The broken course of public discourse

Dear Trends Research,

Public Discourse is broken into two major camps.

The first is the Platonic, which is driven by top
down, centrally controlled models of command and
control. It is the most pervasive of the two. The
only reason we call it public is because it
employs the semblance of openness in public
discourse by using a majority rule democratic
process. Just about every institution is built on
this model, including religious, government,
business, foundations and non-profits. Its focus
is primarily on power centers of control. In the
current vernacular, many associate this model with
new social justice movement. It is linear in logic.

The second camp is the Socratic, which is driven
by the open forum and unanimous consent, and in
rare situations super majority rule. It is more
lengthy at making decisions, less prone to
corruption and decentralized. Models for this
include the jury system, our constitutional
convention, the nights of the round table, the
Magna Carta, Charter of Liberties, the Iroquois
Five Nation Confederacy (a very powerful model),
the Swiss Cantons and the modern COOP movement now
taking place in the Midwest. The Socratic model is
primarily based on the highest level of consensus
(the people) and is often associated with the
classical social contract. It is relational in logic.

Here is the problem, our western tradition took
hold of the first and not the second. This means
all forms of democracy are Platonic and not
Socratic. It is high time we start building
technologies, institutions and organizations on
this later model. I know I am.

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