2.0  Problems of Modern Democratic Institutions & Legal Systems


  Modern societal, economic, and political institutions hardly consider people’s need for psychosocial bonds within small groups; legal systems and efforts to prevent crimes are largely based on obsolete assumptions. When societies become large and anonymous, social instincts work poorly and some natural ethical inclinations fail. The instinctive ambition to rise in rank becomes dangerous: this drive has no natural point of satiation and, in the anonymity of large sociopolitical structures there are little or no inhibitions. People can be very uncaring and cruel towards strangers, and in modern societies, many are considered ‘strangers’ by their neighbors. Large societies should be built of strong, small communities with effective institutions to govern interactions between small, mid-sized, and large political units.

Many institutions became more democratic and humane – warfare between villages, clans and countries and colonial rule are rare today. However, poorly restrained capitalism has created corporations and financial institutions that have become more powerful than democratic governments, making elections almost irrelevant. In addition, globalization created new levels of corruption and terrorism. Third World Nations have difficulties dealing with extreme poverty in the midst of a new, growing, Westernized middle class. Western nations try to deal with legal and illegal migrations, primarily political and economic refugees who are making poor areas of the USA and Europe their home. There are clashes of culture. Third World nations’ fear of decadent influences often promotes religious fundamentalism. Westerners have sometimes difficulties distinguishing between what constitutes variability of cultures versus inhumane practices that violate international standards of ethics.

Democratic political institutions tend to maintain the status quo including culturally ingrained human rights violations. The principle of self-determination, a people governing itself, is problematic. Local people usually consider culturally accepted human rights violations as justifiable, if they recognize them at all. Elected representatives and appointed government officials are supposed to serve all citizens, but since they are members of families, clans, professional and other groups, they can hardly be objective mediators between interest groups; there are always conflicts of interest. This is why police departments, schools and other institution often seek outsiders to direct them.

Systems of elections and referenda could easily be improved. As populations are better educated, voting systems can utilize more complex computer programs.
Modern legal systems are based on obsolete theories concerning the human mind and they hardly fulfill their intended goals. Particularly in most Third World countries and the USA, institutions largely fail to prevent the development of criminal careers, and they fail to protect citizens from crimes. Many preventable forms of suffering are not effectively addressed. Most legal systems are more concerned with vindication than rehabilitation. Their reliance on finding “truth” and establishing culpability are meaningless. The terms “equality” and “justice” are obsolete: everybody is different and societies *24 cannot compensate for apparent ‘injustices’. Realizing human rights, effective prevention of transgressions, and humane treatment of all people may be a goal to replace a goal of ‘justice.’

In all planning, ethical thinking and relevant research data must be considered, including findings in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, neurosciences, biology, anthropologic, and particularly ethology (compare data researched and compiled by Konrad Lorenz, Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Edward O. Wilson, and others)

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