Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More Fixing Democracy, Part 2

This is the next 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.


“How is that genuine union to be attained, how is the true individual to be discovered? The party has always ignored him; it wants merely a crowd, a preponderance of votes. The early reform associations had the same aim. Both wanted voters, not individuals. It makes little difference whether we follow the boss or follow the good government associations, this is the herd life—‘following the lead’—democracy means a wholly different kind of existence.  To follow means to murder the individual, means to kill the only force in the world which can make the Perfect Society—democracy depends upon the creative power of every man.


“We find the true man only through group organization. The potentialities of the individual remain potentialities until they are released by group life.  Man discovers his true nature, gains his true freedom only through the group. Group organization must be the new method of politics because the modes by which the individual can be brought forth and made effective are the modes of practical politics.


“Group organization releases us from the domination of mere numbers. Thus democracy transcends time and space; it can never be understood except as a spiritual force. Majority rule rests in numbers; democracy rests on the well-grounded assumption that society is neither a collection of units nor an organism but a network of human relations.”

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