We Need Transformative Democracy

Expecting the failed system to repair itself is not reasonable

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

by Mike Meyer

We are fully acclimatized to the disintegration of the old Western lead nations as incompetence has become the new normal. Great Britain is working on taking itself apart in a long, slow, BREXIT death while a growing percent of the US population is beginning to realize that the Trump/Republican disaster will not be easily recoverable even if the Trump regime can be removed.

This is a very sobering realization that has meaning for everyone on the planet. It is a dose of adult reality that, particularly in the US case, has been long avoided. This won’t stop the disaster or the gross incompetence of insane criminality and low grade racism but realizing this is not superficial but full structural failure is an important stage.

That makes a very different situation than the usual political class pontificating and beltway ego manipulation that most people have learned to safely ignore. The world has been changed and not in any good way. The bills for this are coming due and they are not small. And that doesn’t even consider the climate crisis as the largest disaster in human history that has been, perhaps fatally, buried in the political collapse.

The dawning realization of the extent of this disaster for the US is slowly expanding to the realization that this virus or condition is endemic to all of Western Civilization. How else do we explain the completely illogical reappearance of warlord fascist opportunists being given control in functioning representative governments? We are not even a century away from end of devastating warfare that wiped out much of Europe and Asia in the 20th century cause by, yes, nationalism and fascism.

What became ‘nationalist’ ideology in the 19th century produced continuous warfare, economic disasters, and genocide with massive exploitation of people and resources. One result of that was tremendous increase in wealth but at a price that is still being collected in many nations including the US. These things are now our goals again?

Human social organizations follow patterns. This was long understand rather vaguely and was increasingly dismissed as non-scientific and the result of random cause and effect. Traditional efforts to define and understand these patterns were clustered in fields such as astrology and fortune telling and then denied. But the replicating patterns did not cooperate by going away.

So we find ourselves having changed into something that seems to cause a portion of our population to demand self destruction while rejecting our hard won knowledge and skills that offer solutions to all our traditional problems. We seem to have forgotten how to succeed and how to think as a society. We no longer understand that the great power of the US and Western Civilization, in a long historical tradition back to imperial China and the Hellenic Age of Alexander the Great, is openness and inclusion of as many people as possible.

What does that openness create? An era of cultural effervescence with explosion of knowledge and growing well being for the population involved. This has never included everyone and can created alienation and desperation among elements of a population but these are, nevertheless, remembered as the best of times. The cycle has continued and grown over the last four thousand years of human history. We were at a peak greater than any in the past as close as fifty years ago.

One appropriate example of what this means is the fifty years since we stood on the moon. The US was the lead technology that managed an incredible success with very limited technology. But we stopped. And then we forgot how to try. And then we began denying that we had.

There is an amazing percentage of the population that insists that none of that ever happened. For years that absurd claim was laughed at but still exists and has grown. That is, I think now, a symptom of cultural failure and civilizational collapse. The justifications for claiming it was all fake are so crude that they are a joke but that doesn’t matter. When logic is denied then logical arguments are powerless.

This is a sentinel marker of approaching death for a civilization just as terminal symptoms mark mortality in an animal. We try to ignore these and pretend they don’t matter. In the US we have the internal contradiction of claiming that nothing has changed just as the existence of the gross incompetence and criminality of the Trump regime make it impossible to ignore how much has been lost. Yet the mainstream message is still full denial. Read any breathless article on the Democratic primary and the 2020 election for proof.

Somehow a corrupt federal electoral system in the hands of two corrupt and dysfunctional political parties fully under the control of a criminal administration will heal itself with an election. And this will happen with some significant portion of the population enthralled by self destructive tendencies and the denial of objective truth and reality. The very same people who deny our greatest technological triumphs and wish to subjugate and enslave whomever they can manage to capture are not going to vote for open democracy and cultural inclusion.

This is not and will not be a democratic environment or election. Expecting the problem portion of the population to vote in the greater interest of the planetary civilization is not only wrong but actively dangerous. This was the historical failure of expecting a society controlled by slaveholders to remove slavery by an election. That failed. The places it worked were places without any significant slaveholders.

Historical cycles are now being newly evaluated just as elements of astrology and the complexity of the universe as a potential existing only as a mental construct are calling into question the simplistic materialism of earlier scientific theory. This is a massive paradigmatic change but it seems to indicate that we build our universe as sentient beings and that we are not powerless elements in vast physical universe but critical components in the evolution of a much more complex universe than we ever imagined.

The critical realization is that we are both product and result of attitudes and ideas controlled by all that we can perceive and understand. We can and have created past dark ages just as we can and have created ages of effervescent knowledge and discovery.

We are now being pulled into a potential dark age by the remnants of all human ignorance and brutality. With the climate crisis upon us that dark age could well be our last. We must stop that and the realization that I describe hear must be taken seriously and acted upon but not as a democratic state from a previous age. We must deal with the now and emerging age that is very different. This will require direct popular action to replace the broken systems.

But at the same time there are many other layers of opportunity and refreshing innovation. That includes a planetary economy that, despite grossly imbalanced assets, has been surprisingly resilient to concentrated idiocy. It is still managing to work surprisingly well to support globalization and that is good. We need to recover and redistribute all the wealth but at least it is there. We will need it all for everyone to survive the climate disasters coming down on us. This is a planetary war of survival and those are not cheap.

It also includes a new generation who understand what the climate crisis means for them and, even more importantly, that their parents are a multigenerational failure with no grasp of the new reality. As they are having to work against their parents it’s up to them to save the planet and as many species as possible including our own.

These realizations have created the most important break and polarization that has almost nothing to do with the old and endless tussling over long dead mistakes. This is becoming clearer by the day.

This is positive but our situation is grave and the number of variables in play at the planetary level means the future is very much in doubt. It is also highly likely that the US, at least, and maybe others, will blow up in some form of political crisis and collapse. All the signs are bad and while the planetary economy has held up surprisingly well it is showing the signs of age and gross imbalances accelerated by willful incompetence and general stupidity.

All of us and all of this is at the mercy of growing climate disasters. Yet, the potential for massive change and great renewal is also growing. At a very basic level of demographics the old are dying and the young are exerting every more influence and, soon, control. The great majority of those under forty now are very aware of the need for planetary management of our climate and all resources. They are also well beyond racism and bigotry. Yes, there are exceptions in those areas where the old problems have been cultivated and maintained but they are a small minority among the young.

As an example, one of many, the BREXIT disaster was driven by the old who could not understand the EU world. However the disaster evolves, at some point it will be a vote of all those who now understand the errors of 2016. But even without the changing of any minds the old have been reduced by death and the young, strongly pro EU, are more every year. By those numbers alone a new referendum would go the other way.

In the US a new generation of politicians are completely unlike the past. And they know they must fight for changes that cannot wait. This is inspirational and providing leadership for the future. They are refusing to play in a rigged game even though they are poorly prepared to defend against the combined forces of crime, ignorance, and greed.

The failure of the Trump regime, despite its efforts, to do more damage than it has done is a small blessing. Incompetence has inescapable consequences. Even where environmental laws are destroyed they are not being allowed to go unchallenged. In the US the Pacific Coast states are holding the ground and pushing forward for the future.

On a more personal level the active commitment in communities to remove fossil fuels and become fully renewable on a schedule is impressive. At the same time the growing movement to plant millions of trees is the kind of individual action implemented at a planetary level that is understandable and doable. It is not enough but is an incredible powerful image and with elimination of most fossil fuels in the next ten years and the reduction of mindless materialism with economic transformation, we could begin to push the point of no return to later in this century. We will need more than thirty or forty years to transform democracy and our planet.

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store