Saturday, May 24, 2008

American democracy is greedy, and that's a good thing

I've just had a moment of profound clarity that need to be shared with the world. Democracy is inherently greedy.

American Democracy is Democracy as viewed by the American people., which focuses on the power of the individual. The phrase laissez fair (literally meaning "let do" in French) was attributed to describing American economics in the 18th century, which essentially meant that businesses should act in their own self interest and allow the "invisible hand" of the market to work itself out. This view of economics rose from the political jargon of the American Revolution.

How is American Democracy greedy?

American Democracy is greedy because it promotes the welfare of the individual instead of promoting the welfare of the masses. The American people are all crying out, "I want what is best for ME."

How is this good?

In economics, this principal generally works itself out. As every business fights to become the best it can be individually, many companies inherently must fail. When businesses close in America, it is a kind of modern Darwinism, in which only the strongest survive. This leads to the United States becoming one of the most powerful countries in the world.

On a societal level, this causes what many people hate about the American attitude -- pride. Everyone in America is told by his or her surrounding society to become the best. Theoretically, this creates competitive job markets, challenging educational systems, and higher quality of life overall for the society. Like Darwinism, the weak die off leaving only the strong. Theoretically, that is.

Why is America no longer an American Democracy?

In the past 100 years, America has started down a new path. The Civil Rights movement, the fight for Women's rights, and the newly emerging fights for immigration rights and sexual rights are changing the focus of American politics. While these movements were and are unarguably important in the fight for justice and equality, they have also changed what Americans view as acceptable.

Instead of protecting the welfare of the individual, the American people are attempting to protect the welfare of the group. People have become overly sympathetic toward the weak in our society who have traditionally faded away. Because of this new struggle to save the weak, the American way of social Darwinism begins to fail.

Why is that a problem?

If the weak cannot die off, American Democracy fails. Therefor, America fails.

For example, lets look at the average American's quality of life. To find the average of this data, we must consider and weigh the best against the worst quality of life that people are living with. If we allow the worst to disappear, the nation has a higher overall average. If we preserve the worst, the average quality of life dips.

This can be seen in a very real life situation -- the "No Child Left Behind" act. Because parents hate to see their students fail, schools are now being forced to lower their standards to allow almost every student to eventually pass. Contrary to how beneficial it may initially seem, this has the overall effect of lowering test scores on a national level, and slowing down the talented students.

It is the struggle to succeed that makes America America. If we take away that struggle, we take away what made America great.

What is the solution?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Simply put, there needs to be a balance between the fight for social welfare and individual welfare.

If our nation went all the way toward social welfare, we would be living under socialism. Unfortunately, people are instinctively greedy, and history has shown that socialism in most cases leads to corruption and fails. If somehow we managed to achieve socialism without corruption, our country would loose its global power and become average in terms of overall prosperity. The preservation of the weak means a decrease in overall power.

Alternatively, if America focused only on the promotion of individual welfare, our country would prosper as a whole, but certain individuals would suffer horribly. Children in school that could not live up to the challenge of our highly demanding public education systems would have to take lower level jobs with bare minimum wages, far below current minimum wage. There would no social security, only private businesses that offered competitively priced insurance plans. The US government would only serve to deal with what the market could not.

The ultimate solution would have to balance between these two concepts, leaning more toward individual welfare to preserve what is America. In this ideal country, the government would exist to function as a preserver of justice and manager of foreign affairs. Churches, charities, and non-profit organizations would exist to distribute social welfare, while the government would manage the greedy, self-serving world that businesses and individuals competed in.

WAIT A MINUTE... That sounds like... Separation of church and state?

Think about it.


P.S. Comments on this are more than welcome. What is your opinion?