Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The flaws of Top-Down Politics

Posted in response to this question on Quora:
U.S. Politics: Are there policies that have made it more difficult for voters to elect officials who will represent them?

The most fundamental policy that prevents voters from electing officials who will represent them is letting political parties dictate our political actions.  George Washington warned us of the danger of factions in his Farewell Address[1].  Yet, factions (parties) grabbed power because we, the people, didn't understand how they corrupt the political process.

Instead of uniting the people and advancing our common interests, parties incite antagonism among the people in order to divide us and increase their power.  They dominate us by the most basic principle of conquest:  Divide and Conquer.

Democracy is supposed to be a bottom-up concept; political power is vested in the people and rises, by their choice, to the officials they elect.  We have yet to achieve that arrangement of our political existence because Washington's "cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men" were "enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government".  They created top-down political organizations that let them set the agendas and choose the candidates for which the people vote.  These structures corrupt the democratic process because

     Those who set the options, control the outcome!

Not many people realize that letting political parties select the candidates for public office is profoundly undemocratic.  We must help them see that, as long as we let political parties choose the candidates for public office, they will select people who advance the party's interest, not ours.

If we are to elect officials who will represent us, we must start by devising an electoral process that lets each of us participate in the selection process to the full extent of our desire and ability.

Fred Gohlke

1. George Washington, Farewell Address,
Washington's Farewell Address 1796

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