If you think what’s wrong with America is other Americans, we have no hope.
In America there will always be zealots. There will always be farmers, and jocks, and Ivy League frat boys, and transexual activists, and pencil pushers, and rednecks, and liberal elites, and greedy Wall Street agro edge sorters, and supremacists, and peaceniks, and lobbyists, and volunteers, and Girl Scouts, and folks looking for a fight, and folks looking for a break, and moochers, and bailers, and vengeful death penalty supporters. Come up with any slogan or plan or solution. But if you are hoping there will be fewer blasé, bourgeois, leave me alone, uninformed, get off my lawn, middle class folk, if your plan requires there to be less radicals on either side, less left or less right you are more quixotic than I.
If, however, you believe what’s wrong with America is how we organize ourselves, the structures by which we execute the ideals we believe in, the way we are sorted, and represented, and measured, and counted, well, then we can talk. We can debate wildly. We can engineer. We can create. We can redesign.
The Constitution of the United States of America is essentially a document protecting property rights. It lays out who owns what and how, intellectual and actual, and what little powers our government has in impeding on those private rights. It cools the passions of the masses. It sorts the selections of Senators and Presidents. It splits power and creates bureaucracy to make it ineffectual. It does not consider those who do not, or cannot, own property as anything more than someone else’s property. We have amended it since, mostly to further limit the powers of the government, sometimes to free, or recognize, or enfranchise a people.
Is this our most appropriate structure? Is it time for a new OS? Do we still believe that for our free society there are more and less valuable people, that property owners are worth more than renters, that entrepreneurs are more valuable than consumers, that breeders are more necessary than those who do not (or cannot) breed, that the college graduate is worth more than the high-school dropout, that the inventor or the aspirational is worth more than the lumpy and the satisfied?
The problem in America is not Americans. And if it is we will never succeed. What we need are new blueprints that will most allow the most of us to contribute the whole of ourselves to the whole most successfully. What we need, if we think we need to improve at all, is new design thinking.