Monday, January 29, 2007

Cutting the People Out of Politics

I am livid with President Bush for stifling debate on Iraq during this last legislative session. We are a democracy, in a democracy debates have to take place or we implode. The troop surge is a brilliant idea, but for the sake of the nation we have to have debate. We do not need to be in constant debate. January 2007 was a time when we needed to have a serious bipartisan talks about the direction of mideast policy. Democracy involves input from people. We cannot successfully impose a Democracy on Iraq by stifling a debate that was mandated by the people.

The neocons are simply using the same tactics as the progressives. Progressives play the exact same game of cutting the people out an stifling debate. We see this with Robert Redford's Sundance Summit. Just like Bush's troop surge, I think there is a great deal of merit to the issues discussed at the Sundance Summit. The format of the debate, however, cuts the people out of the process. In Sundance, mayors meet with movie stars. The movie stars give the mayors a progressive agenda along with a set of talking points, etc..

One of the talking points of the 2006 meeting (pdf) was for mayors to make links between the War in Iraq and Global Warming. Drum the talking points in, and you radicalize the population!!!!!

At the next summit, the mayors get judged by how well they carried off the set agenda.

I think that getting people together to talk about issues is great. I even agree with the statement that acting locally has a global effect (BTW, the ideas that your individual actions have a profound effect on the world is a center piece of the Christian tradition).

The problem is that this format used by both progressives and neocons end up destroying the debates that need to take place. The troop, green belts, reducing greenhouse gasses are all great ideas with substantial merit. The democratic method of debating issues helps hone the ideas and increases their viability.

Unfortunately, the political power structure is now dominated by people like Robert Redford and George W. Bush who achieve their objectives by cutting the people out of the process. The problem is on both sides.


Anonymous said...

FairVote: The Center for Voting and Democracy

y-intercept said...

The site has a good article on the declining power of the House of Representative. I don't think a direct vote for the president would solve that problem. So the solution is just a chimera.

There is a good argument that one of our problems is that the districts are just too friggin large.

Scott Hinrichs said...

I get shot down every time I suggest that we need more smaller districts. The retort is that coordination levels eventually hit a point of critical mass where nothing can be effectively communicated or coordinated.

I understand that criticism. When an IT project team gets too large it muddles the process rather than enhancing it. On the other hand, with government we're not trying to run an IT shop. We're trying to make government reflect the will of the people. I think more smaller districts would substantially move us toward this goal.

y-intercept said...

The shouting down part of modern discourse is a real drag, especially when it is directed at authentic ideas. The classical liberal ideal takes interesting ideas and follows where they lead. The modern idea is simply that words are weapons; so everything is either meant to attack ones opponents of defend one's friend. I like classical liberalism because you can follow crazy ideas to their logical conclusion without being shouted down or being worried about labels, losing friendships or all of the threats that progressives and neocons use.