- Governance - Religion - Three Protagonists Discourse

Double Cure: Eliminate Parties and Campaigning

Partisanship is a bane to effective governance. Identifying with a political party exacerbates a bitter partisan divide that threatens the very fiber of social order and governance. Motivations of civil servants should be only the good of all people and the interests of the common weal. Political parties are artificial fabrications designed to impose a priority on public servants entirely alien to the betterment of the nation and the people.

Campaigning is a bane to institutional integrity and effective governance. Campaigning is not necessary for effective elections. People’s character should be known to the community through their deeds and selfless service. Ballots need only allow voters to write in the name of the desired candidate. A plurality of votes would elect the individual most renowned for her brilliant character, virtuous conduct, mature experience, established service, and achievements on behalf of public welfare. Special interests are able to distort representation by donating to campaign funds. The presence of campaigning requires candidates to raise funds to win elections, which structurally enslaves their will to corporate profits.

It is the combination of partisanship and campaigning which makes political candidates dependent on funding because they need to campaign against proponents from opposing parties.  Without political parties there would be no need to campaign against anyone else, and without campaigning  there would be no funding requirement to drive politicians to seek lobbyist’s endorsement. Partisanship and campaigning are institutional arrangements of  American politics that have distorted its true nature and corrupted it effectiveness.

It is the philosophical position of this forum that steps toward the elimination of political parties as well as the banning of the practice of campaigning would increase the integrity of democracy and the efficacy of governance. We recommend steps toward the structural transformation of national, local, and international politics removing the institutional arrangements of parties and the introduction of legal bans on campaigning. Any person or group operating in a way appearing to constitute overt campaigning will be disqualified from the electoral process. Without need to generate funding for costly campaigns, candidates will be free of lobbyists and donations from special interests. Free from partisan affiliations, government representatives will vote on all issues according only to principles of selfless and academically-informed considerations of public welfare.

holy land

- Governance Power

Alternative Elections

The idea of humanity as one, interconnected, interdependent, social body implies that each person is born into this world as a trust of the whole.  The role of governance, then, comes as an exercise of the power of collective trusteeship.  This idea of governance is irreconcilable with its current characteristics of competitive groups struggling for power to advance their own interests.  As our world has become highly socially, ecologically, and economically interdependent, the well-being of each part is dependent on the well-being of the whole.  The conception of government that is modeled after a contest for power – susceptible to economic corruption, diminishing the voice of the marginalized, and disregarding the interest of non-constituents including those unborn – has ceased to promote prosperity, has failed to address the needs of an evolving humanity, has served to oppress and divide.  Why continue?  Why cling?  Why allow humankind to suffer to keep an obsolescent system built on an anachronistic assumption?

One example of an alternate system is presented here, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that systems of governance don’t have to be contests of power.  The Baha’i community is developing a system that has proven effective in every culture, geographic location, and level of government.  It has an electoral process that is purely democratic yet free of competition – every adult is responsible to vote, is eligible for election, and has the duty to serve if elected.  There are no nominations, no campaigns, no parties; no manipulation, no slander, no economic influence.  Voters have the complete freedom to choose those who they think will serve the role the best – and these names are cast with secret ballot.  Those who are named most frequently on the ballot are then elected to serve on consultative institutions – and it is in these bodies where decision-making authority resides, and not with any individual elected member.  Of course, this system is evolving within a learning mode, and only works when certain conditions are met – for instance, that it is adopted in a voluntary manner and that certain values and commitments are cultivated in those participating (such as truthfulness, detachment, selflessness, and support of majority vote in decisions, just to name a few).

Where have you seen alternative models of governance that employ mature conceptions of power?  

What are ideas of how governance can be unifying?  How is power exercised in unifying and cooperative systems?