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Tom Ferguson: Democratic Governance Is Becoming Discredited

I suspect many Naked Capitalism readers would regard “democratic governance” as something of an oxymoron in the US. Our favorite curmudgeon, political scientist Tom Ferguson, discussed the failure of the supercommittee negotiations and what it means for politics and the economy. He sees the danger of government by technocrats, meaning experts who are really fronts for banking interests, as rising.


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87 comments

  1. KnotRP

    Wrong answer.

    We need to institute a random draft for civil service
    in Congress. Swapping out one group of paid-off elite
    for another is just holding the door open to more looting.

    1. Woody in Florida

      I like the random draft for congressional service and maybe the not just the individual but perhaps also any military age family member. Have the family member thrown into a random military branch, and hope that tempers the new congress person’s desire for endless wars. Plus this will give everyone a equal chance at the graft that seems to pervade D.C.

    2. Dave of Maryland

      Yes, but if you impose de facto term limits, you cut off experience and then there’s nobody in charge but the lobbyists as their term is unlimited.

        1. another

          Actually, not until the very word ‘lobbyist’ is widely recognized as a synonym for ‘parasitic vermin’ and accorded all of the respect and admiration that such vermin deserve.

      1. Bill Jones

        The first things you two clowns need to do is stop using the word “service” for looting.

        Let me give you two clues
        1. If someone uses the word public when they mean government, they are a piece of shit.
        2. I someone uses the word “service” to describe their careers, they are a pos.

        1. Anonymous Jones

          As long as we are narrowing down definitions of malleable, expansive words to our own personal constructs, you have felicitously provided me a new standard for ‘tool.’

          1. Christophe

            What a beautifully and economically constructed sentence. More of what really needed to be said could not have been targeted more succinctly.

    3. indio007

      Representation by lottery I say. I doesn’t mater if people that are illiterate get drafted into Congress or the Presidency. The current clowns don’t read the legislation anyway.

      If the draft is good enough to get you killed . It’s good enough to choose our leaders.

      1. rotter

        I think it dosent matter who is in govt. as long as 90% what happens there remains secret. A great deal of the problem, if not most of the problem comes from the agencies like the Pentagon, or the Dept of the Navy, or Interior, etc., If their is a problem with “big government” that would be it.That goes right to the heart of the problem, why nothing ever gets better, why everything just gets worse, because the interests of this massive alt – cvilization are at odds with the interests of peace, or the general welfare. Its an old story thats been repeated over and over again in Historical China, Russia, The Ottoman Empire, France and so on. Everyone knows what happening but the people who could make reforms are benefitting from the system.The people who cynically complain about “big gubmint” the most, people like newt gingrich, are deeply invested in keeping the system as is, and growing it.

    4. tiebie66

      I wonder if the jury system cannot serve as a point of departure template for such an effort? It has several features that are attractive (e.g. the limitation of external influences, the tapping of diverse skills, the need to build consensus) and those that are not attractive (e.g the lack of legal knowledge) can perhaps be modified.

    5. Robert Dudek

      Why doesn’t the USA make strict laws keeping the money men away from the politicians? That would be a good first step.

      In Canada we even had the beginnings of a true revolution – party funding based on the number of votes in previous elections, until our right-wing hacks axed it.

    6. Ramon Creager

      The entire system needs an enema. I don’t think service by lottery is the answer, but it’s the right idea. Instead, how about tightly coupling our senators and representatives back to the states they supposedly represent? Senators should be appointed by the state governor, subject to approval of the state legislature, and subject to immediate recall at any time, either by the governor or a majority in the state legislature. Similarly representatives could be appointed and serve at the pleasure of county and city councils, numbers strictly based on population. They would, in effect, be ambassadors for the state and for the local districts within the state. (State senators and legislators could be appointed the same way, by elected city and county councils.) This would allow citizens to focus on local and state politics, and make our Washington representatives more accountable to the needs of the state. The Big Money people would find it more difficult to influence someone who is serving at the pleasure of a locally elected county or city council. The only place Big Money would then have an influence is in local elections, where this influence would become more obvious to voters and thus more difficult to hide.

  2. Joe

    Is that worse than what we have now? Most meaningful experience on the hill is probably with staffers anyway, not with the politicians.

  3. Flying Kiwi

    True democracy in the Athenian sense was unwieldy enough even in the relatively small context of a city-state where ‘government’ was limited to very few fields, and eventually failed anyway.

    What we have, and all anything larger than parish can hope for, is ‘representative democracy’ which is a very different animal. If those chosen to represent society are venal, ego-centric and morally challenged it is because the society they represent is venal, ego-centric and morally challenged.

  4. Dave of Maryland

    I have thought about this quite carefully. It seems that true democratic/republican governments only last a generation. By that time everyone has gone to sleep and corruption seeps back in. It is hard, overall, to see that corruption in America is any worse now than it was in the 1920’s, or 1870’s, or 1820’s. Corruption is with us always. From time to time good, strong leaders tamp it down a bit.

    Personally I am increasingly in favor of giving the job of governing to some family or other and letting them personally profit from their positions, with the risk of being thrown out and murdered if they get out of hand. If we don’t have democratically elected bosses at work – and we surely do not – and we somehow survive bad bosses and praise good ones, why shouldn’t we do the same on a national level? Why not simply end the charade?

    1. Glen

      You mean like the Bushes or the Clintons or the Kennedys?

      Or did you mean one of the Mafia crime families?

      Or maybe’s there’s no difference anymore?

    2. rotter

      Im sorry but where in history has monarchy relived ANY of the problems of government we complain about? All The monarchs in history
      (with very very few exceptions, people Like Ivan the Terrible, notable for being that rare, rare species of Boyar roaster)
      have been puppetts of the same class who are destroying the world now. Thier self interested program of looting the world and enslaving the rest of us was checked partly, in the 20th century, but it has continued apace since then.

    3. Edward Gibbon

      “Under a democratical government the citizens exercise the powers of sovereignty; and those powers will be first abused, and afterwards lost, if they are committed to an unwieldy multitude.”

      “Corruption, the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty.”

      “Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom.”

      – The History of The Decline And Fall of The Roman Empire

    4. HTML Reader

      Why are you writing your idea here? If you don’t think that you deserve a say in how your country is run, then start by not having a say in how your country is run. Leave that to the rest of us.

      If you insist on giving up your say, then go find someone and tell them that from now on she or he will now make the decisions for your life. You no longer consider yourself to be qualified to make these judgments for yourself.

  5. Crazy Horse

    Workable solutions are easy to hypothesize. Overthrowing the power embedded in our institutions, not so easy!

    1- Eliminate the endless presidential campaign popularity contests between puppets who are bought by PR campaign war chests. Replace them with a parliamentary democracy that is capable of selecting leaders without the Orwellian circus that our politics has devolved into.
    2- Prohibit retired elected officials from lobbying their former associates for five years after leaving office.
    3- Prohibit retired elected officials from accepting a position or payment from an industry they have legislatively influenced while in office.
    4- Limit compensation of professional lobbyists to three times the national average income, including post-lobbying compensation from their former employers.
    5- Prohibit private contributions to political campaigns. Fund all elections publicly.

    1. jake chase

      Bail out the entire population on a per capita basis ($100k each). Replace the corporate income tax with a franchise tax based on total capital (debt and equity). Eliminate all payroll taxes, all taxes on incomes below $1 million. Let those who benefit from government pay for it. Chances are they will find war less attractive and fight one another tooth and nail to minimize waste and future bailouts.

    2. digi_owl

      There is a claim that Kennedy won because he presented a better face on TV, and in more recent times MTV may have made glitzy music videos more important then the music itself.

      1. Flying Kiwi

        In New Zealand’s recent election the ‘centre-right’ party won I suggest almost entirely because of the (to me inexplicable) personal popularity of its rich, always-grinning, undoubtedly photogenic leader despite the fact that a large majority of the population oppose the public asset sales programme which was far and away its main policy plank.

        When political awareness has been washed out of the population by a constant flow of bread and circuses all that’s left for democracy is a “Miss America” beauty contest between political contenders.

        1. aet

          Why not mandated free TV time for all candidates – and no paid political ads whatsoever permitted on FCC regulated TV/radio airwaves? Equal time for all candidates, all viewpoints? Or must commerce always trump politics?

          Constitutional amendments could overcome any existing legal objections.

          Because the $$$ in politics is spent mainly on “media buys”, by and large…why not remove the need at the source?

          Free-time political broadcasts for all candidates in generous and equal time allotments! And no paid ads otherwise!

    3. Marsha

      Prohibit former government works from becoming lobbyists for 10 YEARS. By then they will out-of-touch – with their corporate masters. Right now, they are out-of-touch with America.

    4. James

      All of which require entrenched interests to vote against themselves and theirs. How do YOU think that’s going to turn out?

      1. Christophe

        Alas, three years into this crisis it has become painfully clear that failure did not come nearly soon enough.

  6. Tertium Squid

    The US Constitution allows for members of the House of Representatives to represent as few as 30,000 Americans each.

    To avoid diluting their power as individuals, the number of Representatives was capped at 435 in 1911, and the average number of Americans each Representative represents is creeping up past 700k.

    There would be a lot of good effects if we returned to that old standard – a representative for 30 thousand people will be a lot more in tune with local interests, and ten thousand Representatives would be much more difficult to systematically corrupt than a mere 435. Plus, third parties would be very lavishly represented.

    1. Wahakalaka

      I like that idea, but wouldn’t so many people in one congress just be a madhouse? I’ve been trying to think up a system of tiered government- maybe regional (New England, South West, Northwest, Bible Belt, Heartland, or something like that) state coalitions that have some level of oversight between state and federal. The House could be disbanded. You’d still vote three times for the president, national senate, and regional reps, but it simplifies and contracts the national government, and would force everyone to take a hard look at who should have what powers. Also it would empower states, while also decentralizing the federal government, making it much harder to corrupt and buy out. There will still be corruption, but I think it would accumulate unevenly (different regions, different people and interests), and would therefor be easier to spot and harder to get away with. To corrupt all regions evenly would take vastly more resources and coordination than it does now, with just two houses in one city. I think the best solution to corruption is not to fight it directly with laws and regulations (case in point Dodd-Frank), but rather make it systemically more difficult. So yeah.

    2. Damian

      i think they are going the other way – that is the republicans want to eliminate the popular vote for elections not enhance it and go to some other standard – if they create enough stress the people will give up their rights in some kind of referendum or martial law that suspends all elections

      the video’s thesis is there is a disconnect between the populace objectives – SS as is and high taxes for the 1%- and the actions of the rep/ dems

      it must mean they are planning another step – it is all too contrived especially with Obama suspending the rule of law for the banks – his actions on behalf of the banks and against the NYAG and now Judge Rakoff in the citi case shows how contrived the actions of the administration by a real Judge or AG are perceived

      i think the next step is martial law and suspension indefinitely of elections

      1. reslez

        They’ll bring back the Super Committee. Six hand selected “representatives” from safe districts, accountable to no one. Yet another layer of bilge between the people and power.

    3. Jesse

      It’s interesting that you mention this TS as I’ve been kicking this idea around in my head for the past couple months (even though it’d require 10,000+ reps).

    4. Fraud Guy

      I prefer the following:

      Take the state with the lowest population, and divide its population into that of every other state.

      Each state gets a number of representatives equal to the nearest whole number to the result. With the 2010 Census, IIRC, I ended up with about 560 reps.

      Add in voting via next choice candidate, and it might upset the apple cart a little.

      1. Christophe

        You seem to have completely missed Tertium Squid’s intent of decreasing the constituency each Representative represents. He is aiming for increased accountability and citizen accessibility. Your proposal would inflict all the headache of massive change while implementing no substantive change.

        Then there would be the practical obstacle of the huge resistance seen coming from the least populous state, which would have to double in size before receiving a second representative. Or are you envisioning reapportioning on a repeated basis? Talk about an unnecessary headache.

    1. aet

      Rome never had a constitution of any sort.

      Thus, there is nothing – nothing – “constitutional” about their occasional “dictators”, either.

      But nobody ever governs alone – indeed, history and experience shows that a person alone is NOTHING, when it comes to politics.

      That much, our politics does have in common with that of the Romans – whose constitution-less Empire fell by the sword in 16 or 17 centuries ago, much much too long ago to be the political model for anything in our modern world except in the world of fiction and fantasy.

      The simple fact is, that democracy needs an informed citizenry, which must also be a citizenry which is has manifold social involvements along multiple vectors of shared interest: that is to say, a citizenry which is comprised of individuals each of whom are involved in manifold voluntary social clubs, associations, and orders, reflective of the myriads of their mutual interests , and which seeks and strives to keep themselves apprised of what is transpiring in the world.

      All you really need for a democracy is sociable people who stay informed about – that is to say, who are not ignorant of – the world.

        1. lippertini

          I’m with aet. The vast majority of US citizens have only the slightest understanding of what’s happening.

  7. different clue

    Does anyone else suspect that the carefully engineered discrediting of democracy is part of the Ruling Class Plan?

    1. Blunt

      I’d have to agree with that. The media has done a great job of showing to effect the ineffectiveness of various pieces of constitutional government.

      The politicos are happy to assist as they play Odyssean sailors to the corporate Circes who inveigle them into swinehood. And all that look pretty disgusting out in the rest of the world. (Living along the direct highway and rail routes from DC to Boston I fear that I don’t live at all in the real world. Some Versailles-village where I tend sheep instead.)

      But, yes, the theater’s main play now seems to be to say what people around me do say, with great frequency: “a plague on both their houses, there’s no difference in any of ’em, and (through the lips of Grover Norquist) shrink goverment so I can drown it in a bathtub.

      The scent of anarchy among the rugged individualists smells like decay in the morning. Nothing of victory in the wind.

    2. LM Dorsey

      Kinda like rock n’ roll, “democracy” is a marketing scheme built on rip-off, whipped up into a simulacrum of pale hope.

  8. wunsacon

    I prefer “by lottery” than “by dictator” (e.g., king, “technocrat”).

    I don’t understand why anyone would suggest the latter. You already have plutocracy. So, instead of a “community of interest” of plutocrats electing a bunch of their representatives, you prefer they nominate just one?

      1. aet

        The people chosen by lottery are not anonymous: and their term would be limited: and they would need to carry a majority of the legislature with them by argument, not arms.

        “Beholden”? How is a legislator’s being “beholden” to anything other than her own conscience a “good thing”?

        I don’t see that as a problem for “picked-by-lottery representatives”- for they, as legislator-citizens, do also live in the society they are randomly selected to govern for a time: why do you think that they would sh** in their own nest, simply because they were not “beholden” to someone or something other than random chance for their selection for office?

        I suppose I simply don’t share your lack of confidence in the ability of people to successfully regulate their own affairs, if they are given the opportunity and the tools to do so.

  9. Felix Kim

    Corporate democracy cannot last too long. The media is trying to downplay what people all over the world are feeling right now in their hearts and in their stomachs, thinking that that would defuse the steam generated from by all the social injustices done by these corrupt elites. I dare them to keep up their corrupt policies. They got power in the amount of wealth they have. The rest of the world got power in their numbers. In the end, wealth doesn’t mean anything if people can just take it away and make right all the wrongs that were committed.

    1. James

      The “rest of the world,” for all their numbers, haven’t resisted yet. What’s to make corporate “whatever” think that they won’t continue to eat it? My money’s on corporate “whatever.”

      1. aet

        How the hell would you know whether or not “the rest of the world hasn’t resisted yet”?

        Maybe you wouldn’t recognize it if you saw it; maybe you haven’t heard about it yet; maybe nobody’s been accurately telling you “what’s going on out there”; or maybe you’re they type that does not hear anything that they don’t want to hear.

        But I’m not gonna take your word for it….

      2. Felix Kim

        James, I understand your frustration with the lack of civic participation here in the States and in a lot of parts of the world. But make no mistake. People have resisted and have brought about change. I think looking to South America as a model to induce change will be helpful for you. Right now, as I see it, the middle and lower classes are uniting and this can be an immense force that can be used for change. I see what you are saying though. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you’re saying that even though people are angry, they’re not doing anything with their anger. But James, just the fact that blogs like naked capitalism are out there shows that that’s not the case. People are doing something. As of now, conversations like the ones that are being discussed in this blog have to take place more frequently and at a larger scale.

  10. LeonovaBalletRusse

    related: “How Private Warmongers and the US Military Infiltrated American Universities” by Allen Ruff at http://www.therealnews.com — “the so called Grant Strategy Progrmas (GSP), have cropped up on a number of elite campuses around the country, where they function to serve the national security warfare state.

    NB. name “Feaver” is conversion of “Fevre” – “LeFevre” — this is the tip-off to the “foreign power” represented by this group.

    Brush up on your history. Democracy is “done.”

  11. Darren Kenworthy

    Form general assemblies in every electoral district in the nation with the goal of amending the constitution to clarify that money isn’t protected expression and fictive legal entities don’t have rights equivalent to humans. To have democracy we have to perform direct(nonviolent) democratic action. Simple, but not easy.

    1. Eureka Springs

      B-I-N no G-O (yet). Seems to me we will need a few constitutional amendments… And that we should promote them together at the same time since it would likely take years if not decades to achieve it.

      I’ve been trying my level best to ward off support by my fellow occupiers of the Move To Amend http://movetoamend.org/organizing-resources/model-language-ballot-initiative-resolutions idea. And I sure wish I knew who is behind it… because it smells like d party veal-penmanship to me.

      Simply eliminating Citizens United would take us back to what, multi billion dollar 2008 type campaigns? Whatever becomes of this occu-movement… I certainly hope we the peeps ask for far more than just an end to citizens united.

      So far our humble little political and electoral reform occu-group all agree we need to establish publicly financed campaigns only. Probably parties too. And establish some sort of proportional representation… allowing multiple parties into the mix. And it seems like it would be a waste of time to push for this on a local or state level before establishing it at the fed/constitutional level since oligarchs and their courts will likely play divide and whack a mole without amendments.

      I do wish there was a method to communicating among multiple occu-groups/cities than we have now. For we will all surely have to get together at some point on at lest a few specific issues.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        http://www.occupytogether.org/actions/

        http://publicbankinginstitute.org/events.htm

        Public Banking in America
        What a Democratic Economy Looks Like
        Occupy Wall Street begets its first conference. The Public Banking Institute is hosting the Democratization of Money Conference in Philadelphia in April, 2012 as a result of the significant increase in desire for monetary and banking reform to involve solutions that further the public interest.

        The purpose of the conference is to recognize the changes brought about by the Occupy Wall Street movement, to examine the constitutional foundation for a democratic economy, to discuss the role of public banking throughout the world and specifically in North Dakota, and to provide direction and guidance to people who wish to further public banking in their city, county or state.

        The intended audience is state policymakers, legislators, banking professionals, independent business organizations, community organizations, and anyone interested in this important subject.

        Topics will include:

        • An Economic Bill of Rights
        • The Federal Reserve and Wall Street
        • The Post Fed Era
        • A Democratic Economy (panel)
        • Bank of North Dakota Governance
        • Return to Prosperity – Revisiting the Success of Public Banking
        • Counter-cyclical Advantages of Public Banks (panel)
        • KiwiBank – Banking as a Public Utility

  12. Darren Kenworthy

    To those advocating dictatorship I assign Aesop’s “frogs desiring a King” as homework.

  13. 80on40

    I too think citizens are being made to feel irrelevant as lawless corporate
    greed dominate mainstream history in the making, while ignoring public
    will. All are aboard but the public at large which stands mute and voice-
    less.
    The vast majority of this public is distracted and wholly unable to function
    as the gulf widens between it and those aboard the corrupt new history
    unfolding.
    What to do. What to do.
    A small fraction of the disenfranchised are genuinely altruistic and can
    always be counted on to actively participate and selflessly give their
    support. This is where we’re at.
    Neither #OWS nor Tea Party gets it. The first is inarticulate. The other
    frustrated and subverted by wealth.
    This leaves options that work, or have in the past. I offer representation
    as in citizen participation, as the only avenue forward to reclaim goodness
    attainable.
    Robert’s Rules of Order in simplified form will enable the most skeptical
    to fathom good comprehension where printed agenda’s are offered too.
    Give me three (3) motivated people and each local public meeting becomes
    fluid. I said that.
    Or, return to options in myth, perhaps where the mute and voiceless now
    hope:

    sevenleagueboots
    Two well traveled gents enjoyed food and drink at an inn during one of Europe’s bloody wars. The conversation drifted to one’s philosophy of life. “Its like there are two armies joined always in battle, allegiance change often, and with death, famine, pestilence and natural tragedy comes a giant with seven league boots who rampages the countryside indescrimately killing people. My philosophy is to enjoy life, help my fellow man, and occasionally pitch a pail of grease under the boots.”

  14. psychohistorian

    All these comments and no discussion of the class based society that rules Western Democracies and the global inherited rich at the top of that heap hiring, firing and direction everything underneath, including the media.

    Laugh the global inherited rich out of control of our society and into rooms at the Hague where they can be prosecuted for our social degradation. That process would result in a “trickle down” effect that would solve the rest of our problems or, at the least, make it very clear where and what the issues really are.

    We need to cut the head off our stinking fish of social organization. The sooner the better.

  15. Publius

    DISCOURSES Upon The First Ten (Books) of Titus Livy
    By
    NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI
    1517

    CHAPTER XVII

    A CORRUPT PEOPLE COMING INTO THEIR LIBERTY CAN MAINTAIN ITSELF FREE ONLY WITH THE GREATEST DIFFICULTY

    1. aet

      Machiavelli assumed all of his conclusions – and he always tailored his arguments to suit his audience. He told the Prince what he already knew the Prince wanted to hear: this particular tutor knew, as does any successful courtier, that he could not get very far by being disagreeable with Princes!

      And thus, what would commonly be accounted as the crimes of the Prince – are not crimes at all! That’s the way Machiavelli tells it, anyhow.

      1. Edward Gibbon

        A martial nobility and stubborn commons, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies, form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against enterprises of an aspiring prince

        1. Blunt

          Ed, your argument was good back in the 18th century.

          “A martial nobility and stubborn commons, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies, form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against enterprises of an aspiring prince.”

          Where I sit that stubborn commons has either become the new nobility at the top or are in thrall to that nobility or they have become the rabble that you averted your nose from and didn’t think about much at all.

          Those were the days, eh? Young capitalism ready to take the world by its scruff.

          Today we are well and truly shaken by said scruff and have environmental and politico-economic devastation to show for it.

          Methinks the stubborn commons, possessed of arms, must needs become “a stubborn rabble, possessed of arms, showing a willingness to use said arms” has become the last effective balaance capable of securing constitutional rule from the corporatists posing as a poseur of princes. *smile*

  16. don

    Seems the entire discussion here revolves around the failure of the formal democratic process to address what has evolved into an economic AND political crisis, with all this hand wringing over corruption in DC, infecting both the Dem. or Rep. parties.

    The interviewer goes so far as to say that the solution to the problem is really easy. No, it is far from easy. They mention “solutions” such as the need for higher wages and job creation, taxing the rich, etc., But the crisis goes far beyond that, in which it simply can’t be distilled into a “problem” with a “solution”. To think otherwise is to think as a technocratic, thinking in such narrowly defined pragmatic and incremental terms as to be ridiculous.

    The very reason why these factors (e.g. increased jobs, etc.), aren’t developing, we’re told, is due to the political system in this country being so divorced from the people. But what explains this? There is no discussion of what it takes to change this. No discussion of the need for a grassroots mass movement (a critical mass), aimed at not only challenging the economic elite but also the political elite. No discussion what it would take in this country for social movements to develop to the extent that radical reform is truly possible. No examination of the history of social movements, what stands in the way of that developing — a mass mobilization of popular social movements in which civil society begins to claim power for itself, or why the lack of political consciousness in this country, due to our culture of mass consumption, the dictatorship of the markets, etc.

  17. Hugh

    We can not solve our economic problems without solving our political ones. We can not resolve our political problems without resolving our economic ones. We can not become a fairer, juster society without solving both. And given how far down the rabbit hole we have gone, we can not do either short of revolution, not just a revolution that takes us to the streets but a change in our thinking of how we view ourselves and each other.

    Our elites failed us, not some, not here and there, but all across the board. More and better elites are not the answer because the breadth and depth of their failure show that the problem was not with the current elites as opposed to others but with the very concept of having elites. Democratic governance is an oxymoron because governance is of the elites and we can have either elites or democracy but not both.

    We the 99% need to step up and take charge of the country. We need to unlearn what the elites taught us about how essential they were to us. We need to look past the stories they told us to justify their power and their looting. We need to take back our society’s resources which they have stolen and sequestered to their use so that we can undo the artificial scarcities they have created and build a society worth having, not for the 1%, but for all of us.

    We must take to heart the wisdom, no matter what our faith or lack of it, of 1Corinthians 13:11,

    When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I came of age, I put childish ways behind me.

    It is time for we the 99% to put away childish things and take our country back.

    1. aet

      People ought to consider what they have learned from their experiences of life – and govern themselves accordingly!

      IMHO it’s significant that the great original democracies in history – Greece and America – have arisen in nations with a good part of their people making their living as sea-farers, both as maritime traders and fishermen: that is, made up of people necessarily accustomed, by the very nature of their mode of life, to independently setting their own courses.

      The liberty and independence of action which the captain of a vessel at sea always experiences appears to have somehow influenced their general thinking as to what makes for a proper system of governance.

  18. RBHoughton

    I am an anarchist. I want to live in a world where everyone does as he likes, subject only to self-restraint in respect of neighbors. No career may be closed to us. We will ban the overlordship of certificates and create a new order based on success. I believe that a majority of our global population wants the same.

    I do not see present-day governments making progress in that direction. Indeed they spend their time fire-fighting day-by-day and there is little discernible direction to their activities at all. Not only that but the trend in education policies is directly contrary. USA has ended the teaching of civics in schools. What America does is sooner or later emulated in the rest of the English-speaking world and thence to everywhere. The fact is that the more government we have, the less society there is. The more dependency created the less independence and self-determination we have.

    If we admit a preference for independence and self-determination, we will want to entrench it in a constitution so it forms binding law on every administration we elect. Acts of government must not only elevate society today but must also conform to our intention to create paradise on earth. This places a duty on the people which their present governments have sought to replace with dependency. It is a requirement for us to perform the duties that democracy requires of us, not just voting in elections (where the voting is free but the identity of the candidates is not), but actually involving ourselves in the management of the population and adoption of convivial government policies.

  19. Stevefraser

    Supercommittee? Didn’t Obama have a supermajority when he was first elected and didn’t do anything re the debt? Didn’t Obama have Simpsom-Bowles handed to him, which he promptly threw in the garbage? The MSM protects, supports and abetts his Leftist policies, those policies he enacts
    by an endrun around the legislative process to the all powerful regulatory agencies. A brilliant strategy, especially if a profound hate of the Republic is buried deep in your heart.

  20. Fiver

    A number of people seem to view this as an “it’s all human nature” sort of problem re corruption, which both explains nothing, and excuses everything.

    This is a supreme failure, a couple generations in the making, and quite possibly the worst in human history, given we are talking about the illegitimate leadership of what is by orders of magnitude the most powerful State ever seen. What the US does over the next 2 decades will very probably determine the success or failure of the entire human experiment, which is faced with a succession of exceptionally dangerous crises right through mid-century. An America whose elite leadership does not respond to what is REALLY HAPPENING rather than the putrid corruption of their own diseased thoughts won’t just mean “hard times”. It will be an unmitigated disaster.

    In the very near-term (2-3 years) though, I think it likely we see Obama re-elected comfortably, with an outside shot of gaining the House. It will also be the lowest turnout ever. I think the Euro crisis will linger, but there’s already been enough planning private and public to handle whatever comes (since they are the problem, I rather think the solution is at hand when they’ve got what they want). I have no fear of a total meltdown NOW whatever. One way or another, a ton of money is going to be thrown at this, perhaps including from the US (Fed). And I think the “official” economy leading up to the election will do better than is thought, i.e., not just no recession, but continuing at first about this level (and remember, they can squeeze 1% in any direction they want and revise later, if need be) but in any case gaining momentum as the effects of the inevitable huge infusion (one way or other printed) are first seen in anticipatory activity, and then kick in.

    And once elected, Obama will toss a couple of jobs bones out (corporate tax repatriation anyone?)while waiting for the fact that the US is the last one standing to express itself in another Wall Street asset bubble. This will knock unemployment down at least into the “7’s” and maybe high “6’s”. It will be deemed a great success “as we sit here this Thanksgiving Day 2014.”

    Though this “new normal” has seen a permanent slide down the ladder for tens of millions, it’s accepted, because, after all, it’s not a “financial crisis Armeggedon”, is it? And “So you pathetic little boobs won’t mind if we just go ahead and eat your future, will you?”. Which they far more likely will with a partially placated public than with an angry one.

    That’s my fear. That’s why I actually think it certainly would have been better if Republicans had won last time, and if they won this one. The public, for whatever reasons you care to ascribe, just is not pissed enough yet to DEMAND real change in the numbers needed to make it so. From where I sit, a re-elected Obama is the greater threat to the prospect of REAL change – he’s the best black Republican President ever. The make-or-break-it election for any viable electoral challenge is 2016 – if there’s any chance at all.

  21. Dr. Brian Oblivion

    Noam Chomsky has been pointing out the disconnect between public preferences and the policies actually pursued by politicians in either party for as long as I can remember. Unless there is some disagreement between political elites, policies that affect and interest the public are not even brought up in campaigns.

    That essentially rational public opinion continues completely ignored in favor of insane and destructive policies demanded by the business class has only become all the more obvious as global financial, political and social crises continue to be exacerbated by all available political brands.

    Both American political brands continue to move farther and farther away from the public’s political “center” for decades. It’s getting much harder not to notice lately.

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