Apparently the U.S. Does Not Have a Democracy
And according to a study, we don’t even rank in the top 20.
Some facts and opinions:
The facts: The winner of the 2020 election wont be inheriting a genuine democracy Alexandra Boutri interviewing political scientist C.J. Polychroniou. I think this is an important article that everyone should read, but you can get the gist of it by spending a few moments with the opinions below:
Fascinating article! I liked it so much I donated $10 monthly to Truthout. I’m also thinking about donating to Common Cause. I could only disagree with a few points. But that shouldn’t take away from the vast amount I did agree with. Especially the statement that Donald T.Rump is a threat to our civilization.
I already knew that the Founding Fathers never intended to set up a democracy but, like s/he said, the Constitution ”was as a legal document way ahead of its time”. Now there are some people who suffer under the delusion that we should live strictly according to what the Founding Fathers intended. And some of those have gotten on the Supreme Court. Still I don’t think M. Polychroniou should have concentrated so much on the deficiencies of that extremely mutable document. It’s like the Supreme Court decisions. They and the interpretation of the Constitution have changed with the times.
And I couldn’t disagree more with Thomas Jefferson. We should not rewrite the Constitution every generation. Maybe it’s okay for Chile to rewrite theirs. But no way, no how should ours be rewritten. The key word is mutable.
Sure, gerrymandering should be done away with.
I have to strongly disagree with the following, and probably yourself as well:
“nature is totally at the mercy of unrestrained capital exploitation, and state policies cater exclusively to the interests and needs of the plutocrats, and thus democracy is a sham. Competition is seen as the defining characteristic of what it means to be human, citizens are turned into consumers, and society is dog-eat-dog.”
I remember back when and your son was a kid, when you were sitting in the backseat of a car or minivan, and you expressed a displeasure with competition. Recently, in taking a course called “Success”, they recommended you search back to when you were of the ages 8 to 13 and discover your primary motivations according to the things you did. I had some motivation to do well in school, of course, but my primary motivation during this period was to do well in competitive sports. I can’t say that I think it was a misspent youth.
As far being at the mercy of “unrestrained capital exploitation” I don’t think we’ve gone that far yet. Sure, the laws and regulatory agencies could do better. And I think they will if “go for Joe” Biden is elected.
But as far as competition being seen as the defining characteristic of being human, it’s not a question of “being seen as”. It’s a genetic trait.
And I’m here to tell ya that competition has no relation to a dog-eat-dog society. IMnsHO (In My not so Humble Opinion), the extent we have a dog-eat-dog society is related to the extent we have unrestrained capitalism.
Where do my views come from? Well, from my experience.
Unlike you and your sister, I’ve worked my entire life in business. I worked for business for most of it. Then I was a businessman. I couldn’t be happier about all that. When I was in business as a freelance programmer, of course I competed very fiercely against the big software businesses in town. They had all the advantages except hunger.
And as far as programming being a dog-eat-dog business of putting people out of a job, nothing could be further from my truth. Sure, it happens. But I didn’t happen to be involved in that, myself, and I’m glad of that. There was only one person I put out of a job at the first place I worked. I was specifically hired to replace the woman who did payroll because nobody could personally stand her.
That may be a little off-topic from the article, I dunno. As far as the article goes, I would only add one statement to the following quotes:
I agree with the study that s/he said showed “Economic elites and business interests had overwhelming impact on U.S. government policies, while average citizens had little or no independent influence.”
Money talks. And I agree where M. Polychroniou says:
“In sum, there is no doubt about it: What drives U.S. politics and the framing of government policy is economic-elite domination. Moreover, average people seem somehow to be cognizant of this realization, which probably explains why such an overwhelming percentage of U.S. citizens do not bother to vote: “democracy” isn’t working for them.” (emphasis added)
Like I mentioned before, from reading The Tyranny of Merit, by the political philosopher Michael J. Sandel, I think that “what drives U.S. politics and the framing of government policy is” is also education-elite domination. And that’s also why people don’t vote and, among those that do, a lot of them vote for T.Rump.
All that to say: I really enjoyed the article and thank you for pointing it out.
Sorry if I ruffled any feathers, and if this is too long a slog.