In Thomas Friedman's April 21 NYTimes column, "Down With Everything," he writes: "Frank Fukuyama, the Stanford professor and author of “The End of History and the Last Man” . . . has been working on a two-volume opus called 'The Origins of Political Order,' and I could detect from his recent writings that his research was leading him to ask a very radical question about America’s political order today, namely: has American gone from a democracy to a 'vetocracy' — from a system designed to prevent anyone in government from amassing too much power to a system in which no one can aggregate enough power to make any important decisions at all?"
This is an important question for people on all sides of our seemingly intractable identity-driven debates.
Our proudest moments as a nation have not been our market-driven, special-interest-satisfying ones, but the ones where people who did not individually benefit from government-mandated change but who could see that it was necessary got behind it. America's entrance into WWII, for instance, was accompanied by massive government involvement in the economy; our recovery from the Great Depression was likewise driven by public-private partnership.
This was also true of the Civil Rights Movement, which, though driven by the incredible courage of black people willing to put their lives on the line, also benefitted from the support of whites like Bobby Kenndy and Lyndon Johnson, and the many whites who traveled south to stand with their fellow citizens. The cultural dynamism that resulted from the entrance of people of color into full membership in the society has been the shining light that revived American culture and made us hip in the eyes of the world.
"Fighting for what's mine" means that the nation can't use its immense synergistic power to create a new world. It just leaves us with lots of tiny powerless fiefdoms, and leaves power to those who have it by means of wealth. Collaboration really has to come of age or we're screwed.