the friend online
26 September 2008

Can politics be less warlike? - preview

Alan Quilley reflects on proposals for making our democracy more inclusive

Carl von Clausewitz in his famous dictum said that ‘war is merely a continuation of politics through other means’
  • In war, the winner takes all
  • And this, alas, seems to be what happens most frequently in our political life
  • In making corporate decisions or in electing people to office we seldom allow the minority voice to be heard
  • We do not vote in our Quaker Business Meetings because we realise that the majority view is not necessarily right and that battling to ‘win’ the Meeting to adopt our point of view prevents us from being open to the promptings of Truth that might be leading us quite differently
  • One might conclude that voting can never be an acceptable procedure and indeed there are many occasions when decisions in the workplace, club or society are made by consensus without taking a vote
  • But voting is always available in the event of there being no agreement, particularly concerning contentious matters, and the type of voting adopted is nearly always the ‘winner takes all’ or first-past-the-post variety in which the will of the majority (or maybe only the will of the largest minority) prevails

  • Alan Quilley

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    News round-up
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    Ways forward when there are too few people
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    When a sex offender joins your Meeting…

    Did you go to Greenham?
    Trish Carn
    Irish Quakers’ lives revealed
    Judy Kirby
    Can politics be less warlike?
    Alan Quilley
    New opportunities for public threshings
    Alec Davison
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