As early as 1958 the reknown philosopher and psychologist, Karl Jaspers, observed that:
Elections give the illusion of freedom but are in fact a game among the powers that be. This is why we talk of “formal democracy”: instead of drawing forth the best energies of a people, this legal institution hands actual control to very different forces, turning democracy into another form of oligarchy and dictatorship. (from “The Future of Mankind”, 1958).
Each post in this series is a search for someone willing to discuss an important issue facing the American public this election year. Social discourse has become a shouting match pitting narrow ideological interpretations against each other and I am willing to put myself out there to share. With that said given:
- The existence a large sub population of the total number of eligible voters who aren’t going to vote and
- Politicians that choose to speak for the needs of corporations rather than America’s citizen’s
would it be erroneous to say that a re-evaluation of our system of governance is needed? Can we further agree despite potential differences in race, age, gender, sexual preference, possible different political party membership (and this is a stretch) that it is possible that a man that donates hundreds of millions to a politicians campaign can exert more influence on legislation than myself who doesn’t have money to spare or saved away ? At the present moment there are many people who feel that our political system is broken and that voting further enable the corrupt dealings and servile cupidity that in the end hurts the American public.
According to Wikipedia, Jasper’s strongly opposed totalitarian despotism and warned about the increasing tendency towards technocracy, or a regime that regarded humans as mere instruments of science or ideological goals. He was also skeptical of majoritarian democracy which is reflected in the quote above. Upon further reflection it’s quite feasible that keeping the public divided by the rampant politicization of any discourse can be used as means of transforming human being into the instruments of ideological goals to which Jasper’s alludes. There are already precedents established for how technology is uses as a political tool as the following image taken from http://stirringtrouble.wordpress.com illustrates.
While it is highly doubtful for a candidate to get elected without any support from corporations, is there a happy middle whereby a candidate’s corporate backing isn’t more influential than the mandate of the people to represent to a greater extent their vision ?
To continue onward with Jaspers’ technoccracy, is it possible to also re-evaluate the almost at times licentious affair between the media outlets and politicians. Living in NYC I saw this very clearly during the Occupy Wall Street protests. Certain news out depicted the OWS protesters as terrorists despite their melodic drumming rhythms, dances and meditative poses. The act of protest has defined so many of America’s triumphs as illustrated by the same news media that during the 4th of July, black history month or other holidays. Can the news media report the news both non-partisanally and historically accurate whether or not the public might presented with an image we may not always be proud of?
I call myself the greatest patriot of my generation because I accept our history blinkered foreign and domestic policies, checkered history , imperialistic propensities, racism and all. I love being an American. However to doing nothing while as a student of history I feel that many of our past mistake are being repackaged for distribution on a global scale, is historically UnAmerican. So what is the sincere and honest thing to do ? Vote – that is where I am at with my dilemma.
I say again, I’m not anti-Democrat, I’m not anti-Republican, I’m not anti-anything. I’m just questioning their sincerity, and some of the strategy that they’ve been using on our people by promising them promises that they don’t intend to keep. [….]… That’s why, in 1964, it’s time now for you and me to become more politically mature and realize what the ballot is for; what we’re supposed to get when we cast a ballot; and that if we don’t cast a ballot, it’s going to end up in a situation where we’re going to have to cast a bullet. It’s either a ballot or a bullet.