"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Western Democracy is a Luxury with Various Kinds of Freedoms: Political, Economic & Personal

Western democracy can be viewed as a luxury institution that is dependent on a world in which resources, goods and services are available in abundance to those who support a democratic kind of government system.

Democracies have difficulty in environments where scarcities of resources, goods and services prevail. Societal inequalities tend to go hand-in-hand with the emergence of scarcities, which generally leads to political changes.

At fault are the elites of a democratic society who have permitted the scarcities to emerge -- and so they are viewed by those who are suffering the scarcities, quite apart from any perceived loyalties to "democracy".

Defining a system as "democratic" is no guarantee of democratic or political success. Indeed, modern democracy is multi-faceted and has all kinds of freedoms, none of which are guaranteed in a complex, ever-changing world.

Indeed, democracy might be seen as encompassing three different kinds of freedom:
1) political freedom,
2) economic freedom, and
3) personal freedom.
When people speak of democracy, it is often the case that all three are intended, but they need not be.

A person can live in a politically undemocratic system but still have a large degree of economic freedom, if their wealth and social position permit it.

Conversely, a person can live in a politically democratic system but can have little economic freedom if goods and services are not available, or if a person does not have the means to buy the goods and services that are available.

A related phenomenon is that personal freedom in the form of freedom of movement can exist even if political and economic freedom are limited.

For example, the ability of persons to move about freely is one of the underestimated freedoms of modern life, dependent, for example, on having access to public lands, public property and public services. Public roads and highways are a good example. Without them, life would be "unfree".

People are able to go beyond their own front door ... that is a great freedom, which is really neither political nor economic. But also that can be limited.

Another significant aspect of personal freedom is the greatly underestimated freedom to choose how we spend our time, which is a main component of life. How people choose to spend their time greatly impacts the nature of the human world that we live in, far more than any other factor. Thankfully, mankind is consistent in its behavior, otherwise, economies would be in chaos.

Personal freedom of association is a related freedom, i.e. the ability to pick and choose who we spend our time with, how and where. No system has discovered a perfect solution for this particular freedom, which is limited by factors too complex to discuss here. Needless to say, our freedom of association is limited by the various social rules that mark all societies.

Freedom of speech is a further popular freedom, which is sometimes overinflated in modern legal theory. Many speak, but who listens?

To make your voice heard -- the essence of free speech -- you have to be in a position where that expressed voice makes a difference....

Just compare normal tweets with the "swift power of the Trump thunderbolt-tweets" (Maureen Dowd, New York Times). The freedom to speak pales when matched against the "freedom" viz "ability" to be heard on a large stage. Or when was the last time you were invited to be on a national talk show to give your opinions? Not very likely recently ....

That in part explains the Trump phenomenon. When the man on the street finds that his freedom of speech is essentially without effect, he seeks a champion who is viewed as able to give that voice the power to be heard.

Now they are listening.
That is the necessary extension to the freedom of speech.

Those who view Trump solely as Trump the person are in error. To understand Trump, you have to see the voters whose champion he is. He is THEIR voice.

In any case, democracy and freedom are more complicated than they look.

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
,
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    ,
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.

    -----

    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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