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So yes, politics are tribal and the best you can hope for in terms of democracy are competing and incompatible elites. If you are really lucky some prospective elite might even find it advantageous to hand over some real power to the people. Then you might get Switzerland.

Huh? What is so special about Switzerland that makes its voting public not behave tribally? Or is that not what you're saying?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 17th, 2007 at 09:40:54 AM EST
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I meant that since you actually can vote in specific questions the tribe (should) play a lesser role in formulating the policys. You can belong to different groups in different questions, and this allows for that to play a part in policys instead of everything being suppressed in favor of the most important group identity.

In each vote I think groups (especially winners/losers) matter as much in Switzerland as in other places.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jul 17th, 2007 at 10:28:35 AM EST
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Post 1848?  

A committment to being Swiss, which is an ethncity that transcends the languages and culture's of Switzerland's 4 component peoples (German, French, Italian, and Romansch).  

Now there was a time when the cantons were quite a bit more tribal, but I have to say the the Sonderbundeskrieg is quite possible the most civil civil war ever to occur in Europe.

Remember, on the issue of how Switzerland stayed together, that until 1848 it was more of a Confederation of the Helvetic states in actual practice than in just name, as now.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Jul 17th, 2007 at 10:33:38 AM EST
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