The American Family Gazette
Volume I, 0911
Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all others that have been tried,” or something to that effect. However, today, I’m not sure I agree with that opinion. Furthermore, considering how we voters feel about our politics and the quality and results of governments that result from the democratic process—if you can believe the seemingly unending polls—I’m not sure very many other Americans do anymore either!
But it’s not just the polls, although they are indicting as well as pretty consistent in their readings. The clincher, at least insofar as Americans being fed up with politics, is the large and growing plurality of political Independents; of Americans across the political spectrum who today decline to be (at least publically) identified with either of the two political options we have to choose government. Yes, they may eventually vote for one or the other, but think about it: they have no other practical choice, no other “mainstream” political option to consider. A choice between something you don’t agree with and something you don’t agree with isn’t a very good choice.
For us free-market-thinkers, another way to visualize this situation is as a political marketplace; think of it as a supply & demand problem. On the supply side we have two dominant suppliers and a somewhat shallow pool of third-party options that have absolutely no possibility to win elections under our present electoral system (which we won’t go into here, and which we aren’t going to change in the foreseeable future). On the demand side of the market we have the voters. Lots and lots of voters shopping for the best possible choice at just two suppliers, each marketing their product/service in as wide a consumable-user-range as possible. Each pretending theirs is a “one-size-fit-everyone—or almost everyone.” It’s almost a “promise them anything (and everything)” come election time. But in reality their rhetoric is just an election-time “let the buyer beware” promise.
So, if that’s how political democracy and a republican form of government work today, perhaps it’s time to admit it isn’t working to the satisfaction of enough of us to keep on keeping on with it. Something(s) need to change, but what, and how?
The theory supporting democracy and/or a republican form of government is sound. It recognizes in a liberal, educated culture and age that those being governed should have a meaningful say by whom and how they are governed; that liberty implies self-governance. But, to repeat myself, is that working as it should today? Just look at the polls. Consider the significance of all those Independents. It becomes problematic if you do.
Elsewhere I have suggested several things that might be considered on the political side. Not the least of which would be a new political option designed for all Americans, but especially for all those presently “homeless” Independents, as well as others who might be uncomfortable still supporting these attenuating political parties—the “big tents” are gone. Here I want to broach the almost unthinkable that, aside from political correction, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the machinery and institutions of democratically elected government itself; the way we govern ourselves in an information age. Why? For a number of possible reasons:
First, government appears to becoming the tail that wags the dog. That’s not good.
Secondly, government appears, to many, to have become an end in itself, not simply a means to an end. That’s not good.
Third, a government designed for local, national and worldly condition that existed over two hundred years ago has been little up-dated to meet conditions today. That may be inescapable.
Fourth, the cost-value of government is at least perceived by many to be out of line: Too much cost; too little value. That’s unacceptable.
Fifth, conditions since mid-20th century have been such that the (de-facto) distribution of power and authority in government has shifted. That’s probably unconstitutional.
There are no doubt other reasons to consider, or reconsider, how we’re governing ourselves today and for the future. This mix, however, is a sufficient start to probe this important and sensitive subject. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll endeavor to expand on all these issues such that we may more fully consider them.
Thomas Richard Harry
Windsor, CA 11/09