EM-P: Promoting Positive Populism is the only Way to Save Liberal Democracy in America and Worldwide
Worldwide, tottering democracies coupled with “unfettered capitalism” are in crisis because their rhetoric does not match their reality. Rather than being the guarantors of opportunity, freedoms, equality, justice, fairness, and inclusion under their watch oligarchy, kleptocracy, corruption, racial, gender, religious, class, and representational inequality, hyper-partisanship, polarization, identity politics, and zero-sum politics and economics have risen to unacceptable levels resulting in waves of popular discontent. Authoritarians are taking advantage of these vulnerabilities by engaging in a campaign to subvert democratic processes by “weaponizing” democracy’s (and capitalism’s) vulnerabilities in order to destroy the liberal democratic world order—because of the authoritarian onslaught and liberal democracies.
The weapon of choice for authoritarians in their assault on liberal democracy is negative populism. This is a topic of tremendous importance in the current age. Populism is not going anywhere. It is a matter of the greatest urgency that democracy-loving peoples everywhere devise a positive populist solution to the negative populism being proffered by authoritarians. There is a longer version of this blog post in white paper no. 5 on the Washington & Associates, Inc. website. It is also entitled “EM-P: Promoting Positive Populism is the only Way to Save Liberal Democracy in America and Worldwide.” It is in the interest of all democracy-loving people everywhere to download and read white paper no. 5, because it explains in much more detail how the process of promoting positive populism can save liberal democracy in America and worldwide.
W&A is proud to announce that it has completed and posted a new white paper on its website that explains how Equity Management-Plato (EM-P) is a positive populist instrument. White paper no. 005; it is entitled “EM-P: Promoting Positive Populism is the only Way to Save Liberal Democracy in America and Worldwide.” This white paper and this blog post with the same name (also posted on the W&A website), explain the difference between “positive populism” and “negative populism” and their impact on the state of liberal democracy in America and worldwide. It then gives a short history of the tension between the two according to what is called a “populist dialectic” as it has played out in America. White paper no. 005 makes the case that establishment responses to populism in America have morphed into the broken social, political, and economic systems we have today that W&A has named “Virulent Majoritarian Democracy.” Further, white paper no. 005 makes the case that if Virulent Majoritarian Democracy is to be mitigated and saving liberal democracy is to occur, promoting positive populism is the only approach capable of accomplishing both objectives. Then, white paper no. 005 goes on to demonstrate that EM-P is rooted in positive populism and that by adopting EM-P, we can save liberal democracy in America and worldwide; this is so because point-for-point EM-P was designed to replace Virulent Majoritarian Democracy (see the table below). Finally, white paper no. 005 issues a “call to action” to all democracy-loving people everywhere to join in a global movement to embrace EM-P and use it to help save liberal democracy everywhere.
White paper no. 005 and its associated blog post make the case that saving liberal democracy was always going to be a bottom-up process. Those at the top are too invested in the status quo to reform the system, and the 99 percent is too beleaguered by the status quo to suffer it continuing. Therefore, we, as liberal democracy-loving people, must make a choice between the status quo (Virulent Majoritarian Democracy), which is problematic for the 99 percent while being extremely beneficial for the one percent and reforming the system to make it beneficial for all. In the final analysis, white paper no. 005 and this blog post make the case that we can maintain the status quo, or we can save liberal democracy, but we cannot do both.
Over the last several decades, negative populism incited by the forces of authoritarianism has been on the rise, and liberal democracy has been on the decline. Authoritarians around the world have figured out how to weaponize the shortcomings of democracies and appeal to disaffected and dispossessed persons in liberal democracies to get them to distrust the system, governmental institutions, and political, economic, and the intellectual elites. Authoritarians make the case that liberal democracy’s reality does not match its rhetoric and, therefore, should be abandoned in favor of fidelity to “strong men.” Anti-democratic forces (authoritarians, terrorists, Nazis, and nativists) focus on this hypocrisy inherent in liberal democratic states as proof that liberal democracy is a sham. A website entitled "Our World Data" tends to corroborate these trends. This is not the first time that authoritarians have assaulted liberal democracy. In fact, this the fourth time in the last fifty years that we have seen this dynamic play out.
The existential question facing democracies in the current age is, "how do they stem the tide and reverse these trends." Now, at the start of the 21st Century, democracies again find themselves locked in another existential clash; this time against another strain of right-wing authoritarianism. See the comparison between positive populism and negative populism in the table below.
Whether we can save liberal democracy or not will depend on the degree to which democracy-loving peoples can devise a positive populist alternative to the authoritarian’s weapon of choice, negative populism.
Liberal democracy’s problems are multi-faceted. Saving democracy requires that it be reimagined and reinvented. Democracy must be saved in America first. What is needed is a bold, imaginative plan designed to create a world that people want. The key to solving all of these problems is to promote a positive populism in liberal democratic states aimed at reimaging and reinventing liberal democracy itself. Washington & Associates, Inc has responded to the challenges of creating national unity by developing a universally applicable strategic plan designed to save liberal democracy, unify peoples, and resist authoritarianism and nationalism worldwide. The plan is contained in a recently published book entitled, Ensuring Justice, Fairness, and Inclusion: Managing Equity in the 21st Century, written by its President, Dr. Charles A. Washington, and in a series of five (5) white papers and promotional gear. The book and the strategic plan mark the first-ever attempt to operationalize John B. Rawls' seminal concept, “Justice as Fairness.” The strategic plan calls for the development and implementation of a management system called “Equity Management” and a software system called the “Plato Management Information System.”
The salvation of liberal democracy everywhere must begin in America, or it will not begin at all. This book and its associated strategic plan are meant to begin the process of “Saving Liberal Democracy, Unifying Peoples, and Resisting Authoritarianism” by mapping out a strategy to create what John Rawls calls a “well-ordered society,” and a “realistic utopia” and what Martin Luther King, Jr. calls a “beloved community” and a “better world.” I believe that ultimately all democracy-loving countries worldwide will see the benefits of this vision and find the on-ramp to the road that leads to John Rawls’ “realistic utopia” and his “well-ordered society,” and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “beloved community,” and his “better world.”
A “toxic soup” of injustice, unfairness, racial, gender, and class inequality has been festering in America for decades. Its extent and portent have gone unappreciated. Although the seeds of these negative circumstances and sentiments have been festering in America for decades, in the 2016 Presidential Election season, the nature and extent of these problems exploded onto the national stage and the national consciousness. The popular response to these problems was sentiments characterized by rabid populism, anti-establishment furor, and right-wing authoritarianism, nativism, and Identity Politics. Of these problems, the ones that garnered the most attention were the alarming levels of racial, gender, and class-based inequality, which had risen so much that the middle class, the poor and the nation itself were at risk. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson have found that often, nation-states fail because they rot from the inside as inequality becomes rampant, thus making them vulnerable to internal populist political insurgencies and the machinations of external anti-state actors. Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page have found that the process of “rotting” has begun in America and that an oligarchy has taken control of the American government and is siphoning off the lion’s share of societal benefits to the detriment of the masses.
Clearly, the social, political, and economic systems in America are broken. Americans no longer have faith in the system as it is currently constituted and even less faith in the proposition that it can be corrected and perfected. Again, this is important because, according to an old expression, “if you do not have a seat at the table, you are probably on the menu.” For liberal democracy to work, citizens must have faith in the system, the public must participate in its processes, and they must be willing to accept the results of elections or the application of government power. Liberal democracy can no longer afford “free riders.” The populist era is not going anywhere. Issues have to be dealt with and problems solved. The key to creating that better world lies in how the social, political, and economic systems respond to the explosive and potentially disruptive rise of popular discontent with the status quo. Do elites try to suppress it, divert attention by blaming scapegoats, or in other ways, try to manipulate it to their advantage? The bottom line is do they promote positive populism bent on reforming the system, or do they promote negative populism bent on preserving the status quo at whatever cost?
America’s Founding Fathers had a utopian, positive populist vision when they founded our democratic republic and codified our social contract in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.Pursuant to that utopian vision, America has formulated and implemented three previous democratic republics, all of which have failed. The failure of the three previous democratic republics has at its roots in the fact that popular discontent with the status quo and cries for systemic reform has existed in all three previous American democratic republics, and the elites (the establishment) have endeavored to blunt the impact of this popular discontent with the status quo by pushing a negative populism that left the status quo intact while diverting popular discontent onto scapegoats. This has resulted in a “populist dialectic” that has driven American history and precipitated in the demise of successive versions of the American social contract from 1787 to the present. At this moment, we are living in the aftermath of the failure of the Third Democratic Republic and its attendant social contract.
The major cause for the failure of the first three democratic republics that was at no time did American “democracy’s reality match its rhetoric,” resulting in all types of inequalities and vulnerabilities. As we enter America’s Fourth Democratic Republic, a new social contract must be formulated and implemented, one that finally allows America to live up to its creed, to live up to its utopian (aspirational) vision or the America we long for will be out of reach, and the America we have could cease to exist as it devolves into the chaos of internecine conflict and potentially anarchy. Further, if liberal democracy is to survive in America and worldwide, the exemplar must come from an America willing to fight back against negative populism with a positive populist vision and a steadfast determination to save itself and its way of life.
Given the fact that current American political parties, its political representatives, the establishment, corporations, and the one percent seem more intent upon maintaining the status quo than truly reforming liberal democracy, the process of saving liberal democracy is not likely to be a top-down process. The only way to truly save liberal democracy is to empower the people to compel their “representatives’ to reform the social, political, and economic systems. Liberal democracy can only be saved by a bottom-up process driven by activist citizens fully engaged in the political process, and who are no longer willing to blindly and “freely” give their support and votes to politicos who do not represent their interest. Sorting of these representatives must begin. There are two broad categories of “representatives,” as shown below:
Those who eschew the general will of the people and who want to maintain the status quo even at the cost of losing liberal democracy.
Those who want to follow the general will and who want to save Liberal Democracy by reforming the system, but do not have a plan for doing it.
It is now abundantly clear that we can maintain the status quo, or we can save liberal democracy, but we cannot do both. The people want a better world. In order for them to get that better world, the people have to rise up and demand changes to the status quo. If the “representatives” currently in office will not reform the system to reflect the will of the people and create a system that works for all of the people, then, in the spirit of a true “representative democracy,” the people need to vote out and replace them with “representatives” that will give the people what they want.
Mustering a positive populist movement will require the people to eschew old notions of “Us” vs. Them” tribalism, hyper-partisanship, polarization, zero-sum politics, and economics, etc. and begin to use their “common sense” to find “common ground,” and finally make “common cause” with their fellow Americans. This will require that they find what John Rawls calls an “Overlapping Consensus” (the things that we all agree on and want). A natural overlapping consensus is possible, as shown in the polls, as regards the different issues wherein there is an overwhelming majority in favor of those items. The polls show that there are clear, and in some circumstances, overwhelming majority regarding policy preferences. Members of the Resistance and the Tea party want the same things, but they are not getting them. Both the Democratic and the Republican Parties have seen their agenda hollowed out. This exposition is designed to show the people how to get what they want by banding together and demanding what they want rather than taking what the elites and politicians are willing to give them. The end result of this effort by the people to make common cause will result in the creation of a new “political center.” And it is in that new political center, that consensus can be found, agreements can be reached, deals can be made, and ultimately a new social contract for America’s Fourth Democratic Republic can be fashioned. None of this is only possible unless the people have a seat at the negotiation table, which they do not have right now.
At base, the problems of our time represent an existential assault on the liberal democratic world being perpetrated by authoritarians bent on bringing down the liberal democracy in America and around the world. Currently, there is much trepidation and anguish among pro-democracy forces as they are struggling to muster an adequate defense (let alone an offense) against the forces of authoritarianism. The book, Ensuring Justice, Fairness, and Inclusion in America: Managing Equity in the 21st Century, which is now published, has at its heart a concept called “Equity Management-Plato” (EM-P) that is designed to solve many of these vexing problems. Washington & Associates, Inc. has also written five white papers, and a blog (EM-P Blog) that shows how the process of saving liberal democracy can be expanded to include liberal democracies worldwide. It also has two associated projects which are designed to solve these problems by unifying America, resisting authoritarianism, and saving Liberal Democracy in America and worldwide.
While we believe that the process of saving liberal democracy must and likely will have to start in America, ultimately, saving liberal democracy will involve liberal democracy-loving countries worldwide engaged in a comprehensive and coordinated process. It is for this reason that Washington & Associates, Inc. developed the strategic plan outlined in the five white papers located on its website. The core of the strategic plan is found in White Paper no. 4 entitled, “International Democracy Project.” For the International Democracy Project to be successful, it will require the development of new institutions, the creation of the Indivisible as a formal corporate, non-profit entity with an international footprint. The engagement of existing institutions, political parties, resistance movements, students, the old, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, urbanites, rural dwellers, literally everyone who wants a change in American politics and democracies worldwide will be solicited to help form an infrastructure aimed at saving liberal democracy worldwide.
The world has been down this road before. Antidemocratic forces assailed the liberal democratic order three times during the 20th Century. During World War, I, World War II, and the Cold War, aggressive anti-democrats tried to bring down global liberal democracy and supplant it with various strains of authoritarianism. During World War I and World War II, democracies were slow to resist right-wing authoritarianism, thus giving anti-democratic forces early advantages that resulted in prolonged global wars, untold destruction, and human carnage, leading ultimately to the fall of states and of empires. During the five-decades-long Cold War, left-wing authoritarianism assailed democracies in a global campaign of dueling ideologies and proxy wars before democracies were finally able to prevail. Currently, at the start of the 21st Century, democracies again find themselves in another existential clash, this time against another strain of right-wing authoritarianism that has found ways to weaponize negative populism and to use it to try to destroy liberal democracy. Thus, the corrosive effects of negative populism do not necessarily arise organically or remain self-contained within any individual country. It is being exported and fomented in liberal democratic state after state.
In order for liberal democracy to survive the current onslaught from authoritarians and their negative populist strategies, liberal democracy-loving peoples need to make common cause worldwide to establish a new international coalition of conscience bent on saving the world order as we know it. While saving liberal democracy begins with “hardening” it (fixing its vulnerabilities), it ends with creating a benign yet robust ethos that is far more attractive than the authoritarian philosophies extant in the world today. This book is meant to help begin those processes. Pro-democracy forces worldwide need to make common cause worldwide to establish a new international coalition of conscience bent on saving the world order as we know it. Saving liberal democracy begins with “hardening” it (fixing its vulnerabilities) and ends with creating a benign yet robust philosophy that is far more attractive than the authoritarian philosophies extant in the world today.
By making these necessary changes, democracies can reduce the appeal of these corrosive anti-democratic elements and shore up liberal democratic states. Pro-democracy forces worldwide need to make common cause worldwide to establish a new international coalition of conscience bent on saving the world order as we know it. Saving liberal democracy begins with “hardening” it (fixing its vulnerabilities) and ends with creating a benign yet robust philosophy that is far more attractive than the authoritarian philosophies extant in the world today. This book is meant to begin those processes. If affirmatively adopted and implemented, the solutions proposed in this book will result in the creation of Rawls’ “realistic utopias,” the saving of liberal democracy worldwide, and ultimately the creation of a “better world.”
W&A has responded to these challenges by developing a universally applicable strategic plan designed to save liberal democracy, unify peoples, and resist authoritarianism and nationalism worldwide. The plan is contained in a recently published book entitled, Ensuring Justice, Fairness, and Inclusion in America: Managing Equity in the 21st Century, written by its President, Dr. Charles A. Washington, and in a series of five (5) white papers and promotional gear. The book and the strategic plan mark the first-ever attempt to fully operationalize John B. Rawls' seminal concept, “Justice as Fairness.” The strategic plan calls for the development and implementation of a revolutionary management system called “Equity Management,” and a web-based software system called the “Plato Management Information System.”
The strategic plan being pushed by Washington & Associates, Inc. and the solutions offered in Equity Management-Plato were designed to help liberal democracies everywhere offer their citizens a positive alternative vision to the negative one being offered worldwide by forces of authoritarianism and virulent nationalistic populism. While this volume focuses specifically on the American experience, its definition of the problems that afflict liberal democracy-loving countries and “the solutions to those problems (EM-P) are, in fact, meant to be universal. With some modifications to account for localized circumstances, Equity Management-Plato is universal in its applicability. If affirmatively adopted and implemented, the solutions proposed herein will result in the creation of John Rawls’ “realistic utopias,” the saving of liberal democracy worldwide, and ultimately the creation of a “better world.”
Washington & Associates, Inc’s solution to saving liberal democracy worldwide (Equity Management-Plato) has been 32 years in the making. There is no other solution available to save liberal democracy. If there were, given “hair-on-fire” reactions by governments, multilaterals, think tanks, universities, academics, reporters, and the general public, it would have been implemented already. The only way to save liberal democracy is to empower the people to save it by giving them a seat at the table. A newly empowered and unified people can put pressure on their “representatives” to respond to the “general will,” rather than only to special interests and the one percent. This is the essence of positive populism. EM-P is designed to give the people a seat at the table, a voice in determining the type of country and world they will live in in the 21st century.
W&A also brings the following to the table: the ability to train others on the strategic plan, the intellectual and technical resources to implement the strategic plan, and a willingness to use resources from the sale of the book, and the promotional gear in areas of need within the movement.
This is An Urgent Call to Action!
This is a call to action! If you (all like-minded governments, corporations, organizations, and individuals) are concerned about the current state of affairs in America and around the world and you want to do something about it, then you need to heed this clarion call. Explore our website. Download and read the white papers. Buy and read the book. Subscribe to and follow the EM-P Blog. Buy and show off the gear. Follow us on social media. Sign up (organizations and individuals) and join the movement. Help make the changes you want. Help us fight for unity among peoples in America and elsewhere. Help us resist authoritarianism everywhere. Help us save Liberal Democracy worldwide!
Pursuant to its mission, Washington & Associates, Inc. is soliciting all like-minded countries, governments, corporations, organizations, and individuals who are concerned about the current state of liberal democracy in America and around the world and who want to do something about it, to heed this clarion call. After all, what would you give to wind up with the government, the country, and the world you want for yourself and your children? By heeding this clarion call, buying the book, buying the gear, and joining the movement, you are contributing to creating the world we all want.
Washington & Associates, Inc. leaves you with an anecdote that has been passed down through the Washington family, “He would be saved should be prepared to participate in his own salvation.” We can no longer sit around and wait for others to save us. We must save ourselves. Saving liberal democracy was always going to be a bottom-up process. Those at the top are too invested in the status quo to reform the system and the 99 percent are too beleaguered by the status quo to suffer it continuing. Therefore, we as liberal democracy-loving people must make a choice between the status quo, which is problematic for the 99 percent while being extremely beneficial for the one percent, and reforming system to make it beneficial for all. In the final analysis, we can maintain the status quo, or we can save liberal democracy, but we cannot do both, and there can be no more democratic process than for the people to rise up and take their country back.