Friday, November 07, 2008

The collective good judgment

All of my life I have believed in the collective good judgment of the American people. One cannot believe in democracy without accepting this tenet. The original framers of the United States Constitution had some doubts about "mob rule" and therefore embedded in the endoskeleton of the document numerous impediments to rapid political change. The United States Senate is a prime example.

This is not to say that there are not numerous ignorant and stupid people in this country. The supply of the former is constantly changing, because that particular affliction can be cured, whereas the numbers of the latter are constant and and a drain on us all. Good judgment requires neither intelligence nor education. When the collective good judgment of the many, or in the case of November 4, 2008, the millions, are combined into one big decision, then the ignorance and stupidity and intellgence and education are balanced out. And there is no moral ambiguity here. The decision, whatever the outcome, is the right one. If one cannot accept that, then there is no belief in democracy.

Sadly, none of the people I voted for on the Big Election Day won, from the County Commisioner to the President. Fortunately, I was extremely disappointed in the outcomes. We are all fortunate in my disappointment, because I intensely cared who won. Imagine if I had not cared, or worse, not voted at all.

This is an important point. Because I voted, I participated in the decision, and thus must accept the outcome. Many people who had never voted before were drawn into the process. Regardless of who they voted for, we are all better off for their actions.

A clear majority of the country and a good portion of the people of the rest of the world approved of the selection of the new leader of the free world. In two months he will be our President. Regardless of whether we voted for him or not, he will still be our President. The collective good judgment of the American people have made it so.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Michael, I wish to comment on this notion of collective judgment. One of the prime problems with it is getting people good information. Yes, I have participated in processes time and again with mixed groups of people who when provided with the best information possible almost always make the correct decision for themselves as a group. The issue I have is with the how and what is provided as Facts. Far too often entertainment and opinion are offered by the media as fact rather than what is true. Eventually people lose faith in those who provide such information and begin to believe it is all propaganda. This applies to our political leadership as well. One can even conceive that there is a form of concerted control being applied. In my view people may be stubborn but not stupid when it comes to making group decisions. Where there have been a failure is in the leadership over the past two terms to inform rather than convince, to provide facts rather than opinion, to, lead rather than dictate. To sustain a democracy people need information not advertising and certainly not propaganda. What I am refering to is not the same as what corporate america uses media for to sell products.