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An idealist’s view of a democratic society

In this short series, I canvassed the notion that our democracy is badly in need of repair. I said that it required a grease and oil change. Some disagreed, saying that we didn’t have a democracy to begin with. In my second piece, I laid out some of the things that might give the old engine a fresh start.

Now it is time to disclose my view on what sort of a society would shelter under a repaired democracy.

We must ask ourselves if we are content with the selfish, self-interested dog eat dog individualistic, stuff my neighbour, greed is good society we have now or can we dare for the want of something superior. You may find my ideas a touch idealistically romantic, even simplistic, but that’s where I position myself as I write.

My society is a collection of people who desire to express themselves in every human endeavour: A collective who has aspirations to conduct their humanity, work, aspirations, spirituality, art, poetry and play with the richest possible diversity and at the very centre of their being.

My society would have empathy instilled in their learning – the common good would be at the centre of their politics regardless of ideology.

This common good with equality of opportunity for both male and female would be enshrined in its constitution.

The common good, or empathy for it, should be at the centre of any political philosophy. However, it is more likely to be found on the left than the right.

A society where one’s sexual preference or gender is not a judgement upon one’s character. In my community, the colour of your skin says nothing about you other than perhaps your geographical place of birth.

My society advances the individual’s right to pursue whatever desires he/she has, including the pursuit of wealth, which would only be regulated by the principles of the collective common good. In other words, everyone is entitled to an equitable share of society’s wealth.

In my democratic society, people would be guaranteed freedom of expression, including the right to disagree but reminded that debate is not necessarily about winning or taking down one’s opponent. It is an exchange of facts, ideas and principles. Or in its purest form, it is simply the art of persuasion.

An enlightened society in which the suggestion that we need to legislate one’s right to hate another person is considered intellectually barren.

The health and welfare of all would be at the forefront of its common good philosophy. Sacrosanct for all and access to treatment would be assured.

Most importantly, the principle that we should treat others in the same manner as we expect them to treat us would be memorable in every citizen’s mind.

My society would have a healthy respect for science over myth and mysticism but simultaneously recognise that each individual has a right to express their spirituality in their way so long as it doesn’t corrupt the aspirations of ‘commongoodism‘.

My society would be judged by its welcoming and its treatment for its most vulnerable citizens, including the aged, the homeless, the poor, and those seeking asylum.

Accessibility to the law, regardless of stature or wealth, would be available to everyone.

We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that makes us feel secure. Yet change is, in fact, part of the very fabric of our existence.

My ideal society would acknowledge that a group mentality advances society better than dictatorial individuality.

In democratic societies (the best – or least bad form of government), our herding instincts are realised by the election of leaders who form the government.

A fitness to serve stipulation would seek a clause in our constitution to as much as possible guarantee that the most gifted serve in our parliament.

Individual or collective ambition can only be achieved within a social structure built and controlled by a sympathetic government.

The rise of narcissism and inequality and the demise of compassion illustrate the state of the world.

If we are to live in a democracy, then it is the government that decides and regulates society’s progress and ambitions or provides the environment to do so. Therefore, every parliamentarian must abide by the principles of a constitution supported by the people and a bill of rights under a newly formed republic.

In reality, very little is done in the name of progress that cannot be credited in some way to the government.

Those of you who follow my daily political mutterings will probably know that, first and foremost, I am passionate about thwarting the decline in our democracy and the corruption that accompanies it.

Amid the angry voices intent on doing over one’s opponent, there must be people who have a genuine desire to change our democracy. There has never been a better opportunity than now.

My thought for the day

We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the government, the media, and self-interest groups.


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  1. B Sullivan

    The language of politics is so misused either deliberately or through ignorance that it cannot help but be misleading. What is the point of terms like left and right if people don’t really know what these labels are supposed to communicate?

    The common good is never found on the right. The right is the domain of private interest that serves only those who qualify for that privilege (literally private law). The common good is always found on the left, the common interest that excludes nobody, not even the privileged.

    Failure to comprehend this is what misleads people into believing that the common good lies in a central position between private interests and common interests. It is nonsense. There is no middle ground. All that the “sensible centre” offers is an extension of privilege that is still denied to the rest. The political centre is just a confidence trick that is used to justify ignoring the common good. The trick is only possible because of the use of the terms right and left to describe the political divide.

    Politics is really about right and wrong. Fairness and unfairness. Compromise is not the art of politics. It is the confidence trick of politics. There is no middle ground between right and wrong, The common good resides in fairness to all. It is foolish to believe that that the common good can be found in any concession to an unfairness that favours the privileged.

  2. wam

    Cut and paste today, lord, but your ‘thought’ shows you are getting close to understanding thatcher. Wow “In my community, the colour of your skin says nothing about you other than perhaps your geographical place of birth.” Africa, lord??? Any ‘brown/black’ people missing?? What about “slopes’ china?
    ps notice pfizer for our leaders and everyone in NZ?
    pps A couple of awful daily drivel from a Qld national party ‘cottoner’ long term friend. Wam please view and another This hits the nail right on its head about Kneeling….. “I watched the Democratic leaders of Congress kneel in the halls of Congress for about 9 minutes, for the death of a black man named George Floyd. (June 8, 2020) I have never seen them kneel for a fallen *Police Officer. I have never seen them kneel for a fallen *Soldier. I NEVER SAW THEM KNEEL FOR THE *SOLDIERS THAT HILLARY LEFT TO DIE IN Benghazi!! I have never seen them kneel for the thousands of (black and white) *babies aborted EVERY DAY. I have never seen them kneel for a murdered *white man or woman.

  3. Matters Not

    B Sullivan re:

    really about right and wrong .

    That’s an ethical stance taken by some but it’s not the only possibility. In addition to notions of right and wrong we also have the concepts of good and bad. So it’s possible to have an action which is right but not good (e.g. bad) while it’s also possible to witness a wrong that is good.

    Ethical approaches can be classified (simply) as deontological or teleological with heaps of sub-categories.

    Deontological ethics holds that at least some acts are morally obligatory regardless of their consequences for human welfare. … By contrast, teleological ethics (also called consequentialist ethics or consequentialism) holds that the basic standard of morality is precisely the value of what an action brings into being


    Teleological Ethics: Concerning ends, and primarily with goals of action and their goodness or badness. Deontological Ethics: Concerning duty, and primarily with action.

    In our society much reliance is placed on the Ten Commandments, sometimes called The Decalogue, which falls into the deontological category. Concerned with intention not outcome. We talk much about ethics and morality but it tends to be quite superficial.

  4. Brozza

    A totally secular ‘do as you would be done by’ society NOT based on greed.

  5. Andrew J. Smith

    One could have the best democratic system in the world, but if there are not shared values or understanding of democracy, then wilful actors or dictators can take advantage of the situation to create e.g. hollowed out parties, media, judiciary, education curricula etc..

    Presently the EU is having issues with two relatively new EU members i.e. Hungary and Poland with the ‘rule of law’, in addition to the possible prospective member Turkey (another incident this week….); the EU is compromised by these nation states doing everything to disrupt instruments of democracy then play word games to claim they are not dictators, while the EU and ‘Soros’ are……

    Issue is now, the EU previously underestimated was how far these nations, without any democratic memory, culture or ‘maturity’, would go in unethically disrupting their own democracies and attacking/robbing the EU, i.e. they are effectively dictatorships looking for permanence and protection behind family values, conservatism and Christianity or Islam…… for now EU lacks the tools to constrain bad actors (apart from waiting for citizens to remove them in elections).

  6. Canguro

    The problem with idealism, John Lord, is that it is, well, idealistic. I don’t disagree, per se, with the tenor of your argument, but I don’t see that idealism has had a fair share of the cake over the span of recorded history of humanity’s endeavours at coexisting within ‘civilized’ groupings. The problem would seem that man’s baser nature keeps reasserting itself. Primary emotions like fear & anger, along with secondary attributes of an unbalanced psyche; universal human aspects long known & discussed in virtually all societies, things like envy, greed, gluttony, dishonesty, pride & sloth (i.e., the seven deadlies)… takes an enlightened mind to overcome these wrinkles in the makeup and idealism doesn’t get a run in the face of these deeply powerful antagonists.

    It’s a deep pity of course. An enlightened society ought to trump one that favours a dog-eat-dog paradigm. Some of the historical dynasties of China came close to utopian realities, and I suspect so did several other Asian societies in the early centuries after the Buddha’s teachings became paramount, if the artworks, literature and architecture are anything to go by. The feudal empires of Europe didn’t, and the current political systems at play on the planet certainly don’t… utopian idealism is unfortunately just wishful thinking and impotent against the forces at play in modern systems of power and politics. The various efforts by individuals to establish utopian & idealistic societies in recent history all seemed to have sundered against the rocks of reality; personal failings of the individuals taking primacy over the group endeavours.

    Perhaps it’s going to take that shakeup beloved of the armageddon & apocalypse set; total societal breakdown, before humanity resets. I’m reminded of Einstein’s gloomy prediction of future wars being fought with sticks & stones. Ninety percent of the problem, imho, is that as an animal we’ve become estranged from our relationship to nature; we’ve helplessly fallen for the Cartesian paradox of the mind-body schism and lost our way, badly.

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