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Chapter 24
Democracy 101

The partial redesign of the American government proposed in the preceding chapters would shoulder the lion’s share of moving America beyond today’s dominance and plutocracy, but two other pragmatic alterations to our government and society are proposed in this work to complete the task: the inclusion at the high school level in the American educational system of four years of classroom instruction and active participation in a true democratic process and certain changes in government laws and regulations relating to work and the compensation for work.

In this chapter I will discuss the inclusion of the study and practice of democracy within the American high school system. In the next chapter, Government, Business, and the Definition of Labor, I will discuss proposed modifications in how work is defined and managed in America.


One principal goal (or at least one principal result) of the current American system of education, particularly that part of it directed at the common person, is not to create politically capable, questioning citizens but to create obedient, productive employees and soldiers. Our educational system conveys a childish “civic religion”: worship of the forefathers, the Constitution, and “the American way.” Our religion includes a mythology of freedom, democracy, equal opportunity and justice, and America’s goodness and helpfulness in the world.

So thorough and effective is this ‘education’ that even though most people can see that a great deal is wrong with our nation few are left with the mental capacity to break through their learned religion and mythology and see what is most fundamentally true and wrong, let alone how to really fix our many ills. The notions of critical debate, evaluation, and fundamental political change are minimized or entirely ignored. God forbid that any student should question the foundation of our sacred government, the status quo, or the legitimacy of current ways. Effective political empowerment, participation, and responsibility are utterly lacking. The end result is a populace that is politically confused, apathetic, impotent, incapable, and excluded.

Inspired by William Penn’s words, “Let the people think they govern and they will be governed,” I once wrote the somewhat clumsy but very true words, “Let the people think they have democracy and they will never seek it.” Most people today have little or no understanding that America and all of the other so-called democracies in the world today are not truly democracies but plutocracies. When the founders wrote our Constitution they deliberately avoided democracy, creating instead a republic, a supposedly “representative” form of government that is really only a plutocracy wrapped in the democratic garb of voting and elections.

Voting and elections in and of themselves do not constitute democracy. Democracy is and can only be widely distributed real power within the hands of the entire populace, the power to directly vote on issues of central importance to a nation and in free, honest elections for representatives that later honestly represent you. Real power means honest inclusion in and representation by government.


Having only experienced the meaningless, powerless ‘elections’ of today and never having participated in a true democracy, even of a limited sort, Americans have no idea that they are not participating in a true democracy or what even constitutes one. Americans will have to learn democracy from the ground up.

Democracy, true democracy as defined and described in this work, should be taught as the subject of a four-year course at the high school level. The differences between and the very different results of consensus democracy and majority-rule democracy should be made eminently clear. The study of democracy should be given the time, intensity, and sincerity that English, math, and science are given today. Democracy should be taught both as an academic subject and by students actually participating within the demos during their four years in high school.

Democracy and politics should be taught both in their highest ideal and in their lowest, foulest practices. Students should learn the many ways and forms in which half truths, distortions, lies of omission, and outright lies are told; how carefully crafted and laundered language is used; the abuse of ‘science,’ statistics, and polling; the most unscrupulous political manipulations; when character assassination is being used; the use of “hot button” issues to distract from the real, most important issues; and the many ways in which issues are avoided and the solutions to problems are delayed or evaded. Students should even learn how physical beauty and polished presentation affects people and are used to rake in votes. They should be taught to look past the superficial and see the real and the important and to recognize a pretty speech that contains nothing of substance. They should learn that the self-interests of famous people like movie and rock stars and television evangelists will usually be very different than their own self-interests and, therefore, would be the wrong people to vote for. They must learn to dig deeper than what is merely said to them, than what is claimed. Students should learn how to do research on people, issues, and events. They must learn to think critically, as in the development of skillful judgment as to truth and merit. They should engage in written and oral political expression and persuasion and learn how to engage others in issues and causes. Each student should learn what is in his or her own true self-interest.

Students should study the issues included in the demos of the federal government and participate in active classroom and school-wide debates about them. They should learn how to use demos voting terminals by actually using them to vote and participate in the real demos deliberations. (The demos debate offered by students should be clearly marked as that of students, and, of course, their votes would not yet count.)

By the time a student graduates from high school, he or she should be well versed in government and politics. The student should have a cynical and skeptical streak but healthy idealism as well. He or she should be well prepared to participate effectively as a member of the demos and as a citizen within our society.

Courses similar to the high school courses of varying depth and intensity should be available free to all age groups throughout the land. The American people have been deliberately excluded from sharing power in the American political process and have been allowed and even encouraged to sink into a state of ignorance and apathy. Paul Valery wrote, “Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.” That they may begin to participate in the affairs which properly concern them, the American people would have to learn what a true democratic process is and how to participate in it.


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