Oligarchs

2012-03-06

This, my friends, is a rant.

A powerful, depressing post by Zenpundit today has spurred me into capturing some thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain for a while.

America is not a democracy. Oh, we like to think it is. We have our myths about government of the people, equality before the law, anyone can grow up to be President of the United States, spreading the gospel of democracy throughout the world, and all the rest. It's guano. Just because we have elections doesn't mean we're a democracy. In fact, it's precisely because we have elections that we're not a democracy. The ancient Greeks had it right: elections mean oligarchy, because only the rich and the few will be elected. They didn't elect people to be their "representatives". Instead, they randomly selected people to serve in the legislature. The people served. The people decided. The people held the power. That's what real democracy is: power wielded by real people like you and me, not the people's few "representatives" who are specially elected and therefore consider themselves to be the "elect", superior to and above you and me.

So we've got this oligarchy. Rule by the few. Rule by the elect. Rule by those who consider themselves superior. Our rulers -- for that's what they are -- have their friends (we call them cronies) and they are supported and kept in power by the whole apparatus of contemporary society: the media, the schools, the corporate elite, the military, the increasingly militarized police, the judges, the unions, and all the other powers that be. They buy the votes of half the people in America -- the half who don't pay taxes, who are net recipients of corporate welfare and food stamps and unemployment benefits and research grants and all the rest. They conquer you and me by keeping us divided into left and right, when the real divide is up vs. down, the elite vs. the people, the oligarchs vs. the rest of us.

And the wonder of it is that we keep buying what they're selling! We're fools, losers, suckers, chumps. We keep fighting amongst ourselves over whatever false controversy they cook up -- what is it this week, some garbage about contraception? -- while they are ensconced in their taxpayer-funded sinecures and laughing all the way to their taxpayer-funded retirements.

Those of us who are not in or bought off by the ruling class need to wake up. We need to insist that power shall be held by the people, not our so-called rulers. This means taking power back to the most local level we can muster, because the District of Columbia is utterly divorced from the real problems we face in our neighborhoods and towns and cities and counties. It means breaking the taxing power of the central government, and letting the states decide how much money they will send to the central government. It means understanding and applying the wisdom of the tenth amendment to the Constitution: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (Get that? Power is reserved to the people.) It means freeing our minds from the false opposition of left vs. right, progressive vs. conservative, democratic vs. republican (yes, the lowercase is intentional).

Sadly, very few people in America seem to know or care about what's at stake. They're too busy trying to make ends meet, feed their families, maybe save enough money so they won't live their later years in misery. They keep their heads down and just keep working. (And I'm talking about the brotherhood of those who work, not the leeches who are gaming the system or living off the corporate or individual welfare dole.) They think that voting their preferred politician into elected office will solve the problem, when it's almost always true that elected politicians are the problem. They blame the other side, not realizing that those at the top have been playing both sides against each other for decades in an effort to keep us from realizing that real people are not each other's enemies. But do we know what's happening? No. Do we care? No. So we're slowly getting screwed, shafted, enslaved, and enserfed. Unless a whole lot of people wake up to what's happening, there is no hope that anything is going to change. And eventually -- perhaps not far in the future -- we will get the government we so richly deserve. May whatever God there is forgive us when that day arrives, because that's about all we'll have left.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal