Sunday, November 21, 2004

democracy in america

Having outgrown the 2004 election, a general picture emerges.

It all derives from the public ambivalence between monarchy (top-down governance) and parliament (bottom-up)—in the U.S. a matter of Executive telos vs. Legislative telos.

The majority of the U.S. public has voted for monarchy, though the Executive reign (the Republicans) would prefer to dissolve itself through decreased federalism, causing increased confederacy among states (which is also the net result of federal tax cuts: shifting burdens of public welfare to the states)—which, by the way, is fostered by increasing the national debt.

But it’s what the majority of the public wants: the power of the party that would shift government to localities. Ironically, then, the Republicans may be more democratic than the Democrats (though the Democrats may despise the majority—be they evangelical, entrepreneurial, or clueless—who keep the Republicans in prevalence), and the Democrats may be more republican (as federalists) than the Republicans.

Love America, as it registers the condition of all humanity: interplay between top-down and bottom-up governance—be that the paradoxical interplay of federalism and confederalism in a U.S. “monarchy” that would prefer to dissolve itself; or the interplay of federalsm and confederalism in the young EU; or the tension between The Party in China and the juggarnaut of economic localism; or Islam and Arab modernization.

In the U.S., the two modes of social evolution—Executive and Legislative—battle for the telos of the judiciary: between the executivist mentality of strict constructionism or original intent (mixed with states-rights confederalism); and the legislativist mentality of judicial activism or affirmative action. (I know it’s not that simple.)

But the judiciary must look to winds of the times and strive to navigate. And both the Executors and the Legislators face the next election. So, the evolving public prevails after all.

We have monarchal eras. We have parliamentary eras. New generations rediscover history (judicial wisdom, executive pragmatics), and elders are swept away by futurities (evolving times, emergences) they didn’t anticipate.

That’s the plot, the plod of democratic social evolution, but maybe it’s not uselessly simple to suppose that some valid narrative Simplicity belongs to social complexity (emerging bottom up) because it’s so human to need grand coherence (ensuring top down). That’s democracy in America because social evolution is made largely of simple minds.

You think that’s too simple-minded? Got a better synoptic? Let me know.