The rationale

The rationale

Postby Matt » Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:33 pm

The communities will operate with autocratic* governance because:
    The discussion and debates necessary for democratic (and even worse, consensus-based) decision making inevitably lead to the formation of cliques and to interpersonal rivalries which detract from the experience of community and which can threaten a community's continued existence.
    The process of reaching sufficient agreement or consensus for operational decisions consumes a great deal of time and energy.
    The opportunity to gratify the natural urges for attention and power through domination of democratic processes encourages antisocial behavior from even well-meaning individuals (this behavior covers the range from basic contrarian behavior to interpersonal manipulation and deliberate obstruction of activities sponsored by rivals).
    Benevolent dictatorship is the undisputed pinnacle of efficiency.
    Shared, elective submission to authority is one of the most effective bonds between human beings.
    It is possible to operate autocratically while remaining true to the spirit of egalitarian principles by:
    -establishing a set of inviolate principles that bound the leaders' actions (a constitution)
    -ensuring occupancy of leadership posts is kept short and assigned by lottery. All members not only have the opportunity to fill such posts but the responsibility to when their number comes up. The community may or may not require completion of universally-available training prior to eligibility to hold a particular office.
*By that term I mean that all decisions regarding the operation of the community are made unilaterally by the person holding the office responsible for that area of community life. Just imagine it! Never again having to sit in a meeting listening to countless statements preceded by the phrase 'Well, I think we should...'

The concept here is that all significant aspects of life at the monastery will be predetermined in founding documents (let's get the debating out of the way up front). Those documents will comprise a sort of latter day rule of St. Benedict. Any required interpretation of those documents will be performed by the person holding office at the time without consultation with anyone else. The only appeal possible will be a call for a vote of no confidence asking that the person be removed from office. That action would be rare and would require a super majority of fellow residents to agree.

It is possible that a predetermined schedule of review of those founding documents may be established. Personally, I think the hassle and likely divisiveness of such reviews would outweigh the potential benefits of tweaking the guidelines.
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