America’s problems in a nutshell

– A friend of my picked up this perceptive comment on the NYT Blogsphere.   I thought it tied a lot of stuff up quite succinctly.

– Dennis

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“It strikes me that America has two fundamental, inter-related problems that paralyze it and prevent it from adapting and changing:

One is its constitution and structure of governance. Senate filabustering rules, a politicised judiciary and supreme court, gerrymandered congressional districts, a politicised electoral process, the combination of chief executive and head of state in the same person, an incessant election cycle and so many other flaws means that American government just doesn’t work very well. No wonder it’s system of democracy isn’t replicated by other democracies around the world. It’s not fit-for-purpose.

The other source of paralyisis is ideology. The deification of the founders and the constitution prevents adaptation. The insularity of American exceptionalism prevents global benchmarking and best-practice. The rabidity of individualism prevents social solutions that would benefit the nation as a whole. Beyond the chanting of pledges and the waving of flags, large parts of America have decended into a religious-based extremism that turns its back on truth itself.

The Soviet Union collapsed because its ideology could not adapt to human and economic reality. China succeeds because, when faced with the failure of its ideology it abandoned it and instead embraced pragmatism and did what worked.

America, tied down with unworkable governance and inflexible ideology, seems to be following the Soviet model.”

– Research thanks to Rolf A.


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