Such a vital position occupied by legitimacy requires the continuous affirmation and understanding of issues addressed by the system. The only two ways to acheive this both operate through the potential participation of all in the allocation and exercise of power. One is acheived by encouraging everyone to wield actual influence and the other is to convince them that they already do so, when they do not. The problem with this latter solution lies in its inherent temporality. All issues are subject to revision, and decisions that do not accurately reflect the affected's appraisal of best policy breed cynicism and disengagement. Consequently, the latter is a chimera for governing elites - an impossible paradox at the heart of representative democracies. Sooner or later disengagement and calcified cynicism riddles a body politic and they fall into disrepute. I will talk more about the importance of wider democracy in this context in my next post.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
What I wish to assert is this: the way in which we organise ourselves is vital not only to our survival, but our ability to prosper. If matters of political and legal power are harnessed to humanity's better instincts; for instance, using structures to create the illusions of benefit for actions that protect the natural environment and resources; we are able to promote and discourage human behaviour to sustain and shape the environments within which we operate. The key to this is a method of collective organisation through which actions are taken that are widely recognised as legitimate and given weight accordingly.