The Unholy Majority
by Tom Atlee
In the red light of sunset,
few people see
In our majoritarian system
the majority don't rule.
In the falling dusk,
we need to observe more closely
and keep peeling away the layers
of this thing we call democracy
to see inside.
On the first layer of "majority rules"
we find that
whoever controls the majority
(at any given time, on any given issue)
Success in that game involves
strategy, manipulation, attack, mobilization, noise...
Meanwhile, there is a deeper layer,
where there is far less noise
and less light.
At that level,
Those who control the "majority rule" game
They cultivate majorities and minorities for their own ends
and reap a bountiful harvest,
whoever wins the wars.
Deeper yet we find
the "majority rule" game, itself,
shapes what is possible and what is not,
At this level,
even those who control the game
This is where things are stuck.
This is where change will make a difference.
The "majority rule" game, itself,
shapes what is possible and what is not.
Getting unstuck means changing the game.
Changing the game means understanding the game
from the outside in.
A friend showed me a key:
Of all the interests battling in the "majority rule" game,
the least well served is the general interest, the common good,
We the People,
the whole US.
In fact, lost in vast deep sadness,
We the People is nothing but a ghost.
And I don't mean We the Common People.
I mean We the Everyone, the Whole.
But Why? I said.
Because the majoritarian system is intrinsically adversarial,
divisive, corrosive of the Whole:
In the competition to control or become a majority,
each viewpoint and voice can only be heard as a special interest.
And any general interest
–health, prudence, compassion, clean air–
must become a warrior
and strive noisily for victory against The Dark Side, the Other --
or be rendered invisible,
The system demands
that the whole become parts,
and that the parts masquerade as the whole --
that each special interest act like it is The General Interest.
And the system demands, as well,
that when a part wins, when it is a majority,
we acknowledge it as the Whole, as US.
It is all fantasm,
all a lie, I tell you —
The Emperor's New Clothes —
a loudly proclaimed virtual nothing
that drains into part-isanship
all the energies and gifts we could use
to co-discover our wisdom together
as whole communities,
as a healed and healthy world.
So the majoritarian system consumes and digests
the righteous passions of our well-divided interests,
motivating and shape-shifting and battling
in its search for majority support
and thus victory
and thus the dominance and resources
of concentrated power controlled by the victor,
forcing other interests into loser status
so they will fight to win back the reins.
And thus the battle rages back and forth.
Or at least seems to.
Meanwhile those who own and benefit from the game itself
(who support both sides to maintain access to
the public treasury,
the natural wealth of The Commons,
and the game-shaping activity
of deciding public policy)
continue to design the game to be losable
only by the players,
not the owners,
and in the process lose their own access to heaven
for the eye of the needle is far too small
to admit their heavily laden camels.