Amateurs – Democracy – The Problems of Professionalization

Posted in Uncategorized by dilettanteventures on 05/15/2012

Democracy Is for Amateurs: Why We Need More Citizen Citizens – Eric Liu

The work of democratic life — solving shared problems, shaping plans, pushing for change, making grievances heard — has become ever more professionalized over the last generation.

When self-government is dominated by professionals representing various interests, a vicious cycle of citizen detachment ensues. Regular people come to treat civic problems as something outside themselves, something done to them, rather than something they have a hand in making and could have a hand in unmaking.

we need to radically refocus on the local. When the evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson launched the Binghamton Neighborhood Project, he broke down that city’s many paralyzing problems into human-scale chunks of action — turning an empty lot into a park, say, or organizing faith communities — and then linked up the people active in each chunk. Localism gives citizens autonomy to solve problems; networked localism enables them to spread and scale those solutions [emphasis mine].

Citizenship, in the end, is too important to be left to professionals. It’s time for us all to be trustees, of our libraries and every other part of public life. It’s time to democratize democracy again.

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