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Of Majorities, Minorities and Mutualities

 
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uufreespirit
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:25 pm    Post subject: Of Majorities, Minorities and Mutualities If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

TJ... from his first inaugural address...

"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression."

...majority will, minority right, individual concern (ultimate consideration)

...Although government may be able to function on behalf of all, no government is possible "for all". The best that can be hoped is to be "of" as many as possible.

...commonality of purpose...includes attitudes of live and let live...over live and let die...in areas of public governance and administration.

Like friendships and human relationships in general, "democracy" also is a two-way street.

...beyond winners and losers, allegiance to the process...

http://anthonyuu.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/unitarian-universalist-essentials-i-transcending-mystery/

Mutuality is a state of mind that requires great discipline. It implies a mind that is master of itself; a mind that knows its rights; acknowledges its duties, and abides its limitations (and is humbled and tempered by its impermanant nature).

The person whom the democrat meets at home must be a mutualist...must able to take it as well as give it, give it as well as take it.

Nor is he trigger-happy to make easy simplicity of other people's actions or beliefs. The lover of free society also is so at home that he does not have always to be obtrusive with his seriousness or defensive of his honor. He can smile at his own foibles.



The three parts of mutuality, analytically speaking, are (1) an activity worthwhile for its own sake -- a game worth playing; (2) a diversity that is tolerated and even treasured as indispensable to this activity; and (3) an allegiance to the process that is large enough to include even acceptance of defeat as honorable and necessary in human competition, to an "ongoing ethic of sportsmanship". Devotion to that protocol, above all, and in order to sustain it -- understanding that at any point in that process, somebody has to lose in order that someone may win -- requires an abiding spirit of mutuality and reciprocity.

In such a system of reciprocity (a multi-party system of democratic politics) that treasures the necessity of "opposition" -- that makes defeat of one party inevitable but leaves it honorable -- is an activity worthwhile for its own sake, a system that can profit from opposition.

One party can be a "graceful winner" because it unconsciously puts itself in the other position, where it has been before and where it will likely be again. In that mutuality -- that unity within diversity -- the system depends, and is sustaining.


If we think of the democratic process as a game of sorts, it too is more than just about winners and losers, but about savoring and celebrating the process...both the freedom of individual effort and healthy competition together with a sense of mutuality, of good sportsmanship, of devotion to the game. Seems that in today's political world we've lost sight of that as well...that even when we are the losers, the minorities, we can still share in the process as winners together in the long run. We still need that mutual respect, that good sportsmanship, that commitment to keeping the process healthy, now and for the future. Obviously, a lot of our elected representatives (and their constituents) have little concern for this part of democracy...of something that we UU's seem to consider sacred. Maybe the world needs to hear from us on this. In our fifth principle, we've perched upon a powerful (and sacred) dynamic. Paraphrasing what an observer of Universalism once said: "Now the world is beginning to need that word, and you must either improve the property or move off the premises."
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"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

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uufreespirit
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:56 pm    Post subject: Majority Will If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Democracy is the state of mind which leads it to accept the duty of formulating public or social policy. Somebody has to do it, why not the majority?

...has a right to rule simply because there are more people in than out of it. Ultimately, though, individuals are what count, so why not rely on as many individuals as possible?

Democracy is not merely something with reference to the majority of people; it is the operation of the majority will, subject to its inherent limitations and systemic obligations.The majority has the right to rule, but must accept the corresponding duty to exercise that right to rule circumspectly and calmly, with uprightness and competency.

Majority opinion is not accepted because we believe the majority to be always right. Indeed, when the majority is followed there is already involved an admission that some of the right may rest with the outvoted minority. Majority rule is a useful, almost a mechanical contrivance, the main purpose of which is to find a solution which is at the moment workable. Its function is , not to define the perfect solution but rather to "keep the game going", to avoid those awkward impasses which in extremity call for more-arbitrary action.
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"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

____________________


Last edited by uufreespirit on Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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uufreespirit
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:58 pm    Post subject: Minority Relevance and Responsibilities If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

...about both the majority's state of mind toward the minority...and
also about the minority's state of mind toward itself, about self-respect and security of its own legitimacy, of its value and role.

...considers the possibility of a tyrannous majority and the social value (the creative role) and rights of a dissident minority...

Under democratic conditions responsibilities are always dispersed. The minority which has been out-voted does not thereby escape responsibility. Indeed, its true function then begins.

When voting renders a political decision it determines who is to take responsibility for carrying out the majority decision but it has not released the minority from obligations. It has merely shifted that responsibility to the critical sphere. In short, "creative criticism" (possibly resulting in policy refinements or course-corrections) must become the rightful function of minorities. The activist and the critical roles are thus specifically defined.

Such a condition leads to the worst possible manifestation of democracy, a state which Benjamin Franklin wryly described as “two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” He did not, however, leave our general system of government without redemption. Speaking of the importance of minority rights as a co-equal partner to the principle of majority rule, Franklin went on to add: “Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” I think that this distinction is important, especially in an age for which democracy and liberty often seem to be used synonymously. Democracy neither requires nor demands liberty – but the claims of the former ring quite hollow indeed without the latter.

...a pluralistic society needs a number of diverse groupings which combine in different ways.

...the health and stability of a society is maintained by avoiding a division between a simple continuing, reinforced majority and a continuing minority. ...by maintaining within the unity of society, a wide area of public disagreement without any permanent majority, we keep any one clique from controlling power.

...tyranny of the majority can be as detestable as tyranny of a dictator. The dominance of the majority is no mere possibility: it is always a danger.

...a dynamic system that places a premium on "changing combinations of minorities" rather than on a government by rule of mere majority.

The only way to maintain self-respect in the long run is to be worthy of respect.

Secure in a sense of constructive duty - to offer alternative courses of public policy so that administration will not become too narrow-minded or calcified in its direction. ...also to keep the majority more alert to its own pitfalls. This state of mind of the "ruling" (active, constructive) minority is as necessary as, and is no less helpful than, that of the "ruling majority" in a democratic society.



...as individual human beings we have the right to organize, not only into majority groupings but also into diverse minorities. ...and the recognition and protection of this right on the part of the controlling majority is a bed-rock foundation of democracy. ...there are in reality many, many minorities...not merely the political ones either. It is necessary to have this multiplicity of groupings in a democratic society, and it is necessary to respect its diversity of purpose and respect its right to organize.
_________________
"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

____________________


Last edited by uufreespirit on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:53 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:27 pm    Post subject: Mutual Trust and Reliance If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

...the preservation of liberty presupposes an ethos of communal life that has come to be regarded as mutualistic.

...a confidence in the ability of individual human beings to engage with one another in relationships framed by fair-play, integrity and character.
_________________
"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

____________________


Last edited by uufreespirit on Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:31 pm    Post subject: Compromise, Conflict and Resolution If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

"Harmony of aim, not identity of conclusion, is the secret of the sympathetic life."

-- John Morley
(Essay on Compromise)

"Men descend to meet."

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Training for democratic life involves training for the constructive use of compromise, that is for accepting a partial public fulfillment of one's more private objectives and values, after a free and open collaboration and interchange. One cannot compromise without active participation. A healthy compromise is one which conserves some part of each original demand.

In the final analysis, there are no two minds with but a single thought, no two hearts that really beat as one. While unity is often found, an absolute unanimity is a lovely limit that is never reached. Sharing suffers such frustrations in politics as to tax the endurance of even the most high-minded. Democracy is not easy. It is the hardest way of all, because it is the most disciplined. Democracy is, however, the most precious, because it protects privacy in which excellence thrives. It matures people to such a point that they can actually live with themselves, without being driven to perpetrate even their most sacred ideals upon others. If he/she is thus disciplined into democracy, he/she knows the concession with which consent is bought, and has stamina enough to pay the price. That is the sense of mutuality...of courteous respect and sportsmanship.

If you are not willing to become party to compromise, then do not get into serious dispute. If things are too sacred to allow you to meet others halfway, conceding something of your own as price for their consenting, then keep private your own view of the sacred. Religious conviction and conscience are not compromised; but the price of that right and privilege is not to get into public dispute about religious matters. Religion in public matters is politics. The very change of status from personal to public...from conviction to proselytism converts religious matters from tolerable to intolerable.
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"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

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uufreespirit
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:47 pm    Post subject: Covenants, the building blocks of democracy If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

...mutual promises and expectations....
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"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

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uufreespirit
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:58 am    Post subject: Conderations and Courtesies If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

...personal expressions of democracy in public...driving, etc.
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"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

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