Friday, August 5, 2016

The Social Compact: Collaboration

An element of a social compact that is closely related to community participation is collaboration.  Community participants give of their time, talent, energy, and resources for the good of the community.  Collaboration requires effective leadership, respectful interaction, and compliance with group norms in order to produce the best results.

Collaboration is essential if the community wants to practice democracy.  Otherwise, as H. L. Mencken put it, the majority can inflict its will on the minority.  Collaboration in a democracy demands that the majority serves- instead of rules – the community.  In a collaborative community, the people in positions of authority use their power and influence to promote the welfare and interests of all minority groups.

In today’s elections, there is little evidence of healthy collaboration.  Instead, candidates base their campaigns on what they say can do for their constituents; their supporters are motivated by what they think their candidate can do for them.  In this climate, those in the majority view their victory as a personal mandate to get what they want, even if it tramples the preferences and rights of those in the minority.  This is the inherent danger of democracy.  Without true collaboration, a new group of tiny dictators emerges with each election.

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