Comment 62538

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted April 21, 2011 at 00:35:50 in reply to Comment 62523

I really liked the Scott London article, especially his point-by-point description of dialogue. As he notes, though, dialogue needs to be separated from decision-making. That requires its own set of special rules, and and has a lot to do with how we all get along (or don't).

With collective decision-making, a special set of conditions arise. A very good idea can quickly turn into a very bad policy or law. This may have nothing to do with the substance of the law itself, and everything to do with who wrote it and how it's being enforced. It happens in workplaces, politics, even in informal social hierarchies.

When people begin to feel that the decision-making which affects their lives does not reflect their views or interests, a deep sense of alienation grows. And as both those in power and those under them begin to do as they wish and view each other with suspicion. Input diminishes as leaders begin to focus on compliance rather than effective governance, and the people begin to focus more with "getting away with things" and less with being involved in the process.

As far as views and beliefs go, far too much of our antagonism relates to how centralized our decision-making has become. If fighting for our beliefs means that we must "win" power and enforce them on everyone else, then everyone is at odds.

What's the solution? There isn't one. There's no perfect utopian model we can all sign up for. Just a long process of democratic engagement to create a tolerable world together. The only way it will really "work", and the only way people will really want to join is if it respects their freedom and input as well.

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