“The times demand action and reaction, but not despair,” contends Ronald M. Mason in this soundly constructed argument that all should have more control over their lives and that this control should be exercised not only in the home and during hours of leisure but in the workplace as well.
Mason indicts liberalism, theoretically an ally of democracy, as the chief culprit in depriving us of a voice in the workplace, the place where most of us spend nearly a third of our days. The problem is that classical liberalism divides life into two spheres: the social and the political. Life, liberty, and propertyeverything, in fact, that the human being valuesfall into the social orb. Therefore liberalism champions the social sphere, scorns the political. To the liberal, the political sphere is sordid, a thing to be avoided except by those few governmental representatives we elect to protect life, liberty, and property.
Yet the political constitutes a major portion of our lives, and, according to Mason, it is at the level of the workplace that we can acquire the habits of participation that will carry over into our community lives as well. He demonstrates that people who participate in decision making in the workplace are likely to enter the governmental arena. Participation creates involvement; nonparticipation breeds apathy. Thus, Mason argues, democratic participation in the workplace benefits both the individual and the community.
About the Author
Ronald M. Mason is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.