Democracy is not Rocket Science
by David Eide .

Democracy is not rocket science. It's not even a simple science. It is a balancing act between wealth, work, and the health of the system of governance. It tries, I believe, to produce a free people by not allowing wealth to oppress them but not permitting the people to destroy wealth either The executive is crucial in that scenario. In a society of this magnitude it is difficult to know whether this is obtaining or not. If it wasn't there would be tremendous upheaval in it. If it is then the people should be producing new forms out of themselves. The creative nature comes into play as one who see's the limitations of what has been built. He see's everything that exists comes from frozen ideas or old emotions. And so the mission of that sort of creativity is to find the ways and means to imagine anew, build anew without destroying what exists. It is not a political thing at all. Politics destroys much more than it creates. Old, frozen emotions make up the most enthusiastic politics.

Checks and balances exist to mitigate against the natural form of corruption that is inherited through human nature. Power corrupts the powerful. That is one thing. When it corrupts the powerless then you have to worry. Checks and balances was set up to keep things honest, or, as honest as possible. If power corrupts then there is great inefficiency that depresses the ability of the society to do things as a free society. And it is the freedom to do things that is the chief end of a liberal democracy. But to achieve that end it must ensure that corruption has not successfully eroded the core of the thing.

I'm not a tribalist. I'm a free, liberal democratic citizen. Tribalism will be the death of democracy as we know it. It's a zero sum game. It seeks to destroy.

A huge nation like this will have many conflicts. They tend to be matter/anti-matter types of conflict that means little will get done. And they come from every angle. So someone truly concerned about the culture would tend to the health of the system of governance because, eventually, through this conflict and slowly but surely, the facts emerge and the best solution appears. At the same time the solution depends on the strategy in place to deal with the problem at the legislative level. It doesn't make any sense to add to the "intensity" of political feeling. In fact, I'm wary of it now because I'm not convinced that the intensity has any interest in the liberal democracy itself.

The society will have to determine what the best strategy exists for the "binding up"--- do you want a society where all religious, racial, gender, income, geographical differences are melded into a "sense of society"? Or do you want a society where large tribes or "estates" check and balance against the abuse of power by one group or another? Or do you want a society that says "everyone in the middle class and above can take care of themselves" and what is needed is for more efficient, cleaner lines of movement from the very bottom to the middle?

People want to be free, they need to be free. They should enact it at the highest level possible and all permutations, all depth of freedom should be sounded. If nothing else the great demonstration of freedom should be in front of the world and history.

From the god like "historical perspective" anything can and will happen. Nations will come and go. Ways of life will come and go. But, life belongs to the living and the living suffer human things that the "historical perspective" knows nothing about. "Ah but you see it really is painless because it all rolls away." It is not painlessly rolled away. At the very least when a shift is going on at least the human being can do two or three things. Enact that freedom at the highest level, think about the various scenarios waiting in the future, and help as much as he or she can. After all, catastrophe occurs when life becomes unreal. When it loses it center and core.

It looks like to me that baby boomers are going for one last gasp of nostalgia for their youth. Every generation remembers the intensities of their youth and want to crawl back into them as soon as the real dangers pass. Memories are less painful than billy clubs and assassinated leaders. That period covered my pre-teen years all the way to young adulthood. My student phase as I put it. And it was intense. And its legacy will continue in one form or another. I hope there isn't a 50 year anniversary of Woodstock and a gathering of the tribes. I don't think I would pay attention to that. And it's so true that the ten years after this period ended, following the fall of Saigon and loss of the Vietnam War, were incredibly bad. Bad to the bone.

The era was dominated by Vietnam and civil rights. The larger context was the moon adventure and pointing cameras back at the "whole earth" and seeing it as a complete system silhouetted against trillions of light years of inhuman enmity to human life. And, too, the nuclear threat that always was poised against the future and made the future problematic. These were the main ingredients of that time and from that came an anti-establishment, anti-materialist, anti-technology, anti-capitalist, anti-science cast of mind. And that was, eventually, confronted by the "backlash" of God, family and money. And it's still there, that split, in one form or another. I do remember the hostility that existed for that time and any memory of that time or anyone who represented that time for the ten years after.

  • The Earth as a natural system that needed protection, husbandry
  • Respect for all life, most especially life that "is not you."
  • Progress in terms of economy, technology, science has consequences
  • Power needs productive resistance to stay honest and work the way it's supposed to.
  • The hidebound notions of time and space we inherit is completely false

Those are some of the conclusions I come to reflecting on that time from 60-75.

But time did not stop there.

  • Stability is needed to get anything done
  • Undermining Constitutional law and liberal democracy leads to bad consequences
  • The world is not your oyster.
  • Listening is much more an act of freedom and liberality than trying to impose a point of view, especially one short on facts.
  • Fact finding is never taken for granted.
  • Freedom is a, if not the, reality.

And then the third turning.

  • There will always be those in the world who hate you.
  • Power corrupts; the arrogance of power

There have been other intense periods of time and, as I alluded to, the young always believe their time is the most intense and meaningful. The subsequent development is determined to a large extent on that period of time. The parameters of problems at any rate. The generation of vision for the future. The personal computer was seeded in that 60's period. As was renewable energy and environmental consciousness.

These things are expressed in the region. Some regions absorb, others resist. And at times the roles are reversed. So it goes on.

They are experienced personally. But so too, the mind expands into various horizons of time. A century. Perhaps five centuries. A whole millennium. Everything back to the first few seconds of the beginning.

What happens when the abstract flies out of the sure footing of the region or, at the very least, the space in which an actual being enacts itself?

That period of time produced more aesthetic and skepticism in myself. A delight in the senses, a firm belief in the creative imagination. I was, for a time, very egalitarian up to the point where others were taking advantage of that. To me, those times were always the "soft rebellion" that saw the harm already done and didn't want any more of it. There's nothing that can convince the young of their rightness or wrongness. They must experience the inevitable and move on.

The music always sounded good to me. I loved sex. There were many high adventures.

Now I say, "moderation is the best policy" and "there are consequences for every action." Produce good actions and good consequences will follow.

Silicon Valley, computers, high-tech, entrepreneurism, Nature, knowledge are all factors of the region I live in. It has formed me, I identify with it. It doesn't have easy and predictable hierarchies. In fact, it's pursuit of power is sort of a laughable thing. But, its pursuit of truth is a very noble thing. It likes youth and youth is happy in its wild tits. The women are often prickly vines that makes it very hard to get to know. The men are soft. Politics creates this sort of situation but, also, the lack of military service or, in fact, of martial conflict within the region will produce the sort of experimentations and entitlements so brazen in my region. It is fortunate in that regard. The wonderful neighborhoods I lived in had enormous variety and a live and let live attitude. Beautiful bridges and sumptuous islands.

Two central questions: Can you build on what you've done? Can you be original?

America only makes sense to me when I count up the decades and know what happened. That is, when my mind's eye happily glides over the salient events and facts and I see rather than interpret. Or when I thoroughly understand my region. Or study the systems in place. Most everything else that tries to tell me what America is, is bogus. And if a person lacks the knowledge of its decades or an in depth knowledge of his region or the systems that run through everything what can he possibly know? He knows what other people have said and that's the extent of it. Or, with that laughable commodity called "personal experience" which, one finds, hardly belongs to the person at all. Personal experience leads to addiction or some fanatical religious belief, little else. At the very least he must be able to count up the decades of his personal experience and his own systems as far as he can know.

If the current state of America were to go down would it be better in the aftermath? Would the world? When confronted by such an odd notion years ago I concluded that no, things would be vastly worse on balance. That ended many romantic notions about "change" in my mind. That's not to say that it won't self-destruct, only that the aftermath would not produce, for our intents, a better place.

As I noted elsewhere, tribalism is a certain poison for liberal democracy. Tribe will be pitted against tribe and the culture will be reorganized as a faux democracy with the tribes separated for their own good and the stability of the culture.

There are times when I seem to absorb everything. It's very pleasurable and then stressful. It fills up what I know of the world and is resourceful. I call it the grace of God. The world has produced great energies without a doubt. Labor of body and of mind. We need to honor that, honor all people who have had a life on the planet. All people, everywhere before the politics descends.

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