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Posted: Just finished reading a pretty hard-core book (euuuugh! not that kinda hard-core) called The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler. It's taken me ages. What a slog. Anyway, it was a challenge & the "mate" who lent it to me wouldn't take it back unless I'd read it.
One of his suggestions for a change to the political system (I notice plenty of people are slating, but few are suggesting alternatives...) was to introduce a "random" element to the equation. Form commitees and governments with random nobodies chosen in similar fashion to juries or war drafts.
This would obviously dissolve into chaos if there were no guidance or semi-permanent element to the governnment, so trained advisers and councilors would be required, and also and handful of randomly selected "experts" may be useful.
I'm thinking of trying to persuade the members of a music community I'm involved in to take up the experimental system. To be honest, I think they're a bit scared.
Or would you prefer majority rule, and no say at all?
However it would be frighteningly representative... (okay I couldn't resist making that comment, it was cruel, unnecessary, but it was fun )
I think I read somewhere about a theorised utopia, where anyone who wants to be in politics is automatically disqualified from holding office. People are almost drafted into positions for a term, they are not paid a salary, and instead are supported by the goodwill of those around them. Could make things interesting, couldn't it? (it could also lead to massive bribery and corruption, but it is an interesting theory.)
It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.
What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...
During the 17th & 18th centuries, there was only one true Democracy on the face of the Earth: the Pirate brotherhood, forged in Madagascar. Incongruous as it may appear, the outlaw cutthroats who brutalized prisoners and scoffed at the rules of society were fiercely democratic. They despised tyranny and held individual freedom in the highest regard. I think we could take some pointers from them. Let's assume for a moment that a nation is our 'pirate ship.' Unlike privateer crews, who were commissioned by a government, pirates considered themselves self-employed, collective owners of their ships. They believed that since the crew had acquired their ship by a common effort, all should participate equally in making decisions aboard her. For this reason, pirates evolved a system that called for virtually all matters regarding life aboard their ship - whether to fight, where and when to anchor, division of spoils, even courses to be followed - to be subject to a referendum. And each man, regardless of race, religion, rank or previous employment, was entitled to an equal vote. Only during battle did pirates abandon this referendum system. They even elected their captains, retaining the right to depose them by vote whenever they wished. Only during a fight they were captains truly the fieresome, absolute master aboard. But once the battle was over, they reverted to their previous station as 'first among equals.' All marks of distinction were eliminated. No officer wore uniforms, or had special priviledges, especially the captain. They ate the same food and shared the same quarters. Pirates traditioanlly adopted a list of 'ship's articles, much like the American Bill of Rights. These were covenants that spelled out the rights, duties and powers of a ships' officers and crew. These were to be followed to the letter, or swift banishment would follow.
Herein lies the problem: while freedom was of utmost importance to the average buccaneer, their definition of it was based on the collective experience of untutored, angry men. For the ordinary pirate was a simple man, illiterate and inarticulate, lusty in his tastes and discriminating in his pleasures. For him it did not mean the chance to cultivate his mind, enjoy music or contemplate beauty. Nor did it neccesarily include the general welfare of the whole group. It meant instant gratification of his appetites, license to do as he pleased and a general recognizance of equality of others. Also, this rough, social Darwinism would not be effective on a national scale--unless we thoroughly revamped our culture, starting with our government. We could begin by adopting a 'straight vote.' Term limits would be eliminated, along with many levels of government. We would abandon the electoral college, maybe even Congress. The President would be our 'captain,' but he would be voted out as soon as the people decided he should be.
Sure, this borders on careless anarchy, but we've given this system over 200 years, and the results, thus far, have been lacking.
[ 31. March 2003, 06:49: Message edited by: Prometheus ]
Dance like it hurts; Love like you need money; Work like someone is watching.
Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you DO criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes.
Prometheus, you are right about the pirates. In fact, the pirates didn't really have a system of government, per se, but a system of operation. As such, the pirates operated as a cooperative organization. Co-ops are wonderful things.
And they probably weren't as cut-throat as everyone thinks. Remember that the victors write history.
Primate: not all Americans are stupid, but just go and have a chat with the "average voter" and prepare to be horrified.
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella
I've put my answers on a postcard like you said. But it keeps falling off the screen (dang static never keeps things up) and I'm fairly sure you're not even bothering to read it whilst it's up there.
Don't know why I bother.
A good deal of growr, some grr and quite a bit of snarl, spit and some biting. just a regular day at the office.
I really don't like the idea of random people having much power at all. Hell most 1st world nations have an established jury based justice system which has been around for ever and it has so many flaws it's pathetic. I don't see any advantage in applying the same principles to the federal government.
Really I don't see anything good comeing out of any massive change, especially a massive changed based on some utopia idea. The organized anarchy you speak of is going to require a pretty massive change in our culture and society. Who leads this change? What about when he dies? What about when people with other interests try to knock it off course or manipulate it?
Id like to see the current democracy in my country evolve over time to iron out it's wrinkles. It is a lot easier to tear something down then it is to build something new and better.
Ding-ding-ding-ding! That was a critcism, 2 counts of. There was a suggestion for evolution, which is unavoidable, therefore the last statement is merely rhetoric.
On a minor/major point, no-one suggested a massive re-structure. I suggested the introduction of a random element to democracy, not a revolution. Revolutions are notoriously messy and dangerous. Current democracies are slow at reacting to a fast moving technological evolution, and I would like to see things change in government to allow more minorities a say in what happens to them.
For that you get a cabbage, 2 more cabbages and you're out.
...or was that Crackerjack?
[ 31. March 2003, 23:27: Message edited by: primate ]
How about somewhere with pirates in charge? Ahoy there me shipmates! I spy a yellow livered land lover! Let's run him thro' with me trusty cutlass(*squaaaaak* pieces of eight)... Ahem!
Apparently Sweden has done something like this with selected issues, inviting anyone to have a say, as long as they go a course before they do it. Quite successful by all accounts, the courses filled up and then some. They didn't scrap the conventional government, just introduced new ways of people having a say.
So maybe Sweden then? Er... okay, maybe somewhere warm... er... Hey, they have naked blonde babes in saunas out there!