What is the role of a non-individual body in society? Rather, what should be the end of a non-individual body in society?
In working on my next major sub-topic it occurred me that I must codify and answer the above question. So here is that answer:
The role of any non-individual, that is any body run by individuals within society (hereafter ‘body’), ought have its ultimate end directed toward the betterment of that society. Or stated another way: a body that operates for some end other than for the benefit of society, such as for its own end or fulfillment, is antithetical to the health of its society.
With this answer it is reasonable to ask, what are these bodies? At the least three examples can be made to make the answer clearer without overbearing the point. These bodies are: education, economy, and government.
I will state from the outset that education is of intrinsic worth. That is, an education body that is focused toward the education of wise citizens has intrinsic worth. In that focus the modes of education must be moral, or at the very least modes that develop a strong positive sense of pragmatism (more attention on moral education will be given in a future discussion). This moral, or pragmatic, education would quickly shows its benefits to society in a deep meaningful way as which is not seen in the current system in the United States today.
That system, that is the current system, has lost its focus on developing citizens. It has shifted its operations toward the education and training of workers to support the market, the economy. In doing so it has become antithetical to the development and maintenance of a healthy society. Therefore, the focus must be shifted. This is not to say socially focused modes would not consider the economic needs of the people. Assuredly any education must also ensure individuals will be able to find meaningful and supporting employment. This last point transitions us to the economy.
It goes almost without saying that there are a verity of economic systems that a society may chose to operate with. It too, I think, can be fairly agreed that no one of these systems is intrinsically good or bad. Rather it is the way the system is adopted and later managed that will manifest good or evil. That is, of course, not to say that there are not systems that do not tend toward being more beneficial or destructive. It is just that I do not indent to address that issue and simply state that there are clearly systems that quickly become evil and destructive to a societies wellbeing.
One of the major dangers of any economic system are their tendency to become self-fulfilling. More plainly, these systems often operate in such a way that the means by which they succeed is when that success becomes the ends of the system itself. From within the system itself this is not problematic, or at least not seemingly so; but for a healthy society it is highly dangerous. Free market capitalism in the United States is a prime example. The modes of the system have been managed so poorly that it has mollified the people into believing that it is in their own best interest that the system be focused on its own success. And that this success will somehow benefit everyone in the long run. This delusion is corrosive.
This mismanagement of a capitalist system has led to great economic disparities and political strife. Yet, if it had been well managed by a knowledgeable citizenry things may not have come to this point. By contrast, a well managed system, one such that situates its mode of operation toward the health and benefit of society, can be successful for society. When the modes of operating are situated this way even capitalism may ensure that individuals will be able to obtain meaningful and fulfilling employment that will support themselves and their families. To do this it also means that the system must be watchful of gross inequalities and have built in functions to address them if they do arise. Those functions simply cannot be wholly internal to the economic system, they must be established and managed by an outside system. This then naturally bring us to our last non-individual body: the government.
I think the reader now will know the direction that a government should aim its ends: toward the health and welfare of society. In its most abstract form the function of government does do this, but the flaw that prevents it from acting very realistically is not the governmental body itself. Rather it is political parties.
Political parties on face value play the function of centralizing particular ideals under a roof. They are organizations that operate to inform the body politic and organize it. The reality, at least in the United States is that the political parties have highjacked the modes of government for their own ends. The two major parties, Democrats and Republicans, have convinced and mollified the body politic that it is one party is right and the other wrong. And they have, although not government agencies themselves, virtually taken over the election process at the state and federal level making it nearly impossible for outside parties to even run for elections. These actions are self-fulfilling and not directed toward the betterment of society and lead the government toward passing laws and regulations that are antithetical to societal wellbeing.
A government that is open to anyone to be a representative is a healthy government. A government free from economic monies is a health government. A government that is not held hostage by political parties whims can do the important work of helping a society be healthy and well. To that end a government must be in control of its own operations and elections. The political parties should do little more than be political centers of thought, varied and numerous, while the government itself controls the modes of operation and election with laws and regulations that ensure open dialogue. Likewise, those that work in the government must be responsive to the body politic for fear that the people will have them removed at will when their actions deviate from the social good.
In short, the only way a government can ensure its modes of operation are aimed toward the social good is through strict regulation of political party control, and body politic action.
Nations, and their people, across the world are facing dangerous times. Capitalism and Nationalism are on the move, being fueled hard political right polices. The freedoms of the body politic, the people themselves, are being threatened by those that sell themselves as the people’s only hope for better times. This is both a symptom of social disease, and an infection of corruption and fascism. Both are a result of non-individual bodies being misdirected in their ends. Only through dramatic action can all people’s be safe.