2.5 Inclusiveness

It is impossible to completely satisfy everybody, but a society is more stable if it pursues a policy of inclusivity: i.e.  if it can be seen to try to be inclusive, taking account of everyone’s needs.  This means treating everyone equally and preventing governance, as far as possible, from being completely unacceptable to anyone who is subject to it.  A shining example was given in an article by a Northern Irish politician, John Hume on the end of the Unionist veto in Ulster:

“Can we not sit down with former enemies, with those whom we distrust, and hammer out institutions which will settle our relationships and preserve our differences?”

This approach recognises that there will always be differences but shows a genuine desire to solve the problem of living together in a diverse community.

There are three reasons why inclusiveness is important:

1.  In societies with people from many different cultures, which in practice means almost everywhere, a policy of inclusivity is helpful in building harmony; this is described in more detail later (6.7.4.5).

2.  This book’s search for acceptability in governance appears at first sight to be equivalent to the philosophy of Utilitarianism – ‘the greatest good of the greatest number’ – but what suits the majority might leave some people at a disadvantage.

3.  People become disaffected if they feel that society has ignored them.  They are then a threat to everyone else’s happiness and security.

Like acceptability, inclusiveness is unquantifiable; it is greater if more people find governance at least tolerable and it increases with cohesiveness, defined as people’s sense of belonging to the society.

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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/25.htm.