Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Fear of Certainty

The thing that frightens me most RE the human social context is certainty. When I meet someone who is certain--when they are absolutely sure they know the truth--I shrink back, knowing that it is only a few short steps to justifying any act toward (or against) me or mine; witness Communism, Fascism, Catholic Inquistion, Protestant Reformation or Israeli single-Stateism; all states or ideologies built on the certainty and rightness of their underlying positions...which frightens me.

God Bless America.

The greatness of the US Constitution is that it provides checks and balances against all institutional certainty: whether legislative, executive or judicial, and whether concurred with, or backed by, the majority or the minority. Cynicism, not certainty, is the bedrock of American democracy.

The very concept of democracy itself is protected by the Constitution against the unchecked certainty of its own philosophy: American democracy was established not as a pure unabridged democracy, but as a Representative democracy: while we may all be equal in the eyes of Constitution, it is important (the most fundamental check and balance to the short term rule of the immediate and popular) that we understand that we have established a system, as in "the Animal Farm, where some (our Representatives), are more equal than others.

Democracy accepts the reality of inequality.


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