Categories
- 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?

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Categories
Development Justice Oneness

Trust and Nobility

Humanity will mature as each member is allowed to contribute to its advancement. Every human being has talents and capacities, the development of which is the right and duty of the individual, and the creation of environments that foster this development the role of the institutions of society. That every human being is created noble captures the idea that each individual has capacities that can be brought out through education in order to benefit humankind.

Justice demands that all shoulder responsibility and participate in the building of a world civilization. And this cannot be dismissed as a utopian ideal, because every person has capacities that can be developed towards humanity’s advance. Thus, in order for universal participation to become a reality, there needs to be a certain degree of trust among all people. The oneness of humanity implies that society belongs to every individual, and as such, no one person should be exalted over another. If society belongs to all, then all must be trusted in their contributions to its development. In trusting, people open themselves to others and commit themselves to shared goals. And an individual who betrays this trust goes against the governing principles of oneness and justice that are inherent in the fabric of reality itself.

All human beings are created noble, with latent talents and capacities that can be manifest towards civilization’s advance. Oneness and justice imply that every individual becomes a protagonist of humanity’s development, on equal footing, working shoulder to shoulder – building of capacity in each human being is a manifestation of justice. The process of advancing civilization is thus characterized by trust between each of us. Without trust, and without a belief in the nobility of all, the cause of justice cannot be championed.