Friday, November 27, 2009

Democracy vs States Rights

In the previous post "What Will Happen?" the subject of possible scenarios as population demographics evolve was discussed. Some of this ties in with previous discussions about States Rights and other supplemental reading I did at that time and recently when investigating Wilber's analysis based on Spiral Dynamics and recent IQ trends. I apologize for the long post and encourage you to read the previous blog if you missed it so you have the proper context for this discussion. I think you will find it worthwhile.

1. Here is a link to some data on IQ trends.... The trends and the analysis support a Wilber-like conclusion of a societal breakdown if current trends continue.

2. States Rights. One of the biggest impacts to States Rights over the past 100 years was the passage of the 17th amendment. See brief synopsis here.... and here. When directly electing Senators by the general population vs by the state legislature the Senators became less focused and accountable to the states since the general electorate is not cognizant of state needs at the level of the state legislatures. This has had a devastating effect on states rights.

3. Wilber's catastrophic scenarios in relation to the ascendance of democratic principles when the Greens percentage increases to above 10% could be the tipping point to a reversion to Nazi-like actions as the larger majority Reds take over government power/policy-making and exercise of power. Right click to launch picture in a new window...

In conclusion, my point is that those of us who consider ourselves better educated and more enlightened than the general masses and that have thought democracy the be-all and end-all model should rethink their position. The USA's founding fathers were wise way beyond what I thought possible. Their strict approach to States Rights and, in a way, reticence of democracy and a more egalitarian approach to government looks very wise to me at this time. The centralization of power in Washington DC has directly caused many current crises and resulted in burdens to the common person that would have not been tolerated by the original founding fathers like a Federal Banking system, income tax, huge federal programs, expensive and not publicly supported foreign policies and wars, etc.

With that amount of centralized power if we have a take-over of government by the less enlightened majority the very real possibility of a fascist government arising with devastating effect to our cherished life, liberty and justice could happen in an instant.

What can we do now? The first step is understanding how we got here. Then we can start to take steps to undo past mistakes and get back to the principles this country was founded upon.


al fin said...

Interesting analysis.

I agree that the US founding fathers were much wiser than most educated people today understand.

A low IQ society will elect populist dictators who make wild promises before the election, then establish themselves as president-for-life after the election.

IQ is not the best predictor of productivity or achievement -- at least not by itself. High IQ plus strong executive function plus a society that establishes enlightened laws and incentives allowing individuals to keep most of the fruits of their labours -- together are excellent predictors of a society's accomplishments and general prosperity.

I will put this bluntly: there is no way to go back to what the US founding fathers intended. You cannot un-fry an egg.

The US is too centralised and top-heavy for political reform alone to correct the many mistakes and clean up the corrupt decay.

The momentum is too great, the alliance of public workers with their unions is too powerful, and elected officials enjoy their power and ability to extort and divert wealth too much.

I strongly recommend having backup plans.

Keith said...

Part I

This is why we were originally deemed and identified as a republic not a democracy. The form of government that is contrarian to an egalitarian democracy is a republic modeled after Plato's Republican approach where those that know or are better educated rule over the lesser informed. Seems appropriate to me. However, Hamilton (thank God for Aaron Burr and his fateful bullet to a well deserved target) somewhat misconstrued this concept in throwing his support towards a strong centralized Federal Gov't vs Jefferson's egalitarian democracy. The seeds of a struggle planted all the way back to 1787 which has left a legacy largely consuming and embroiling each side or party in the political debate as to the best approach rather than getting down to business and solving problems. We often bring up in debate, "is that what the Founding Fathers intended?", which needs to be countered with "Which Founding Father's".

I agree with the approach for appointing these mythical wise men or women, untarnished by political influence as Senate representatives vs elected by the uninformed public, however don't forget that we largely have developed into a Plutocracy which would not preclude monetary influence which we have already. As was clearly outlined (for me anyhow) we are probably subject to the inevitable procession of events toward some sort of tipping point. It is like Global Warming, now beyond the control of any government organization. Like looking in the mirror and recognize the slow effects of aging towards an inevitable mortality. In fact it would be considered downright unAmerican to suggest that more democracy is less favorable than an alternative such as benevolent dictatorship. To me it is clear that the powerful, the wealthy Eastern elite, during the late 19th Century on into the 20th Century set in motion the centralization of power through a stronger Federal Gov't financed by the 1913 Income Tax legislation, the Federal Reserve, and other government regulatory agencies and enforced by Federal laws that trump state's laws. We are most likely proceeding towards some sort of cliff, we will know it even as it approaches but will be unable to prevent the inevitable results having become so hamstrung in our own bureacracy at a over centralized level.

This is mentioned in Jared Diamond's, Guns, Germs and Steel, where he states that successful empires/ governments progress where centralization is kept to a minimum. Where the herd is allowed to roam freely so to speak vs the total being shifted by one focused group or figure. Compare China which was a highly centralized empire or series of empires up to the Tiananmin Square protests. At that point Deng Xiaoping, according to Diamond, decided that once the uprising had been quelled, a need for decentralization was needed to move the country forward which has resulted in a blossoming in China. The same can be said for this country now. We are hamstrung in this economic downturn because all the stimulus money is concentrated in the hands of a few financial institutions so as to control better a slow revitalization of the economy vs it turning into an inflationary debacle.

Keith said...

Part II

Having given the current situation of a growing philosophical gap between Red and Blue states if I can use those symbolic terms, which in the minds of many are now led by airheaded types like Palin, Beck, and Limbaugh on the Red side and those of the left led by Obama and his entourage of Democrats like Schumer, Feinstein, Pelosi, Reid etc and the vast plurality of Independents who are somewhat disenfranchised, some of which are the gun toting, red neck type reactionaries afraid of everything because they are told to be, and ready to shoot plus the the many educated and philosophically savy who are at their wits end because there is no one listening while the "bus" rapidly careens toward the edge of the cliff. Clearly the air is ripe for a third party, but I don't think that will be the solution. It will take going over the cliff to get rid of the shed the "concept of the infallibility of the Founding Father's" so that we can get on with creating a new model out of the ashes of the old. Just as the concept of individual rights vs acceptablity of slave ownership was an unresolved conflicted area of the Constitution that was to end in a war of inevitability, we are going to have a conflict of the application of how our money is spent in this country. I mean how can we pay all this money in and get so little in return in the form of services and then on top of the taxes, payout more money for healthcare, and other government fees for recreation, tolls, etc. What do we get for our money?

In summary, the Jeffersonian model will lead us to disaster because the population is largely composed of too many uninformed an uneducated, and the Federal approach of Hamilton cannot work because of too much Centralization. Thus an inevitable collapse is what is left, just as the seeds of the Civil War took 84 years to catalyze, critical mass for our current form of ineffectual government is about to come to a head some time around 2015 when frustration with the second Obama administration and the lack of a new leader capable of sewing up the chasm between the left, right and center (independents) will lead to unsurmountable frustration.

Sojka's Call said...

Keith and Al - I agree there is no logical reason for me to state we can possibly undue the damage done to this country. Something in me forces the positivist attitude in the face of overwhelming data and analysis supporting some kind of crash (society, economic, political system, ????). The fact people are waking up to the pitfalls of our current society is a start. I am only now really understanding and getting a grip on the trends, forces, and dynamics that are pushing this country and the world along.