Worried Yet?

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« Violence, Sustenance, and Faith - Civil Society and Social Cohesion - (Ernest Gellner) (3/4) | Main | The Miracle of Freedom »



Fascinating series of essays, Georg: multi-kudos. I am/was unaware of Gellner's work, but now feel compelled to give it a look.

As I have followed your quest for the real foundations of liberty over the past many months, I find myself more and more convinced that you are on the right track, i.e., true freedom is based in an evolving and thoroughly "political-participatory" citizenry. This does however, bring up a troubling question in my mind - active and effective participation in the political process by the populace (apologies for the unintentional alliteration) would seem to demand an extraordinary degree of political acumen from said populace. Alas, I look in vain for anything approaching a consistently high level of "political competence" on the part of the vast majority of Americans. Likewise, the level of concern about matters political tends to center for a few weeks around important election dates, and is fleeting at best. So many of us (at least in the US) view politics as a dirty, inconvenient, and utterly boring business, interesting only to the scalawag, the dull-witted, and those generally unsuited for "normal" pursuits.

Simply said, I worry that we will never reach that plateau of astuteness that makes possible rational/sensible selection of, and monitoring of, those who purport to represent ("govern") us. In short, how do we get people to both care about, and learn about, the hugely important and difficult task of becoming politically educated, and hence competent to govern ourselves?

Ed: Thanks for your thoughts; your comment has inspired me to respond with an entire post.


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