http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/opini ... ml?_r=1&em
I don't want to get involved in any kind of partisan discussion of the assessment of parties, etc.:
No Bahá'í can be regarded as either Republican or Democrat, as such. He is above all else, the supporter of the principles enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh, with which, I am firmly convinced, the programme of no political party is completely harmonious...."
(From a letter of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, January 26, 1933: Bahá'í News, No. 85, July, 1934, p. 2)
"As Abdu'l-Bahá stated: 'Our party is God's party; we do not belong to any party.'..."
"If the institutions of the Faith, God forbid, became involved in politics, the Bahá'ís would find themselves arousing antagonism instead of love. ...the best way Bahá'ís can serve the highest interests of their country and the cause of true salvation for the world is to sacrifice their political pursuits and affiliations and whole-heartedly and fully support the system of Bahá'u'lláh."
(Universal House of Justice, at http://bahai-library.com/?file=hornby_l ... ance#n1449 )
...but I thought the article did raise some issues worth discussing...
A real single-party democracy--or a non-party democracy (encompassing each nation) is actually a solution which the Baha'i Writings recommend (even while we do not interfere politically or, God forbid, try to impose it).
No single principle of effective authority is so important as giving priority to building and maintaining unity among the members of a society and the members of its administrative institutions. Reference has already been made to the intimately associated issue of commitment to the search for justice in all matters.
Clearly, such principles can operate only within a culture that is essentially democratic in spirit and method. To say this, however, is not to endorse the ideology of partisanship that has everywhere boldly assumed democracy's name and which, despite impressive contributions to human progress in the past, today finds itself mired in the cynicism, apathy, and corruption to which it has given rise. In selecting those who are to take collective decisions on its behalf, society does not need and is not well served by the political theater of nominations, candidature, electioneering, and solicitation.
(Prosperity of Humankind, at http://www.bic-un.bahai.org/95-0303.htm )
Anybody else from the U.S. (or elsewhere) think that we could use a little "building and maintaining" of "unity among the members of a society and the members of its administrative institutions" now??
The article also touches on an aspect of how those not directly accountable to the people (so they can vote their consciences) has benefits. It also makes me think of the wisdom of a system encouraging technocracy and meritocracy, rule by scientists and technical experts, which our Baha'i voting system encourages and which is also praised as a principle:
"Technocracy, as well as the other movements now existing in the world, every one of them, has some wonderful point that connects it very closely to the teachings of the Faith..."
(On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, at http://bahai-library.com/?file=compilat ... t.html#480 )
It's hard for a nation that is on the top of the heap materially to ever question its system, but with it facing setbacks and a quickly rising competitor (if sometime partner) that is proving itself in some areas more limber, perhaps a bit more productive self-exploration and questioning about the core of its system will take place?
What do you all think?