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posted on 30 January 2018

Governance in America

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Can any country possibly be more exceptional than America, which was founded with neither a king nor a pope? No, of course not! Yet, today, not only is America most religious among the developed countries, she also seems to be yearning for a king, if not a living God (Is Donald Trump a God?). Why is that?

To answer the question, let's discuss governance in America ...

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1. America: how was it founded?

America was built on a piece of commandeered land, on which some European colonists found a second chance to start over with a clean slate.

Aside from copying Rome (America: What Did Our Founding Fathers Do, Actually?), our Founding Fathers built America with three distinctive features:

1) To defy the British ruler, America adopted an infamous notion: "We the People".

2) To protect the government from religion, America adopted two principles: religious freedom and separation of church and state.

3) To form a union, the states maintained their own laws (or rights), independent of the Federal laws.

2. America: how was it governed, initially?

Two big schemes, chiefly:

1) Freedom: Free land and free labor (i.e. slavery) kept going - What a great deal for "the People"!

2) Law & order: Guns and the Bible kept going, with some very positive additions, such as the U.S. Constitution!

3. America: the evolution

Over the past 200 plus years, America has struggled and evolved, resulting in some major changes to the three features:

1) Women and the minorities are now "the People" too, with voting rights at least!

2) America has become most religious among developed countries, with a religious war between Christianity and Islam brewing. For more, read: America: Avoiding a Religious War!

3) The relationship between the Federal government and state governments remains loosely coupled, although some progress has been made, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to smash all the Jim Crow laws at the state and local levels!

4. America: how is it governed, now?

We, as a country, are becoming un-governable! Three big examples:

1) Healthcare: We spend more money on this (yes, about 17% of our GDP) than any other country. Yet, many Americans are just one serious illness away from personal bankruptcy.

2) Defense: We spend more money on this than the next 10 biggest spending counties combined. Yet, America is not safe. For more, read: The Evil Military-Industrial Complex.

3) Immigration: Can you spell DACA and envision President Trump's "beautiful" wall?

Bottom line: We are $20 trillion in debt, growing ...

Oh, we also have the highest incarceration rate in the world. For more, read: U. S. incarceration rate - Wikipedia.

5. America: why are we becoming un-governable?

"It's the political system, stupid!"

In a land of plenty like America, many problems (e.g. race and religion) can be hidden for a long time.

As America ages into maturity, many age-old humanity problems become more obvious, from race to religion.

The problems become much worse when America has a real competitor in China, like it is today.

The image below highlights the key philosophical ideas in Chinese governance developed over the past few thousand years (Governance in China: Past, Present, and Future).

America is obviously very different from China. Three key differences in governance:

1) Equality: Not All Men Are Created Equal!

2) Leadership at the top: American Presidency: Is It a Joke (III)?

3) Government: It's a charity and income redistribution scheme. Below is an excerpt from this article: The Black Workforce by the Numbers.

African Americans are overrepresented in the federal government, which was one of the first sectors to integrate. Just over 20 percent of the black workforce is employed by federal, state and local governments.

6. Discussion

Everything is relative.

China has proven to be truly exceptional. Two facts:

1) China has the longest continuous civilization in human history, leading the world mostly for the first 1,800 years of our 2-millennium-old calendar.

2) Throughout human history, great civilizations have come and gone, with one major exception: China - come, almost gone, and come again!

What's the secret behind China's long-lasting success? Constant improvement in government and governance!

America may still prove to be truly exceptional over time. Unfortunately, America is far behind China in governance. How far? About 2,000 years! Two key examples:

1) "All men are created equal". It was a powerful statement to declare independence from the British ruler in 1776, but it is fundamentally wrong - It was wrong then, when slavery was still harbored in America, and it is wrong now, when equality includes equal outcomes. In contrast, China got it right 2,000 years ago!

2) The relationship between the Federal government and state governments has not evolved adequately to make the union stronger over time, resulting in much trouble and confusion today, from healthcare, to immigration, to gun control. In contrast, China got it right 2,000 years ago!

I believe China's three philosophical ideas in governance are full of wisdom and absolutely correct, which, unfortunately, are fundamentally incompatible with democracy (i.e. one person, one vote), a proven failure throughout human history without a single example of lasting success!

No, China will never become a democracy. Yes, America is stuck with democracy! Unless we can find a way to get out of democracy, as we practice it today, America is doomed for failure!

7. History repeats itself

Debt destroyed Rome and Greece. Debt will destroy America.

Is America the New Rome and Greece? Yes!

China out-raced both Ancient Greece (Ancient Greece vs. Ancient China) and Ancient Rome (Ancient Rome vs. Ancient China).

China will out-race America, with its key advantage in governance!

8. Closing

Governance is not everything! Governance is the only thing!

America may ultimately turn out to be not exceptional at all, as it is already desperately in need of a king or pope, or both, to "turn things around"! For more, read: Make America Great Again, Really?

For a holistic diagnosis of America's failing political system and the best possible solution, read my book: American Democracy - Why is it failing & how to fix it?

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