• Posted: Nov 06, 2010 15:11:17
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I wrote in a recent previous post that "Democratic government is an invention of mankind to facilitate cooperation that maximizes benefits to all, instead of to only a few. It is not intended to be tyranny of any sort." That is not a quote from anyone else. It is my opinion, my belief. But, that belief has some foundation to it. It is an opinion that was arrived at from formal study of many of the original documents that make up the core thinking, writing, beliefs, and practices of Western civilization beginning with the ancient Greeks. I trust that a lot of that thinking was done in earnest effort at reconciling the unruliness of individuals, their tendencies toward irrational fear, false belief, and selfish shortsightedness, and the demonstrable power and security that can be gained through coordinated cooperative action. I trust that long line of thinking, but I don't swallow it whole without a considerable amount of thinking on my own. And what my thinking tells me is that when democracy is played like a zero-sum game, wherein one side seeks to hand the head of the other to them on a platter, we all lose. The benefits to be gained from coordinated cooperative action will never be realized. It is all lost to all of us.
Take, for instance, the stance of the now three partisan sides in U.S. Congress. The Democrats say they are not willing to abandon the accomplishments of the preceding two years but they are willing to listen to concerns and ideas for tweaking what has been enacted and to fresh ideas that might help solve the long list of further problems needing solution. But at the same time, GOP leaders insist they will only cooperate if Democrats abandon their agenda in favor of a GOP agenda. And Tea Partiers insist their agenda is the only one they will move on. The prospect is that no problems needing solution will be solved at all. We will all lose. During the next two years the castle we all live in will crumble further because ideologues of all three flavors decline to roll up their sleeves and get busy with even a compromise solution to the problems we face.
And in the meantime, the dismayed public, stirred to frenzy by opinionated but not deep thinking talk show hosts and shallowly researched journalism vacillates between fear, hate, and despair. Even academics who coldly do know what is happening vs. what should be happening are left without a voice in the discussion because healthy doubt itself has been rebranded by true-believers of all sorts as conclusive evidence of irrelevance. Truth, facts, and even best guesses have now become that which is shouted loudest and longest. It's a sad state of affairs. And once again, we all lose, save perhaps the propagandists, the PR, marketing, and advertising folks willing to cash in on the current imperative for loudness and perversion in message making.
I say again: democratic government is an invention of mankind to facilitate cooperation that maximizes benefits to all, instead of to only a few. It is not intended to be tyranny of any sort. When democracy is played like a zero-sum game, wherein one side seeks to hand the head of the other to them on a platter, we all lose. Without looking beyond ourselves, we all lose. Without inclusion of everyone, we all lose. Without cooperation, we all lose. Without compromise, we all lose. Without coordinated effort and commitment, we all lose.
Sunday, October 31st, 2010
24.4 mm 116 mm