignty and so on.

      The form of government is determined by the manner with which the nation or society itself was formed and the character of that society. In the case of non-imperial nationalities such as ours, the character of the society will turn it into whatever it wants on condition that it is a homogenous and free willed society. This was the case for Armenians, and it has stayed much the same, as the Armenian character has changed little, which seems to be a source of frustration to many a scant observer of history. It seemed to be a source of frustration for Tiberius. It seems to be a shock for the UNDPE sponsors when they wrote their 1994 report on the conditions of Armenia and its "highly integrated society that enables it to survive despite the most adverse economic conditions." Those are the words the UNDPE used for Armenians. Armenians have a tendency to govern themselves quite well without the orthodox form of government in place. They are natural confederates. I have adopted this term since 1993 upon reading a host of historical sources on Armenia. Armenians just did not like central rule, but they were very well governed and lived well, better than their neighbors on average.


      • #4
        Re: Government

        Yes i agree with "Armenians just did not like central rule, but they were very well governed and lived well, better than their neighbors on average." but this does not solve the issue we started discussing in the other thread. A society or a way of life may indeed be a somewhat of a good fit for some people but how do you make it strong enough to survive? Loose federations do stand the test of time. They get overrun or corrupted just like the USA today. The founding fathers of USA believed like you that a loose federation was the best way to go and that peoples rights are paramount but look it lasted a mere 200 years. Much like democracy the loose federation idea is only good on paper and fails to survive the test of time.
        Hayastan or Bust.


        • #5
          Re: Government

          The US is still not the best example and had the flaws in its constitution that allowed for this centralization to occur. Again, the reason was a perpetual war status, and an example was the Civil War that was really a battle about "preserving the Union". Whether the American "patriots" like it or not, it is the equiavlent of a Napoleon like person in the colonial setting fighting to preserve the European Unity. Imagine a war be waged about to "preserve" the European Union. It would seem absurd, but the Civil War was not far from that. A serious poli-sci scholar will never consider abolitionism as the driving force for the Civil War. Originally, the states that ratified the constitution took a long time, and the last state to ratify, Rhode Island had serious reservations of even joining a federation type of government. The main concern was that too much power was going to be given to the federal government, but that was the whole idea behind the Federalist Papers composed and the debates that ensued. Jefferson "lost" the debate due to a vote, not on its intellectual merits. Jefferson's confederalism was actually nullified with the Federalist idea at the onset, but much of his ideas did survive, enough to afford enough private sector freedom to cause for a strong and innovative economy. If the Jeffersonian idea would have been adopted, there would have been a safeguard against adopting another "perpetual war" stance. Ironically, the Civil War was more impetus to centralize, and the US never looked back. It was a war every decade or so, and the "war department" (they were even more candid in those days) budget kept on growing until it became uncontrollable to such a degree that even Eisenhower, a former general, sounded a public alarm, to no avail. It's a bit of a complicated affair that involves many ambitious players, domestic and international, that corrupted the system and used the Federalist level to turn this into an absolutely centralized oligarchy, something closer to the Roman imperial model. Jefferson wanted something closer to what is now known as the Celtic model that I spoke of. You are saying that they would not have survived the pressure of empires. I disagree. They would have done fine. They would have mustered the resources when necessary, when necessary and would have the legal means to divest from the "war machine" without any legal allowance for the perpetuation of the war machine.
          Last edited by hagopn; 09-24-2013, 07:15 AM.


          • #6
            Re: Government

            As to the Armenians: Ultimately I am not defending the error of not adjusting, at all, to the imperialistic context and organizing against it. They certainly should have changed their "orenk" to accommodate internally, but the type of society that they had inherited was very old and set in its way. The Nakharars were very strong in their traditional mindsets and considered their autonomy to be more important than any other factor. It is actually more evidence to demonstrate just how old of a culture it was and how settled it was in its extremely ancient political model. Some consider the acts of the Artsruni or the Suni treasonous, but my opinion is that they were being good Armenians according to the norms to which they adhered for millennia, not centuries, but many millennia. They grew via that tradition. The Syunik didn't want to get involved in a war in 451 that was about the interests of the two empires, but was forced, perhaps, to make a choice, a gamble, and whether or not Vassak was correct is up for grabs. The point is that he made an independent choice. It was almost the same situation as the Cold War. The choice was made by the Syunik, which still earns Vassak the ire of the "federalists" who wanted to have Byzantine/Roman sponsorship. The 4th century onwards deserves more scrutiny that we give it in terms of what the actual context was. Obviously it was not until much later, despite the "inability" to go to the Chalcedon, that the Armenian Church had true autonomy from the Byzantine, and, my opinion is that there was a civil war from day one of adopting the Christian religion as the "state mandated" religion which also resulted in massive exiles of entire non-Christian principalities and their entourage to various outlying parts of the Byzantine empire, particularly the banks of the Danube, even Thrace/Macedonia, from where we probably had the eventual "blessing" of the Romanized Armenian dynasties who took control the Byzantine court. "Federalism" per se was cause for massive loss of Armenian tribes, principalities, and that loss also recoiled when the Arevortik were later on fighting on the Arab side and who perhaps even formed the core of the Syrian Islamic population. Not enough research is done on this, but Seta Dadoyan laid quite a foundation on this later Muslim era I mention.
            Last edited by hagopn; 09-24-2013, 08:11 AM.


            • #7
              Re: Government

              Urartu is an example of a centralization effort by the Van dynasty, Aramian, who, after many "loose federations" and the fight against Assyrian incursions (and Akkadians before them, as remembered on the stele left by Sargon I and his grandson Naram-Sin) and so on, the Armenians were consolidated under a tentative central monarchy, which, as we know, was always a tenuous affair, and it proved it self to be. (Please, there is no evidence of Urartuan "language" to differentiate it from Armenian. It's nonsense. With all due respect to David Lang, his uneducated guesstimations about "some Urartuan elements that we think were still be referred to", which is the only real basis for the assumption of "Urartuan remnants" past the 6th century b.c. in any source today, is based on nothing. The fact is that there is only evidence of cultural and political continuity. Close examination reveals that the Yervanduni were part and parcel of the "Urartuan" political scene long before their ascension to the throne)
              Last edited by hagopn; 09-24-2013, 09:37 AM.


              • #8
                Re: Government

                I am a big fan of history and the lessons it teaches but again it seems history is saying that a loose union like the one you keep praising has been and continues to be unsustainable. The aversions of Armenians to central rule is very much true but look at where we are all going-to USA to Russia to EU ..why would they do that? Because of opportunity of course. The centralized governments are able to outcompete the more loos unions and provide better opportunities. Centralization does not have to be a bad thing in my opinion - it all depends on the motives of the people in whose hands power is centralized in. The problem i see with loose federations is that they are always being overrun by more centralized and organized unions. I agree with you that this is "complicated affair that involves many ambitious players" but my opinion is that this will always be the case and instead worrying about the form of government i would rather construct a system of motivations which channels these "ambitious players" into doing their best for the country vs just for themselves. A system designed on channeling motivation towards the best interest of the nation in my opinion is the missing link to success not the form of government. This system of motivation can exist in any form of government from dictatorship to democracy and honestly it will not matter much which system wins out so long as the interest of the nation is put forth via this system of motives.
                Hayastan or Bust.


                • #9
                  Re: Government

                  I don't agree that Russian and US are prosperous because they are liberal economies.. They simply have enough clout to control resources and even artificially impose their currency in strategic global trade of important commodities, as it is in the case of the USA, to artificially maintain an inflated value for their economy. The USA is a service economy that is not self-sustaining but is mostly now artificially sustained through such practices. Russia's sheer size and wealth of natural resources is what is giving it the push it has, but it too is not very developed and has little manufacturing outpout. Evne Turkey has more consumer product output, of course as a second class economy whose gross profits are largely foreign, German, American, Scandinavian, etc. with a few domestic conglomerates dominating most domestic agro and industry output. Armenia, save for its surprisingly developed (considering the conditions) IT sector, is just like Turkey at a smaller scale.

                  Also, the current Armenian state is nothing like its predecessors, and ironically the very reason that ARmenians are unable to prosper and choose to leave is precisely because it is completely out of character for Armenians to have to deal with Kurdish style sheikhs and despots with Armenian names. It reminds me of Sero Khanzatian's character of Melik Yegan, unfortunately not a fictional one, whose ghost is everywhere, totally unlike past rulers. Ter Petrossyan reminded me of Melik Frangyul with a mix of Djevdet Bey. It is a tightly run oligarchy by incompetent and anachronistic oligarchs, a setting that is by design in my opinion. As I said, statesmanship is something neither the KGB nor the CIA and their controllers wanted for Armenians. if some choose to call stating the obvious "conspiracism" then so be it! Of course in comparison a larger economy like the USA or the Russian would be more attractive because there actually still are opportunities for economic gain because of the sheer size of the markets. Empires also have learned to strangle and drain talent out of their target nations for their own gain. Ashurbanipal's and Tiglath-Pileser III's old methodologies have been expanded upon tremendously.

                  In the past, however, Armenia was the South Africa of mining, the Germany of industry, and Ukraine of agriculture and so on. It was a very prosperous and populous state. Even under Arab partial control (Arabs never managed to control it, not even close to completely, but they did massacre and cripple the old nobility quite a bit, not as much as the Byzantines, however) during the Bagratuni/Khatchen era, Ani was a center of industry, metallurgy, weapons manufacturing, Dvin was a textile centers, and so on. Look at remnants such as Agulis that the Tatars destroyed later on. There were hundreds upon hudreds of industrially productive towns such as this throughout our history. Karin was a cosmopolitan center of learning, a city with international flare that even had a Islamic school of thought and philosophy, a proto-Sufi community (an import from from Nippur, a surviving Sumerian city still around in that era, remarkable!), that was quite active. I wish I could remember more details.

                  It is really unfair to use today's Armenia - a strangled and landlocked province (of course, by design) - as an example of Armenian statehood. Armenian statehood in its actual form with enough territory and resources was Ani, perhaps Sis/Cilicia, and Armenia certainly had historically attracted immigrants in droves just like these modern large economies. Just read on Ani, Karin (Erzurum), Dvin, Van of the 8th to the 11th centuries. Even the Van of the Ottoman time was majority Armenian and still surprised the hell out of anyone visiting it on its prosperous and burgeoning market, somewhere the Kurd peasants had hopes of selling their produce, a center of light industry, artisanship and - in the rural sense - a center of finance and gold and silver exchange. There was also a very well developed goldsmiths/je-weler's (<- never mind, LOL) guild still active in Van up to the genocide, and the India Ocean traders were still relying on manufacturing in Van and other Armenian provinces for their product. A german author, I wish I could recall author and title, mentioned that "global carpet production and trade was at a standstill at the aftermath of the genocide." Armenians still had influence on these traditional trades.

                  Government of empires come and go. Strong cultures were staying and minding their own businesses, but you are right. In this day and age of rapid assimilation technologies, Armenians have to, as Hakob says in the other thread, either strengthen their state and concentrate their efforts to take advantage of this global village or perish.

                  Maybe as a temporary measure, say more than one individual, we need a competent and nationalist military dictatorship.
                  Last edited by hagopn; 09-24-2013, 07:00 PM.


                  • #10
                    Re: Government

                    Hagopn i think you keep making my point for me and i do not see a whole lot that we disagree on anymore. The industrious and creative nature of our people has been and continues to be our strength but our aversion to authority is and has been our weakness as a state. You stress the culture over the state and perhaps you are right there but i can tell you that the culture won't last too long wo a state. Look at how different a Yerevantsi is from a Amerikahaye from a Bakvi haye from a Lebanantsi....these differences intensify over time. I hope you do not bring up the hrias as a example because the last thing i want is for us to be like them. I believe we must make a state that Armenians would want to live in and bring our people together. I do not care what form of leadership we have so long as it improves the lives of our people and is motivated to keep doing that. The biggest issue facing us is lack sovereignty which stems from our inability to defend ourselves at the present time and as long as we cannot defend ourselves we have no business calling ourselves independent. The ability to defend its people is the primary function of a government and unless it does just that it cannot be considered independent. We are no where near being able to defend ourselves thus we are no where near being independent and we will not be there in our life time(unfortunately) but we need to install the desire for it in our children so that they will strive for it like some of us have. Many people here are delusional about what todays Armenia can and cannot do and such delusions are dangerous because the worst thing you can do is overestimate your own strength.
                    Hayastan or Bust.