Claudius van Wyk offers some thoughts on Compassionate Democracy as our collective evolutionary trajectory towards a new ‘Age of Humanity’. In its shift from ‘heroic conquest’ to ‘reverend embrace’, Compassionate Democracy potentially unlocks a holistic socio-political transformation of British society.
- Compassionate Democracy transcends political polarization characterised by judgement, condemnation and demonization. It considers all people, however apparently misguided, to be doing the best they can with their current available resources; intellectual, social, and material. It embraces the individual, as the agent of evolutionary society, as being capable of on-going growth and positive contribution, when appropriately enabled. (As we forgive others…)
- Compassionate Democracy is thus the political approach of compassionate society in which the humanity is not a problem to be solved but a resource to be brought forth, people are not treated as political sheep to be herded by commissars and spin doctors, as voting fodder to be wooed for the sake of partisan political gain, but the contemporary agent of cosmic evolution (Thy will be done…).
- Compassionate Democracy thus prioritizes the management of human and natural resources with a view to liberating responsible and collaborative human potential. It consequently advocates a reduced ‘state’, and commensurate empowered individuals /communities, with a specific focus on self-organisation.
- Compassionate Democracy transcends both the ‘survival of the fittest’ notion of social Darwinism, and the consequent socialist notion that the state ultimately needs to control resources. Adopting evidence of nature’s evolution as being patently holistic and collaborative, it views human consciousness as equally evolutionary, and the measure of that evolution being its quality of compassionate holism.
- Compassionate Democracy, by representing the evolutionary emancipation of human potential rather than secular commercial or nationalist state interest, can promote an international collaborative network for globally catalyzed social, political, and ultimate economic renewal. It can be a further powerful agent for global change – re-appropriating that task from the international labour movement.
- Compassionate Democracy is inherently resilient since its approach of place based social localism enables the optimisation of enriching diversity as opposed to bland collectivism.
- In a world of AI and robotics the ‘ordinary man’ faces unprecedented challenges of being marginalized at the cost of a technocratic elite. But at the same time ‘capital’ is no longer the sole criterion of economic success – it has been replaced by knowledge and creativity. Compassionate Democracy will focus on unlocking individual and community knowledge, collaboration, and creativity.
- Compassionate Democracy seeks active, self-empowered and informed civil society. It counters the growing call for an enlightened governing ‘epistocracy’ (as a super competent digital-age technological elite) with the notion that the technologically enabled can best align collaboratively in service with civil society, rather than in service of monopolistic mega-corporations and the state.
- Compassionate Democracy will thus transcend the divide between capitalism and socialism, embracing the best intentions of the welfare state whilst liberating the creative power of individuals in the interest of healthy and vital communities. It will release the stranglehold of the political elite and give social innovation new breath.
- Since its vison of human potential is informed by the notion of the sacred role of human consciousness, both in the husbanding of planetary resources that enable its being, and in carrying out its cosmic function a deeper spiritual resilience is activated. Ultimately evolutionary human consciousness is constituted by a quality of collective response emerging from the individual liberation of empowered global citizens – in its shift from ‘heroic conquest’ to ‘reverend embrace’ it unlocks the ultimate spiritual power of love.
- The ‘welfare state’ emerged out of thinking initiated at Dartington Hall from the crisis of conscience related to two world wars. Compassionate Democracy can emerge from the more profound crisis representing humanity’s current viability as a species.
A Sketch of an Evolutionary Timeline:
From Autocracy (power of the few) – to Political Conservatism – to Liberal Democracy (power of the individual in the survival of fittest – freedom: ‘liberte’) – to Social Democracy (power of the collective in the state – welfare state: ‘egalite’) – to Compassionate Democracy (power of collaborative community consisting of autonomous, active and enlightened citizens: ‘fraternite’).
Magna Carta 1215 – drafted by Archbishop of Canterbury – absolute power of kings in UK curtailed
Medieval times – moral authority exercised through church
Protestant Reformation – 1517 – 1648 – ‘age of enlightenment’ initiated – scientism – see gradual emergence of secularism – morality embraced in laws
Henry 8th – Break with Rome – 1532 – 1534
European colonial expansion – from 1600 ->
English civil war – 1642 – 1651
‘Leviathan’ – Thomas Hobbes (Social Contract) 1651. Common-wealth
Oliver Cromwell – 1653 – 1658
Restoration of the monarchy – Charles 2 – 1660 – albeit reduced power – role of bishops – role of Anglican church.
‘Du Contrat Sociale’ – Jean Jacques Rousseau – 1762
American revolution – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson – 1763 – 1785 – King George 3
Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith – 1776 (rationale for capitalist morality)
French Revolution – ‘liberty, equality, fraternity ‘ 1789 – 1799
‘Communist Manifesto’ – 1848 – Marx & Engels
‘Das Kapital’ – Karl Marx – 1867 (rationale of socialist morality)
American Federation of Labour – 1886 – international labour movement initiated
Russian Bolshevik Revolution – 1917
‘Mein Kampf’ – Adolph Hitler – 1925 (national socialism)
WWII ends – socialist government in UK 1945
Collapse of European colonialism 1945 ->
UK Welfare state/NHS – 1948
Cold War – 1945 > communism vs capitalist west
Triumph of free market neo-liberalism – Thatcher and Reagan – 1980 ->
Collapse of communism – 1989 ->
Arab Spring and chaos – 2010 ->
Brexit brouhaha – 2016 ->
Compassionate Democracy? ->