Welcome to the Peaceful Political Revolution in America Podcast.
In the last episode, we talked about our frozen republuc, and how to our detriment, it has not been improved upon in over 230 years. It was designed to be an unbreakable contract between Americans, protecting sectoral rights and the individual accumulation of wealth and property. The slavocracy wanted protection from the intrusion of the north. They did not want their lavish and profitable lifestyles interrupted. Their constitution, the southern planters in particular, was to remain fixed. It was never meant to be changed.
We also discussed some of the reasons why our constitution has become even more rigid over the past century.
I'm going to continue the discussion today about our American political system with Dean Steven Taylor on his book, A DIfferent Democracy. A comparative study of the American political system with other more modern and more effective democracies from around the world. This kind of comparative analysis you might suspect would be common, but on the contrary, it is actually quite rare, even within the broad spectrum of political science.
The American system of government is thought of as exceptional and as such it is studied in its own distinct light, apart from other democracies around the world. Not only did our constitution prove victorious in WW2, it also gave rise to the post-war boom and the great middle class, or so it seemed. America was prosperous and thriving. Infused with the spirit of victory while other nations struggled to rekindle their devastated homelands by creating new and more effective democratic governments, America sank into another constitutional coma. We turned our backs on the kinds of constitutional changes that would empower the democratic spirit in America as if the economic spirit was all that mattered, and we remained captured by a political system no living American would think logical in today's world.
There are many democratic institutions and dynamics which could make our government much more effective and fully democratic. Those more democratic institutions however are completely dismissed by organizations like the NCC and the ACS. Many of our best constitutional scholars seem either uninformed or dismissive of the democratic achievements of the 20th-century in Europe and elsewhere. To them, the American constitution has some kind of immortal standing. It cannot be challenged, even with empirically established facts.
The concept of American Exceptionalism is a big topic and I am not sure I can get through the first chapter of A Different Democracy in one hour, let alone the entire book, but to put us on the trail and set our minds to the hunt is Steven Taylor, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Political Science at Troy University in Alabama. He is also co-author along with Matthew Shugart, Bernard Grofman, and Arend Lijphart, on A Different Democracy. The American government is a 31 country perspective.
Welcome to the Peaceful Political Revolution in American Podcast, it’s great to have you here!