is the theory that the common people know what they want, and
deserve to get it good and hard.
~ H.L. Mencken
article of faith in Western political rhetoric is the belief that
democratic governments do not engage in wars with one another.
This belief has been promoted for the purpose of generating trust
in the state. If political systems are democratically constituted,
it is contended, the public need not fear government officials
whose powers could be taken away by the same electoral process
that put them in office. The American Civil War, wherein the democratically-established
federal and confederate states warred with one another would seem
to put this doctrine in doubt. As would a couple of 20th
century skirmishes that pitted democratic states such as Great
Britain and the United States and others against a democratic
simplistic faith in a "social contract" theory of the
state lies the reality that such systems have always been under
the control of small groups of persons who are answerable to no
one, particularly those they presume the authority to rule. "Democracy"
is just one abstraction that the state owners have employed to
distract the attention of their victims; to create in the minds
of their subjects the illusion that they, not the owners,
are running the system.
that the state represents their interests, and that through
"democratic" processes - they control its direction
and energies, most men and women identify themselves with that
state. In this way, people and the state share the same "ego
boundaries." When millions of people come together in this
manner, it becomes easy for each to lose his or her individuality
and, hence, responsibility - in a collective identity. By engendering
fear of others who share different ego-boundary identities, the
state is able to mobilize "dark side" forces of the
collective unconscious into a critical mass that allows the state
to aggrandize its powers through violent, destructive means. Adolf
Hitler used such methods to organize Germans against those he
called non-Aryans. In the same way has the United States employed
the specters of "communism," "drug-dealers,"
and "terrorism" to bamboozle its ego-boundary adherents
into participating in its continuing war against life itself.
who makes a sincere effort to understand the nature of a supposedly
democratic state, it is apparent that such a system rests on the
flimsiest of foundations. People must be given the impression
that, by voting, they are the show; they are steering
the ship-of-state. But the corporate-state interests the political
establishment that actually own the system, are not
burdened by such delusions. The entire institutional order including
the state, major corporations, schools and universities, organized
religions, and the mainstream media share a common interest
in keeping people subservient to their authority and control.
At its most basic level and as more of us have been learning
of late there are too many trillions of dollars of despoiled
wealth, and too much power over the direction of human energy,
to permit the establishment to allow preferences or even whims
of ordinary people to upset institutional interests. In the words
of Emma Goldman, "if voting changed anything, theyd make
a growing awareness that the so-called "two-party" system
in America is nothing more than a one-party system (the
"establishment party") with two subsidiaries pursuing
the same policies and purposes. This singularity is so widely
accepted that the notion of "bipartisanship" is trumpeted
as a civic virtue! Politicians are praised when they "come
together," from "both sides of the aisle," to support
the same governmental programs. For such reasons is Ron Paul labeled
a "kook" for being the sole dissenter in a 434-1 congressional
vote on some measure. How dare he reveal to the public that the
political establishment depends upon the maintenance of a group-think
mindset; that Republicans and Democrats and even liberals and
conservatives are simply two wings of the same bird of prey.
Far better that men and women not trouble their minds with the
kinds of questions best left to the philosopher-kings whose judgments
are to be trusted.
is becoming increasingly decentralized, meaning that top-down
social systems are becoming less and less relevant to how people
live. Unrestrained violence, and the capacity and willingness
to exercise it against any who inconvenience their interests,
has become the hallmark of modern political systems. The perverted
notion that bombing cities in foreign countries; destroying their
cultures; and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of men, women
and children in the process, is done in the name of advancing
"democracy," is a further illustration of the symbiotic
relationship between democracy and violence. The Iraqi mother
who was quoted as warning her children against "the democracy
men" tells us so much more than did our high school civics
the imaginary nature of "democracy" made more evident
than in the effort of people who, seeking alternative avenues
of political expression, try to organize a third-party as a means
of electing candidates to office who are not part of the plutocratic
establishment. Republicans and Democrats who want to monopolize
how the political game is to be played have legislated all sorts
of hurdles and barricades to make it extremely difficult for third-party
advocates to get on the ballot. When third parties do manage to
get ballot access, those who run the presidential debate circus
make certain these alternative candidates are not allowed to participate.
The establishment media cooperates by consigning third-party candidates
to debates with one another, to be shown at 3 a.m. on Sunday,
or at equally dead times.
As a Republican
running in the presidential primaries, Ron Paul created a dilemma
for the establishment. How could he be left out of the debates
when candidates with less popular support but whose umbilical
cords were firmly connected to the establishment were allowed
to participate? The solution was threefold: (1) keep Ron at the
far end of the stage, (2) dont let him speak very much or at
the same length of time as the others, and (3) have the media
questioners ask Ron to respond to various non sequiturs and moronic
inquiries. Each approach was designed for one purpose: to marginalize
both his physical presence and his thinking.
consequence of such tactics is this: in insisting upon marginalizing
Ron Paul, the Republican Party has ended up marginalizing itself.
The Democrats can at least when the Republicans are in power
make a pretense of being opposed to wars, spying upon Americans,
regulating private behavior, and police state practices. But the
Republicans whether in or out of power have shown a commitment
to no principles or values that transcend politics. Their sole
purpose is to capture and retain power as an end in itself. The
GOP can now be characterized in the words that Gertrude Stein
used to describe Oakland, California: "theres no there
in the alleged "virtues" of democracy disguises another
hidden contribution to violence in our world. "Majority rule"
is not only a mindset that helps to define "democracy,"
but necessarily promotes social conflict because of its inherent
tendency to set groups against one another (e.g., 51% overwhelming
the 49%). The idea that group action could take place based upon
a consensus [i.e.,100% agreement] of its members is so
foreign to our institutionalized conditioning that we dismiss
it as utopian. But there are societies (see, e.g., the Somalis)
and communities in which groups will act only if all who are affected
by the action agree. Political systems cannot act consensually,
as their modus operandi depends upon creating and then managing
conflicts among people.
of "majority rule" tends to immobilize individual action.
Once we get into the pattern of thinking that change cannot occur
until at least 51% can be persuaded to accept it, our behavior
becomes neutralized. We become discouraged by the thought of having
to convince tens of millions of persons with whom we have no contact.
Perhaps the most common response I get to my articles or talks
takes the form of "I completely agree with you, but what
can I do to change things?"
At this point,
I often ask such persons if they have ever heard of Plato, Aristotle,
Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Dante, Newton, Darwin,
et al. Did these men have to rely on convincing 51% of their neighbors
before their contributions were recognized? And what about a man
named Albert Einstein who, in his youth, rode fast moving trains
that seemed to compress the images of buildings, and which later
led him to develop relativity theory? What public opinion poll
had to certify the worthiness of his ideas? More recently, individuals
such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Ayn Rand, Mark Zuckerberg, Julian
Assange, and many others have used their individual, creative
talents to influence and benefit hundreds of millions in ways
that did not depend upon mass persuasion.
frustrations that accompany the democratic mindset that change
cannot occur until 51% are ready for it lead many to want to resort
to violence as a shortcut to such change. The democratic process
has proven itself to be a force for maintaining a status quo that
serves the interests of established power, and if "working
within the system" cannot effectively challenge such entrenched
authority, many have taken to the streets in angry but largely
unfocused reactions. But if the state is defined as an institution
that enjoys a monopoly on the use of violence; and if the state
can act only through violent means and, thus, becomes the principal
vehicle for social conflict; how can moving away from organized
violence be brought about by violent methods? The state wars against
peace and liberty: how can these values be fostered by emulating
the violent practices upon which all political systems rest?
As all political
systems are grounded in the violent disrespect for individuals
and their property interests, each of us is well-advised to keep
peering behind the curtains with which the state hides its machinations.
This is as true for democratic systems as for all other forms
of forceful exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few.
Perhaps the kindest assessment of democracy offered for thoughtful
minds comes from H.L. Mencken, who observed that "Democracy
is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."