American society is frayed at seams. We need to think about “civic infrastructure” | Jan-Werner Müller

Infrastructure was for the transpartisan nature of what Thanksgiving is to American life in general. The last and greatest hope that we all get together. For those who get stuck in New Jersey Transit in a tunnel under the Hudson River or feel uneasy when crossing a rusty Midwestern bridge, the need for a huge investment in infrastructure is self-evident. But that didn’t prevent Republicans from finding mistakes in Biden’s infrastructure plans. When their busy cultural war and “library ownership” schedule allow it, they make a slight opposition. More importantly, they are of all kinds, from crazy socialist heretics such as home care support (why wealthy people can easily help themselves?) To government-funded research. Attack the government for pushing the envisioned pet policy into the plan. Everyone knows, it just gave us something like the internet, so it’s very ineffective.

It is true that the two central clichés of our political terminology today, “resilience” and in fact “infrastructure,” conceal the lack of legitimacy of actual public policy. But in reality, Biden’s plans are not ambitious enough in a way. It does not address the country’s declining civil infrastructure.

Infrastructure is about connecting people. It allows us to reach others and they can reach. Not only roads, but post offices are a typical example. The Republican Cultural War rhetoric is that the main problem for “left-behind” people is the contempt of the liberal-cosmopolitan-bicoaster elite, who have nothing to do but ridicule the “real Americans.” I made it sound like. However, many people are left behind because they are difficult to reach and they are difficult to reach. Deregulation has made ticketing for flights to remote parts of the country terribly expensive. Even if there are buses and trains, they are infrequent and unsightly. People were cut off, but many of the local resources Community savings bankProviding using local knowledge is disappearing.

Some of us fear that rebuilding a better physical infrastructure, and less importantly, better regulation, could be President Biden’s default political background noise. You can do more to overcome the division of the country than the kitch rhetoric of the community. But democracy itself depends on being able to connect with others. In addition, everyone has basic political rights (speech, assembly, association), but the impact of using such communication rights is doubled if resources and tools are available to disseminate opinions. To do.

Yes, the infrastructure connects, but it does not guarantee consensus, not to mention the community.Social scientists emphasize that democracy requires both citizens Join in a tighter group And Build a bridge Create mutual trust in the process between departments. But democracy is not primarily about unity.That means enabling conflict within rule.. Just because we have a good highway network doesn’t mean we all have to drive in the same direction (and for that matter, we need to transport the same number of people with us). Democratic infrastructure prevents conflicts, but it can also take very different routes. It certainly doesn’t determine them.

Specifically, what does civil infrastructure mean? Democracy in the United States provided a great boost in the first half of the 19th century through the development of the media and political parties. In fact, these two important parts of the communication infrastructure for citizens were often the same.Alexis de Tocqueville surprised In the vibrant political scene of the United States. He also said, “In a democratic country … many men who feel lustful and need to associate cannot distinguish each other and meet because everything is insignificant and unobtrusive from the crowd. I don’t know how. But let’s make the newspapers come and see the emotions and ideas that happened at the same time, but separately, and everything will soon rush towards this light. “Many In the case of party-owned newspapers, they defended certain doctrines that connect people.

We are openly concerned about the ideas of partisan media (or, for that matter, openly partisan cable TV), but the media, and even the agenda media, are part of the democratic infrastructure. There is no denying that. One of the most visible signs of the decline of its infrastructure is the sad state of local journalism. Less local news reduces public participation, More corrupt politics.. To make matters worse, the resulting void is often filled with national news that can exacerbate polarization. Taxing large platforms and using funds to support local journalism, including citizen journalism, is one remedy.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently National Trust for Civil Infrastructure, Similar to the National Endowment for Democracy. Local associations that promote dialogue can receive grants from public libraries and other spaces used by citizens. Suggestions can be extended to online public spaces. As we all know, today’s major social media platforms, especially Facebook, areIncitement capitalism“: It is essential to isolate, anger and keep people in place Surveillance, All to monetize their “engagement”. Now there are good plans for public nonpartisan platforms, Digital democratic infrastructure.. It’s easy to think that these can replace a huge thing like Facebook with billions of users and their corresponding network effects.But they may complement them with the right ones Space for civic exchange.. Some scholars also Public Software Co., Ltd., Public broadcaster model, free access to citizens’ digital tools.

Therefore, one elephant remains in the room. Political parties, especially elephants with elephants.They are an important infrastructure and that’s why well-functioning democracy regulates them (sometimes). Constitution). In particular, they provide for democratic procedures and funding transparency within the party. Because the current Supreme Court is what it is-an active proponent of dark money and reliance on large donors-there are few opportunities to tackle campaign finance. However, pluralism within the party may be strengthened.After all, when party Turns into personality worship, as it happened to Republicans under Trump, there can be no critical loyalty in the tent: any criticism of a person is considered a betrayal.

American society is frayed at seams. We need to think about “civic infrastructure” | Jan-Werner Müller

Source link American society is frayed at seams. We need to think about “civic infrastructure” | Jan-Werner Müller

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