I don’t align well with English philosophers. See, most of the good English philosophers — Hobbes, Locke, Mill, etc. — were mostly concerned with matters of governance. They wrote about social contracts and government as a monster. I tend to think more about Russian philosophers who deal with existential problems and suffering.
This post will be more English in nature. I want to talk about government systems. Now I haven’t finished hashing out this idea yet, and I doubt I will. Rather this is more along the lines of thought experiment.
The government of the United States is intended to be static. The three branches pull against each other and slow down momentum of change. This seems to be working pretty well. Sure we have a lot of problems (prisons, poverty, healthcare), but the government has been stable for over 130 years. That’s not bad at all.
However, the legislative branch is broken. There is no easy fix because the problem is human nature. Humans like to have more rather than less. So when money is offered in return for “special considerations” legislatures accept it. They feel bad about the first couple, but after that they’re conditioned to justify their actions. They start talking about whatever policy some corporation is paying them for as if it is the right thing to do. Moreover, they believe it is.
I’m referring specifically to the Comcast / Time Warner debacle. Millions of voices cry out in one direction and are overruled by whomever has the most money to spend. I could rant for hours about this, but that would be a serious digression.
Instead, let me propose a fix. I’m working under the supposition that 1) it is natural to accept bribes and call them something else 2) human nature cannot be fought.
How about this, instead of voting for people, we vote for philosophies. Forget the hodgepodge of competing ideas that are liberal vs. conservative. Someone should be able to be fiscally liberal and morally conservative. That should be ok. What if the parties on the ballot were Education, Science, Military, Cultural/Religious, Green. Voting for Education elects a representative that acts on behalf of schools. That is his or her only concern. Members of this party must have experience as a teacher or professor. Basically no one is allowed in that isn’t knowledgeable about their field.
Representatives go to a unicameral Congress where they each argue on behalf of their respective interests. Congress basically argues, “The best society emphasizes X.” They have to make compromises based on that. Education wants new facilities. Military agrees to allocate the budget in return for better PE. (Physical Education curriculum in America was devised as a way to curtail the number of people that could not pass physical exams for military entry.)
I can see some holes already, but it’s got to be better than what we have, right?