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Chapter Four: Autocracy and Democracy

Section 10: Political Friendship


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 Yiddish Dance by the Lysaya Dance Ensemble.



The decision-making procedures of Quaker groups maximize the potential for synergistic actions. The assumption is that there is one right answer to each question; one answer, that is, that will best advance the interests of the entire group. To achieve this answer, each person must appreciate the perspective and interests of each of the other members. Each member coordinates the perspectives and interests of the entire group and suggests a solution. The group considers the various suggestions, and the decision is made on the basis of unanimous assent. Such a process, theoretically and practically, maximizes the good will and commitment of the group.



The term "political friendship" derives in part from the fact that peace oriented Quaker groups refer to their members as "friends." A political friendship requires that each person prize all others as one would a friend: accepting diversity, striving for mutual benefits and good will, and setting aside one's interests when they conflict with more compelling interests of a friend.



This political form may be an unachievable ideal on the larger societal scale, but it is approachable. There are wealthy people who support welfare, white middle class males who support affirmative action, men who support the ERA; and Americans who support students in the U.S (I am not taking sides on these issues.) These facts indicate that there are many people who are mature and make decisions according to what is best for everyone, conflicts with their interests more narrowly defined. In the later chapters, we discuss how the modal level of society might be raised so that we can better attain the synergistic benefits of of political friendship.



Because political friendship is more synergistic, it represents an improvement in the internal environment of the system. The total power available to the system is increased, enhancing the achievement of objectives and victories in inner system competitions. Because the members of a friendship are especially trained to understand diverse perspectives and to coordinate them into mutually for action, friendships should achieve positions of influence with relative ease. Since the decision-making mechanism is really one extended process of education (Fisher's third means) and since friendships represent an easily recognizable ideal, such advanced political forms would be effective at leading other systems to form a better, more synergistic world order. Thus, friendships would be judged more competent than democracies by the four criteria established in the preceding section.







Book Contents

Transcultural Friendship: Our Political Future


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Change as the Status Quo

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Summary of Chapter 4