Preventing Cascadian Authoritarianism

-by Joel Spector

The core of the idea of Cascadia is to use the mechanism of bioregionalism as a tactic for forming a better and more functional society. How do we prevent ourselves from repeating all the mistakes previous societies have made while we do so?

The biggest and most classic mistake has been authoritarianism. This dates back to monarchies, where government consisted mostly of one man’s whim. This works OK if you have a really great man generating the whims, and tends to fall apart on the issue of how to choose the current king’s successor. European history abundantly confirms that choosing by bloodline doesn’t work at all well.

But nobody is proposing a King of Cascadia. So how is this a threat?

The reign of President Trump proves that democracy is not, by itself, proof against authoritarianism. Many people want to correct this by instituting some form of socialism – but we have the historical examples of the USSR and China under Mao to illustrate that *that’s* not foolproof, either.

Taking action in the context of a society is difficult; one either has to go to all the work of developing a full consensus, or be seen as saying “I know what is good for us better than *you* do,” which is perceived as, and may be the atomistic form of, authoritarianism. And building consensus is *hard*; I won’t start listing all the difficulties and problems with it here. More to the point, once one has had to ignore the first egotistical lout who won’t agree with any idea not of their own devising, it becomes progressively easier to dismiss all other disagreements as being just more of the same.

The fact that our current governance calls itself a democracy and is disfunctional does not mean that democracy can’t work. It only means *this* democracy doesn’t work. How do we-as-Cascadia do it differently?

I suggest that the job of governance is difficult and complex, and that most people most of the time don’t like to do work they can’t see an immediate and concrete benefit from. Issues of freight-train inspection may have suddenly become very important to residents of Mosier, but there aren’t any freight-lines where *I* live, so why should I bother?

Since you’re reading this, I doubt I have to convince *you* that we need the work of politics to be done. Assuming you’re doing your share and I’m doing mine, how do we encourage everybody else to do *theirs*?

It’s not a rhetorical question. Part of the Cascadian identity we want to have is “we do our homework.” How do we instill that? There are only so many hours in a day and only so many ergs to put into them, and we don’t want to discourage folks from going out dancing, or karaoke, or whatever they do for fun. So, how?


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Disclaimer: This post was written by Joel, a volunteer member of this project. The views are his, and do not necessarily represent those of YourCascadia as a whole. YourCascadia is just a tool, and has no views. It will be controlled entirely by its members via a direct democracy once it is built and running. Want to write a post here? Let us know!

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