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Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Radical Democracy

Democracy needs an urgent upgrade and needs to come of age

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing perfect about democracy. Yet, it’s still the system with to best guarantees for a positive society for all.

We all need to live in relation to others. I define as democratic everything that places equal value on humans. Some people are more responsible, others need more protection, but no one is dearer than anyone else.

Democratic society comes with many fundamental perks in the form of inalienable freedoms and rights, and limits on interference. Think of the right to due process or to vote, freedom of the press and of gathering, etc.

However, through oversight or design, some rights and limitations are missing. How so, by design? In bygone years, the rich and powerful agreed to share power with the masses, women, ex-slaves, etc. But, they first had assured themselves that they could keep most of their privileges.

Yet, in modern democracies, the public takes egalitarianism and freedom as natural and fair. So much so that this can’t be taken away anymore.

So, maybe now the time has come to improve democracy as we know it.

Four New Rights

1. The Right to Safety. Anyone making any person or group feel scared must be treated as violating society and stopped. And we’re not talking about “I’m afraid it will rain tomorrow.” Rather, making it scary to walk the streets, to speak one’s mind, to be authentically yourself. See here.

2. The Right to Influence the Next Generation. So long as we’ve not become physically immortal, it can’t be that after someone’s demise, it’s like that person never was. We all need the right to raise children, teach, help improve the world’s tomorrow—suitable for our talents.

3. The Right to Empathy. So much of our collective suffering is caused by no one really caring about our pain. “Everyone only thinks of himself; I’m the only one who sometimes thinks about me.” – Wim Kan. We all need warm unjudgmental inconsequential attention to what we feel.

4. The Right to Truth, not just to free data gathering or transparency. That is worthless when most ‘information’ is partly or completely lied up. In a world buzzing with lies, implementing this will be tricky. But we also have courts that judge. We don’t say: “Who’s going to determine if anyone was the killer?” and let all accused go. Lying must become illegal and banned.

Three New Limitations

These can be hard to swallow. But sometimes, bitter medication is a must.

1. Those who oppose, in word or action, democratic ideals will be excluded from democratic privilege. If you believe that certain groups are inferior or superior, or in terrorism, you can no longer claim the right to free speech, stand for election, use the media to spread your poison, have privacy, freely gather, demonstrate, etc. to further your goal to hurt democracy.

2. No more permission to hurt your health. That doesn’t mean that those who consume recreational drugs or junk food must go to jail. But, it does say that society no longer can afford to look the other way and claim: It’s ‘personal freedom.’ Society must provide better alternatives (see above, point 3.). Autonomy can’t mean freedom to hurt yourself. It’s too costly.

3. We must limit how much money and wealth a person can amass. If you are clever or lucky enough to find legal ways to become a billionaire, that money was taken from the masses and must benefit the masses.

These seven points to perfect democratic society are going to hurt. But not implementing them is going to hurt much more. There’s no alternative.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1500 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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