The Path to a Future: Peace

Part 4 in the serialization of the The Path to A Future. The critical link between peace and democracy.

A new section will be posted every 2 weeks during 2011. Enjoy!
If you want to get a free PDF of the book go to http://www.standardsoflife.org/thepathtoafuture.

We’re not talking about the global cessation of violence because suddenly everyone has seen the light, and forgiven their neighbors as they would be forgiven themselves. What is necessary for The Path is simply the cessation of violence sufficient to allow those afflicted to stop wasting time, resources, people and technology on destruction. This waste affects everyone around the globe, irrespective of their direct proximity to, or involvement in, the conflict itself.

The causes of conflicts are many, but they can be distilled into fractions of disenfranchisement and ignorance. They are about people having the right and the power to make choices about their own environment. Everywhere you find conflict, you will find one group fighting for their rights and another group fighting to deny them their rights. Quite often, the identity of these groups swings between them over time, as they get caught in the cycle of conflict.

So if enfranchisement and rights are at the root of all conflicts, what are people’s rights? What does someone, anyone, have an unassailable, natural right to? The answer is simple: everyone has a right to participate in the decisions that affect them in proportion to all the other people that share the constituency of those decisions. This is the basic format of democracy, and draws its strength and veracity from simple observation of the nature of being a human, living a life.

Starting at the center of each person, standing in the space they are in, it is possible to construct circles (constituencies) that radiate out, like ripples on a pond, to include wider and larger populations of others. In each one of these circles, each person has an equal say as all the others in the same circle.

The way to peace, then, is for there to be a mechanism that abides by the simple truth of every person’s rights and allows for the resolution of differences. Such a mechanism would allow individuals to assert their rights in their local environment, without threatening the integrity of a wider circle.

The mechanism to achieve this is representative democracy, except practiced in a vastly more representative manner than we have yet to implement. Our democracies in the modern world are wonderful for what they are, but we need a greatly enhanced version if we are to bring peace to the majority of the world. We need “super-democracy”. This advanced, super democratic model has features not found together in any of the versions of democracy being practiced in the world today, although some aspects can be seen in some parts of some modern systems.

The super-democracy model is a voluntarily self associating, proportionally representative, multi-layer, directly elected system.

Let’s break that down so that we can better understand how it works, starting at the end:

  • Directly elected: all the citizens vote directly for the same candidates. No electoral colleges and no subdivisions of each circle or constituency.
  • Multi-layer: every citizen has a direct vote in each constituency of which he or she is a member. Constituencies are geographically defined areas, starting with local communities and stretching all the way up to a global constituency encompassing all the people of the world. A rational model for these layers gives every person a vote in five constituencies: community, region, state, transterritory and world.
  • Proportionally representative: a vote counting system that provides equal weight to every voter’s vote, in proportion to the other voters in that constituency.
  • Voluntarily self associating: each constituency is empowered to choose its association with the constituency that contains it. For example, a Community can choose to belong to any Region with which it is geographically contiguous. The same goes for Regions and States.

The combination of these attributes into a coherent political model empowers people to take responsibility for themselves, and then build on that to resolve their differences with their neighbours. This form of super-democracy has the power to mutate conflict into disagreement, and from there to allow the motivation of self interest to drive future cooperation and progress.

This model is not just for people in conflict areas, everyone needs to be availed of the benefits of super-democracy. You will see as we travel The Path that it is vitally important that we have a properly representative system to support our decision making. Its exemplary adoption by those of us already living in relative peace is vitally important to the movement of the world’s conflicts from violent destruction to negotiated disputes within the short time available to us.

By establishing a mechanism that allows people to have control over their immediate environment, and yet be part of larger and larger entities, super-democracy removes the need for the larger constituencies to impose their identity on their members. At the same time, it provides the smallest communities the right to self-determination without threatening their neighbours. The simple process of allowing self-determination to coexist within structures that also provide for harmonization, is the key to peace and is the power of super-democracy. Its structure allows those in conflict to work their own way out, at their own pace, and based on their own self interests.

Conflict comes from inside those involved in it, and the peace has to come from them too. However, conflict also tends to deprive people and their communities of the resources and infrastructure necessary to support the administration of democracy, which makes moving out of a cycle of conflict all the more difficult. Those external to the conflict can help by providing guidance, process, structure, facilitation and support to the afflicted as they replace conflict with democracy. Because the administrative infrastructure for super-democracy is not geographically or culturally dependent, generic training systems, voting systems, technology and legislative bureaucracy packages can be developed for rapid deployment anywhere in the world.

So the first building block on our Path is super-democracy. A building material sufficiently robust to be used in the roughest parts of our landscape, and yet flexible enough to accommodate the particular topology of different situations. A simple, yet malleable, foundation for peace on our Path.

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