The 1st Paradigm of Democracy

There is a consistency of development of the United States democracy from 1776 to the late 20th century that I have named the 1st Paradigm of Democracy. By the end of the 20th century all citizens over the age of eighteen were represented in the democratic process, closing the 1st Paradigm of Democracy.

During its existence, the United States transformed the Colonies of the British monarchy through revolution and collective collaboration into the longest-lived democracy in the history of the world. Almost all citizens assume that it will continue indefinitely in the same form as it has for the last 239 years. When we assume what is to continue indefinitely, that is the point where the future becomes dangerous. I believe there are limits that a 1st Paradigm Democracy can exist before necessity requires it to adapt and transform itself into a more effective democracy, transforming itself into a 2nd Paradigm Democracy.

Design Flaws —

The history and development of the United States form of democracy illustrates the idealism and pitfalls of a 1st Paradigm Democracy. The evidence that the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution poured their lives and their best efforts into those documents reveals itself in the permanency of what they created. They established the first and longest lasting operational democratic government, society, and culture since the Grecian classical period.

Their efforts were almost perfect. Yes, they did anticipate the need for making improvements in their new government by way of Amendments; and they did anticipate the growth of the population. What they failed to appreciate was the incredible success of the democratic culture, society, and economy that would attract millions of immigrants from all over the world. That success would fuel an exponential growth of social change that would change the character of their young democracy in the following two centuries. It was not an error or mistake of the Founders that they did not include provisions for their new democracy to adapt to changing conditions. It was simply a development they could not have foreseen. Exponential social change soon revealed the primary cause for the failure of mature democracies: The failure to adapt. It was, however, apparent to Thomas Jefferson in 1816.

"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand and hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinion change, with the circumstances, institutions must advance able to keep pace with the times...."
Thomas Jefferson, from a letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816.

Social Change —

Primary to understanding the necessity for the evolution of mature democracies is to understand the “original cause” of social change that is everywhere around us.

The incessant social, political, and economic changes that erupted in the 1800s and 1900s are the same causes that push social change today — fueled by our individual yearning for a better quality of life, to grow into the innate potential that we brought into life, and our urge to equally enjoy an improving quality of life and to grow into our innate potential, equally as anyone else. Those values, today, as then, are always waiting for opportunities to come into expression.

”Everything is fine”.15 It is not surprising that most people in mature democracies assume that “everything is fine.” “Everything is fine” is assumed in the almost invisible slow creep of social change by most people who are easily distracted by the immediate events in their personal life. Yet in only five decades, the macro-scale of social change in the United States has been immense. Its only evidence is how uncomfortable citizens feel with “the way things are” in Washington, D.C., other national capitals, and in their state and provincial capitals. When large numbers of the public sense and wake up and see that everything is NOT FINE, then social, political, and economic panic can cause rapid, large scale disruptions.

The motive power behind SOCIAL change. What we define as social change is the collective movement of vast numbers of people who are striving to satisfy their evolving personal interpretations of the values that have sustained our species. Those interpretations form an evolving hierarchy of needs described by Dr. Abraham Maslow.
hierarchy of needs
Dr. Abraham Maslow stated that as basic human needs are fulfilled more evolved needs become apparent to form a hierarchy of needs. Our hierarchy of needs evolve as our interpretations evolve — we are still using the same value system as our ancestors did tens of thousands of years ago, but interpreted in new ways. Collectively, as individuals improve the quality of their life, to grow into their innate potential as others do, they create social change through their “demand” for new avenues and new means to fulfill their needs. Perceptive marketers strive to be in touch and in tune with the “demand” of the public to assess any changes in the market for the potential of new services and products.

While individual interpretations of the three core values of social sustainability may vary wildly from one person to the next, vast numbers of people provide slow-moving, ongoing trends that stabilize the movement of a society over time. Social instability occurs when vast numbers of people sense that their ability to satisfy their needs is being threatened; and occurs rapidly and violently when they simultaneously sense that their ability is imminently threatened and there is no hope for doing so.

The motive power behind POLITICAL change. As vast numbers of the public sense that their current political processes do not support an improving quality of life for them, and do not promote the individual to grow into their potential, or support them to do both, those vast numbers become less and less satisfied with the status quo. In a democracy, citizens are used to exercising their right of self-determination in all things that affect them, including their government. They yearn for a return to the quality relationship their great grandparents had with their congressional public executives.

The Apportionment Act Of 1911 —

The cause that compounds the grievance citizens feel today (2015) toward their government in general, and public executives in particular, did not come about by a malicious and deliberate intention by members of Congress, but rather as an unanticipated consequence of the Apportionment Act of 1911.

“Less than 1%” The founding authors of the US Constitution foresaw the necessary growth of the House of Representatives. As populations grew more representatives were needed to represent those new populations. From 1789-1911, there was one representative for every 3,000 citizens. In 1911, it was realized that the House of Representatives had become so large and unwieldy in its procedures that the number of representatives was fixed by the “Apportionment Act of 1911” at 435 members. After 1911, population increases were apportioned to each representative:

1789-1911    3,000 citizens to 1 Representative
(2015:    320,000,000 citizens ÷ 435 Representatives)
2015:    735,000 citizens to 1 Representative

That represents a decrease of 99.996% of influence individuals have with their elected representative compared to the influence citizens had until 1911.

  [3,000 ÷ 735,000 = 0.0040]; {100% – 0.0040 = 99.996% }

Effectively, the average individual is no longer represented by the Congressional Representative they elect to office, which has created a “vacuum of influence.”

  A vacuum of influence. “Nature abhors a vacuum” is still true and especially true in the legislative chambers of Congress. The vacuum of influence caused by the “Apportionment Act of 1911” has been filled by special interest groups, political action committees, and corporate lobbies, for example, for their own purposes, not the public’s. The influence of corporations provides a clear and important learning lesson for mature and developing democracies: Corporations have a very clear intention and mission attached to their existence — to maintain profitability and increase profits. This intention is easily measurable.

Democratic governments do not have a clear, consciously exercised intention for their existence. Such a lack of focus results in much dithering about and “muddling through” with their ineptitude being obvious. It is easy to see how easily corporations have manipulated Congressional members for their own ends, and it is not illegal!
That need not be the case when democratic governments have clear statements of intention with specific criteria to guide them.

In other words, when the relationship between citizens and their democratic government has become dysfunctional, and their ability to affect political and governmental processes is almost non-existent for over 99% of the public, citizens feel pathetically incapable to effect the needed changes to improve their condition. Citizens feel incapable to engage the opportunities that are so obvious on national news as they compare themselves to those who have immense wealth, fame, and political power to get what they want. The humanitarian issues of social justice, social equity, what is fair and the common good have become personal to most Americans.

The irony of this situation is that as citizen’s ability to influence their representatives has decreased, their technological capability to communicate with their elected and appointed public executives increased as robustly. Citizens are now better educated and better informed, with incredible technologies that empower them to communicate instantaneously with almost anyone anywhere in the world. It is here that we can see a crack in the door of opportunity that provides a beacon of light for an evolved form of democracy that is very, very similar to what exists today, but far more effective to sustain a democratic society and economy.

As the political-governmental sector has become more and more distanced from the effective participation of citizens, a growing anxiety has developed where citizens feel that they are powerless to participate in the control of their lives, particularly as social change continues to push the public relentlessly into the future. The cumbersome, even intransigent, nature of our state and national political and governmental processes greatly aggravates the angst citizens have with their ever-decreasing representative influence in government. Such angst originates in their frustrations to make effective personal decisions that fulfill the innate values of our species to create an ever-improving quality of life.

Quantity-Object Based Interpretation —
         Quality-Value Based Interpretation —

Quantity-object citizens. Much like a perennial plant or tree, our traditional form of democracy can only grow to its design limits — particularly when that limit is quantitatively defined in the historic interpretation of the word “equal” in that most famous of sentences from the Declaration of Independence. The emphasis is on the world “equal.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [people] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

  Until now, the word “equal” has been given only one interpretation. The historic interpretation of “equal” has been limited to a quantity-object based interpretation, (See Illustration). In this interpretation, and in view of the difference between material and social sustainability, citizens are valued no differently than iron ore, timber, or cattle. In this highly limiting definition of “equal,” each person, as a quantity of one, is as equal as any other person, even a monarch as a quantity of one. Being created equal as a quantity of one, each person has an equally valid right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as the king. It is tragic that those ideals of democracy have been defined to the narrow limits of the quantitative interpretation.

Quantitatively, equality was been fulfilled to its inherent limits by the end of the 20th century with the passage of the last “equal rights” legislation. This is evident from the detailed record of voting rights expansion from 1790 to 1965, as example.16  The conclusion we can gain for quantitative voting rights progress from 1790 to 1965 is that the quantity-object based interpretation of equal in the Declaration has been explored to its fullest extent and completes the 1st Paradigm of Democracy.

Quality-value citizens. What we have not realized for the last 239 years is that a quality-value based interpretation is as equally valid as the quantity-object interpretation. The error that has short-changed the social evolution of every democratic nation is that the word “equal” assumes the unspoken word “value” as a quantity.

It is painfully ironic our democracy does not as conscientiously give citizens the same quality-benefit as we give our sports figures and ballet dancers. We give high value to individuals who express higher qualities to what they do, whether they are artists, comedians, skilled workers, accountants, judges, or teammates on a sports team. It is the quality of participation that gives people greater or lesser value, individually, in every other setting of life. Why not also in the democratic processes of governance?

In an fully effective democracy, citizens are valued as a quantity of one equally to every other citizen — and, also valued for the quality of their participation in the democratic process. If a person does not vote, then the quality of their voting potential drops to zero. As this has been interpreted, as a quantity of one, the quality of a citizen is either 100% or 0.0% depending upon whether he or she votes or not.

The whole point of the Declaration was to declare [people] as having equal value as the king. What was not made emphatic was the interpretation of the word “equal.” The king had the quantity of one, and the quality of one! Because there is no emphatic interpretation of the word “equal” in the Declaration, we can assume the quantitative and qualitative interpretations are equally valid. Only the quantitative interpretation, however, has enjoyed its complete development in the American representative form of democracy.

Because the first interpretation deals only with quantities, it can only be taken to its quantitative limit where everyone enjoys equal representation. Regardless of race, gender, religion or property ownership everyone today is represented equally, i.e., one person, one vote. By 1965 the quantitative criterion of equal representation had nearly been fulfilled. The fullest outcome of the quantitative definition had been expressed. We are now at a dead end with it.

One set of outcomes. The great difficulty of using only one interpretation is that it allows for only one set of outcomes. Using both interpretations would allow two outcomes to come into being. The difference of possibilities by empowering both definitions is much like the difference between having 88 musicians in an orchestra simultaneously playing or not playing, one note on their instrument, louder or quieter. Compare that to 88 musicians playing a full range of notes with all the variations that orchestral music is capable. When we think of citizens voting or not voting, compared to adding the quality of their participation to democratic processes in local, state, and national venues, then it becomes very clear there is a striking and dramatic difference the two interpretations provide. Which would you prefer?

A culture of quantitative equality. The object-based interpretation of “equal” has so filled the minds of Americans in all social strata that it has become the interpretive method of valuating everything about life. Today that measurement is particularly egregious. We see this in the acquisitive nature of millions of people caught up in materialistic lifestyles. More is better, rather than better is more. Our society has come to give object-value to individuals according to the measure of their financial and material wealth, even to the mere appearance of it, whether it exists in fact, or not. The value and worth of an individual, whether a corporate CEO or a janitor, has become monetized and measured in terms of how much they can contribute to the profitability of the organization. Non-profit and public organizations have monetized the worth of their employees as the least expense for their presence! Monetization has come to infect almost all aspects of our American social, commercial life, and culture.

Teachers’ salaries in public education are a particularly troublesome example even though they mold the minds of the next generations of our citizens. The measure of a teacher’s competence has almost always been in the form of years and tenure, an easily quantifiable measurement. The educational achievement of students is measured in terms of years completed, rather than the quality of accomplishment within those years. If our American social institutions were invested with quality interpretations, salaries would be commensurate to the value teachers add to the quality of our children’s education. Teachers who inspire students to excel and who produce outstanding students would earn more than teachers who do not. This is only one of dozens of examples of the quantity interpretation that has caused our public education systems to be identified as mediocre, or less.

Characteristics Of The 1st Paradigm Of Democracy —

The foremost distinguishing aspect of the 1st Paradigm of Democracy is that it is a closed-end linear representative democratic process, not a system. Second, it does not have an embedded system for learning from mistakes and successes. As such, it relies upon the short lives and shorter memories of those we elect to be wise enough not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Without embedded feedback practices, and a “library of wisdom,” learning is impossible and permanently jeopardizes all conscious efforts of longevity, let alone social stability.

  • As a traditional organizational structure, this closed-end, linearprocess is hierarchical in nature, and related to the increase of power farther up the hierarchy. By itself, a hierarchy is neither good nor bad. Its effectiveness is determined by how well it can adapt and work to resolve public issues and move communities, states, and the nation into the future.
  • As a hierarchy, the chain of authority is top-down, with laws and executive orders originating from governors and the president proceeding down to the level of citizens. This is in reality no different from the chain of authority of the king, a monarch, except that citizens elect those in the democratic chain of authority. All of this lends itself to a linear, authoritarian management process and pyramidal organizational structure, which makes it impossibly difficult for large hierarchies to produce effective local-level social programs. Citizen participation is limited to the vote, much like a simple electrical “on-off” switch. It never accesses the intelligence, wisdom, or knowledge of the voter.
  • Operationally, our contemporary representative process of democracy has been set up intentionally to guard against the domination of one person, political party, or interest. While this provides a system of checks and balances, it unfortunately also was designed to guard against the inclusion of the public. Considering the larger majority of the public in the 1700s was thought to be a rough and illiterate rabble, that was a reasonable design. But, given a highly educated, informed, and involved public of the 21st century, this older design is exclusionary and isolates the public from contributing qualitatively to their representation. As the capability of citizens to participate more effectively has risen, the quality of their representation has not kept pace.
  • When the above characteristics of the 1st Paradigm of Democracy are acknowledged and we add in the pernicious “me-ism” and “I’ll get mine first” attitudes of our contemporary culture, it becomes clearer how our state legislatures and Congress have become so embroiled in highly adversarial and competitive positioning. The adroit art of political compromise seems to have come to a miserable end.
      What we see now is gross evidence of linear thinking: adversarial-competitive, win-lose, with-us-or-against-us, either-or, us-them, us-or-them, our-way-or-the-highway, insiders-outsiders and “winner takes all.” These characteristics and attitudes lead to further separation and political isolation between political parties, and particularly from the public. The business of democratically managing the public’s business has come to a sad and incompetent end.
  • Being male dominated, it is inherently masculine in nature with typically male-minded predispositions of linear either-or thinking. This unbalanced thinking is further reinforced by the linearity of the subject-verb-object linguistics of the English language, which unfortunately makes it easier for women to accept what men tell them. 
  • It is paternalistic, a continuation of the paternalism of the monarchy that governed the Colonies until the British were beaten back to their homeland. Even though women have been elected to state legislatures, governorships, and to congress, politics is male dominated and masculine in nature. 

Paternalism. The Unites States, France, Great Britain, Germany, and Spain, for examples, are democratic nations that have a history of some form of monarchial governance that acted much like a parental or patriarchal figure in relationship to its subjects. In that form of governance, the responsibilities of social, political, and economic-financial existence were not shared. Those forms of governance protect its authority by keeping information vital to governance from the public for making decisions, leaving the public out of the loop. Yet, immature as this form of governance has demonstrated in its relationship to its subjects, that same paternalism carried over to these democracies in relationship to their citizens.

That development is not a fault of the American founders of democracy but simply a design flaw, a carryover from its origins that did not become apparent until 150 years later when American citizens had achieved far more capability through education, being informed, and through improvements in communication technologies.

In the early stages of an evolving democratic society, democratic paternalism is an advantage until the public has become better educated, more informed, and is technologically capable of ongoing “dialogue” with their public executives. If that paternalism does not yield to more frequent public participation as that society matures, the relationship between government and the public begins to take on a familiar adolescent “parent-child” interaction.

The relationship between citizens and their representative democratic government is too uncomfortably similar to that of a parental relationship with children. When the parent makes all the decisions for the child without ever consulting the child concerning any matter whether minuscule or life-changing, the child will become resentful and hostile because the child has come to feel that they are not of equal importance to the parent. This becomes particularly egregious as the child matures. Similarly, well-educated and informed citizens of mature democracies have come to resent the interference of their government.

Parentalism. As with maturing children, that is the time for citizens to take on more responsibilities in their own governance and become more fully, personally acquainted with the responsibilities of democratic governance in the matters that sustain their communities, states, and nation. Such a “reality democracy” requires an “eyes wide open” approach to decision-making with transparency of the facts supporting the decisions that take society in a chosen direction.

Dependency relationship. There is a lack of reality in the relationship between those who govern and those who are governed. Said another way, there is a definite sense of being out of touch in the relationship between the governing and the governed because the public is so much better educated and informed than their patriotic forefathers and foremothers of the 1700s and 1800s. This is particularly unhealthy because it has led to a dependency relationship between much of the public and government.

Revealing Assumed Strategic Intentions —

The most powerful and debilitating design flaw involved the assumption by the Founders that the world would mostly stay the same and that their new democracy would work as well as it had been designed. The ratification of the United States Constitution did not say anything about how to adapt to the incredible social, political, and economic changes in the decades and centuries ahead. Now that we understand the effects of this assumption, we can also understand how incapable the existent political parties have proven themselves to resolve major problems inherent in social evolution, social progress.

The connection between the core values that have sustained our species and the organic necessity for the evolution of democracies begs us to ask an important question about the assumptions the American founders made before the Constitution was ratified in 1789 — a question that must be asked of every existing democratic nations whether it is mature, developing, or emerging. “What were the original intentions of the American Revolutionaries for the democratic representative government they formed?”

Remarkably, of the major documents that founded the democracy of the United States, the word “intention” is mentioned only once, which is in the Declaration of Independence.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,….” [Emphasis added.]

Though the word “intention” is mentioned, nowhere are those intentions explicitly revealed. They were assumed. Given that the founders of the American democracy did not know what the future would bring, it appears that their intention was to simply create a sovereign democratic nation separate from the English Crown. That having been accomplished, they then set about to design and implement the rudiments of a functional democracy where citizens had “…certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those were the criteria of the new democracy. Those rights were later expanded and defined within the first ten amendments, which most people know as the Bill of Rights.

Intentions As A Part Of Planning —

For Progressives to make a lasting difference, developing their own strategic intentions for their work in a nation without a national intention would be a major strategic advantage, particularly if they create an intention that is in the common interests for the stable and sustainable existence of all democratic nations into the future centuries. What is needed from all political positions is a succinct declaration the intentions for their existence and making that very clear to the public.

Historically, political intentions have been short-minded — to beat down and beat out the opposition, take control of the political process, and push ahead their public agenda. If Progressives are to make a lasting difference, then a unified strategic intention for their existence and their progressive agenda will be necessary for their own progress, one that the public understands and appreciates.

Doing so, Progressives would be writing an agenda that would have the potential to become sustainable into the decades and centuries.

If Progressives remain divided into dozens of efforts, then conservatives will have their way, with the past dictating what occurs in the present, compromising the future of everyone. Doing so will require Progressives to make an existential examination for their presence in democratic politics; and require them to develop a clear intention the public can appreciate and incorporate into their thinking.

If Progressives see this as a competition with conservatives, then they will have already lost the battle. To paraphrase Sun Tzu’s suggestions: “Progressives must set the agenda for the strategic future of democratic societies in which conservatives engage Progressives on the terms of a socially sustainable future.” The tactic of Progressives must be to offer conservatives no other choice but to discuss the Progressive strategy of democratic societies moving toward social, political, and economic sustainability.

What is predictable for Progressives, when they begin using the ideology and morality of the values that have sustained our species, is that they will attract the very large middle of the public, who have remained aloof and unorganized against polarized political positions. The middle is not populated with dullards, but with people who have abandoned the quarrelsome political dialogue in favor of focusing on the peace and stability of their personal and family life. Giving the middle a rational, integrated, and believable strategic vision with a value system that supports their families, communities, and nation will surely bring about much more rational political dialogue.

Only then will the possibility exist that the polarized political ends that have come to define the politics of the United States become counter-balanced. Lacking clear sustaining intentions and legislation has allowed corporations and powerful families who have no loyalty to any side but the side that embellishes their wealth and power to grow in ever greater political power and wealth. In such a politically manipulated environment, the undefined middle has been easy pickings for the wealthy to bring more political power into their own orbit of control. Strategically, it is UNsustainable for a nation with the potential of a very long future to allow the continuation of polarized positions and the 1%. Strategically, in the perspective of 50 to 250 years, for example, it is not in the best interest of the 1% to allow such undemocratic behavior to continue.

What “Intentions” Are Not —

“There are those who would say that what counts are the intentions behind our thinking, that thought plays only a serving role, helping us achieve our goals but failing to go to the root of the evils in our world. In our political environment, it would seem, we are surrounded on all sides with good intentions. But the nurturing of good intentions is an utterly undemanding mental exercise, while drafting plans to realize those worthy goals is another matter. Moreover, it is far from clear whether "good intentions plus stupidity" or "evil intentions plus intelligence" have wrought more harm in the world. People with good intentions usually have few qualms about pursuing their goals. As a result, incompetence that would otherwise have remained harmless often becomes dangerous, especially as incompetent people with good intentions rarely suffer the qualms of conscience that sometimes inhibit the doings of competent people with bad intentions. The conviction that our intentions are unquestionably good may satisfy the most questionable means. Good intentions, pursued in the name of goodness, then, are no guarantee."17

The Failure To Adapt —

When we examine the history of all human civilizations, one startling fact emerges — ALL civilizations, societies, nations, organizations and their administrations, policies, and laws have failed. They all failed to survive! Consider some of the causes for those organizational failures:

  • Not one was founded with an intention to become sustainable. Not one was designed to become sustainable, either materially or socially. All took for granted (assumed) that their nation would perpetuate itself into the far distant future. 
  • Most importantly, all failed because they were not designed as “learning organizations.” Learning is the result of our urge to grow to improve our quality of life, individually and collectively. When organizations take on the three core values of social sustainability, (quality of life, growth and equality), they will necessarily become learning organizations to grow into sustainable organizations. 
  • They failed by not learning from their experiences, and did not keep functional libraries of wisdom to guide them. 
  • All historic organizations failed to learn to adapt to changing conditions. 

DISCERN THIS CLOSELY: It is not changing conditions that cause the downfall of societies, but the failure of societies to adapt to those changing conditions. The survival of any species is reflected in their ability to adapt to changing conditions. Adapting means growing when change occurs.

A failure to adapt, a failure to learn from experience. The irony of our desires is that democracies are not perfect, and never will be. Democracies are not perfect because they are developmental social organizations where each developmental stage of democracy provides the preparation for it to evolve to the next developmental stage. The nature of evolving democracies is to provide an adaptable democratic governing process that maintains the principles of liberty and the right of self-determination by its citizens, without jeopardizing the sustainability of its host society or citizens.

Of all the forms of government, only democracy has the potential to adapt to the organic nature of those it governs. All other forms of governance are static and ultimately UNsustainable. Yet, democracy is not a “one size fits all” type of governance. Because of the nature of those it serves, democracies must emulate the adaptability of our species to become adaptable democracies, which lays the potential to become socially sustainable into centuries and millennia.

Failure to adapt. Taken as a whole, the representative form of democratic process of the 1st Paradigm of Democracy as it exists today is designed to fail in the long-term. The primary reason it will fail is that is a linear, closed-end process that is not designed to adapt to changing conditions by learning from its mistakes and successes.

Only an organizational system that has double-loop learning processes designed into it is capable of incorporating feedback processes so that the organization, its participants, and citizens learn from their collective mistakes and from their successes.18  When this is designed into a representative democratic system, with a focused long-term local-to-national vision, then that democracy can adapt, survive, exist, and perhaps achieve social sustainability.

NOTE: Psychologist Chris Argyris and philosopher Donald Schön’s intervention research focused on exploring the ways organizations can increase their capacity for double-loop learning. They argued that double-loop learning is necessary if organizations and its members are to manage problems effectively that originate in rapidly changing and uncertain contexts.

Single-Loop Learning. Argyris and Schön describe single-loop learning as “adaptive learning” [that] focuses on incremental change. This type of learning solves problems but ignores the question of why the problem arose in the first place.

Double-loop learning is described as generative learning that focuses on transformational change that changes the status quo. Double-loop learning uses feedback from past actions to question assumptions underlying current views. When considering feedback, managers and professionals need to ask not only the reasons for their current actions, but what to do next and even more importantly, why alternative actions are not to be implemented.

Adaptability. It is a truism that only by having the capability of adaptability are species able to survive. The same adaptability is also necessary for all democratic social, political, and economic institutions and organizations because of the existential, organic nature of our species.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

Our work as Progressives, then, is to create a holistic system of social, political, and economic systems that work together and adjust to social change of the public to maintain social, political, and economic equilibrium, i.e., sustainability. By adjusting social, political, and economic policies, based on the constancy of the six core values, social, political, and economic evolution can take place peacefully.

Organizational Adaptability. History is clear, while our species is sustainable, organizations and governments of every type, are not. Fatally, organizations are not socially sustainable because they do not have the three core values (quality of life, growth and equality) embedded into their “organizational DNA” as it is in our DNA. The three core values have urged us, driven us, to become adaptable to survive and to continue to fulfill the values that have sustained us.

Said another way, organizations and governments are not adaptable because their form, functions, option-development, choice-making and decision-making processes were artificially formalized and structured, which prevents the organization from adapting to social change that is organic to the people they serve.

Not being able to adapt, organizations and governments have not learned how to survive the invisible slow creep of social change or rapidly changing situations. It is not that formalized organizations are not capable of adapting to the social changes of the host society, but that they were not designed with an intention to adapt. All 1st Paradigm Democracies will fail simply because they were not designed to adapt and evolve.

Conclusions —

Because equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are almost identical to the three irreducible core values of social sustainability — life, (the quality of life), growth, and equality — they gave rise to the longest-lived democratic political system in the history of the world.

Yet, as they have been narrowly interpreted, they are insufficient to successfully sustain the social, political, and economic inertia of this nation or any other democracy into the centuries ahead. In this context, a democratic society is not socially sustainable until the values that have sustained our species are embedded into the decision-making processes of government and other organizations at all levels.

As the 1st Paradigm of Democracy became complete that model has rapidly become obsolete, as we are seeing today. As the 1st Paradigm has become less capable of managing the duties of governance, its obsolescence has become more and more evident, signaling the necessity to initiate the 2nd Paradigm of Democracy.

What is needed, particularly for Progressives in every democratic nation in order to sustain the greatness of their nation into the future, are the quality-value based interpretations of the words “equal” and “life” in the Declaration. To initiate that evolutionary step in the culture of democracies, those words must be applied just as pragmatically as the first interpretation has been applied. Pragmatically, what is needed is a national and international Progressive organizational system that facilitates citizen participation. Doing so will provide many positive developments to sustain democratic nations.

♦ ♦ ♦

In a “1st Paradigm Democratic Society — Responsibility to society is indoctrinated by authority, obedience, and discipline.

In a 2nd Paradigm Democratic Society — Responsibility to society is enculturated by teaching personal power, self-discipline, and personal responsibility.”

15 - Bohm, David, On Dialogue (2004): 68.
16 - U.S. Voting Rights
17 - Dörner, Dietrich 1996. THE LOGIC OF FAILURE, Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations, Metropolitan Books, ISBN: 0-201-47948-6. p. 8.
18 Argyris, Chris., & Schön, D. (1996) Organizational Learning II, Addison Wesley, Reading, Mass. Argyris, Chris, Robert Putnam, Diana McClain Smith (1985) Action Science, Concepts, Methods, and Skills for Research and Intervention Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco
Argyris, C., & Schön, D. (1978) Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective, Reading, Mass: Addison Wesley.
Senge, Peter (1994) The Fifth Discipline, The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, Currency Doubleday.