Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ruling Class Danger

At various times, people have mentioned concerns about the Active Democracy concept (privately or in other forums) that should be examined. One such demur is:

"After 2-3 full cycles of the process, the turnover of individuals who consistently reach level 4 will diminish. There will then emerge a ruling class."

This concern arises because it happened with our two-party system. Party functionaries, who gave the party continuity, tended to acquire ever more power over the process. In the 200 years since the first establishment of political parties, these people have become a ruling class that now controls our parties ... and our nation.

The described concern is founded, in part, on the fact that the qualities required to advance in the Active Democracy process will tend to elevate the same type of people in each successive election, thus raising the specter that those people will, somehow, form a new cabal.

That is unlikely.

For one thing, the electorate is in a constant state of flux. People constantly enter and leave the electorate and people's desire to seek public office varies in intensity from complete disinterest to avid pursuit throughout their lives. These are not inconsequential matters. When coupled with the random selection of triad participants, they make the system dynamic at its lowest levels. That dynamism will propagate upward.

In such an atmosphere, the fact that the same type of people will advance in each successive election will tend to improve the system. When we select public officials using a process that favors the best of our people, and when the same kind of people are the ones most frequently advanced, people who seek office will copy them. Morality is a top-down phenomenon. We take our cues from those we wish to emulate.

In addition, given the dynamism of the method, I think it unlikely that those who reach level 4 will ever have a common view or objective. Quite the contrary. In the first place, the selection process is unlikely to group them in similar triads on a regular or dependable basis. Secondly, their prior experience will affect their selectability, favorably in some cases, unfavorably in others. Thirdly, they will have knowledge of the others that will affect how they relate to them. And, finally, at each level, two of three candidates will be eliminated. That will do more to break up "ruling class" aspirations than anything else.


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