Building USA II
It’s time to face the positive opportunities of political collapse. This is hard but we are not going to get through this without some very serious work on what we really want to build when there is nothing left of the US political system but rubble. We are very close now and, I think, a majority of the population senses this whether or not they are ready to admit it to themselves. I’ve spent several months and more than a few words trying to explore where we are going given the paradigmatic changes that we are facing as a planet. And that is probably the biggest issue as we are now facing planetary issues in climate change, growing climate disasters, and resultant population moves. We are not equipped or experienced with full planetary issues. I suspect that you could probably count on the fingers of one hand how many times you have seen the word ‘planetary’ used in the way that I just used it. We just don’t think that way but we need to start now. But that is the big picture.
In the US we are leading the planet again, but in a very bad way. We are showing what happens when the preeminent representative “democratic” capitalist national government fails. It is increasingly obvious that we have left the era of the limited representative republic political system and the end of the capitalist economies. The inertia of a two hundred fifty year old nation-state is massive but it is important that we recognize that this one is simply not going to be restored no matter what happens. While nostalgia will be a problem the issue is not one of total success or failure but simply of change that requires changes to our administrative and economic systems. We have spent well over a century arguing absolutes with capitalism versus socialism versus Marxism. The simple reality is that past successes can turn into present and future failures. We are at that point now. The current government is clearly failing and failing more disastrously by the week.
One thing that needs to be formalized is the absolute importance of rights providing an equitable status for everyone. It is very obvious that a major problem in the collapse of the United State’s political system was the assumption that we, as a nation, had done that when we really hadn’t. Instead, a very limited racist and gender based guarantee of rights was provided with a demand that everyone pretend it to be complete. This was, we can see now, a fatal flaw that should have been seriously corrected in 1865 and was partially attempted but failed and was allowed to be reversed. We are seeing that battle repeated today. There have been multiple attempts at correcting both misogyny and racism on several occasions but full action was has always been deferred. And now time has run out. Election, even a questionable minority election, of a racist and misogynistic predator such as Trump has destroyed the pretense and made two hundred years of promises a lie. The explosion of #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo in the wake of the Trump has made it impossible to pretend anymore. This ugly history cannot be swept under the rug again. This is not a bump but the end of the road. A new route must be blazed to the future.
That new route must include everyone in full, complete equality of diversity. Right now we are hung in the terrible zone of destroyed pretense with nowhere to go. Fascists and other traditional opportunists swarm in to feed on fear and hatred in the resulting power vacuum. This is the story of Trump and his owners and the sad end to the US two party system. One party has become complicit in dictatorial rule and the other is simply unable to understand what has happened. That is the problem of nostalgia mentioned above. If we could simply go back and fix a few things it would be OK. But the past is dead and cannot be revived.
At this point we need to identify two paths that need to be followed. One of these will be the immediate process of change. How is Trump and everything that he and the failed two party system has come to represent removed? And what is it that will replace the old US as a political and social entity?
While the first path is what we have to face in the next few months I’m confident that it will end with the removal of the Trump regime and almost certainly some type of effort to return to the previous system. The first, I’m sure, will succeed and the second will, I think, fail. What will replace that failure is what I am concerned with here. To be complete there is the possibility that the Trump regime is not removed. I don’t think I need to explain in detail that as a disaster that will end the story. The result could be war and perhaps nuclear holocaust, hopefully not but it would quickly mean the end of the US as a union. We already have a clear shift in political power to the Pacific Coast with California growing into the new role of world state more accurately representing all the Americas. But there is no way to predict this type of breakup and where it would lead. That is for another narrative path. I will only say that it will include a diverse number of options and ways of organizing metropolitan and rural areas.
To retain something that will be a direct descendant of the US of A, what would we want it to be? How should it be changed? What of the old should be retained and what discarded? Does it make sense to keep it as one nation-state or to go back to a looser association as we deal with all the unsolved problems? These are basic questions that need to be answered but will probably change in the process of answering them.
By building the new on the ruins of the old we have the option of deleting, changing, or adding. I would suggest given that the current failure is primarily a failure to listen to the population’s primary concerns and primary desires for government administration that those should be addressed at the level of rights expanded for the 21st century and beyond. This would simplify the process by legally defining the correct rights for residents far beyond “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
We know that the majority of the population is requesting:
- Equality and the elimination of all discrimination of any type.
- Universal medical care.
- Universal public education through college.
- A reasonable guarantee of jobs or income for the provision of shelter and sustenance. This is the actual meaning of freedom and liberty.
- Security from physical or emotional threat and harm
This is now a very standard list provided for most citizens of OECD states. It should be very difficult to argue against any of these for reasons other than stupidity and/or greed.
Being the Government
A major failure of the US system is the disenfranchisement of citizens and residents. All residents must have the same rights and must also bare the same responsibilities in a truly democratic system. A great deal of the failure that we are going through now is the failure of the representative system that most people feel does not represent them and is therefor not democratic. This alienation produces both fear and anger that are manipulated by opportunists playing on the strongman theme of fascism and other forms of feudalism. Frightened people instinctively look for a protector or person who promises to give them what they need if they don’t feel that has been made available. At the same time the fascist process identifies scapegoats to blame in order to gain control. How do we prevent that?
This raises the question of democratic systems. The US had a democratic system in name only. It was designed to be a very limited republic with indirect executive selection and a parliamentary representation system also very indirect. That has failed or is failing in nearly all large states.
For the first time in history we have the technical ability to implement direct democracy. Part of the paradigm shift that is tearing us apart is the manipulation of new social media tools that are far more powerful than has been realized. How can we use those to involve all people in government directly? Is that a reasonable goal?
The power of massive data gathering and analysis makes it possible to model the perceived needs and opinions of anyone in the system. Shouldn’t that be used to involve all residents in the process of administration and resource allocation? This is potentially a profound change. It could effectively replace representatives with up to the minute models of what any given segment of the population thinks on any understood, public issue. This is where things become very different from anything in our past. How would this work?
Let’s assume that regional (city or state) administration has been asked to fund a new stadium for the region. Is this something that people desire? This information with details on costs, optional locations, activities to be provided for in the stadium, effect on the environment and concerns of people in the possible locations would be made available to the total community. Those with time and interest could study the materials and take a position on the various questions being asked. They effectively vote just as representatives would in the old model legislature or city council. Or they could designate another resident as a proxy to make the decision for them. This might be a good idea allowing the coalescence of interest groups similar to political parties or might be something that is too close to the old system allowing purchase of citizens. We need to decide. These are, never the less, standard processes for voting in organizations. But for the people too busy or not that interested, their opinion could be generated by ML (Machine Learning) based on detailed analysis of their positions on related issues and their known interests. Dependent on the data available this could be more accurate than asking the spouse of that person what they would decide. Is that good enough?
Let’s take this a bit deeper. On the positive side this could be a more accurate assessment of that person’s opinion than they could give themselves if they were too busy or uninterested in the outcome. But what if they heard something from someone they know in one of the areas or involved in the request for the stadium and they suddenly decide they have a very definite opinion against the request? What if any generated position was available to be over ridden by that person up to the deadline for a decision or even a few days beyond that. They would simply log in and change their ML generated “vote”. Perhaps this process could involve the right to abstain and erase their opinion at any point? This would be direct democracy in action. All administrative actions, some, or only major ones could have these rights. If a major project was approved but had problems or other events, disasters, etc. could change the public positions not only from individuals taking personal action but from ML analysis determining a change in position of the total population that could reverse the decision and make a new one. With some care this could nearly eliminate corruption and graft in large public projects. This is the beginning of a completely new way of involving people in government completely avoiding representatives who are easily bought or intimidated under the present system.
Can we face the entirely new concept of real democracy? This would eliminate much of the bigotry and corruption that seems inherent in the old style representational government systems with representatives owned by the highest bidder, while forcing us to directly face the bigotry and ignorance of our population(s). The traditional arguments that have come to define liberal versus conservative is the role of government as the tool of the population, i.e. people versus the role of government as another, alien entity that blocks the freedom of the people. By making the government directly the people this would seem to end the argument or at least clarify the question. Is the question freedom to act or freedom to designate others for exploitation and domination?
Next: Would this work best as a federation, alliance, or a union? Does it matter?