American Turkey

Should the military intervene?

  • Yes.
  • No.
0 voters

So, this is a hypothetical question, but let’s say that a new party is formed in America called the “National Salvation Party” with fundamentalist Christianity and nationalism forming its platform.

Eventually, it gains a majority in Congress and during the Presidental campaign, their rhetoric starts to look like they might just re-write the Constituion pretty much completely to bring America more in line with their (percieved) Christian values. At the very least, the notion of ‘seperation of church and state’ will be completely eliminated. They also have strong ideological ties to anti-democratic movements in other countries

Here is the question: Should the military throw a coup to enforce the Constitution?

In a democratic system, can people legally elect rulers that seek to end the democratic system? In an electoral form of government, should the popular will outweigh the general will?

If we elect a government that does what people want, then the military shouldn’t intervene. If they don’t then they should.

I wouldn’t have thought so. The constitution allows for its own rewriting, doesn’t it?

Of course. Democratically, people could legally elect two donkeys and a hamster to run the country. If I remember correctly, this was the proposal by an Islamic party in Egypt in the early 90s.

In an electoral form of government, what’s the difference?

The difference between the general will and the popular will is that the general will is always rational (however we want to define that). At least so the theory goes . . .

But the difference between them has just about always been recognized. Every modern electoral state has some degree of protections installed to prevent a tyranny of the majority. That is, IMHO, the point where general will parts from popular will, when the popular will becomes tyrannical.

I think the tyranny of the majority bit is the crux. Such a government would, presumably, be inhumane to a number of groups, and that seems antithetical to ideals the US holds dear.
Also of note is that if such a government were allowed, if it ever fell out of favor it would be impossible to displace. It would achieve a place where it wouldn’t be a democratically supported government, and yet there would be no way for that change in popular opinion to be reflected in government.

But I have a question: Who is the military? Who makes the call to step in? Under what conditions? If one new amendment is added, is that enough for a coup? Two? I worry that there is great potential for a military coup to become the very type of government it is seeking to displace. Isn’t that essentially what happened in the Soviet Union?

civil war gets messy… but sometimes it is necessary.


That is the trick, isn’t it? That why I like virtue ethics, because I can answer: when a moral person in the chain of command decides it has gone far enough.
Now, the aftermath, that is where the American example diverges from the Turkish example, since the military in Turkey has a history of returning the government to the people, with basically a slap on the wrist and a, “vote better next time.” message.

Yeah. Sometimes ya gotta wage civil war.

So you mean where, for example, the law supersedes the power of the elected government?

‘Every modern electoral statement has some degree of protections’ - do you mean disproportionate representation, that sort of thing?

Yes and yes.

Well, pretty much.

Rather than ‘law’, I tend to think of it as the Mandate that got the system rolling. Be that the Magna Carta (possibly the Charter of Liberties, I’m not completely sure which) and the changes that have resulted from its inertia or the authority of the Constitution and the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.

which was a big “fuck you” to the king of england…

so in that spirit, “fuck you” to the majority, be they your christian totalitarians or left wing socialist totalitarians…

hopefully the party starts soon…


If only the English could manage the same…

kill the king! the king is dead! long live the king! I am the king!

elvis has left the building