Abstract: Based on the principle of citizens as ‘parts of a social Whole’ and the definition of ‘civilization’, I describe a universal political regime as creating a hierarchy of organization but keeping it constantly within reach of citizens.
- 1 Universal in the midst of political chaos?
- 2 Civilization is not a fad
- 3 Hierarchy protects against coercion
- 4 All politicians in a universal regime
Universal in the midst of political chaos?
What political regime can adapt to criteria as varied as population size, cultural history, religious fundamentals, migrations, wars, economic traffic, communitarianism, natural disasters, etc.? It is not by chance that regimes follow a cycle —Plato described it thus 2,400 years ago: aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny. Each regime satisfies part of the aspirations of the inhabitants and disappoints others. It is temporary. Our Western democracies are young and we are already seeing their wear and tear in the face of social change. They evolve in anarchy —which Plato thinks was part of democracy— while other nations are in oligarchic or tyrannical phases of their cycles.
This is the major challenge for a universal regime: how to make it as effective regardless of the mosaic of particular regimes that surrounds it? How to keep it stable in the face of multiple internal and external intimidation? Democracy seems as threatened by its most excited citizens as it is by foreign autocrats.
An individual importance to diversify
Reader of the blog, do you already have an idea of what a universal regime can be, after The T<>D principle in sociology and What does ‘decivilization’ mean? In the first article, I explain that the more a society is populous and diversified, the more its hierarchy must lengthen and become more flexible, so as to bring the newcomers to their best place and possibly make the elders leave their level of incompetence. The meritocracy associated with the hierarchy, painful for the less well rated, mitigates its disadvantages when the branches of the hierarchy extend. Each end is a small peak of success. Let them multiply sufficiently and each citizen gains a more personalized place in her negotiation with the social Whole.
Socializing democracies are trapped by egalitarianism of result when it should be of importance. Let me explain: meaningful egalitarianism is an ontological principle. “All citizens have an equal right to importance.” It is a unifying principle, reproduced in all opinions: genetic differences are not a matter of individual responsibility; it is a baggage with which we embark; responsibility begins with the start of the journey. Human solidarity ethics.
The trap of result egalitarianism
Result egalitarianism is a teleological principle. “All citizens should have the same benefits.” This principle looks at where the travelers have arrived. Their achievements necessarily differ, but to what extent are these differences acceptable? Opinions differ as much as the achievements in question. Impossible to establish a universal ethic with that look.
The constructive social engine is the right equal to the importance, while the equality of result is the brake and eventually to cause the breakdown of the political system, even when it seems to respect the great democratic ideals. Democracy is not the universal regime because many of these ideals are teleological, circumstantial. They interrupt the self-organization born of ontology, of interactive human micro-mechanisms, the only inescapable direction.
Civilization is not a fad
If we want to model this ontology, where should we start it from? We must define a homogeneous set of elements, obvious to all who are included in it. This set is the human species. The ontology starts from a genetic solidarity and must erase the variations linked to the arrangements of genes. The only indisputable ethic, the only universal ideal for the species. The others are opinions and follow fashions.
In the 2nd article I redefine civilization as the progress brought by a political regime to the relationship between citizens and the social Whole. Decivilization is the degradation of this relationship. The Whole is represented by a government but it would be a mistake to reduce it to rulers, whose role is symbolic. In terms of complexity, the whole imposes itself on the parts. If the parts refuse to come together in the Whole, the society disappears. The collective is replaced by a collection of individuals.
Immiscible levels of discussion
This misunderstanding of the nature of the social Whole is more and more widespread. Citizens born into a protective society see it as a permanent and unalterable framework, a social space as eternal as physical space. Most precarious eternity in fact. The Whole is only held together by the contribution of all. However, the contributions being very unequal, the Whole is maintained by imposing itself on many of us.
Citizens cannot debate with their rulers as they would with other citizens. The levels of reality are not the same. The debate is sterile, unless the ruler discusses as a citizen, or the citizen by putting herself in the place of the ruler. We are quick to do this, but without the abilities. One of the most outlandish ideals is the idea that we would be able to assess our own skills on our own…
The mix between citizens is assessed on the Whole and not on the individual
Civilization therefore does not concern the quality of relations between citizens, the softening of morals as it is defined a little insipidly. Civilization is the effectiveness of the relationship between citizens and the social Whole, represented by a government. If, for example, relations between citizens are brutal, it is not by taking soft measures that a government is effective. The global civic circle is not the maternal family circle. Many hierarchical levels separate them. As much as the family rules are multiple and preferably gentle, the global rules are rare but coercive. This is the principle of the funnel that we saw in the first article. To make the transition between softness and coercion acceptable, the hierarchy must be lengthened and not reduced.
Hierarchy protects against coercion
Contrary to popular belief, the hierarchy protects against coercion rather than the contrary. Unbearable coercion always comes from a hierarchy that is too clear-cut and therefore too brief. An excessively high step separates two individuals, without an intermediary to reconcile the desires of one and the imperatives of the other. This leads me here to define two types of mediators: the ‘horizontal’ ones which address conflicts between people at the same hierarchical level, and the ‘vertical’ ones between different levels.
The verticals are simply intermediate managers who should be appointed spontaneously when the hierarchical dysfunction is obvious. For example, it is the employee representative who discusses with management. But also grandparents who serve as intermediaries in parent-child conflicts. The hierarchy is often sick of the lack of vertical mediators, that is to say of missing levels in its pyramidal organization.
Do not confuse aristocrat and intellectual
The hierarchy makes it possible to multiply social circles ad infinitum, thus more easily accommodating our personal characteristics. Of course, the circles overlap. They are concentric from each individual. We share the most intimate with very few people and the largest with all living things, even old stones if you feel your atoms are united with theirs.
Each circle enacts its own set of rules. Are they conflicting? The principle of hierarchy is that the higher levels impose themselves on the lower ones. But they impose themselves as the best organization of the inferiors and not as an independent society, blind to the inferiors. The aristocracy of birth is not a hierarchy of organization; it is a family that takes control of others by force. Intellectual elitism, on the other hand, is an effective hierarchical organization if the circles are permeable. What is generally reproached to it ? It is still vitiated by an aristocracy of birth.
From local rules to crossings
The most universal rules are traversing: they cross the circles without losing their power. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” crosses to the top. Other rules weaken quickly. “You will maintain a balance between your children” hardly goes beyond the family circle. The important point is that universal rules must have an ontological basis, not be ideals in themselves, unquestionable. When the idealist pulls a principle out of the hat —from a belief, from a tradition, from a prophecy, from a mentor— she especially avoids inquiring about its deep origins. The ideal is placed in the sacred tabernacle so that the personal identity of the idealist benefits from the same invulnerability.
The sacred is not a unifying principle for society. It is the canning of the major ideals of a given era. The sacred does not unite, it stabilizes. And disunites the same society when the contents of culture and the sacred diverge. The icons of the sacred are destroyed and others are reformed. Teleological ideals cannot therefore serve as a solid basis for a universal political regime. Let us refocus this on a truly ontological principle, independent of culture, and even of a nature too restricted to human. We are a species facing planetary problems. It would also be futile to impose an ecological idealism that has no ontological foundation.
Let political self-organization take over
This truly ontological principle, I have already presented it many times. It is the principle T<>D, which perpetually agitates us, relationship between “being oneself” and “being not-self” (being part of greater than oneself). Engine of construction of our personalities and also of social construction. Personality is the self-organization of our mental concepts; society is the self-organization of our social circles. Let’s get rid of the idealists who would dictate the outcome when we have no way of knowing where this self-organization is leading. Let us rather strive to add levels to it, because that is how it copes with ever more varied, possibly even catastrophic, situations.
This larger hierarchy, it is up to us to appropriate it, by extending our capacities, by moving through it fluidly, which also means unhooking ourselves from the branches to which we are installed by chance more than by real skill.
Ruled by an anti-hero?
Because what we reproach our rulers for is that they are, like us, fallible humans. Their faults, shortcomings, pretensions, stupid reactions are ours. And how could it be otherwise, since we vote for who looks like us? Letting them move away from us, in a deserving hierarchy, would allow them to keep the best of us and abandon the less glorious. Is it possible for a generation that has been teached on anti-heroes as role models? Certainly it is easier to identify with them, in safe mode! But do we really want to be ruled by anti-heroes? Should we entrust the fate of the planet to their little neuroses?
If our common destiny seems worrying, is it the fault of the powerful, before whom I feel powerless? Or is it my fault, my power not being exercised properly, because I want to exercise it too much myself? I am thus the prey of influencers. By making me believe that my power is beyond what it really is, they recover its insignificance. In total they recover a lot of these insignificances. And real power is being passed on to someone that I didn’t really elect.
All politicians in a universal regime
I want to entrust my power to someone who looks like me, but I also want this chosen one to unite, to be part of a unified society, in which I find myself. Ouch! How to bring together with all these differences? It is the squaring of the circle. Fortunately in sociology, squaring has a solution. Just put yourself in the shoes of the unifier. I exacerbate my solidarity part. The others are foreign but not strange. They have the same desires as me, the same difficulties in realizing them, reconciling them with a job and a family, all channeled by another culture. Which coating is the most effective? Let’s discuss it.
It is by putting myself in the place of the chosen one, of the powerful, that I regain power, and not by remaining in my little miseries. Like the others, I don’t care who waits for the solution to fall from the sky. But if I rose a little to the sky, wouldn’t the solution fall from me? Isn’t this finally how I would experience myself powerful? By being in solidarity with the elected official, closer to her concerns?
Urgent solidarity renewal
A universal political system does not wait for the mutation of citizens. If society is in urgent need of united renewal, it will be destroyed before we all know it. The regime must therefore adapt to contemporary mentalities to avoid the collapse of the collective as well as individual rights. These rights seem despoiled when the hierarchy is too distant and burdensome. While the collective is threatened when individual rights are exercised without rules, in a frenetic anarchy, facilitated even by the remoteness of the hierarchy.
The solution now seems obvious to you: a universal political regime is one that regulates the depth of the hierarchy in such a way as to keep it constantly within reach of individuals. This is not to multiply the number of professional civil servants at great cost but on the contrary to become all partly civil servants, to include oneself in the hierarchy both as elector and delegate. We can earn a representative task in areas where we demonstrate our competence, but retain it only to the extent that the people organized by that task continue to delegate it.
Re-exert one’s power
A great return of solidarity is what we can hope for from such a regime. How else can we counter the surge of individualism, which leads us into warlike populisms? The delegates —decision makers without definitive power— are the only true collectivists. Universal solidarity can only be established on humans who are all delegates of others, in a hierarchy so deep that it will become invisible. You will become powerful again. Me too. No one will interfere with the other…
We will no longer be surrounded by foreign strangers, burdensome, devoid of assistance or bound by it, but by fellow human beings all responsible, and seeking more responsibility.