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Whither Democracy, Part 3

By       Message Fred Gohlke     Permalink
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Political systems are always an embodiment of human nature. Since we cannot divorce our political institutions from our nature, we must learn to harness our nature. The political process we build must make virtue a desirable attribute in those who seek political advancement. That is best done by having candidates compete with each other; they will not overlook their competitors' flaws and, knowing that, will have to maintain their own integrity.

Once one transcends the arrogance of those political theorists who are so blinded by their own brilliance they are unable to see the wealth of talent around them, and once we realize the human race has no shortage of gifted people with integrity, the road to a viable democracy will be less unclear and we can start to sketch a few basic requirements for a democratic political process. Such a process must:

a. let every member of the electorate participate in the process to the full extent of his or her desire and ability.

b. let those who do not wish to participate opt out.

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c. provide a practical way for the people to select, from among themselves, the individuals they believe have the qualities needed to resolve the issues of the time.

d. recognize that the individuals chosen for public office at one time may not be the best individuals to address the public concerns of a different time.

e. ensure that candidates for public office are examined by people with a vital interest in the selection process and who are in a position to influence their acceptance or rejection.

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I would like to work with those who see the need to create a better political system. If anyone can suggest a site where thoughtful people can meet and examine our political system carefully and objectively, please let me know.


[8] Ted Clayton, The Political Philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre,

[9] Esterling, Kevin M., Fung, Archon and Lee, Taeku, Knowledge Inequality and Empowerment in Small Deliberative Groups: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment at the Oboe Townhalls (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper.

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I was born just before the Great Depression. I learned our country's virtues in a one-room schoolhouse and it sickens me to see them trampled as they have been. My perceptions of "right" and "wrong" have been strong motivating forces in my life (more...)

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