Thursday, April 27, 2017
--- Notes on political systems ---
It has been observed that a pure democracy, if it were practicable, would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position in politics is more false than this. The ancient democracies, in which the people themselves deliberated, never possessed one feature of good government. Their very character was tyranny.
When you see the suffix "-ism" on a word, you should immediately assume a double vision.
We seem to have inherited from our simian cousins a strong us-or-them mentality which is well conveyed by many uses of the "-ism". In that form, the suffix means "I'm a [whatever "-ism" is a suffix of] and we're better than everybody else." Patriotism ("I'm an American and America is the greatest country on the planet"), racism ("I'm white and white people are superior to everyone else"), male chauvinism ("I'm a man and men are superior to women") are common examples of this form.
"-ism" can also indicate a love for the group. This form is slightly different from the other and can even be laudable. For instance, I am an American and I wish greatness for my country so that it can be a benefit to the rest of the world. I would like the American reputation to be that of friend and cooperant of the other peoples of the world.
But, like Mr. Hamilton, I don't see that democracy has worked that well in history and I can't see it as the panacea of all political ills. I have noticed that some countries have not fared so well under democratic governments.
People vary greatly in personalities so it would be very peculiar if there were not a need for a variety of governments to accommodate those differences. I think that states rights in the United States is a good idea. It would be a better idea if states did not have such a huge need to meddle in others states' business. A state is what it is and, in the US we have choice. If the political climate of one state is not to our liking, then we can move to another.
Well, that's my ideal - of course, it's my naive ideal. For instance, not everyone is mobile enough to find which state works best for them and some states, being what they are, are downright detrimental to their people. I wish people could build things such as compassion and respect for others into their governments, corporations, and such, from the inception, but unfortunately, that rarely happens.
I'm a social psychologist and one who looks at organizations as people in their own rights. Just as maturity brings certain characteristics - self control, empathy, compassion, responsibility, etc. - into a person's life, a healthy, mature organization will also show those qualities but they have to be part of the original design and they must be maintained as the organization develops or else, like an individual that regresses to a more infantile stage of behavior, the organization will go bad.
I've talked about Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety so it should come to no surprise that I value diversity even in the political realm. I think that there should be a variety of governmental forms, but there is good diversity and there is bad diversity. Good diversity builds up, bad diversity breaks down. In the same way, there is good government and there is bad government.
In all things, we should strive to be what makes the world a good place. That kind of -ism is well founded.