The Failure Of Democracy – American And Other
By David Anderson
25 March, 2016
This essay challenges the founding principle of the American constitutional form of government; expressed in the sanctity of human liberty and freedom. It makes the case that “liberty and freedom” as it is so defined in the American constitution and its amendments has now in this Anthropocene period become an intractable obstacle working against the survival of our species on this planet. It states the reason. It is a form of government that allows expression and gives power to the worst of the psychotic self.
We are now witnessing this in America with the unbridled use of the resources of the planet to the public’s psychotic satisfaction without reference to ecological reality. Recognition of our species’ interdependency with the forces of Nature is ignored. Self-interest prevails and becomes the standard ethic. Citizens turn their eyes away from what they prefer not to see and toward what they desire. It has left not just all Americans, but our species throughout the globe facing the possibility of non survival on the planet.
In recent years the question of human survival has begun to move to the forefront of humanity’s thought process. Serious debate is taking place in many sectors of world society - including in America. Governments however are unable to take sufficient corrective action. A deficiency within the democratic process arises from the fact that each thought group finds itself looking for solutions based its own narrow range of understanding, as well as bias. Also as noted above, psychotic self-interest among the masses prevails. As a result, corrective thought and action is unable to overcome the wholeness of the problem. This was noticeably evident in Pope Francis’ 2015 LAUDATO SI which was religiously purposeful, yet vague in many important areas such as that of exponential population growth. At the same time, the concrete economic measures he proposed faded into the background.
It is self-evident that the planet’s democratically constituted forms of government are constitutionally ill equipped to handle a problem of such depth and magnitude. The worst impulses of a self-centered and ignorant secular society have unyielding power. This is now illustrated by the inability of governments to face the need for review of what is quickly becoming an overwhelming planetary destructive force; a capital market system gone awry. The architecture that grew out of the industrial revolution, on which capital markets today justify their operation, is in need of repair. The cold hard fact is that this architecture, like an insidious disease, is working against human survival.
Capital markets have grown to a size where they are energizing ecologically and socially destructive forces of a magnitude that has never before been seen in the history of the planet. Resource allocation is being misguided and misappropriated on a massive scale. Irreparable planetary damage is being done.
Negative external costs and positive incentives are not being built into investment decisions. These costs and incentives should be applied to every human economic activity from the mine to the chemistry lab to the assembly line to the opera house to the athletic field to the hospital. Economic outcomes with negative social and/or ecological value should be recognized. Negative externalities should to be measured and priced in up front so as to discourage, temper, or at the extreme eliminate investment. None of this is happening.
Recognition of the need for changes in capital markets as well as changes in other areas of human activity has been only taking place globally among isolated pockets of population. The 2015 agreement reached at the COP21 meeting in Paris should be noted here. 196 nations agreed to the seriousness of the problem and pledged to take action. But will all of this be enough? The answer had been a resounding “No.”
In America large segments of the population refuse to recognize oncoming ecological reality. Life is too good for them. They rest their case on the sanctity of a Jeffersonian/Hamiltonian democratic mindset and therefore belief in what is commonly described as “neo-conservatism.” This in turn is supported by belief in the “God-Like” benefit of free and fluid “Capital Markets.” They rest their case on an extremely conservative Adam Smith “hidden hand” bias, flatly refusing to acknowledge its inherent dangers. Market-based mechanisms and technology become a solution to all problems.
Where does this leave human civilization? The warning referenced below by Robert Hansen is real. A breakdown is approaching. It will be global. It will be far reaching. The forces of nature on the planet will be turning against our species. Temperatures will be rising. Oceans will be rising. Billions of people will be starving. Religious sectarian violence will be spreading. We may even see atomic weapons being used. Nations will be in political in disarray.
As this is occurring, humanity will be searching for a way it can continue to live on this planet in some form of planetary harmony. Many will be asking the question: Is some form of beneficent authoritarian government capable of designing measures that will allow human life to overcome the enfolding deterioration of the biosphere? Is it even possible?
Such a form of world government would call for a very large number of enlightened individuals to have the authority – and ability - to bring about change. Clearly, as a template, the American constitutional system would not suffice. Nor would other democratic forms as now seen throughout the world. In fact, freedom as understood in the present democratic sense will come to be seen as a primary cause of the ecological forces being set in motion.
It will not be a smooth ride. Unrestrained psychopathic impulses built on the fear instinct and supported by a concomitant need for self-preservation will be playing a role. As ecological problems build, in many nations corrupt and self-centered authoritarian rule will take over.
One question we should now be considering is this: Can there emerge a higher level of human consciousness with voices saying that we are not separate from the cosmic realm but are a part of a rhythm that is in a sense “the mind” of the cosmic realm, voices redefining the cosmic and planetary purpose of the human species by way of new forms of thought?
Another question relates to the efficacy of transformational counter measures, given the enormity of the difficulties that will have arisen from cascading ecological developments and their seeming irreversibility. Will change be possible? There is cause for doubt as to whether political, economic, and social change could take place fast enough to reverse the disintegrative momentum. We have no historical precedent to go by. Human evolutionary change has always taken very long periods of time. Adaption has been gradual. This one calls for immediate response.
We can, however, also observe that there has been an acceleration of human response in recent history. Humanity would appear to be benefiting from a growing capacity for flexibility.
As the ecological breakdown continues to unfold, the future of Homo sapiens will lie at a critical fork on its evolutionary road; one leading to its painful end, the other to its long term survival on this planet and in the cosmos of which it is a part.
How much time do we have? Some highly accredited scientists say our present trajectory will present very serious planetary problems within the next fifty to one hundred years, and some even point to the end of our species after three hundred.
The scientist who first warned of climate change says it’s much worse than we thought
Amelia Urry, 22 Mar 2016
David Anderson brings together a wide range of interests in his writings, namely; theology, history, evolutionary anthropology, philosophy, geopolitics, and economics.
He has written three books. A fourth is near completion. (see http://www.inquiryabraham.com/new-book.html ) It is about a necessary geo political, social, religious, economic paradigm shift for human survival.
David is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Hawaii (Harvard Asia Pacific) Advanced Management Program. Over his career he was an international risk manager and senior executive at several of America's premier multinational institutions. During that period he became increasingly aware of the underlying cultural, institutional and religious causes of past and present civilizational dysfunction and conflict.