Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Summit: Holding the Context

Government is a system to enable some people (the ruling class) to live off the productive effort of others. The longevity of the system requires that the exploited individuals continue to believe it is legitimate -- that it represents their interests. The greatest threat to the system is the loss of that legitimacy; that is, the people's realization that it is exploitative and inimical to their well-being. To prevent that threat from materializing, the rulers from time to time must convey to the people that, despite appearances, the State's taxes and other impositions are really for their own good and therefore they should keep faith with the system. If the hen becomes unhappy, the golden eggs may stop.

Thus the politicians want to be seen trying to address the public's concerns, such as the rising cost of medical care and insurance, but always in ways that do not upset the larger larcenous operation. The expensive, frustrating, and even dangerous health-care system -- a product of corporate-State partnership -- presents a political opportunity for power to score points with the public. (That the ruling faction has apparently misread the public is another story.) When people expressed their displeasure with partisan rancor, another opportunity presented itself. Hoping that a display of bipartisanship would calm the restless citizens, the summit was conceived and staged. If the two factions of the single ruling party feel that their interests lie a “bipartisan bill,” that is what they will produce. When the chips are down, the system comes first and the factions unite.

The upshot is that the summit is part of a larger project to keep the American people from entertaining radical thoughts about government per se. Of course, the major news media are faithfully cooperating by portraying this all as democracy in action.


Joe said...

Very well put. This in particular jumped out at me:

"When the chips are down, the system comes first and the factions unite."

I had the same thought after reading a recent Frank Rich column that dealt with Ron Paul's victory at the CPAC conference. In the course of pointing out what a dangerous loon Ron Paul and all of his far right-wing, tea-bagging acolytes are, he actually favorably quoted William Kristol saying pretty much the same thing.

I thought, there you have it: "liberals" will even embrace neocons when confronted with the slightest hint of a threat to their power-sharing arrangement.

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