[EM] language/framing quibble

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Jan 11 12:33:19 PST 2009

--- On Sun, 11/1/09, Fred Gohlke <fredgohlke at verizon.net> wrote:

> Good Morning, Kristofer
> re: (with regard to whether we have the stomach to require
> that
>      legislators be maintained at a government
> installation,
>      protected from direct access by lobbyists, to prevent
> the
>      subornation of those we select to represent us in our
>      government.)
> Like you, I don't know if it will happen, but we should
> consider it.  We don't know how or when our political
> processes will change.  They may, as most rational people
> would prefer, evolve slowly.  If so, the need or lack
> thereof, for such a course will manifest itself.  On the
> other hand, change could come quickly or violently.  In such
> a case, given our knowledge of the means by which the
> original modern representative democracy has been degraded,
> it is possible such a remedy could be imposed.  In either
> case, it is an option we should study and openly discuss.
>   [Footnote on quick or violent political change.
>    We must note that, for such a change to benefit the
> people,
>    it must transcend party lines.  The American Revolution
> was a
>    broad-based revolt, prosecuted by very diverse interests
> not
>    least of which were geographical, maritime, industrial
> and
>    agricultural.  When such a change is partisan-inspired
> (like
>    the Fascist Party in Italy, the Communist Party in China
> and
>    Russia, and the National Socialist Party in Germany),
> the
>    change redounds to the benefit of the party, not the
> people.]

Some notes on protecting legislators from lobbyists.

The first thing in my mind would not be
to limit contacts between legislators and
lobbyists but to limit too heavy bindings,
maybe most notably monetary dependencies.
One could limit e.g. second jobs, right to
move to some commercial position, financing
of political campaigns. (Montesquieu should
have added more categories in his principle
of separation of powers.)

Some notes on slow and fast political changes.

Radical changes are often problematic since
people are not able to anticipate all the
implications of the changes, and they often
are too idealistic or optimistic (grass is
greener on the other side of the fence).

Sometimes fast changes work quite well. That
typically requires that there is some well
adopted model that serves as a basis for the
change. One could think e.g. Estonia that
regained its independence in 1991. Although
times were different before the second world
war the fact that there was some old model
available surely helped a lot. Also
reunification of Germany follows the same

It is also possible that there is a recently
developed common basis for the change but
certainly these changes fail more often.

When looking at Fascists in Italy and
National Socialists in Germany they
eventually got quite wide support among
the citizens. One key point in how they
got to that level was that they used all
means, including violence, to silence the
opposition. From this point of view it is
maybe important to make sure that all
opinions will always be given sufficient
space to breathe.

In summary
- make the need to separate interests clear
  and well understood by all, and enforce it
  too where needed
- avoid excessive fanaticism and idealism,
  but one can try also these proposals, first in
  small scale
- allow sufficient time for the models to mature
- have tolerance, even if "they are wrong", at
  least as long as "they" are not clearly
  destructive (in some more concrete sense than
  just spreading bad ideas)

In addition
- of course we want wide support, not only the
  support of the "elite" (ideological, moral,
  cultural, commercial) before implementing the
- avoid dominance of strong leaders, and any
  other narrow basis, allow criticism and
  alternative model proposals (both within and
  outside the movement)
- people tend to believe that they are right,
  and this is very positive, but dangerous,
  and this applies to societies too

A well working society consists of models that
typically have been built slowly during a long
time. It is easier to let the system corrupt
than to lift the system to a new level from
where it is now (especially if there are no
agreed models from the past of from outside
or from some respected set of citizens).



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