cj#576> re: Saving Democracy


Richard Moore

Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1996
Sender: •••@••.••• (Joe Ferguson)
Subject: Re: cj#566> re: Saving Democracy / national focus

I agree with Richard that a global government is both an unrealistic
idea and a dangerous one, since if established, such a global system
would likely develop into the ultimate totalitarian state (a la 1984).

My thinking lately is about the nature of countries like the United
States, where we are a country of individuals, floating free, without
any structure beyond vague state and county governments.  I believe
human nature is such that:

1) Being governed by a few leaders will always result in corruption; and

2) If people become involved in government en masse (say, more than 80%
   of people get involved) people will be able to live in peace and

Let's just stipulate the first point, based on the old maxim that "power

The second point is based on these, hopefully not too unrealistic
components of a mass popular movement which is reaching critical mass
as you read this:

A) People perceive that a peaceful and healthy world is the benefit to
   be gained from citizen involvement;

B) People develop a system whereby most citizens can do their share of
   governing by putting in (say) four hours per week, rendering the
   benefit extremely valuable in proportion to the effort.  The smallest
   unit of government would be small communities (the "city block" level
   or group of small "blocks" where each family can have a voice);

C) Such active-governing communities spread across the land, and form
   the fabric of progressive county governments; similarly to the state
   and then to the national level.  The mechanism is that commmunities
   work out their issues so that they apply their power at the next
   level up, and so on, changing what today is a "herd" of individuals
   roaming around into more of a "governing body" that is composed of
   organs, and the organs, of cells.

D) Natural forces (e.g., the market) are harnessed primarily for the
   benefit of the population; weapons are "beat into plowshares" while
   the weapons and war industry are transformed into forces to clean
   up our toxic environment and our trashed cities.  Natural resources
   like hemp have all restrictions lifted, so that reliance on toxic
   alternatives like petro-chemicals can be reduced.  Destructive
   policies, like the war on drugs are abandoned.

- Joe Ferguson


        Again (see cj#575) Joe raises the issue of leadership.  In the long
run, I agree with Joe that decentralization of autonomy can be healthy
economically, and could provide the sinew of stronger democracy.

        But leadership, imho, would continue to be a necessary and valuable
commodity.  Leadership would be needed at the local level, and leadership
would be needed in the collaborations that would be necessary among
localities, at state, national, and global scales.

        It's simply unavoidable.  To eschew leadership, is to leave the
door open to demagogic leaders (perhaps disguised as bureaucrats) who will
sneak in to fill the vacuum.  We need to face the fact that leadership is
part of the process of humans living and working together.  We need to
learn how to encourage the best leaders to come forward.

        American culture suffers from an over-emphasis on individualism,
and especially on individual competition.  This is "divide and conquer"
carried to the ultimate extreme.

        Even in our struggles to develop a progressive movement, we can see
the need for better leadership.  Where would be we be without Nader or
Dugger, or the leaders who built up the Greens?  And how much better off
we'd be if we had leaders with a bit more charisma and spiritual depth --
some elements of, say, Martin Luther King.


Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1996
Sender: •••@••.••• (John Lowry)
Subject: Re: cj#566> re: Saving Democracy / national focus

>        If you feel it's impossible to reform national governments in this
>way, then I say it's ten times as impossible to force these reforms from
>some nebulous global forum.

I agree.  And I feel we can make both political and substantive progress
toward reform by advocating that the UN be disarmed.  While their military
record is mixed, it is undeniable that, if there is to be some level of
effective world cooperation, it must be "enforced" with moral suasion from
the world body.  With this advocacy, we could begin to make some alliance
with militia-types, whose voice must be acknowledged. IMHO,  jl