Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Access Theory: Analogical Analysis


In two successive posts, I began to unveil a theory of access to government, in its most simplistic form, access theory is republicanism. Or, access is the mode of republicanism in our government. What I post below is an analogy used to explicate the theory in simplistic terms. This is just one short analogy, but it seems to be helpful and I hope you all will comment on it as you have commented before.

As time races, population increases, the nation crowds. My right to swing my fist ends with your nose, but over time there are more noses, so while my right remains unhindered, my range and freedom to swing is increasingly restrained. There are fewer places and fewer ways for me to exercise my right. Looking at the extremes and exploring this continuum, a room filled with noses makes my right to swing utterly impotent. If the number of noses remain constant, my right is unaffected by time. If noses decrease, my power to swing increases in inverse proportion. If there are zero noses, I’m omnipotent with respect to the right to swing my fist.

The analogy holds to the arena of the legislature, so long as we view the legislature from the standpoint of the governed and not from the standpoint of the governors. My right to be heard remains undiminished and unrestrained; it is eternal. My power to voice my opinion, however, is impacted negatively by the increasing multitude of voices. Time changes power, more noses yield more voices. Over time, without a response from the legislature, the voices affect my power to speak. I can’t get through on the Congressman’s phone because it is busy. A junior staff assistant, instead of a policy expert, reads my letters because there are too many letters addressed to my Congressman. Swinging or speaking, my actions become silly or vain; like spitting in the wind.

Of course, should the number of voices decrease, the Congressman may pick up his own phone. My right to be heard can suddenly be actualized in more and more ways. Where I was once one in a million, I may now be one in a hundred. If the number of voices between my Congressman and me are completely eliminated, which would include the Congressman’s own inner-voice, I would then be omnipotent, at least with respect to my Congressman.