Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Everyone needs a voice

Rebuilding society is always a mash up of ideology. In essence this mash up is why wars are fought and why violent conflicts rage on for centuries. There is no way of getting around the heated discussions of social order and governance. However the main piece of such arguments are always seeking what is best for all. Within that understanding there is a number of phrases which have come to be in recent years. These phrases are negotiated governance, hybrid governance and other longer terms such as governance of relatively self-governing networks. Each of these phrases talks about how societies can manage through the difficult issues while keeping general peace. Every society endures this balance act. Some fall apart into war more often than others. As we study the methods of governance there is a reality which is becoming quite clear. This reality is that the system of governance is rarely the main source of social destruction. The main source of destruction rests with the people who operate the systems. For example it is often stated that the best leader/form of government is a benevolent dictator. When a society comes to a point when war and violence ends and the process to the formation of government begins, there is always an unease as to how the government is to be set up. This is the continuation of the mash up of ideology and the unending discussion of how governance will work. We can play with the style of governance all we want but if the same people are put in place, expect the same results. With that, it is not the system that needs to change, it is the ideology and therefore the people who are operating the system that needs to be changed. Also we must understand that no government can operate without the agreement of society. Even though that is true, the leaders must work to keep people engaged, informed and understand a desire to have each one non-violently engaged in the political process. Each person needs to have a voice and as the structures of governance are built that voice will erode. How to lessen that erosion is imperative for each person to feel they matter. In most cases of post conflict peacebuilding the voice of the individual is of great importance. The first hurdle is to come up with an agreeable ratio for representation. The lower that ratio is the greater the involvement an individual has because they feel they matter. Any method which increases the ratio has a long term impact of lower civic engagement. To have a low representation ratio does make the job of those in government more challenging. However the impact for society to have as low a ratio as possible will be a more engaged society. In practice we find that over time those who represent the people will seek to increase the ratio. The reasons are based upon a more efficient government. The reality is that efficiency is no substitute for the person who will lose their voice. As each step is made to increasing the ratio, that individual who lost their voice will see society one step closer to a dictatorship. Why has the increased ratio taken place, because those who are chosen to do the job can no longer handle the tasks they must perform. This is when efficiency is used to streamline the decision making process (dictatorship philosophy). The entire society must lose their voice because a small group can not handle their job. This situation is exactly what transpired in Libya, Iraq and Syria in recent years. With the evolution of peace, all of these situations must be understood. As prosperity sets in many people will forget the need to have a deeply rooted governance system which is engaging to each individual, in a peaceful manner. Such a job is not easy as each person will have their own thoughts yet to take that persons voice away is an even greater harm. Thus the need to change the people not the systems of governance.

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