Monday, 14 February 2011

Do we get the government we *deserve*?

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Suppose we do (overall and in the long term) - What then?

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Of course, to suppose that, entails that the concept of 'deserving' is meaningful and real, and also that desert can be applied to governments and the relationship between government and the people.

And this implies people, persons - a personal relationship.

'Government' by and for the sake of abstract procedures rules-out desert (and intentionally so).



However, if we reject the concept of desert; then all government is arbitrary, pure luck, something that just happens.

And it makes no difference whether the government really is the grinding of impersonal processes, or - behind this facade - a mass of grubby corruption, since the corruption in modern societies is defined by an ideal standard of perfect adherence to impersonal procedures.

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That government is pure luck and just happens and has nothing to do with just deserts is indeed what many seem to believe - indeed, democracy entails that there is no such thing as desert.

Because democracy entails that what we deserve is (roughly) 'whatever comes out of the process/es of mass voting' - there is nothing more to be said about the matter. Personal opinions and standards are exactly what democracy ignores, over-rides, crushes (ultimately).

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Much of political discourse is the attempt to avoid these implications of democracy without attacking the principle of democracy; to humanize mass voting and bureaucracy - despite their being intrinsically inhuman - or rather anti-human.

Because secular modern culture distrusts the human - quite rightly - yet denies the transcendental.

And so secular modern culture is left with nothing but the inhumanly procedural, which it tries to treat as if it was of transcendental value and intrinsic worth.

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Then the whole of political discourse becomes (is) a business of wrangling over the conduct of mass voting - under the assumption that if we could get the voting system right, then the result would be truly authoritative: transcendentally authoritative.

In other words we are de facto judging democracy by human standards, yet the critique proceeds using procedural standards.

And so, the transcendental perfection for which modern, secular Western culture strives (here! on earth!) is a perfect democratic procedure, underpinning perfectly rational and procedural bureaucracy; which system always and inevitably also yields the highest attinable human (individual, personal) standard of gratification (the optimal human pleasure, the minimum human suffering).

Yields it like clockwork - or a computer alogorithm!

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Since we persist in seeking all this and nothing but this, the answer is: Yes, we do indeed get the government we deserve...

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4 comments:

  1. I don't know if we deserve our government, but democracy has become an idol in our time:

    Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
    They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
    They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
    They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk;
    and they do not make a sound in their throat.
    Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

    (Psalm 115:4-8)

    We are like our idol--degenerate, self-willed, overinflated with self-importance, messianic. It has become our own punishment. I pray God saves us from ourselves.

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  2. Democracy has many functions:

    a) To serve as an illusion of citizen power (hides both state's and large complex corporations' power; and these are intertwined). Colluding parties holding power are interchangeable and have the same liberal ideology. In other words, to serve as a deceptive interface between the underlying power structures and people.

    b) To serve as a regulated and controlled feedback mechanism to the large organizations. What is needed (services, punishments, propaganda, incentives, titles, offices, medals of honor, etc.) to keep the masses and to some extent elites docile? How can bureaucracies enhance their power to new areas or intensify the existing areas? How the operations of large organizations must be adjusted given the interest tensions of the masses? Etc.

    c) To expend the change, frustration, subversion etc. energies of the masses in safe channels.

    d) To legitimate the present power structure and it's actions generally without overt coercion, visible power, violence, straighforward domination, etc. To legitimate any and all taxes.

    e) To make the system more predictable, more suitable for calculations and formulas, and simpler. To save energies, time and resources of large organizations.

    f) To at the same time legitimate and hide those expenditures, laws, regulations, subsidies, tariffs, patents, etc. that are direct or indirect, and mostly exclusive subsidies for large organizations (state and large corporations). These externalize many costs to the people, that would otherwise had to be internalized by the large organizations and their customers, and create de facto monopolies, e.g. patents. Eminent domain laws prevents negotiations and contracts at their true costs. Highways, airports, airplane subsidies, railways, R&D subsidies, shipyard subsidies, public energy, dense city structures through city plans, etc. are means that creates the power of the state-corporate structure. They allow large corporations to artificially extend (or compress tighter) their supply areas of raw materials, half finished goods and subcontractors; their distribution, marketing and selling areas of goods and services; and their customers area of buying; i.e. e.g. allows them to utilize mass single or superficially variating product line -production economies of scale in large factories, and to avoid costs connected to fastly changing and developing product lines in normal market competition. All these costs should be internalized to the users in direct proportion to their use, e.g. in highways payments tonne/ km. Patents, tariffs, eminent domains etc. should be finished.

    Continued ...

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  3. Part 2.

    Corporations as so called legal persons should be executed. This enables the separation of profit from normal entrepreneurial responsibilities and risks; creates principal-agent ambivalencies (The owners of stock/ the corporation; the board of directors; and managers); and allows anonymous mass capital accumulation without negotiation and contracts between owners, reducing thus costs artificially by the state intervention.

    And then there would be less highways, railways, airports etc. i.e. less artificial veins and life support for the large corporations, created by the state.

    There would be less state assisted oligopolies and trusts, and de facto monopolies. Large corporations would disappear, because they are inefficient and uncompetitive. State bureacracies and their power would shrink.

    There would be countless small and medium size enterprises in normal market competition. They would create sparser, smaller and more networked city structures. Innovations, science, real culture and traditional diversity (in contradistinction to liberal diversity) would be reawakened. On average more of the production would be consumed locally. All kinds of local communities would be formed. When the weight of bureacracies is lifted from the people's shoulders, in real terms they earn much more, they are taxed considerably less, and their service and product costs are remarkably much smaller.

    And we would remember mass democracy as a bad memory, as a mistake which we now know to avoid.

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  4. @Jaz: Very apt quotation.

    Yes, there is a danger in being too democratic. The system becomes unquestionable. This seems to be the stage that the UK has reached where absolutely ridiculous policies which are supported by only a small fraction of the population are nevertheless tolerated because they are being enacted by a democratically elected government.

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