My fellow Americans
are headed down the slippery slope. This poll was posted on
my startup page this morning. Note the results...
I wonder what kind of society we live in, where we don't
trust our politicians, yet we empower them to conduct assasinations.
of Perception is an interesting site. They even have a
I just finished reading an article called "Redesigning
Democracy." It's got some very potent observations about
the current state of democracy and politics. I've pulled a
few bits out to give you some of the flavor:
"There is a worldwide crisis of political legitimacy,"
said Castells. "Opinion polls throughout the world show
that people do not trust their governments or political
leaders. They vote to ‘punish’ what has been done; not because
they believe the promises of their political leaders."...
Ultimately, such voter capriciousness only goes to reinforce
the fact that the Emperor has no clothes: "Political parties
are now empty shells in terms of social representation,"
said Castells. " They exist merely to win elections."
..."Media politics is based on the the belief among its
practitioners that a negative message is five times more
effective than a positive one, so the focus is on destroying
the credibility of the opponent. This is accomplished through
the politics of scandal. This has become essential because
politics is so expensive, which means financial reform is
impossible, and opens the way to corruption, as an exchange
of political favours, even where money is not involved.
Parties therefore leak information about each other’s corruption,
and a whole black market exists for the traffic of such
Corruption is of course not novel; but its use as a weapon
in media politics is. "Scandal is now a bigger factor than
ideology in the fall of governments," said Castells, citing
the fact that, since January 2001, there have been 14 major
corruption scandals in Germany alone. "Ultimately, the media
is not responsible for this," he added, "even though scandals
increase their sales."
..."Since September 11," Castells said, "we are seeing
the rise of the neo-authoritarian nation state, as people
feel threatened by barbarians (whether terrorists, or, as
in the case of France, the ‘enemy within’) and resort to
the state as a warlike protector. In the US now, the government
is very legitimate, purely through this dynamic; it has
people’s support to provide security, even while they no
longer believe it can improve their lives."
...Melkert voiced his fear that "money and media are deciding
the future of politics, and making politics obsolete." Castells
was more categorical: "Democracy, as it is, is unsustainable,"
he said. "There is faith in the state only as a protector.
Self-reform of the political system is very slow as opposed
to changes in society....
There's a bunch of good reading here. I suspect I'll be surfing
the site regularly.