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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How Can One Interfere With A Ghost?

The latest news that is fit to print is about how we are taking umbrage with the revelation that Russia interfered with our nation's democracy. How dare someone infringes on our monopoly? After all, infringing on the democracies of other nations has been copyrighted by the US and other nations are allowed to do the same only if they receive explicit written permission from our government.



But what is obscured because it is not fit to print is the fact that we don't need a foreign power to interfere in our affairs for our democracy to be threatened. Certainly the MSM (a.k.a., the mainstream media) does not tell us this. Why? It is because their owners don't want their secrets to be revealed. Here we should note a study that was reported on by the BBC basically said that we no longer have a democracy. Instead, what we have is oligarchy, which is the rule of the rich (click here).


Why do we no longer have a democracy? The first reason is that we define democracy exclusively in concrete terms. Democracy, for most of us, consists of voting every x number of years for leaders whom we hope to ignore until the next election. The fact that we are voting for the right leaders has already hurt our chances at achieving a democracy. For what leaders want to do is to lead and to do that they must control the rest of us in some way, shape, or form. 

If democracy means that the people rule, then looking for leaders to vote for sabotages our efforts to achieve a democracy. It's not that our elected officials are never called to lead, it is that the more power is concentrated into a smaller and smaller group of people such as it is when we elect leaders, the less the people are ruling and thus the weaker the democracy. Rather than looking for the right leaders who will save us by their decision making prowess, we need people who can lead but who listen to us more than they lead. And that requires that we spend more time to become better informed on the issues and spend less of our spare time entertaining ourselves into submission.

What we have now is basically a democracy once removed. It is a democracy for those with wealth since our elected officials pay far more attention to the welfare and concerns of the wealthy than they do to us. That was the point of the previously cited article on how the US is now an oligarchy. Those with wealth have more power over the voting practices of our elected officials than the general population does. And what some believe is that the more our government serves those with wealth, then those with wealth will serve the rest of us. That is why I call our form of government a democracy once removed.


There is another reason why we don't have a democracy. That reason is, in a different way than just stated, because we are too concrete in our definition of a democracy. For us, a democracy is voting every x number of years. But if we look at the origin of the word, we find that democracy has an abstract meaning that isn't necessarily guaranteed by the use of elections. The original meaning of the word 'democracy' is that the people rule. And what is implied here is a certain egalitarian status for all people. Here we can thank Jeff Halper, an Israeli activist for Palestinian rights, for clarifying what it means for the people to rule. Just as we don't have a democracy when one economic class gains control over the government, we also don't have a democracy when one ethnic group tries to gain control over the government. And that is true whether that ethnic group is defined by race, language, national origin, or religion (see pg 74 of An Israeli In Palestine). Our problem today is not with victimhood and identity politics as some contend. Rather, our problem is with tribalism and the yearning to control and dominate all others rather than to share with and protect others. And that problem is not just because of the actions of a specific economic class or ethnos, it also because of those from different ideologies and political parties. Each group that is contending to gain control over our nation is exhibiting the arrogance Martin Luther King Jr. once attributed to the West when he was speaking against the Vietnam War (click here):

The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.
Each group that seeks to dominate whether they be a religious group, a political party, an ideological group, or a race is exhibiting the arrogance King complained about.

In reality, Russia could not harm our democracy because it simply no longer exist. In fact,  our democracy might never have existed. That doesn't mean that Russia didn't interfere with our elections. But it does mean that the political system with which Russia interfered was not a democracy in the first place.


 

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