It seems we are surrounded by death these days. In addition to the various deadly attacks by men who seemed to think killing is some kind of answer to some questions to which most of us find more peaceful solutions, in addition to the genocidal enforcement of government policies and perspectives not shared by the populace in some international communities, in addition to the apparently cavalier, race-related violence perpetrated in the U.S. by law enforcement and others and in addition to the topic presented here for several weeks, namely, the death of democracy itself—in addition to all of that, so it seems, the Internet as we know it is about to die. (more…)
“Western liberal democracy might prove to be not
the final destination on the democratic road, but just one of the many possible exits.”
Twenty years ago, in an article entitled “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy” (published in the Nov./Dec. 1997 issue of Foreign Affairs journal), Fareed Zakaria presented a somewhat controversial term he called “illiberalism”. The original article (the PDF of which is referenced here) was originally intended as Exhibit A in a much broader post for this week. However, on further consideration, its length and profundity warrant a front and center prominence the original post design did not afford.
Additionally, take a read through Zakaria’s December 2016 follow-up to the original article as well as both an analysis of and a counter to his proposals.
Next week we will reference these articles in a broader context which considers the possibility that while democracy could be on the demise worldwide, the American use of the phrase “death of democracy” could refer to the wane of something considerably more profound than we imagine.
Traveling the land, this free tea house cultivates community,
health, peace, sustainability, and genuine human interactions.
Follow Edna Lu the Free Tea Bus and her operator,
Giusepi, as they adventure through America.
We introduced our young friend Giusepi Spadafora, the Tea Man, to this community back in January with a follow-up query about possible summer projects for Giusepi and Edna. As noted in his newsletter below (full text included), he is looking for a place to settle for a bit, perhaps for the winter, to write–somewhere in the southwest. Since some of you live in that area, you might have some ideas. If so, and especially if you are not familiar with the Tea Man’s lifestyle and more than a decade of Good work, take a look at his newsletter and the links within it. Giusepi expresses an exemplary lifestyle characterized by small group community coupled with personal responsibility worthy of the idea “We, the People!” We should support him in any way we can. (more…)
“I loathe nationalism. It is a form of tribalism–the idolatry of the century” ~Cornel West
When many of us hear the word “morals”, we often withdraw, flinch, find someone else to talk to or another place to be. In fact, morals, in the simplest terms, only refers to what we consider “good” (or “bad”). All of us hold them (moral positions, that is). We might not talk about them much (in a metacognitive, that is, self-conscious manner) but we express them constantly.
“Democracy has dominated as a globally promoted and accepted form or governance not because it is perfect or because it, without fail, elects the best leaders or even very good leaders all of the time but because it is supposed to be self-correcting and potentially self-enforcing.” ~Susan Hyde
For some time now, citizens of the United States have increasingly begun to question just how “self-correcting” or “self-enforcing” American democracy might be. Some of our most prominent thinkers have begun to ask poignant questions about the state of democracy, both in American and throughout the world. (more…)
Before the [civil] war, it was said ‘the United States are’, grammatically it was spoken that way and was thought of as a collection of independent states. And after the war it was always ‘the United States is’ as we say today without being self-conscious at all.
~ Shelby Foote, historian
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…” So begins the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. “We the People…” began with the idea of banding together in the spirit of democracy, in order to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” Oh, well! Could this period in which we now live represent the beginning of the death of the democratic experiment that was and is supposed to be the United States?
Charlottesville, 2017 – image by Andalou Agency/Getty Images
Our fundamental disagreement about what it means to be an “American”
The value of political parties
Reasons for why we maintain relatively intractable political positions and staunchly maintained polarization
How and why division in current U.S. politics is preventing democracy from functioning as it should
How the current political climate in the U.S. threatens to create a breaking point akin to the Civil War
That inequality and polarization have grown in tandem for the last few decades
That the intrusion of money into the electoral process is fueling voter discontent and the disjuncture between the public (actual constituents) and campaign donors (paying constituents)’.
As mentioned, the article is lengthy, not very sexy, but well worth the effort to understand what it presents.
Extending the Drutman article’s focus on political division, next week’s post– Death of Democracy – Part 2—frames this problem into a slightly more embedded historical context, reaching toward addressing our need not only for less division but toward more proactive socio-political solidarity.