The State

Here is a quote taken from this web site: http://www.vivarto.com/o2/eng/index2.html. Think that both Pericles and Socrates are right in a fashion (more after the quote).

Perhaps the most difficult problem of mankind down through the ages has been how to coordinate our common affairs in an efficient, competent, creative and democratic way. Many people, including the Nobel Prize winner in economics Dr Amartya Sen, say that our inability to solve this problem is the ultimate cause of starvation, war, economic problems and environmental destruction.One of the main problems is presented in Plato’s dialog “The State,” where Socrates debates with Pericles whether it is the experts or the people who should govern society. Socrates stated, “You don’t let a mob decide how to treat your stomach ailment, you go to a good doctor.” Pericles, the father of Greek democracy, maintained on the other hand that ordinary citizens were fully qualified to govern themselves.

In reality it has most often been neither the experts nor the people who have governed, but rather power-hungry people – something which history is replete with instances of.

It seems to me that given a open ended choice (ie, not having 2 – 6 possible candidates) that people would tend to choose knowledgeable, wise, and caring people to represent them. Our governmental system is designed for putting power-hungry people into office. We elect someone based upon what they say in their campaign. A campaign is “a connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result” (#2 from Mirriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary). So to bring about their desired result they will snipe at their opponents, promise more than they can deliver, and get their lives opened up like a book for the world to see. Only someone who is ruthless and truly craves the power associated with running the government would stand to be attacked and counter-attack as the successful campaigner must.

I truly feel that one of the best qualifications for holding office is a true desire to not be there. Someone who is not elected should have a huge sigh of relief. Furthermore the party system is obviously outdated. Perhaps the better system is to choose a President is to elect representatives who go and meet. In their meeting they discuss the problems of the country and choose a Cabinet which represents the best leaders with the vision to solve the problems. They could even draft recommendations to send to the President. The Cabinet could choose who the President is and which of them are slated to which post.

Or maybe we need more indecision and strife between the leaders of this nation for another decade… it makes for interesting television.

Clinton

Ran across an interesting interview with Bill Clinton in December 2000, Wired magazine. Here is a quote from him discussing technology’s influence on society. He talked about how access to technology makes some groups more powerful such as terrorists and hate groups. The end of the previous paragraph made the point that for all the bad, in the long run we still move towards justice.

“[It’s] sort of a reverse social Darwinism: The more complex societies get and the more complex the networks of interdependence within and beyond community and national borders get, the more people are forced in their own interests to find non-zero-sum solutions. That is, win-win solutions instead of win-lose solutions…. Because we find as our interdependence increases that, on the whole, we do better when other people do better as well – so we have to find wats that we can all win, we have to accomodate wach other. And, on balance, that’s a humanizing and elevating development.”

This whole article changed my view on Clinton. Find it strange that I am much more impressed with politicians AFTER they start acting like the people they truely are. Clinton interviewed in the article knowing that it would not be public until AFTER the election. Little bit of irony: he mentioned that the election would be decided by the time the article was published.

Puppet Candidates

This election has me nervous about the state of the union. Either candidate is a puppet, one more than the other, but all in all puppets. They have grave responsibility with little power to exercise their conscience.

What truly irks me is someone who campaigns beyond their capability. How can Gore or Bush provide legislation? How could Nader do anything except be an ineffective President with no allies in the Congress? Presidents ask their allies (read party members) in the Congress to write up a bill that does what they want to do. That bill more than likely will have the congress member’s name on it, not the president’s.

The flip side is that a President’s allies in the Congress can only get bi-partisan legistlation through. Any truly liberal legislation is going to be opposed by the conservatives.

The Baha’i method without this campaigning fiasco is truly the better method in my opinion. If we wish to have representative government, then why do we pretend to vote on the president? How many Americans truly understand that they are NOT voting on the president? Doubt it is most. Especially since every election year I hear the same question about “why are there people listed under the candidates name?”

At least I voted.

Survey and Photography

All the hard work on the Politics & the Web Survey hopefully is over. It is a REALLY long survey at 192 responses or so. The survey changes on Election Day. Don’t fill it out more than once (or at least use different email addresses, computers, or far apart times to disquise that you did).

Mom asked what I wanted as a college graduation present. K-Mart happened to be having a closing sale, so we visited it. She got me an Olympus Stylus Zoom 115 QD Date 35mm Camera for me to play with at photography. It’s my first camera. All the other cameras I previously used belonged to someone else.

UPDATE 24-MAR-2010: Link to the survey removed as site is gone.