30 March 2011

The first element of stewardship

When a member of a group acts out of duty rather than out of either loyalty or honor, they are acting with the interests and the welfare and the standards and practices of the group in mind. 
That is how the decisions of the group are transformed as a resultant of the decisions of the members. This displacement of decision-making from centering on the person of the decider to centering on some other interest which the decider is keeping in mind, this displacement is the first element of stewardship. 
The 'representative' in representative democracy embodies that shift in the person's thinking when he makes his decisions out of a sense of duty, with the interests of the group paramount in his decision-making. The representative is the embodiment of those group interests and the election of the representative is the performance of civic duty par excellence. As such, elections rather than town hall meetings are the quintessential instruments of duty-engendering. 
Honor-shame societies can have meetings where everyone votes but when the group elects a representative who votes in their name, the process is tending toward the engendering of duty and the formulation of authority. 

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