Monday, September 10, 2007

Just thinking

I've been thinking (Dan always groans when I start a sentence with that phrase) about the way Americans view democracy. There's this notion that democratic ideals and principles are luxuries, like power windows in a car, that can and should be discarded when trouble strikes. It's as if people think that autocracies and dictatorships are somehow intrinsically more efficient. I'll grant you that in times of danger you can't debate everything in committee, but at the same time I'm not certain that sacrificing the core principles of liberty really makes things more efficient. A dictator can act more quickly than an elected council, but that doesn't mean he's making the right decisions. Hitler's decision to divert some of his armor away from Moscow to the Crimea was certainly made with dispatch, but it may have cost him the Russian campaign. If he'd had to deal with press, public criticism and opposing political powers he might have been persuaded differently, but of course autocrats don't have to bother with that.

Democracy, to me, is a political expression of diversity, which we know from nature is a good thing. (If all life forms in an ecosystem are too similar they can too easily be wiped out by one cataclysm. ) In politically diverse societies all points of view get to vie for national attention, and even those that triumph are usually moderated by those that don't, thus ensuring against precipitate action. If this sometimes hinders complete victory it also prevents utter defeat.

On to new business. My first open mic is 9/26, and I'll email interested parties the where and when.


Blogger Tim said...

Open mic you say? What kind of open mic?

2:42 PM  
Blogger TrackerNeil said...

Stand-up comedy, may the gods help us.

4:00 PM  

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