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EM-P: Forging A New Social Contract Will Result in National Unity

Attribution: www.haikudeck.com

A "social contract" is…an implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits, for example by sacrificing some individual freedom for state protection. Theories of a social contract became popular in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries among theorists such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and 20th century theorist John Brodley Rawls as a means of explaining the origin of government and the obligations of subjects.

A major focus of the book, Ensuring Justice, Fairness, and Inclusion in America: Managing Equity in the 21st Century and the strategic plan associated with it is how a new social contract can be forged in America. Such a focus is premised on the assertion the current social contract is broken and needs to be replaced. Chapter 2 of the book, which is entitled “A Short History of America’s Democratic Republics,” is focused on the development of a new social contract in America. This chapter begins with an examination of the concept of "democratic republics" by first examining the definition of “democracy” as a political system. Democracy is defined as a political system wherein the people rule and make decisions per majority rule. Democracy has a positive connotation, but it can have a dark side. A direct ("pure") democracy, on wherein people decide on initiatives directly and with out representatives, has the potential for the “tyranny of the majority” over less powerful minorities.

Conversely, a “republic” is a political system wherein the power of a self-interested and out-of-control majority is mitigated by constitutional, legal, and structural legal impediments to prevent them from infringing upon the rights of minorities. As is in the case of the establishment of societies, as asserted by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Rawls, at the beginning of each democratic republic, the citizens come together to forge a social contract that defines the relationships between its citizens and the relationship between its citizens and their government. It is notable that America’s Founding Fathers conceived of the country as a democratic republic and therefore it required the creation of a social contract to guide and govern its affairs. It is also notable that America has gone through several democratic republics, and therefore, have developed and discarded several social contracts.

Throughout its 231-year history, America has gone through three democratic republics: the First Democratic Republic (1788 and 1860), the Second Democratic Republic (1860 and 1930, and the Third Democratic Republic (1932 to 2004). Each of the first three American democratic republics failed, and now America is entering its Fourth Democratic Republic. In order to better understand the idea of rise and fall of democratic republics, Chapter 2 further focuses on the changing nature of the political, economic, and social forces that characterized the first three American Democratic Republics that ran from 1788 to 2004.

Using a typology derived from the works of Bruce Ackerman, James DeLong, and particularly those of Theodore Lowi (The End of Liberalism), and Michael Lind (The Next American Nation), Chapter 2 presents a typology that seeks to explain the forces that gave rise to and provoked the fall of the first democratic republics in America. The work of Lind is particularly illustrative in that it makes the case that America is now entering its fourth democratic republic and that each previous republic lasted around 77 years. Therefore, using Lind’s typology yields the following democratic republic periods: (1) The First Democratic Republic: 1777–1860; (2) The Second Democratic Republic: 1860–1932; (3) The Third Democratic Republic: 1932–2014. The typology used in Chapter 2 accepts Lind's notion that each republic had two halves, a initial “Progressive Era” (or half), which sought to promote justice, fairness, and inclusion, and to expand the social contract. The progressive era of each democratic republic was followed by a “Regressive Era” (or half) in which the forces of reaction sought promote injustice, unfairness, and exclusion, to roll back progress, and to constrict the social contract .

Schematic Illustrating the Four Democratic Republics in American History

The fundamental question we must ask is, why did America’s first three democratic republics fail? The failure of America’s first three democratic republics and their associated social contracts was due to America's dogmatic adherence to Majoritarian Democracy, zero-sum politics and economics, and injustice, unfairness, and exclusion. Chapter 2 of the book Ensuring Justice, Fairness, and Inclusion in America explores the reasons why the first three democratic republics failed and postulates what can be done to solve the shortcomings of the first three democratic republics as we move into the Fourth Democratic Republic.

So, what efforts has America made to expand the her social contract? Lind also makes the case that during each democratic republic, the social contract associated with it was never accepted by all the people. Carole Pateman offers one major reason why America’s original social contact and all the subsequent iterations of it were problematic. She says it is because the first social contract did not include women, and subsequent ones did not correct the shortcomings of the first. Similarly, Per Charles W. Mills maintains that America’s original social contract did not include minorities, and subsequent ones did not correct the shortcomings of the first. In America’s original social contract, and in subsequent ones, the white men to have enjoyed the full panoply of societal benefits that has had to offer. Of particular interest to us now is Lind’s assertion that the social contract that tenuously bound the republic together during the Third Democratic Republic is showing signs of being rent asunder.

There have been two major attempts to rectify the shortcomings associated with America’s original social contract. There have, in fact, been two comprehensive attempts to expand its original social contract to facilitate justice, fairness, and inclusion. The first was the during the 1860s after the Civil War (The Second Democratic Republic), during the Reconstruction Era, in which the blacks were freed from slavery by the 13th Amendment, granted the right to vote by the 14th Amendment and granted the rights of full citizenship by the 15th Amendment. The elevation of blacks provoked a furious backlash from southern whites who used every means at their disposal, including resorting to violence, to undo black advances. Extremely violence groups like the Ku Klux Klan sought to intimidate and blacks through beatings, destruction of black-owned property, murder, lynching. Black subjugation was further ratcheted up through virulently discriminatory laws. At the end of the Civil War, the North enforced the rights of blacks and protected their property and persons billeting Northern soldiers in the south who kept reactionary forces at bay. Ultimately, Northerners lost interest in protecting blacks in the South, and they cut a deal with Southerners that gave Northerners the Presidency in exchange for the withdrawal of the Northern Army from the South. Without Northern protection, white supremacy reasserted itself throughout the South, and Blacks found themselves in a social, political, and economic situation not too far removed from slavery.

The second major effort to expand the social contract to facilitate justice, fairness, and inclusion came almost 100 years after the first. Beginning in the 1960s, in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement (The Third Democratic Republic), American lawmakers promulgated affirmative action. As with Reconstruction, affirmative action provoked a furious backlash from whites and the Republican Party as they sought to ban the policy sector by sector in the courts and comprehensively state by state through plebiscites, which called for amending state constitutions to ban the policy. Pro-affirmative action contested these banning efforts, as well as they could, but they were fighting what was, at best, a holding action. The current state-of-play finds that affirmative action in America is no longer considered to be fully legal, moral, or ethical. A raucous debate has erupted over the ultimate disposition of affirmative action policies. Both sides of the debate agree on the policy “ends”—color blindness and the level playing field.” However, they have vehement disagreements about the best method of achieving these ends. The affirmative action problem is no longer a legal or constitutional problem; recent court rulings have defined the policy parameters that affirmative action must conform to, and that is the requirements of “strict scrutiny.” Thus, the affirmative action problem in America is now a “management problem.” It is a problem of “means.” It is a problem of “how to do” what the courts say we must do.

As this country moves into its Fourth Democratic Republic, there is a new opportunity to redefine the social contract. Chapter 2 makes the case that where, in the past, we have squandered the opportunity to re-define America’s social contract in the manner outlined in our Founding Documents. At the start of the Fourth Democratic Republic President Barack Obama, the first President of America’s Fourth Democratic Republic, tried to move America in a progressive direction, and to help in the development of a new Social contract. As with all other presidents whose terms coincided with the beginning of past republics, President Barack Obama was committed to transformative progressive change in America. His put forth an agenda that called for America to return to its founding principles as espoused by it is Founding Fathers and embodied in its Founding Documents, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. President tried to the values of the Founders as the foundation of a new American social contract that seeks Representative Consensus Democracy, and justice, fairness, and inclusion for all Americans.

Regarding her social contract, America has been at a social and political impasse for so many years that the social, political, and economic sectors have become polarized and hyper-partisan. The social contract that held the country together, albeit tenuously, since the 1930s is now moribund. Americans have divided themselves up into competing tribes, each unwilling to suffer the other, and all are looking for competitive advantages over the other. .

Fractured Amertican Flag Symbolizing That the Nation's Social Contract is Broken

As stated above, using the Lind schema, America is entering its Fourth Democratic Republic (2014 - ?), and even though America elected its first black President, Barack Obama, twice, we are not living in a post-racial society. There is strong evidence that racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and so forth, are alive, well, and on the rise in America and that the American social contract continues to break down.

The fight for justice, fairness, and inclusion is at its core a fight over “what will be the nature of distributive justice in America as we enter the Fourth Democratic Republic. The answer to this question ranges from “reparations,” which will not happen, on the far left to white supremacy, which is objectionable to the vast majority, on the far right. For those who have endured centuries of subjugation and discrimination, the answer to this question is of paramount importance.

Profile of The American Electorate Showing Their Relative Positions and Sentiments

Some have enjoyed the benefits of a system that gave them every advantage, all the while resisting having to share the benefits of American society equally, and they are not keen to give up their advantage. Given the dogmatic belief in and adherence to Majoritarian Democracy, zero-sum politics and economics in America, can we agree upon a system that distributes societal burdens and benefits justly, fairly, and inclusively? Given the revelations concerning the increases in the amount of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, hyper-partisanship, and polarization can we learn to live together as brothers and sisters? We must find a new solution to the problem of distributive justice in America. We must define a new social contract in America or risk the unthinkable, a new civil war. Therefore, a administratively practical, legally viable, and socially acceptable distributive justice option must be found.

The “bonds” that should hold the American people together (our social contract) are fraying to the point of breaking. The key questions of our time are: “If we are to remain a single country in which we live together in peace, respect, and love for each other, and if American society is not to devolve into internecine tribal warfare, where do we go from here?” How do we seal the breach? What would be the nature of a new social contract for America? A paraphrasing of William Chip, citing Michael Lind, offers these sobering (and hopeful) words:

Eurocentrism (White Supremacy) is dead, and Multiculturalism is dying. Whoever fills the void will define the political, social, and economic sectors of America for the majority of the 21st Century.

EM-P was designed to fill that void. But how do we get all of the stakeholders to the table to begin negotiations? It is possible to use the current level of polarization in America to our advantage in the process of fashioning a new social contract. A useful starting point is a fact that Euro-centrists and Multiculturalists fear each other and what the other might do if given the reins of power. Given the realities of Majoritarian Democracy and winner-take-all politics, each side fears the other to the extent the elections in America have become a “blood sport” in which prevailing is as an almost life or death proposition. Fear of the “Tyranny of the Majority” animates both sides. However, the potential for “mutually assured victimization” can be mitigated by the “liberation of fear.” It is the fear of an equally armed adversary that kept the peace during the Cold War, and the same type of fear, fear of retaliation from a powerful political adversary, can help forge a lasting social peace in America today. Fear can drive all to come together and negotiate a deal, a new social contract. It can cause us to forsake Majoritarian Democracy, injustice, unfairness, and exclusion, Identity Politics, zero-sum politics, and economics and opt for Representative Consensus Democracy and justice, fairness, and inclusion in as many areas of public life as possible.

Both sides that are competing for control in American politics are so fixated on winning at all costs they cannot see that the positions espoused by both are losing legitimacy with the American people. The loss of legitimacy of the two major parties in America will have immediate and long-term negative ramifications for the country. Obviously, they need help in finding their way to unifying the country and forging a new social contract. The content of this book attempts to show the way to a new social contract that could heal the breach and bring unity to America. Any such proposal must be rooted in the concepts of Representative Consensus Democracy and justice, fairness, and inclusion for all, if it is to have the support of all of the state, is to legitimate and stable. With that as the starting premise, the foundation of a new social contract had to be John Rawls’ theory of justice, “Justice as Fairness.”

Using Rawls’ work as the cornerstone of a new social contract requires much work. Rawls is not an easy read. His work is even harder to decipher. Once deciphered, the next step regarding Rawls’ Justice as Fairness is to figure out how to operationalize it, which is a Herculean task. Rawls never tells us how to do any of this, but he does maintain that it is possible and that the exercise will result in the creation of what he terms “realistic utopias.”

Therefore, this book takes a holistic approach (ala Holistic Medicine) the problems that beset America and the American body politic. It is meant to do more than to identify and describe a problem. It is meant to be “observational” (determine the existence of a problem), “diagnostic” (identify and characterize the causes of the problems), “prophylactic” (develop a comprehensive course of treatment for the problems), and “prognostic” (predict the future “optimal state” of America and the American body politic). but to lay out a set of policy initiatives institutions and tools that are purpose-built to solve the problems. Another objective of this book is to be the catalyst for the development of a new “Coalition of Conscience” made up of individuals, organizations, and countries bent on promoting Representative Consensus Democracy and justice, fairness, and inclusion worldwide. This book is designed to help forge new social contracts in pro-democracy countries and putting in place the wherewithal to achieve “real democracy.”

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution make a case for justice, fairness, and inclusion for all. However, it is not enough to have values and principles as espoused in these Founding Documents. Rawls would add that basic policies, societal structures, and institutions must function justly and fairly to ensure the creation and perpetuation of a “well-ordered” society. EM-P provides those policies, management models, and tools to help ensure that everyone’s fundamental right to justice, fairness, and inclusion are realized. EM-P functions as a complement to the Constitutional set up in America and is meant to be the component that operates in the background to ensure justice, fairness, and inclusion. Under normal circumstances, EM-P will allow us to “play the game” confident knowing that the playing field is level and that the game is fair.

So, how would EM-P help to foster a new social contract. We foresee the process working something like this: It can help restore

  1. EM-P calls for putting in place policies (Equity Management) and systems (Plato Management Information System) to ensure that justice, fairness, and inclusion for all.

  2. EM-P will lay the groundwork for bridging the gap between different "tribes" in the 99 percent by convincing them that they have more in common than their differences.

  3. EM-P would reduce the amount racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia,

  4. EM-P will help wean the people off Majoritarian Democracy, zero-sum politics and economics

  5. With the people insisting on Representative Consensus Democracy, win-win politics and economics, identity politics, tribalism, hyper-partisanship, and polarization can be greatly diminished.

  6. In the current populist era, bringing unity to the 99 percent will will foster a unifying "positive populism" to counter the divisive "negative populism" some are espousing.

  7. A unified 99 percent would give "power to the people" (Demos Kratos) because politically, they could insist that their representatives take up and work on effectuating the causes and issues that they want addressed.

  8. This would create real Representative Consensus Democracy.

  9. Economic and political elites would have to respond to an empowered and unified populace by becoming agents of change in the American political and economic systems.

  10. Such a situation would lead to a re-imagining and a reinventing of democracy (and capitalism) wherein their reality matches its (their) rhetoric.

  11. In such an environment, all all stakeholders (the one percent, the 99 percent, corporations, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, etc.) can come together to fashion a new social contract for America's Fourth Democratic Republic.

  12. The electorate would be expanded because citizens would have something to vote for.

  13. It can help restore faith in America's institutions, government, and its democracy (and democracy in general).

  14. In this new era of true democracy, all things would be possible. The political and economic system would be compelled to address and solve any and all problems that the people want addressed and solved.

  15. With some modifications to EM-P that allow for country-specific differences, this model can be replicated in democracies worldwide.

  16. As more and more countries adopt EM-P, they can begin to make common cause and offer a counter (pro-democracy) narrative to the at being pushed by authoritarians, thus "hardening" democracy.

EM-P will help ensure societal peace because everyone will have confidence that if unjust and unfair circumstances arise, or some are excluded, EM-P will help flag both victim and victimizer and aide help develop policy solutions. EM-P will use Rawls’ Difference Principle, to rectify the problematic situations and restore the default situation of equality, which is equivalent to Rawls’ Equal Opportunity Principle. I designed Equity Management-Plato to mitigate the effect of Identity Politics. Equity Management applies the concepts of justice, fairness, and inclusions to all Americans, thus helping to create and maintain Rawls’ “realistic utopia” and his “well-ordered society,” and Martin Luther King's "Beloved Community," and his "better world."

Regarding America, EM-P was developed to help the American people get their minds around this issue and come to understand that there is a better path than the one we are on, and everyone can and must take part in it, and everybody can enjoy it. If we can learn to use our common sense, find common ground, and make common cause and If we can muster the political will, we can solve these problems. We need far more than a new modus vivendi. We need to make our national motto, “E Pluribus Unum” real. This will require the creation of a just, fair, and inclusive America. It is with these requirements in mind that EM-P was designed. EM-P's components were designed to be nothing less than a user’s manual for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution specifically and for democracy in general. I also wrote this book is to spark national and international conversation on the creation of just, fair, and inclusive societies.

Schematic Showing Ethnic Unity in Front of The American Flag