Montesquieu and Democracy

December 23, 2011

It is the influence of the French philosopher Montesquieu that led to the separation of powers necessary for democracy as a system of governance.These three powers -- or branches -- are the executive, the legislative and the judicial.In my opinion, what Montesquieu preached was right but incomplete.Why?Let us analyze it using the PAEI code.I suggest to you that the legislative branch performs the (E) role. I imagine you will disagree and claim that it is the (A) role. However I suggest to you that the results of its work are (A), but its real purpose is (E). The purpose of legislation is to direct the country, to make decisions that determine what the country will do or look like. That is the (E) role.The role of the Executive branch is (P): to execute decisions of the legislative branch, and/or to recommend legislation to them.What about the judicial branch? Here I see the (A) role. This branch interprets and enforces the law. That is why they are very concerned with following precedents.Even if you disagree with my classification of the branches of democratic government in PAEI terms, you must agree that what is missing is the (I) role, an (I) branch. This is a shame considering how badly it is needed in light of the rate of change we are experiencing in modern life.This (I) exists in certain forms of governments such as Presidential democracies and monarchies.How?The President is above all the political struggles. He or she is not a member of any of the three branches, but is instead the single person above them all. Similarly, a King of Queen.Why do we need this (I) role in the form of a higher entity? -- To keep the unity of the country by being it and also symbolizing it. Otherwise the political fights for power and the struggle between the branches reduce the trust the population has in its governing institutions.Someone has to symbolize the unity of the country, nourish it, and protect it.Unfortunately in the United States the president is a member of the executive branch. If he tries to unify the country he is considered a non-leader, because he is not taking a position. Yet if he takes a position he is too divisive.Not strange at all because (P) and (I) roles are incompatible.Food for thought.Sincerely,Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes

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Dr. Ichak Adizes