William Ophuls proposes a different way of thinking about governance. Inspired by architecture, he articulates a pattern language of politics—a set of thirty-five design criteria for constructing sane and humane polity. Since ancient times, human beings have asked a fundamental question: What is a good society, and how should it be governed? Plato’s response was philosophical. In *The Republic*, he searched for an abstract notion of justice to guide political thought and action. Aristotle’s response was empirical. In *The Politics*, he tried to discover which constitutions were more conducive to justice in practice. Following Aristotle, the modern era embraced constitutionalism as the royal road to political nirvana. Thus the American founders, who were also inspired by the mechanical worldview, framed a constitutional machine intended to foster individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But the mechanical worldview is no longer intellectually tenable, and constitutional governance is no longer practically viable. Far from fostering a society in which men and women flourish according to their own lights, modern polities grow steadily more dysfunctional and oppressive. Ophuls argues that a pattern language best accords with the dawning ecological worldview and the emerging scientific understanding of systems and chaos. He contends that the proper way to shape the political future is not with rigid legal machinery, as is our wont, but instead with flexible design criteria resembling the architectural patterns used for constructing human settlements and dwellings.
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Published February 14, 2013
by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Political & Social Sciences.