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Historical Footnotes

The signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, which has been regarded as the hallmark of western democracy, was not a straightforward process to build a better society. Throughout much of its early history, this charter was ignored, forgotten, abused, poorly applied, and often not universally accepted. If the charter did indeed lead the English people to modern democracy, it took at least 500 years for them to get a passing grade.

Coming to this past century, the export of the western democratic model to less-than-democratic nations has not always been a guarantee of transformation of such nations for the better. It is true that there have been successes, but there have also been places where western democracy has clearly not worked or is still very fragile—despite great investments in trying to make an undemocratic nation embrace western democracy.

These two parts of history provide an important lesson for the early builders of the TDG. We have seen that we cannot just apply western democracy and assume it will automatically take root and mature in a short time. The same will be true for the TDG. Citizens in western democracies should not assume they already have the values, attitudes, and skills for the TDG to work. They will need at least one decade to learn the new ways. And this learning will come from a conscientious effort of applying the TDG principles.

The TDG will evolve through four distinct stages—early TDG, middle TDG, maturing TDG, and TDG-in-waiting. Each stage will provide opportunities for us to learn all the necessary attitudes and skills while moving forward.

Please note that not all aspiring TDGs will be at the same place during this evolutionary process.


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© 2009 Dave Volek.
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