Thursday, May 10, 2012

Money vs Democracy

The American political system has been hijacked by propaganda machines or "flak machines" as Noam Chomsky called them in his 1988 book "Manufacturing Consent." Chomsky and Herman called it in 1988, but it's only gotten worse since. Much worse. The amount of influence that corporations now have on our political system is immeasurable. Particularly since the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United decision.

President Obama alone cannot fix this problem, because Republicans control the House of Representatives and an unbreakable filibuster plurality of Republicans in the Senate won't agree to anything he shows support for. Congress won't do it because it benefits their wallets too much. The U.S. Supreme Court won't do it because it may mean limiting their power or worse, admitting they were wrong with the Citizens United case. There have been attempts at financial regulatory reform but they have had little to no impact despite Russ Feingold's and John McCain's best attempts.

James Madison
It's important not to forget the words of one of the wisest Americans ever, James Madison, "The day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. When that day comes, we must rely upon the wisdom of the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nation."

Madison declared that concentrated wealth would destroy our nation, unless the laws change. I'm afraid those in power have no incentive to fix what has become a despicable system of dirty, secretive money being funneled into American politics by corporations and super rich individuals who have only their selfish financial interests in mind.

The only element left in our country able to affect some measure of change are its citizens. I just hope they realize their country is being stolen from them by the 1% before it's too late.

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  1. Great post, Penguin! It's so true. I especially appreciate the reference to Chomsky, as I've been learning about him in my Master's program.

  2. That particular Madison quote is unsourced and a bit dubious as a literal quote. There's some discussion of it at here:

    However, Madison did express very similar sentiments in writing which is sourceable:

    "In every political society, parties are unavoidable. A difference of interests, real or supposed, is the most natural and fruitful source of them. The great object should be to combat the evil: 1. By establishing a political equality among all. 2. By withholding unnecessary opportunities from a few, to increase the inequality of property, by an immoderate, and especially an unmerited, accumulation of riches. 3. By the silent operation of laws, which, without violating the rights of property, reduce extreme wealth towards a state of mediocrity, and raise extreme indigence towards a state of comfort. ..."

    There's enough mischaracterization of the founding fathers going on that I think it's worth checking sources.