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May 9, 2014

My followers will recall that Orwell in his celebrated novel 1984 portrayed the protagonist (Smith) as continuously spied upon (hidden TV camera while shaving) and incessantly propagandized by his hazily described rulers of the super state. All decisions, economic and social, were the exclusive province of Big Brother, whose countenance appeared anywhere and everywhere as a brooding reminder that the state was supreme and that individuals were mere pawns in carrying out state policies, policies in which the people to be governed had no vote for their rulers, such old-time democratic rights having been banished from history and unknown to all but the old and whose mere mention resulted in “disappearance” of the speaker. (To those reading this who have not read 1984, I recommend that you pick up a paperback copy of this prescient classic of literature and prepare to understand what the loss of democracy really means, and how the book’s message is not so far out in these days of government snooping and both looming economic and political control of our very lives by the moneyed class.)
I have often blogged that democracy is our most precious asset. Without it no country is worth living in or giving one’s allegiance to – without it one is a mere pawn of the state, not a citizen with a right to vote for those who would represent him or her, not a respected human being guaranteed certain inalienable and other rights guaranteed to him or her by laws made by those they have voted for, not an order of society arrived at by consensus of its citizens – rather such self-governing rights as envisioned by Athenian democracy are arrogated to the few rulers of the super state who rule to suit their own interests where propaganda can be abandoned in favor of fear and coercion after a suitable interval. Such was the vision of Mao and Hitler and other such enemies of democracy. The dissent necessary for a thriving democracy was crushed under the heel of the dictator.
The loss of democracy can occur under less violent auspices, of course, and this abbreviated note’s design is to point out that we may be in such a situation today. Our government (irrespective of party in control) seems to be following the Orwellian script with its increasing intrusion into the private affairs of its citizenry – while the moneyed few are slowly but surely erasing our political and economic rights of self-government via control of both the productive and legislative processes. The demise of democracy in this country, in my view, is not one of a sudden loss under a tyrant’s heel; it is rather the day-to-day and almost imperceptible loss of privacy, for example, accompanied by monetary subversion of our political franchise via purchase of political control by those of the moneyed class. The fact that it is a slow cancer growing on our democratic freedoms doesn’t mean that it is not a cancer on the body electorate. It should be excised, and the sooner the better. Delay only encourages further growth.
Democracy is an intangible; you can’t see it, taste it, touch it etc., but it exists and vestiges of it remain at work today. It represents our last best hope in reversing the onrushing tide of money and power that is gaining tsunami force with our present laissez faire treatment of the superrich and those lusting for power. It is the peoples’ seawall and its removal practically invites a 1984 social order or some variant thereof – perhaps even worse. I do not think that we have reached a point of no return just yet, but democracy may already be on its last legs, and we the people have to save it if we are going to be consulted or involved in how our society in the future is to be ordered for ourselves, our families and our fellow citizens. As I frequently blog, democracy is our most precious national asset and one of the last few things left worth dying for. Without it and the guarantees of freedom it provides for individuals versus the state, “love of country” is a hollow phrase. Let’s stand up for democracy! Today! GERALD E


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