cj#549> re: Rise & Fall of Democracy

1996-06-24

Richard Moore

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Date: Fri, 21 Jun 96
To: •••@••.•••
From: RGregory <•••@••.•••>
Subject: RE: the dance between the elite and the people

Dear Richard K. Moore

Your most recent editorial was greatly appreciated by me.  I believe you
are on the right track, and as scary as it may be, the accuracy of what
you write with my own observations is exact.

New Zealand is an interesting test case - where the elite, the
government, and the people are playing out their scenarios.  As an
American, long resident here, I like much of what is represented by the
country.  Also though, I find much that is frightening - the recent book
titled Paradise Conspiracy provides examples about how the elite are
telling the politicians what to do when and how, the media fail to raise
questions, and people like me do quite a bit of worrying - sometimes it
doesn't pay to be intelligent, well-read, or aware - it creates too many
worries.  Other similar situations concern the recent political pushes
against Winston Peters, who is a populist and very popular, but who is
opposing the neo-right and business interests.

The technology, including computerized record keeping, is powerful, in
place, and being used - it is a simple matter for weakening or taking
away democratic processes.  Media complicity, business "needs" and a
failure of academics to speak out lead inexorably towards a loss of
democracy.

I too, hope that there is a window of opportunity - a time before the
gathering storms  darken things.  What can be done, by whom and how?
The most difficult question, why, has been answered by your editorial,
and previous articles as well.  Where, oh where, do we go from here?

Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Bob Gregory

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Pacific Means Peace

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From: •••@••.•••
Date: Sun, 23 Jun 1996
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#547> The Rise & Fall of Democracy (fwd)

>The fact is that the modern nation state is the most effective
>democratic institution mankind has been able to come up with since
>outgrowing the small-scale city-state.  With all its defects and
>corruptions, this gift from the Enlightenment -- the national republic --
>is the only effective channel the people have to power-sharing with the
>elites.

Although much of your anaylsis is on the mark, you must recognize that the
modern nation state is not democratic at all--look around.  By centralizing
power in a nmassive bureaucracy, and by creating a country with enough
competing factions that the people can never come togther for long enough to
challange the bureaucracy, the modern state gurantees that "the people" will
never rule.  Whether in Revolutionary France, the Soviet Union, Modern day
America, or Western Europe, governments rule in the name of the people but
they never rule themselves.  Democracy is a sham foisted on us by our
bureaucratic masters to keep us happy.  They write the laws, take half our
salaries and then tell us that we are doing it to ourselves.  The answer is a
return to the Greek city-state, not maintaining this fraud.  Democracy is
only possible on the local level--nowhere else.

Paul Clark

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Dear Paul,

        Thanks for putting the standard pseudo-progressive propaganda line
in a concise form, for our review and consideration.  Interestingly, the
paragraph you quoted already rebuts your own point -- did that escape your
attention?

        OBVIOUSLY existing representative-democracies aren't really
democracies -- elites always have controlled them, and their
science-of-control-and-manipulation gets more refined all the time.  Even
FDR -- the supposedly great man of the People -- described his own career
as saving capitalism from the threat of popular democracy.   What modern
representative-democracies DO PROVIDE is a channel for SOME EFFECTIVE
DEGREE of power-sharing on the part of people in general.

        It is not Greek city states which are a useful comparison today.
The relevant comparison is between the modern representative-democracies
(USA, Western Europe, Australia, etc.) and the Third World.  It is in the
strong representative-democracies that environmental protections have been
greatest, prosperity has been greatest, social legislation has been the
most progressive, and popular opinion has been able to have some beneficial
effect.

        The scale, size, and power of transnational corporations and
financial institutions simply cannot be ignored!  They are a fact of life
that didn't exist in Classical times.  You might as well argue for a return
to the horse and cart, as to pursue a dream of autonomous city states in
today's global economy, and expect them not to be dominated and exploited
from outside.

        To dismantle the infrastructure of our representative-democracies
would be an irreversable loss to humanity.  They came about through popular
revolution at a moment in history when such was possible, and they won for
the people the _means_ to participate effectively in governance.  True,
people don't always do a good job of citizenship, but they've brought about
bursts of real social progress from time to time.

        It is high time for people to wake up the REAL threats to their
quality of life, and to quit being distracted by the media-created demons.
Our nation-states are the _vehicles_ which the people can make use of in
rare moments of lucidity.  If this vehicle is lost, we'll all bemoan it
someday -- but better we wake up to the danger now.

-rkm

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    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     Cyberlib:  www | ftp --> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib
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