Here I present a simple moral argument for the case that our current form of Western democracy is contrary to progressivism. Here I present the strong version that representative democracy is incommensurable with progressivism. Although, I think a weaker version could be made which states that it is not the form but the particulars of extant representative democracy which are inconsistent with the morality of progressivism but still commensurable. In the version presented here, the argument is a call for radicalism.
My argument is influenced by The Founders, Habermas, Keynes, Zizek, Badiou, Lakoff, and like everything I write--Marx.
I say that politics is a system for the production and distribution of rules for governance. This subsumes public administration, policy, and law. At the heart of politics is The Public. The Public consists of public spaces, resources, citizens, and ideas.
The cornerstone and basic element of The Public is mutual aid and care between individuals. The U.S. Constitution begins with the words, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union… promote the general welfare”.
The Union is constituted by individuals working towards a more perfect Union by cooperating to care for one another’s natural human welfare in general, which is the common welfare. This is the historical foundation of The Public in the United States. It is the beginning of the document which establishes the basic rules for the U.S. political system. It was created in and quite appropriate for an agrarian society, but industrial capitalism has since emerged within the same politico-legal framework.
The Public is the foundation of society. It contains within itself rights which form the basis for individual liberties. Resting on the foundation of The Public and enabled by the existence of The Public is the sphere of private life. The exercise of individual liberties emerges from this sphere of private life.
Within the sphere of private life is the capitalist economy. Capitalism is a social technology which exists in the present place and time. It is comprised of households and private enterprise. Economic resources flow back-and-forth between households and private enterprise, and this flow is economic activity.
Households and businesses exchange factors of production, with households supplying labor and private enterprise supplying capital. They also interact in consumer society, with enterprises supplying products and households supplying the profits which their labors enabled.
Flows of monetary capital must continue or capitalism collapses. For flows to continue, perpetual economic growth is required. Capitalism is a perpetual motion machine.
When capital flows are no longer sufficient for internal maintenance, capitalism must draw resources from The Public. If it draws too much from The Public, then The Public is not robust enough to support private life. Recall that capitalism exists within the sphere of private life. Therefore, capitalism can be a self-destructive force. This is what is currently occurring in the U.S. The American nation is on the verge of social collapse.
Citizens can overcome the hurdle of capitalism. However, parliamentary or representative democracy blocks citizens from overcoming capitalism. Our political system, legislative democracy, blocks us from overcoming the hurdle of liberal capitalism.
Legislative democracy is composed of the electoral process, voting mechanics, identity politics/political correctness, the mass media, public legitimacy, and the base of money. Since money is the base of legislative democracy and capitalists have most of the nation’s money, legislative democracy will serve the interests of the capitalists.
The moral basis of progressivism is the same cornerstone and basic element of The Public, mutual aid and care between individuals. In order to legitimate the act of drawing down the resources of The Public, capitalists must undermine the morality of mutual aid, cooperative care, and community union. Representative democracy empowers capitalism, and capitalism is fundamentally incommensurable with progressivism. Therefore, representative democracy is anti-progressive.
The goal of progressives should be to change the issues which make up the composition of legislative democracy into a system which is not fundamentally incommensurable with progressive morality. The political system must first be changed, and then capitalism can be eliminated and the harms it causes the world can be ended.