Thinker thinks

Another person of note from the Iraqi blogs is someone who went by the name "thinker". I think the below is what she would consider to be her greatest post. She called it her "epiphany". I'm not sure how useful it is, but I do like her pointing out that there's no one person "in charge" in a modern democracy. And I like the way she said that this was impossible according to communist doctrine. Regardless, without further ado, here is what she wrote back in 2004 ...

Hello Iraqi friends! OK, I'll start...

We use he word 'plan' differently.

In the 1950s and 60s, Soviet leaders were seeking intelligence on the American system.  The US was an engine of economic and industrial growth, and productivity. The government was popular. Everything worked.  Even the phone system. There were no periodic collapses.

But, according to Marxist economic theory, this was impossible. So the Soviet leadership was convinced that there had to be some secret organization planning and controlling the economy, businesses , etc. They devoted their resources to finding this organization that was doing the planning and controlling everything. Nothing can work without planning and intent.

Ahhh.  But they didn't understand our system of planning.

In a dictatorship, the Leaders have much more power than in a democracy.  After all, a king can say, "do it" and it is done.  Central planning is easy because the king can 'force' everyone to consensus.  Tribal systems work on consensus too.

In a democratic government, there are millions of plans for the government, contradictory plans, plans, upon plans...all different and some the opposite of one another. Different committees of congress have opposite plans and the president might have a different plan.

Let's use Defense planning as an example. I'll bet there are detailed plans in the US Defense Department for invading every country in the world. There are probably even different types of these plans.  But, these are not 'plans' in the Soviet style because obviously we have no plan for such a thing. Like the US architects style, these are just concepts and 'thinking excercises' done to be prepared in the event of a disaster. They are not plans.

These types of studies are done in the Transportation, Education and other Departments. In any direction that an elected official decides to go, he has many, many plans to choose from depending on the circumstances, the problem that has to be solved, his budget.

But, Congress might control the budget, teachers unions at the local level might control part of the policy, local politicians might have a different plan preference, etc.
To the Soviets, this looked like chaos. How could you possibly have a 5 Year Plan in such a system?

The way planning is done in a democracy is decentalized but provides for maximum flexibility to change plans, alter plans at any given time to allow for changed circumstances, new ideas, new understandings, etc. Planning is SEPARATE from decision making.

I want to explain this to you so that you know that there was a plan to 'invade' Iraq many years before we went in...but I would not be surprised to learn that there was also a 'plan' SOMEWHERE to invade England! And, of course you know how ridiculous that is! When we say the word 'plan'...please remember this difference!

Planning in the US is a process of fact-finding, having a million possibilities, and being prepared so that under any circumstance or crisis, we can go in any direction at any given time.  FLEXIBLE! If there is a crisis, someone has thought about the different possibilities for years and can present mulitiple plans, their consequences, etc. to decision makers.  Then, the decision makers might all have different ideas. And the people in a democracy in different roles change often.

When combined with 'free speech' and transparency, there is almost no way to implement a conspiracy, sinister design, or force everyone to agree.
We compromise, work out win/win agreements, all based on the moral and rational arguments of large numbers of people.

It is a system that may have to be lived to be understood.

No one has the power that you Iraqis think they have. It is all decentralized power sharing.  And all of our people understand it.  We don't relate to one another as puppets, bosses, dictators, or as superiors.  Even the President of the United States.

Until you understand realationships in the US, nothing will make sense.

We even relate in families this way more than other cultures.  When the passengers in the last plane on Sept. 11th realized what the hijackers true intent was...the passengers on the plane...VOTED on a plan!

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