How to govern ourselves is, arguably, one of the most fundamental and enduring question of the humans from the beginning. Indeed, there were many ideas and those ideas have been evolving continuously to the present time. All those many ideas from the brilliant people in the history helped create the present ideas and systems.
In other words, the problems and situations we are facing now is nothing new, and, if we look carefully we have been through it before, sometime in history. It has much to do with the fact that our nature hasn't changed much at all. That is why the brilliant writings in history, the classics, are still enjoyable.
The present governing system and the rationale behind it are the collective accumulation of our wisdoms and the continued struggles for fairer systems. But, no matter how good a system we have, it is the quality of the people that determines how well it functions. It is we, the people, who decide what kind of the world we are having.
The mantra of the liberal democracy, which the majority of the people in the world assume the best system at the present time, is giving more and more people their voice. These days the volume of the people's voice is loud and tremendous.
One good example is the Boston Marathon bombings. There were many voices and in real time. It was fascinating to watch but there were mistakes and chaos. It seems the liberal democracy got its wishes, if not what it desired. With everybody voicing their opinions, the importance of the quality of the people becomes a big issue.
Interestingly, at the bottom of many complex issues we are facing is the understanding of we, the people. Unfortunately, we, the people, have many conflicting qualities in us. We don't necessarily do what is beneficial to us in the long term. Look at gun control, immigration reform, management of the economy, and the stubborn hold of the boring,tedious, feudal, superstitious, and suffocating way of life/tradition/identity/belief.
It is many times crystal clear which way we should go but, as many times, it is only an educated guess. One good example is the statement made at the recent conference of macroeconomists hosted by I.M.F. The chief economist of the I.M.F. said that "We don't have a clue of what financial stability actually means."
With these human nature and the always fluid situations we face, we need to understand what kind of people are claiming themselves as leaders and running the system. While everybody has a chance to voice their opinion, a small number of people with money, passion, and disproportionately bigger megaphone can influence the political decision making process.
The governing ourselves can become obstruction of the wise governing by a few. The good example is the failed gun control measure at the Senate. The great public swelling for gun control was not enough to pass the measure. Of course, there are many reasons, factors, and variables. But, for now, what is clearly good for public safety has been defeated by a few.
For this defeat, some people are pointing out the lack of old style political bullying in the mould of Lyndon Johnson in the President Obama. His policies and decisions so far indicate he is a comprising politician. He confessed to the fact at the moving speech in Jerusalem; "I promise you this, political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. You must create the change that you want to see."
The criticism is that his speech is beautiful and inspiring but his management skill is not very effective. He's got a long way to go to match Lyndon Johnson's effective political bullying. The thing is it is an interestingly different time from 1960's. The President Obama is a politician and not an ideologue. But as a politician he in between a cheap politician and an ideologue. He could be definitely better but he could be definitely much worse.