Craig Barnes: Surviving Democracy in a Feudal World


Today's show is a guest commentary by Craig Barnes. It was a talk given by Craig at Ghost Ranch on April 14, 2010. Ghost Ranch is an "Education and Retreat Center" with two locations in New Mexico: Abiquiu and Santa Fe.

We think that most of us live in real democracies where rule of law is the guiding principle but is it? It seems like Feudalism is still here and democracy is struggling to survive ... and not just in America but  ... on much of the planet.

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Afghanistan provides a

"... modern example of continuing residual presence, on the planet, of Feudalism ...  "

Afghanistan in effect lives by the principles of

" ... truth telling is naive in public circumstances ..., ... no tradition of loyalty to the common good or public service on behalf of the common good ... , ... no limitation on use of violence against strangers ...  "

Through his considerably distilled wisdom and direct life experience as a negotiator, Craig underscores his premise through contemporary examples from Russia, Mexico, China, and other parts of the world, and provides the historical basis for the current state of affairs.

" ... Much of the planet still believes - hierarchy wins, power wins, truth telling is naive, competence is irrelevant if you have the family connections necessary to circumvent or get what you need without competence ... "


This topic is explored in depth in his latest book: Democracy at the Crossroads, Princes, peasants, poets, and presidents in the struggle for (and against) the rule of law.

Aside from being fascinating and eye-opening the talk brings a sobering pause for me and reminds me .... "we consider ourselves civilized but we still have a very long way to go..."

Hope you'll enjoy the show.

Craig speaks regularly on Political Issues in Santa Fe and other parts of the country. He has authored several books and is a regular commentator on Nation Public Radio. His latest book "Democracy at the Crossroads" was published in November, 2009. In October, 2009, Craig started a regular 1/2hour interview program airing on KSFR (101.1FM) every Saturday at 9AM MST. The program is titled "Our Times with Craig Barnes." Please visit the Guest Bios page for his full bio.


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