Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More Fixing Democracy, Part 3

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.


“Democracy is not worked out at the polling booths; it is the bringing forth of a genuine collective will, one to which every single being must contribute the whole of their complex life, as one which every single being must express the whole of at one point. Thus the essence of democracy is creating. Many people despise politics because they see that politics manipulate, but make nothing. If politics are to be the highest activity of human beings, as they should be, they must be clearly understood as creative.


“Unity not uniformity, must be our aim.  Differences must integrated, not annihilated, nor absorbed. Anarchy means unorganized, unrelated difference; coordinated, unified difference belongs to our ideal of a perfect social order.  We don’t want to avoid our adversary but to “agree with him quickly”; we must however, learn the technique of agreeing.


“As long as we think of difference as that which divides us, we shall dislike it; when we think of it as that which unites us, we shall cherish  it.


“Instead of shutting out what is different, we should welcome it because it is different and through its difference will make a richer content of life. The ignoring of differences is the most fatal mistake in politics or industry or international life; every difference that is swept up into a bigger conception feeds and enriches society; every difference which is ignored feeds on society and eventually corrupts it.”

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