Slouching Towards Oligarchy

In an earlier post, I said, without further explanation that we are slouching towards oligarchy in this country.   I’d like to explain what I meant

Oligarchy is an ugly word; for that matter, it is an ugly concept, especially to a small “d” democrat like myself – rule by an elite.  Slouching means to move in a lazy manner, and that is exactly the problem – we aren’t as a people, putting any energy into our relationship with our government.  We glide through our lives, shoulders hunched, blind to the manipulations and deceits that are being carried out by those who seek to control and guide the individuals that we ( a few of us, anyway) have chosen to represent us.   Notice how I phrased that: “…those who seek to control and guide..”   The problem is not with the concept of representative government; it is with a system of government that was conceived more than 300 years ago, in a very different context.

Our government, any government, is just  that: a set of interdependent components that form a whole.  Any system interacts with the environment in which it exists, and as that environment changes, the system needs to change, because over time, the oligarchs of this world will exploit its weaknesses, if it is not modified  to prevent them.

So what are the major problems?  Here are a few:
*****a bizarre tax system that taxes oligarchs less per dollar earned that it does ordinary working people
*****an irrational Supreme Court decision that declares that spending money is an act of free speech
*****federal legislative bodies that in effect, require oligarch level wealth before you have a chance for admission
*****legislative redistricting processes that lend themselves to exploitation by the application of money

I could go on multiplying examples, but the only real power the people have in our system is the ability to recognize that is out of sync with its environment, and to take action.   If we are lazy about that, the oligarchs win.   Every time.


One thought on “Slouching Towards Oligarchy

  1. Your phrase is apt. We aren’t intentionally moving toward the dysfunctional government you describe. We’re easing in that direction, I think, because we feel unable to do anything about it.
    When I send my $25 and $50 donations to people in the national scene who I think are on the right track, I know it’s pitifully little compared to the millions of dollars given by others. In fact, I wonder about the benefit of it at all, except that a politician who can claim legitimately that he/she was elected on the basis of small donations is the kind of person I want in power.

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