Is It Possible?

 The goal in America today is to resurrect the primacy of reason over passion.              Jeffrey Rosen,  President of the National Constitution Center.

 This blog is the result of my reading the October 2018 issue of The Atlantic, “Is Democracy Dying?”  And since the title and subtitle above are almost a summary of my200 plus decision making blogs, this blog is about democracy and decision making. Democracy and decision making are clearly interconnected

The system of government delineated in the constitution is a concession to the idea that humans are deficient in the science of rational self-government.                                         Jeffery Goldberg, Editor Atlantic Monthly.

Several articles in The Atlantic: “Loosing the Democratic Habit, The Threat of Tribalism, A House Divided, Building an Autocracy”, make it clear that democracy is being threatened by out-of-control political favoritism, tribalism, self-serving biases, and emotional thinking. Rational self-government requires rational decision making. A healthy democracy depends on rational decision making by politicians and voters. The overwhelming presence of undisciplined social media has almost eliminated rational thinking. Facts and truth (reason and rational thinking ) are hard to come by.

Inflammatory posts based on passion travel farther and faster than                         arguments based on reasons. Jeffery Rosen

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth                                                                is putting its shoes on. Mark Twain

 Democracy and decision making are also interconnected with beliefs. My blogs, starting in 2012, have been about the categories of beliefs and democracy, in addition to other decision making categories. This Atlantic issue relates closely to my beliefs about beliefs and democracy. For example: Democracy is a most unnatural act. People have no innate democratic instinct; we are not born yearning to set aside our own desires in favor of the majority’s. Democracy is, instead, an acquired habit, Yoni Appelbaum.

I believe rational decision making is a most unnatural act. People are not born to be rational, objective  decision makers. Credulity appears to be an instinct. Open-mindedness needs to be learned. The Atlantic recommends reviving democracy by teaching it early in schools. I also recommended teaching decision making in schools. I published decision making curriculum for high school students in 1973.

The Atlantic articles raise the question: Is democracy dying? I raise the question: Can decision making become a rational process? Is reason over passion an achievable goal? Time will tell.

 If humans are deficient in the science of reason in self-government, it may also be that humans are deficient in the science of rational decision making.

Could it be that a democracy of reason isn’t built for humans?                                             Could it be that rational decision making isn’t built for humans?

This entry was posted in Beliefs. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Beth Lyon says:

    Very good, HB. I’l take your blog to read to Barbara next time I go.
    I too thought the Atlantic Article was excellent. Very sobering.

  2. Marianne says:

    First of all, aren’t you still on your road trip? Did you write this before you left?
    My thinking about rational decision making in terms of making decisions about political issues is that it might be impossible. We are never really sure of the true facts presented to us regarding most political issues. Even if we have learned to make rational decision making, how do we do that in the face of facts often being based on lies? Or at least facts based on people’s own biases.
    I wonder if Yauni Applebaum’s statement about democracy fits people at a lower level of consciousness than, I think, we have reached. People living at the poverty level or migrants probably are at the level of just trying to provided food and shelter for themselves and their families. Probably people are not acting out of rational thought in those situations.
    In countries or in lives where we live above the level of worrying about food and shelter, hopefully, we can make democracy work because we know it is right to help one another–because of values and because we all are raised up when we do live that way.

  3. Eugene Unger says:

    Not a chance! I love you H but it’s like patience over rage. Power over what’s good and just. Not a chance. Rarely, love conquers but love like the love of Jesus is most rare . That’s why even God said of his creation “ I’m sorry I created man”.



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