(Some people will think this superficial. Others will think it simplistic. Still others will argue with my definitions. Some people will get the point.)
There are two forms of government in which the people believe they reign supreme: Direct Democracies and Representative Republics. (All other forms of government are variations on either monarchies or dictatorships regardless of the trappings they don to confuse us.)
The United States isn’t a Direct Democracy, in which the people rule themselves according to the dictates of the majority, although we could be if we wanted to be.
The United States is a Representative Republic, in which we delegate our authority and our powers to the people we elect to rule over us.
Direct Democracies always degenerate into the “dictatorship of the majority.” Representative Republics always degenerate into “a dictatorship of the minority” with the minority being a small elite of those elected representatives and other persons of great wealth.
Both forms of government can only function as long as there is a general consensus about WHAT we want to achieve and only disagree about HOW to achieve those goals
When a civilization develops divergent factions that have irreconcilably different sets of goals and no longer agree on what they want government to do (or not do), the civilization breaks down and chaos ensues until a strong man (or woman) emerges to take control by offering to protect the people from the chaos they have created. We are rapidly approaching this stage of degeneration.
As civilizations increase in complexity, the members of those civilizations become less and less able to understand those complexities, which makes it easier and easier for demagogues to gain power by offering simplistic solutions for the problems that plague that civilization. That is the state we are in right now.
We have forgotten three things:
There is only one species of homo sapien on this planet and we all belong to that one species. Go back far enough in our respective family trees and you will find that every person you have ever met is a distant cousin of yours. (You may have to go back at least a hundred thousand years but the journey will be worth the effort.)
The “race theory” that the superficial differences between different groups of people (called races) somehow divide us from one another is the classic “divide and conquer” tactic used by dictators since the beginning of time.
So, instead of calling each other “brother” or some diminutive of brother, I propose that we call each other “cousins,” which is the more accurate and less sexist way of calling attention to our deep connections to one another. Remember the connection, not the superficial divisions.
The second thing we have forgotten is that the members of every ruling class have only one controlling imperative: to retain the reins of power in their sweaty grips. They will never do the people’s business because they are too busy taking care of themselves.
I have forgotten the third thing. It seems I am getting old after all.
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