America is a republic, but it doesn’t represent you
Published: Friday, October 18, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013 22:10
There is a growing sentiment on both sides of the political spectrum that the government is growing increasingly beholden to an infinitesimally small yet astronomically wealthy fraction of the American citizenry. Although this phenomenon is in fact happening, at a frighteningly increased pace since the 1980s, the reality of the matter is that America’s representative democracy was designed exactly to impose, and even facilitate the maintenance of, this woefully undemocratic status quo.
The Founding Fathers were enamored with the humanist principles of the Enlightenment period in Europe; whole sections of the Declaration of Independence are ripped straight from John Locke’s “Tabula Rasa,” and the whole of Enlightenment theory is centered around ancient Greek theorem, namely that of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Socrates’ student Plato was a vehement proponent of a sort of proto-technocracy in which “golden souls” would be chosen from youth to rule over the lesser “silver” and “bronze” citizens as Philosopher-Kings, and he goes on to argue against democracy by stating that the poor masses would be the winners through a system in which diversity is supreme and the people would be free to live their lives as they wished. Plato’s pupil Aristotle elaborated upon his mentor’s distrust of democracy by stating, “In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.” Aristotle thought this was inherently unjust and that only two solutions existed: the more preferable path of reducing poverty or a reduction in democracy.
We don’t have to guess which choice the Founding Fathers made as James Madison so openly opined. “The primary function of the government is to protect the minority of the opulent from the majority of the poor.” Madison’s “Federalist Papers” co-author John Jay was even more didactic in his protection of the wealthy as demonstrated by his blunt quip. “The people who own the country ought to govern it.” It’s worth noting that Madison and Jay were considered liberals of the time, but Hamilton and his conservatives were more than happy to oblige in turning the state into an aegis for the affluent. A century later, John Dewey, one of America’s greatest political philosophers, warned that America’s system of industrial feudalism would always turn politics into “the shadow cast on society by big business,” and his omen remains true to this very day.
Nearly all of the public safety nets and regulations installed under FDR’s New Deal, the state policy which gave birth to the Golden Age of the American middle-class, have been utterly dismantled, and the few that remain, such as Social Security, are under constant attack by America’s industrial feudal elite through their puppet politicians. Laws like North Carolina’s House Bill 589 exponentially increases money that private industry can pour into political campaigns, TARP took $700 billion from the recession-ravaged citizens and gave it to the very financial institutions that caused the Crisis of 2008, and the Supreme Court decided in is Citizens United case that corporations are people with inalienable rights that supersede those of actual humans. The only truly bipartisan issue in Washington, and even on a state level, is the vigilant protection, not of the 1 percent or even .01 percent, but of the 400 American households who own more than 50 percent of the net wealth of the entire United States.
Take the current issue of healthcare for example: since the early 70’s a consistent super-majority of voters have been in favor of setting up a national healthcare plan that operates similarly to Medicare, yet nothing even remotely resembling healthcare reform materialized until the recent Affordable Care Act. So why, in spite of decades of majority favor, did it take nearly half a century for healthcare reform to become even remotely possible? The reason is because private industry, namely the Big Three auto manufactures, could no longer afford private healthcare insurance for their employees after the housing bubble burst. Rather than relocate their operations to Canada, they ratified the ACA through their Democrat representatives, but the reform has been ardently opposed by other sectors such as financial institutions and high-tech industry; financial institution’s employees are paid enough to afford their own private insurance whereas high-tech industry is heavily enough subsidized by the state to provide for their own employees. Their resulting clash shut down the government and cost citizens $24 billion.
The American Republic is not broken, it was designed to function this way, and it is oppressing the majority exactly as intended.