Discover more from Panocracy
“Being free is not easy” – Yeonmi Park, North Korean defector
“And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.” - Terry Pratchett in Going Postal
“Man cannot become attached to higher aims and submit to a rule if he sees nothing above him to which he belongs. To free him from all social pressure is to abandon him to himself and demoralise him.” - Emile Durkheim, Suicide: A Study in Sociology
What we are saying in these posts is that our current system of government is no longer fit for purpose. The delusion and corruption in political circles cannot be reversed. The swamp cannot be drained.
Our intention is to describe a better system of democracy that can replace what we have now, just as what we have now in the English speaking world replaced a monarchy after the English civil war.
For many people life's meaning has evaporated. Those carefree years of childhood and the wild optimism of youth were when you could do anything, be anyone. One lesson you could have taken away from your youth was that being free makes you happy.
Yeonmi Park discovered when she reached America from North Korea that if you've been brainwashed into allowing someone else to decide where you work, what you wear, what you watch and what you believe then being compelled to decide these things for yourself is going to be tough. So even though our social, political and scientific freedoms have given us everything we value, there's a lot of resistance to the idea of freedom in the West - and that plays straight into the hands of those who would rule over us.
Turning over control of our lives to organisations run by the credentialed classes: politics, news media, advertisers, big pharma, health care, big tech, and many others … has turned out to be a recipe for depression, ill-feeling and conflict. The stuff they sell always comes with strings attached.
As an illustration of this growing dependence on snake-oil here's an example: a summary of the perils of trusting the credentialed classes during the Covid crisis
by Dr Howard David Stupak. It’s only 8 minutes or so to read and Dr Stupak concludes: “They have avoided discussion, standing only on the laurels of position and past education, quickly silencing dissenters as “fringe”. This is nothing short of a battle to restore the prior world of scientific discussion and freedom from closed parks and schools, or forced masking for the public, as the truth is sought.”
He correctly identifies scientific discussion as being about 'seeking the truth' and not that shibboleth 'The Science' that we've been assailed with for years.
We trusted our leaders and they let us down in every conceivable way. They can't take the responsibility for their screw-ups and they now concentrate their efforts on trying to pretend they didn't happen or shift the blame on to someone or something else.
Representational democracy – the kind we have at the moment - is where you take the responsibility for other people's failures; panocracy is where you take the responsibility for your own.
Panocracy will return life's meaning. That meaning comes from facing up to the consequences of your own decisions and not being able to blame someone else: I can make a difference. I can do something important. It matters if I get it right or wrong. I have the freedom to take the consequence. I matter. I belong.
One Size Fits All
When I was a child I brushed my teeth twice a day – because that's what my dentist told me to do and I was a good boy who (usually) did what he was told. This is what they told everyone to do. It turned out that they were just blindly passing on 'health advice'. It wasn't enough: my teeth soon needed fillings – and after a few years the fillings themselves needed repaired. Well, you might have been there yourself. I finally cottoned on to the fact that dentists may not know everything about teeth! I started experimenting with different cleaning techniques until I found what worked for me. The one-size-fits-all health advice had been a failure.
Everyone is different. Things generally go a lot better when people are treated as - and behave as - individuals rather than homogeneous groups or averages. This is the antithesis of our current institutional approach in which a few people, those who run the agency, make decisions on behalf of the many who are its customers. Even if those few – like my dentist – have good intentions, the group still fails the individual.
All groups, agencies and organisations suffer from this problem – the larger they are, the bigger the problem. If you've ever been the customer of a small company, you'll probably have found them much more helpful than a large corporation. And so it is with all institutions.
Government is typically the largest agency we deal with and the approaches to the problem of individuality here range from outright tyranny in which everyone is compelled by force to do what the government says to widespread cheating where rules and laws are routinely broken - and no one cares.
Panocracy recognises the needs and skills of the individual within the group. In fact it relies on them. In our panocracy there is no political bureaucracy run by a few grandees who dictate the future according to their own prejudices. In our panocracy we leverage communications technology to give all of us a say. We all have prejudices; we're each right about many things and wrong about many others. We have to face up to this and stop pretending that one size can ever fit all.
Panocracy captures these politically opposing views and subjects them to scrutiny by intense, detailed and honest debate. Hegel called this process the dialectic (a word that was later misappropriated by Marx) . When the outcome of the debate becomes clear, the arguments that have prevailed can be put to the vote by the citizenry. This all sounds very ideological but it has already been shown to work in science and engineering, so why not in human affairs?
All this is practical only with a good communications system like the one the world has been building for the past 30 years. The idea of panocracy, although it's been around for a while, hasn't had a chance to take off until now. As I said in panocracy 3, Confluence, now is our chance to make it happen and avoid a catastrophe.
Next time we're going to have a look at what it would be like to live in a panocracy. We're going to compare our lives now with how they would be under such a system.