04w40:3 John Ralston Saul

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2004 week 40 number 3 (john ralston saul)


LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium Inaugural Lecture | John Ralston Saul
“So long as an NGO – which could also be defined as a corporation of social reformers – remains outside the democratic system, it has no real political levers. Its activists are not there, in the people’s Chamber, to clarify the cause. And there is no practical link between the problem they are devoted to and the real action required to deal with it. PR victories – which NGOs so often win – cannot be converted automatically into law. Nor should they be. Again, we live in democracies. But the result is that there are no direct practical links between the public debate and government action. The public therefore becomes discouraged about the effectiveness of politics because politics appear to be unresponsive to the public debate. And because of their disconnection from the formal political process, the corporations of social reformers themselves begin to look naive. […] In other words, so long as a good cause remains on the outside, it may actually give comfort to those who oppose it. A cause really only makes ethical, utilitarian and social sense when it and its proponents are integrated into the democratic process. This withdrawal of the social reformers from that democratic process is certainly a change in our society, but I don’t think it was inevitable or is eternal. It is merely a side effect of corporatism.”

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emailed by Timothy on Friday 01 October 2004 @ 12:53 PM

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