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Re: Predatory vs. Democratic state



>> Still, this government is little more than a representative
>> gathering of the very animals from whom you seek protection! 

> That, as you very perpicaciously pointed out, is the key problem of
> social organization, viz., the ensuring of non-misuse of force by
> people authorized by themselves, to use the force for protective
> (and aggressive - toward others) purposes.

Fine. But the people who are authorized to so act are themselves also 
(partially) the authorizers. Merely because we vest authority in them, 
we cannot dilute their rights as citizens, can we? Even if our purpose 
is only to keep them in check, I think this can be best achieved by 
promoting the feeling that they are simultaneously empowered to further 
our interests as well. This is why, when you said "restricting those who 
would diminish this power", I added "enabling those who would cherish 
and further it".

(Aside: Prem, ............)
[moderator's comments: I removed this small bit of aside from Ashwin's mail
since it was directed specifically to me - Prem.]

predatory vs. cooperative society, contd ...
------------------------------------------------

If we assume a position wherein we are naturally inclined to distrust 
the empowered authorities, we will end up creating a gap between the 
ordinary citizens and the empowered authorities. This is in fact what 
has happened in most democracies. In a few examples (Oregon, 
Switzerland, etc.) government is being brought closer to the people with 
the result that many individuals feel that the authorities' job is to 
further their interests just as much as it is to guard against those who 
threaten it. 

For that matter, look at all the top mayors in this country, in 
Minneapolis, Seattle, Madison, Atlanta. Every one of the people who 
built their reputations in these towns as mayors understood their roles 
to be vitally different from the typical politician's point of view. 
They were not going to merely protect the minorities and the poor 
economically, and provide for the safety of the rest. Instead, they took 
on a different mantle, based on the idea that the fuller expression of 
citizens' interest is the real role of the mayor. To act as a 
facilitator, not only as a guardian of our self-interests. 

Later,

Ash

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