Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

AMERICA, The Future of Democracy

Analogies between our `Last Great Superpower' and the Roman Empire two millennia ago may be far fetched, but interesting and entertaining. Two millennia ago the Romans enforced their Pax Romana as far as they could march. They colonized much of the known world, even without typewriters and telephones. They extracted wealth from the colonies with an elaborate system of administrators and troops. They moved wagon loads of wealth and slaves to enrich and serve their increasingly idle citizens.

As the Roman Empire expanded and matured, management and military functions shifted to the locals. As power became more diffused, the outer regions usurped Roman power and the Romans lost control. Or did they? I suggest the Roman government, some of the people and much of institution, transcended its mundane role and rose to a higher level of human organization. The Roman elite shifted their power to their Church. The Roman Church evolved over these two millennia into a global organization of considerable influence, wealth and power to this day, and probably to eternity.

The Roman Church resembles the Roman State in costume and ceremony, certainly more than it resembles the rag-tag peace-nik Jews who tried to follow the teachings of Jesus. With churches almost every human community, the Romans exert profound influence on the spiritual and material lives of their members - as well as the rest of the human race. Nor have they forsaken material security, since the institution owns a significant portion of the modern world's wealth, both as properties and equities.[ See THE *ROMAN CHURCH, Two Thousand Years of Financial History.]

Now, in modern times, technology enables the organization of the entire globe. Wealth pours from the poor producers to the rich consumers. Every corner of the Earth is opened for `development'. Furthermore, with the end of the `Cold War' there are no more borders on this earthly globe, and only a few "rogue states" can resist integration into our GLOBAL EXPANDING ECONOMY. GEE p.95, 183, 280, 289.


The inexorable progress of the Global Economy is gradually displacing national government with an array of global institutions - the Multinational Corporations MUNCs, the IMF and the World Bank, the G7, all integrated by shared interest and shared personal, enabled and enhanced by the magic of modern communications. National governments support globalization because they are largely financed by MUNCs and regularly make regional and global agreements such as the European Union, NAFTA, and the pending Multinational Agreement on Investment, MAI.

Within the nation states, federal functions are transferred, privatized to corporations, government operations are ceded to the "civil society", and international directives supersede national policies. Think of this as an Ei evolution of international integrations, up right on the E chart. However, whereas nation states represent their citizens, according to the QUANTIFICATION OF DEMOCRACY p.252, the global controls are Dissociated from people and managed by multinational financial and corporate interests. GE is managed by ICErs, not people.

Surely we can expect a similar evolution of the American government? Let's explore the trends and probabilities. The American government gradually transcend its mundane functions and become increasingly ceremonial. The media `mind of society' will become a high tech scripture to capture and dominate the minds and hearts of citizens. Ancient evolutionary human needs for identification and loyalty will be fulfilled by the ascending America, supported by an array of symbols and ceremonies. Political life will become increasingly POlitical entertainMENT, POMENT, with elaborate attention to the personal lives of leaders. The best minds in the land supported by the wealth of nations will give POMENT a theatrical potency far beyond the circus and sacrifice of ancient Rome. The movie WAG THE DOG offers a primitive first glimpse of America's future.

America will become a religion, in the broader sense, a system of institutions and beliefs supported by shared images, words, loyalties and rituals. Words such as `democracy', `freedom', and `the American way of life', already have a quasi-religious tone. Familiar terms such as `free enterprise', `competition', `independence', `self reliance', `family values', `growth', `security' take on a quasi-religious meaning beyond their descriptive function. Their content is vague, their use reaches into our ancient subconscious realms of tribal loyalty and identification.

National anthems and other patriotic songs like the traditional "Born on the Fourth of July" will continue to enrich the culture and express the deeper feelings of the people. The flag will increasingly resemble the cross as the symbol of sacrifice and devotion. Washington DC will become the new Mecca of Democracy - a word evolved to the level of religious credo.

Rituals such as voting become an expression of patriotic loyalty rather than political participation. Most voters will have even less idea of the issues and possible effects of what minor and marginal choices remain on the holy ballot. The management of society, the Great Decisions, continue their migration to the invisible HOGs who `man' the international institutions.

Just as the Roman Elite rose above mundane politics and escaped into its church, so the American Elite will ascend to the role of supra-national religious figures, following Jackie and Diana. Leaders will focus on personal spiritual matters, occasionally reaching out with moral admonitions and appeals on behalf of `civil society'. Just as the Roman Church has a left wing of Liberation theology and Pope John Paul's II warns against brutal capitalism, so also will the new American elite will take the forefront of personal and moral leadership.

Along with the increasing religiosity of politics is the increasing `personalization' of life - seeing one's self in a personal rather than a cultural context - contracting one's responsibility to self and family, if any. Common self-concepts withdraw from what's left of family life as immigrants recede from their stable cultures, adjust to modern abstract culture, and become American.

As stress increases, in-groups shrink to abstractions such as `American', or `Dodgers'. Out-groups are dehumanized as `them', deviants and criminals - and demonized as liberals, communists or terrorists.[ In 1986 President Reagan created the secret task force, Alien Border Control Committee under the INS. In immigration cases the government can present evidence in secret, since non -citizens lack constitutional protection. From *TERRORIST SCARE, by David *Cole in the 4/19/99 NATION MAGAZINE.] Personal thoughts beyond adjustment and status are often disparaged as `ideological' - an unconscious denial of response-ability in a contracting world view. The most probable future is a continuing withdrawal from objective political concern and effective organization toward immature personalization and social isolation.

The Roman Church alleviates this alienation with ritualized confession - an appropriate therapy. In the American future, we might expect the voting booth to resemble the confessional booth - a place to share the strains and errors of life, then receive guidance and absolution. The curtain screen can be replace with a computer screen as modern technology supports the ritual. One enters the voting booth regularly to assert ones loyalty - and submission - to America. Voting preferences become more personal and psychological, a projection of ones existential position as it evolves throughout life.

Voting becomes a quasi-religious ritual of loyalty and devotion managed quasi-governmental organization, the Federal Information Bureau. FIBs will make good use of the present plethora of helping professionals. Behind the screen is not some mere human. Instead the screen is an interface of a vast and complex system programmed with all the world's wisdom. The voting booth reaches out to all people, surveying the mood of the masses as well as the soul of each citizen. Enabled by computer technology, the voting booth can counsel and guide any and all aspect of the voters lives. Far surpassing public opinion poles, the Vote evolves into a great American mind, far beyond what one person can comprehend.

Computerized speech and interpretation can standardize the process and instant recording and analysis can easily anticipate any problems and `refer' them as necessary. Screen scans easily identify not only unresolved personal problems but also can refer any citizen who misses his weekly voting. As `terrorism' and `deviance' increase, the voting booth becomes the front line protector against the unhappy and maladjusted. Those who do not vote are `referred' for further investigation to insure that no mental illness goes undetected, no maladjustment unguided.

The Clinton impeachment, combined with Congressman Livingston's confession of sexual infidelity, marks the commencement of personal sexual life into public scrutiny. From now on politicians must be chosen for their personal sexual virtue. Thus the American Government, ecumenically at one with the United Nations, will evolve into a global organization of celibate bureaucrats. Female bureaucrats' garb will be not harsh black and white, but rather a gentle blue dress with the symbolic stain evolved from sinner Lewinsky. The male garb will be the classic necktie, symbol of vulnerability and submission - a leash around the neck, like a ring in the nose of the bulls.

Contrasting with the image of the bloody hands of Jesus on the cross, the gentler images might include the stain on Monica's dress. Instead of the holy communion of bread and wine representing the body and blood, the newer communion will grow out of a culture in which food is ample but love is lacking. Let the reader imagine appropriate rituals.

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