Friday, October 5, 2012

More Fixing Democracy, Part 1

This is the first in a new series of posts on how to make our democracy work better based on an article in The Intelligent Optimist magazine (formerly Ode) by Mary Parker Follett, a management consultant and author, taken from her book, The New State, originally published in 1918 and still very relevant today.


“No government will be successful, no government will endure, which does not rest on the individual.  Up to the present moment we have never seen the individual. Yet the search for him has been the whole long striving of our history.  We sought him through the method of representation and failed to find him. We sought to reach him by extending the suffrage to every man and then to every woman [and every race] and yet he eludes us.  Direct government now seeks the individual; but as we have not found him by sending more people to the ballot box, so we shall not find him by sending people more often to the ballot box.


“Are our constitutional conventions to sit and congratulate themselves on their progressive ideas while they are condemning us to a new form of our old particularism--the ballot box?  How completely that has failed us! Direct government as at present generally understood is a mere phantom of democracy. Democracy is not a sum in addition. Democracy is not brute numbers; it is a genuine union of true individuals.”


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