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The End of Majoritarianism

The End of Majoritarianism

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Published by jcthompsonii
A concluding comment on the Jeffersonian Age of Politics
A concluding comment on the Jeffersonian Age of Politics

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Published by: jcthompsonii on Dec 21, 2008
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06/28/2013

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Article April 30, 2007Summary:
The accompanying article draws on material contained in
Thomas Jefferson’s Early Political  Initiatives
. Negotiations for the publication of this book are currently in progress. The analysis it presents is offered as a foundation for a new political discussion. The time is well-past to beginit.The fact that a majority of Americans no longer participate in the political process–that they haveabandoned their inherent and hard won right to govern themselves–shows that the current slow-gathering transformation of America’s political society has reached the critical point. The changethat is occurring marks the effective end of both the majoritarian system established byAmerica’s founders in 1787 and the Political Age that Thomas Jefferson inaugurated with hisvictory in the “second American revolution” in 1800. It also confirms the failure of the politicaland social theories that underpinned these enlightened experiments.Current political discussions miss these essential points, it seems, because the “talking heads”who conduct them are too busy manipulating public opinion to notice what is actuallyhappening. The essential political problem is not that the system is riddled with corruption– which it is. It is not that “they” are implementing wrong political ideologies–which they are. The problem is the inherently destructive nature of majoritarian politics. The divisions that haveundermined civil society in America (and elsewhere) and are driving its members away from the political process are the natural consequence of a system in which the power to define thecommon good belongs to the most powerful, aggressive faction. America’s founders knew thatthis political warfare destroys the willingness of “the people” to pursue a common good. Havingnow reached this point, the majority faction no longer has the moral authority to bind its non-members. This marks the effective end of majoritarianism. The functional end of this system of government cannot be far behind.1
 
Article April 30, 2007
American Political Society: Past Time for a Reassessment
All of history’s political societies have failed. This article will explain why the creators of America’s republican system of government thought they would avoid this fate and whythey were wrong.
This discussion begins with John Locke, a 17
th
century English physician who helped toestablish Politics as a modern social science. Locke’s great contribution to this enlightened new branch of knowledge was a concept of government in which the common good is defined interms of the majority’s will.Thomas Jefferson set the stage for America’s long heralded Lockean experiment when heapplied Locke’s so-called “right to revolution” to justify American political independence fromEngland. It is ironic therefore that it was Jefferson who set it on it inevitable path to failure whichhe did in 1800 by launching and winning his “second American revolution” against the federalist politics of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams.It was irrelevant to Jefferson and his patriotic compatriots that Locke’s political sciencedid not in fact authorize their rebellion against England. Nor did it matter to Jefferson or themembers of his republican party that Locke’s concept of majority rule was fundamentallyflawed. These “convenient” oversights have bearing today because Locke’s distorted picture of man in society, and the subsequent distortion of Locke by America’s revolutionaries–mostnotably Thomas Jefferson–have produced a false and inappropriate perception of the politicalage that Jefferson inaugurated with his victory in the presidential election of 1800.After more than two hundred years of demoralizing and increasingly destructive politicalwarfare, the time is well past to set the record straight.Lockean “political science” was wrong in several important respects:In the first place, it is not science. Locke applied the dialectical method of Hobbes to2
 
Article April 30, 2007
refute the politics of Sir Richard Filmer (among others), not the analytical method of Isaac Newton.-Since his method was not scientific, the political rights he deduced do not qualifyin any formal sense as “laws of nature”.Lockes political “science” rests on a social theory that is observably wrong:-modern political states are constituted of many societies, not a single society- large percentages of their residents, being unaffiliated with any of its sub-societies(factions), reside in a Lockean “state of nature”-these unaffiliated individuals, having never relinquished their natural sovereignty,are at Lockean liberty to join together in new societies which they do regularly the better to promote their common good.-individuals who form new Lockean societies have a Lockean right to form their own “legislatives” and make laws that promote their common good.-Lockean
majoritarianism
is therefore a competition between these societies for the power to impose the will of their majority on their unaffiliated neighbors.-Lockean political theory does not in fact authorize the exercise of this political power.Locke fails to distinguish between civil society, which has no need for politicalmechanisms because it does not function by the majority’s will, and political society,which can only function if mechanisms exist to form political majorities.-Locke fails to notice that the political society he advocates can only exist if it issupported by an underlying civil society.Since Locke did not live in a modern political state, it is not surprising that he did notunderstand how modern political societies actually work:-he did not understand, or at least he did not acknowledge, that modern politicalstates are governed by and for the
 factions
that join together to form their 
majorities.
 -he did not understand, or at least he did not acknowledge, that factions are formedand run from the top down by political agents who aspire to exercise political power.-he did not understand, or at least he did not acknowledge, that factions in3

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