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June 18, 2007

Open Thread: Texas Forums Discussion #1

Open thread for followup discussion from the first Texas Forums discussion of Extreme Democracy. The audio archive will be available soon. In the meantime, here is a link to the slides used for session #1.

Discussion Questions
First Democracy
How many of the principles of first democracy do we have in America today?
Are we losing or gaining ground with respect to those principles?
Could we adopt these principles in America now?
What would we have to do to be able to adopt these principles?

Democracy in America
What is the basis for equality in America now?
Do we have a tyranny of the majority now? How about a fear of the tyranny of the majority? Is this why elections are so close and power so diffuse?
How are we balancing liberty, freedom, democracy and equality now? Does this need to change?

The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Do we look at democracy, capitalism and pluralism as a system now?
How balanced are these three elements of our system now?
What forces are attempting to change the balance?
Should we be concerned about attempts to change the balance?

Posted by Jon Lebkowsky at June 18, 2007 6:20 PM

Comments

Here's text of the chat (and I think a recording of the audio will be posted at Texas Forums).

Welcome
Jon Lebkowsky : I'm here.
Paul : OK Taylor stepped away for a minute
Jon Lebkowsky : Cool... guess we have a few minutes.
Paul : yes. I hope some people show us
Paul : Jiohn, how did you get the pictures to show up on attendr? I tried one today, but it didn't seem to work
Paul : you're just special...
Paul : good
Paul : great we can use the help
Jon Lebkowsky : Okay I lost this page for a minute
Taylor Willingham : yep
Rod Reyna : Yes you are.
Paul : sounds good
Jon Lebkowsky : Oh, okay.
Jon Lebkowsky : good.
Tom Peters : Hi, Everyone
Jon Lebkowsky : I saw David this PM, I expect to see him here in a sec.
Tom Peters : I always knew that!
Jon Lebkowsky : I hear the ringing, too.
Jon Lebkowsky : It's very subtle.
Taylor Willingham : my ringing is not subtle
Taylor Willingham : I don't need no stinkin assistant!
Rod Reyna : I think you can turn it off under Options and then configure talk sounds
Taylor Willingham : not that kind
Rod Reyna : Or, go to Actions and disable sound effects
Taylor Willingham : Oh Peace!!!
Taylor Willingham : Thanks Rod
Rod Reyna : no problem
Paul : is everyone seeing the title page on extreme democracy
Rod Reyna : That is what I'm seeing as well.
Charles Knickerbocker : I also see the TX Forums page
Jon Lebkowsky : Me too.
Tom Peters : Now I see your first slide
Paul : i thought id di
Rod Reyna : I see slide 1 of 11
Charles Knickerbocker : I see page now
Paul : ok
Charles Knickerbocker : same 1 of 11
Rod Reyna : no
Donna : Now I see it
Tom Peters : I hear you loud and clear
Paul : every time we start one of these up, it ffels ag bell calling his assitent
Taylor Willingham : ok
Donna : Sound is good
Charles Knickerbocker : Sound is good. I can't my headset
Jon Lebkowsky : Testing, 1. 2. 3. Testing.
Charles Knickerbocker : I took it out of the laptop bag so Diane could use it for her Mac. Now it's nowhere to be found
Charles Knickerbocker : Dang Macs
Taylor Willingham : bummer!
Jon Lebkowsky : Okey doke.
Taylor Willingham : Welcome Chin!
Taylor Willingham : Welcome Lynn
Taylor Willingham : gadget!
Taylor Willingham : Hello David
Charles Knickerbocker : Diane Miller is here with me
Lynn B : Thanks
Donna : Hi Diane & Charles and Taylor and all!
Jon Lebkowsky : done!
Jon Lebkowsky : And Mitch and I had always expected a second edition...
Jon Lebkowsky : Can't hear you, Paul.
Jon Lebkowsky : ok, volume control helped.
Taylor Willingham : If you have a mike, go ahead and request
Taylor Willingham : yeah!!!!
Lynn B : Hi my name is Lynn, I'm a college professor from CA who just learned of this forum today at the NIF website.
Donna : Your mic works just fine
Donna : National Technological University
David Burks : Hello, I'm David Burks and I heard about this from Taylor and it sounded interesting to me.
Taylor Willingham : Lynn, what college?
Taylor Willingham : David, you're going to help with technology, right?
Lynn B : Fresno City College
David Swedlow : Welcome Oliver!
Taylor Willingham : yep
David Swedlow : Hi Diane!
Donna : Yes I hear U
Rod Reyna : Hi Diane!
Paul : anyone else?
Taylor Willingham : boohoo
Taylor Willingham : yep
Jon Lebkowsky : Unfortunately the Mac issue will prevent us from getting many of our authors on board.
Taylor Willingham : sounds great!
Donna : Hi Oliver
Jon Lebkowsky : Hi, Oliver!
Rod Reyna : yep
Martin Carcasson : y
Paul : yes
Jon Lebkowsky : yes
David Burks : Yes
Charles Knickerbocker : We hear you
Donna : Thank you!
Taylor Willingham : The microphone is a toggle so you have to click on it to turn it on and to turn it off.
Martin Carcasson : is that what offices will look like in the future?
Jon Lebkowsky : I think we have to click 'next' to get the next slide, correct?
Taylor Willingham : slide #2
Jon Lebkowsky : I got it by clicking next.
Taylor Willingham : It might not because of the conversion software I used.
Martin Carcasson : i also had to click next
Charles Knickerbocker : we had to click on Next
Donna : yes you have to click next
David Swedlow : That worked
Jon Lebkowsky : Just tell us when to click.
Taylor Willingham : oops, sorry.
Taylor Willingham : didn't realize that!
Taylor Willingham : The advantage is that when you look at index, you have options to print outline and other toys that are helpful. It's a trade-off.
Taylor Willingham : Welcome Doug. Are you seeing slide #4?
Taylor Willingham : paul.schumann@centexwfs.org
Doug Crocker : no, just the Texas Forums page
Taylor Willingham : how about now, Doug?
Doug Crocker : seeing it now.
David Swedlow : Welcome Lynn, you should be seeing slide 4 as well. Are you?
Lynn B : Yes thanks.
Taylor Willingham : Doug, Can you tell people (text) where you are and how you found out about this. (as an introduction)
Doug Crocker : Yes --I'm in Southern California and I found out about The Texas Forum throught the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation.
Charles Knickerbocker : Type out the question
Rod Reyna : Good idea
Charles Knickerbocker : please
Taylor Willingham : how much of these elements and what form do we have
Charles Knickerbocker : I don't believe that the US is in the top ten of any of these among the developed nations
Paul : tyranny of the media
Taylor Willingham : Charles, examples?
Rod Reyna : Filtered democracy
Charles Knickerbocker : I caught on NPR today that the US is 34th in freedom of the press, 47th in health care, etc. I'm afraid I didn't hear the source of the data.
Taylor Willingham : It would be interesting to see what the factors are that went into that data.
David Burks : Corporatism is eroding many of these principles--too much concentrated power. The media I think often subverts citizen wisdom & education.
Taylor Willingham : Charles, do you remember the program?
David Burks : I don't understand how you would rank something like that...
Donna : The thing that concerns me the most is the fact that our mass communication outlets are all owned by large corporations not having the listeners/readers in their best interest. The thought of Rupert Murdock owning the WSJ makes me ill.
Rod Reyna : When it comes to citizen wisdom, you often have to find citizens who are subject matter experts, champions of the people. An informed citizenry takes endurance and patience.
Rod Reyna : It takes someone leading the discussion and doing research.
Doug Crocker : Can the presenter(s) elaborate on the meaning of 'Reasoning without knowledge'?
Charles Knickerbocker : The founders tried to establish checks and balances with the Congress, Presidency and Judiciary. So we didn't have to depend upon majority rule of the masses
Charles Knickerbocker : Athens had slavery. I don't believe their democracy was all that inclusive. Did women have equal weight in deliberations?
Taylor Willingham : google "citizen Juries"
Doug Crocker : (the wisdom of crowds).
Doug Crocker : thanks!
Paul : cant hear you oliver
David Swedlow : Oliver, check you mic volume
Rod Reyna : They are relevant but usually the extremists get the attention (airtime).
Taylor Willingham : Oliver, holding down the ctrl key turns on the mike, but there's a way to turn that off. I think that's your problem. Let me check.
David Burks : I think we're moving as a whole in the wrong direction although there are pockets bucking the trend. Seems to me like unfettered free markets don't positively contribute.
David Swedlow : Hmm. Seems like Martin can't speak.
Taylor Willingham : or maybe I'm the only one who can talk!
Charles Knickerbocker : I unclick the mic when I stop talking. Is there more I'm supposed to do to indicate that I've finished speaking?
David Swedlow : Paul has the mic
Martin Carcasson : so nobody heard my brilliant lecture?
Taylor Willingham : yep
Tom Peters : I hear Paul
Taylor Willingham : Sorry Martin, do it again!
Taylor Willingham : We REALLY do want to hear you
Tom Peters : Still not hearing Martin
Charles Knickerbocker : Didn't hear you Martin; still not
David Burks : Not hearing Martin
Lynn B : It seems clear to me that we are moving away from a respect for wisedom and reasoning, and instead many Americans seem to respect "feelings." This does not lead to thoughtful and deliberative decision making.
Charles Knickerbocker : We heard Paul
Martin Carcasson : i got an error message awhile back, let me close and reenter...
Donna : Don't hear you Martin
Charles Knickerbocker : Technology is our friend
Lynn B : yes
Taylor Willingham : yep
Tom Peters : I hear Donna
Doug Crocker : yes
David Burks : yes
Charles Knickerbocker : Got you Donna
Taylor Willingham : yeah
Paul : yes
Donna : ywa
David Burks : Lynns comment reminds me of how spin is uses to bend the reality or go around reasoned analysis. People can justify nearly everything thru spining the arguement and yes, they use feelings.
Rod Reyna : Being good citizens doesn't make the news. Yelling at each other does and sensationalism/feelings. Everything that doesn't follow the first democracy principles is what the news gravitates toward.
David Burks : I agree
Charles Knickerbocker : I've worked with five different state legislatures in my career and I believe if people knew more about what is happening there would be mobs in the streets.
Tom Peters : Charles, please elaborate!
Tom Peters : Influence peddling?
Taylor Willingham : Anybody want to buy a water buffalo?
David Burks : They're nasty critters...
Donna : I am making my economic contribution to the depressed Ohio economy by buying a 'fridge and a washer & dryer
Taylor Willingham : but where were they made and are they energy efficient? Oh, it's so complicated being a socially responsible consumer
Taylor Willingham : This balancing is what we challenge people to do in deliberation
Donna : They are actually made here in Ohio. This is the heartland for appliance manufacturing. And yes they all have the "energy star"
Charles Knickerbocker : Tom, Yes, if you want to see greed in its institutional form, watch how a state legislature works.
Paul : equality?
David Burks : Paul can you give an example...
Charles Knickerbocker : Paul, what's the question again?
Jon Lebkowsky : Tyranny of the majority is more of an issue with direct democracy.
Paul : what's the bais of equality
Charles Knickerbocker : It's always been about wealth and who controls the source of it.
Jon Lebkowsky : I.E. Some are more equal than others.
Charles Knickerbocker : It's been the coarse of human history so far.
Jon Lebkowsky : I don't think we have a tyranny of the majority. Why do you think so, Paul?
Jon Lebkowsky : Are you saying we have a tyranny of the majority, or a FEAR of it?
Rod Reyna : I think we have a tyranny of the extremists...sometimes they appear to be a majority/mainstream but that is not necessarily so
Donna : The last national congress where we had republicans in both the house, sentate and president.... now we have democrats in the senate and to the point we are still no closer to breaking a log jam of wrong direction
Doug Crocker : would money be as important if mass media wasn't so important and expensive in national elections?
David Burks : Well, if 60% of the people don't believe in evolution and school boards start adopting policies that have intelligent design taught in addition--would this be an example of tyranny of the majority?
Jon Lebkowsky : That could be.
Rod Reyna : tyranny of partisanship...we think we always have to be in competition as opposed to doing what is best for the greater good
Jon Lebkowsky : If that 60% figure was correct.
Donna : But it is really a so called majority -- often it is a minority acting as if it is a majority
Lynn B : I agree w/ Rod that the tyranny is created by the relationship between extreemists and the need of the media to create or exploit conflict.
Jon Lebkowsky : But I don't think those guys are in the majority; I think it's a vocal minority. (Or have you seen numbers to indicate toherwise?)
Rod Reyna : they claim to be a majority
Paul : yes because of a lack of participation
Taylor Willingham : But that log jam could be a good thing, Donna. We sure didn't have it when it was time to vote to give pres authority in the first place.
Martin Carcasson : y
David Swedlow : Hear you now
Donna : hear you loud and clear
David Burks : i just made the 60%up trying to have a concrete example of tryanny of the majority
Jon Lebkowsky : David: got it. I think that could be an example, but I think it's more often a case where the majority undermines minority rights.
Donna : And it would have been a good thing if we had had a log jam when it came time to vote on giving the pres more powers
David Burks : Ok, got it.
Donna : It is good to be an encumbent
Taylor Willingham : I lost my election to 2 incumbents!
Jon Lebkowsky : You kinda have to define tyranny. Majority rule isn't inherently tyrannical.
Taylor Willingham : Remember, these books are summarized on the Ext Dem blog
Jon Lebkowsky : tyranny = oppression.
Taylor Willingham : good distinction, Jon
David Burks : I'm curious to know why Novak thinks one must have FM capitalism for Democracy--or is he saying that?
Rod Reyna : Technology can bring more voices that would not otherwise be heard to the table. It can also bring us together more often without having to get together in one location.
Taylor Willingham : The benefit of in-person with online!
Jon Lebkowsky : Charles, you and Diane should share the mic. *8^)
Jon Lebkowsky : Corporate personhood is definitely an issue, but it doesn't have to be the case...
Rod Reyna : To me a corporation would be one of the players but we need to make sure every stakeholder is invited to participate including citizens, officials, etc.
Charles Knickerbocker : Jon, I'm trying to. She won't put the headset on.
Paul : can't hear you oliver
Paul : ok better now
Taylor Willingham : He mentioned the Great Turning
Taylor Willingham : right, Oliver?
Donna : hear you now with you voice close to the mic
Tom Peters : Plutocracy has outstripped capitalism.
Martin Carcasson : interesting, this discussion reminds me of a project I worked on awhile back focusing on FDR's Commonwealth Club address, when he justified the growing need for federal gov in order to control the excesses of national corporations. Essentially, he argued for the need for government to insure individual liberty (economic freedom). Clinton talked a little about making the same move now internationally (needing international gov to insure freedom from the excesses of international corporations...)
Doug Crocker : I like it!
Taylor Willingham : Was that in the blog, or can you type it there?
Taylor Willingham : I do too!
Jon Lebkowsky : Yeah, we've moved pretty far away from Roosevelt.
David Burks : Repeat the quote please--there's alot there.
Paul : it's in the blog
Taylor Willingham : blush, guess who's behind in her reading!
Taylor Willingham : sorry oliver!
Donna : The ability to think clearly is only available when you are not bogged down in trying to stay alive in everyday life
Taylor Willingham : can you stay after class and we'll work on your problem, oliver
Rod Reyna : It does no good to substitute the flawed wisdom of the masses with the flawed wisdom of the experts. There must be a marriage of citizens values with expert knowledge.--paraphrase from The Deliberative Democracy Handbook
David Burks : I think it says we have a responsibility to struggle with these issues and participate as best we can
Jon Lebkowsky : I'm posting an open thread at the blog for followup discussion. http://extremedemocracy.com
Jon Lebkowsky : Interrogation!
Taylor Willingham : Up against the wall, Lebkowsky!
Rod Reyna : thanks
Lynn B : Thanks for an interesting exchange.
David Burks : Thanks I enjoyed it...
Charles Knickerbocker : thanks, all!
Doug Crocker : thanks!
Donna : Thank you, hope some of you had a cold beverage with you!

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