Friday, March 26, 2010

Improving Our Political System


Political parties, in their omnivorous quest for power have, during my lifetime, gone a long way toward destroying the greatness of my homeland. Unrestrained, they will succeed.

It need not be so.

Those who seek good government need not tolerate the corruption of party politics. We do not need partisanship, which sets one person against another; we need independent representatives who will think for themselves and reach intelligent decisions on matters of public concern. In other words, to improve our government, we must change the way we select our representatives.

We have the technological ability to support a more democratic method; the big hurdle is to get people to acknowledge the problem. Many fall victim to the common malady of believing our press clippings. We've been told so many times through so many years that our political system is the best in the world, some of us can't admit it is a cesspool of corruption, funded by special interests that buy the laws we endure.

Most Americans assume political parties are legitimate centers of power under our Constitution. That is untrue. Nothing in our Constitution authorizes, institutes or enables political parties. The difficulty lies, not in our Constitution, but in our will. We must want to build a political system that puts public interest above partisanship, a method that responds to vested interests but is not controlled by them.

Political systems are always an embodiment of human nature. Until we learn to harness our own nature, we can improve neither our politics nor our society. There is no Constitutional bar to devising a more democratic process; the only impediment is ourselves. Since we can not divorce our political institutions from our own nature, we must make virtue a desirable attribute in those who seek political advancement. That may be difficult ... but it is not impossible.



Unknown said...

Unfortunately we have "virtue" now. However it is an act. What the people want, that is what the actor portrays. How can real virtue be measured? Humility? Humble people would not submit themselves to public office. Compassion? For who? How? How much? At some point the compasionate is taken advantage of.

But the actor can seem to be all of that.a

Fred Gohlke said...

Good Afternoon, Bruce

I think you're right ... we have no measure of virtue. However, when three people must select one of their number to represent the other two, they will make every effort to select the person they believe they can trust to represent their interests. Since each of the three seek the same goal, they will be very discriminating.

The following is taken from "Selecting Leaders, Discussion (2)" It does not state the complete case, but perhaps enough of it to give you the idea:

"Those who actively seek selection must persuade their group that they are the best qualified to represent the other two. While that is easy at the lower levels, it becomes more difficult as the process moves forward and participants are matched with peers who also wish to be chosen."

"Each participant must make a choice between the other two people in the group knowing that they must rely on that person's integrity to guide their future actions and decisions. Since they are unable to control the person selected, they must choose the person they believe most likely to conduct public business in the public interest."

As I say elsewhere in the discussion, this is a distillation process. It will tend to advance the most trustworthy of our number.

With regard to humility and compassion, I'm not sure how to respond. I don't recall having mentioned those traits.

Your reference to actors is also appropriate. We've had plenty of experience with the dissembling and obfuscation that flow like honey from the lips of our politicians. I submit, though, that when three people meet ... face to face ... it will not be so easy for an "actor" to advance ... particularly not when the two people he's grouped with also seek selection. It's one thing to stand up in front of a crowd or a microphone and lie. It's something entirely different when the "actor" will be called upon to explain every assertion by two equally bright people who also seek selection.