Monday, February 24, 2014

Democracy Debased

I will argue that when mass democracy was still a fairly young thing, it produced results because elites didn't know how to handle it.

All adult males got the vote roughly around 1900. Women got the vote around 1920. By the 1930s we got pro-union legislation in the USA and welfare states all around Europe by the late-1940's into the 1960s. (Admittedly, the shocks of the Great Depression and World War II had something to do with that.)

The point is, democracy seemed to get results. And people's human rights (the working classes, non-whites, women, children, and nowadays, LGBT) began to be respected. (Or "coddled" as right-wing fuckwads would put it.)

But beginning in the 1950s there's been a concerted effort by corporate vermin to denigrate democracy and to pander to people's misanthropy and bigotry. A large minority of people have been hoodwinked into cheering on the destruction of the welfare state (imbeciles like Kady Shaidle, who rely on disability payments for instance), and the demonization of their opponents. (Witness, if you please the difference between my criticisms of Barack Obama and a Tea-Bagger's. Or the murdering of lefties and feminists fantasies of the right-wing with my aspersions about the right's lack of intelligence and brutality.)

In the 1980s this went into overdrive with the administrations of Reagan and Thatcher. The rise of neo-liberalism has turned the state into nothing more than an incompetent administrator of austerity and exploitation. And the demise of any rival systems to threaten it has allowed elites to throw caution to the winds and pursue the society-shredding policies of the last two decades, to tighten their grip on the rest of the world with ruthless murder, to enact draconian anti-human rights policies (in the "war on terror" bullshit) and to basically turn their own democratic fig-leaf or responsibility into a a rotted thing that barely covers their rancid, stinking genitalia.

Right now, they're laughing all the way to their own banks. But what I foresee is a military dictatorship. That's the only force that can best the banksters. The Wall Street and Washington criminal class will go to far, poverty at the bottom will breed crime and misery; corruption at the top widespread social disgust. A general, or some other strongman with military ties, will respond with some form of authoritarian populism and the plutocrats will be forced into their mansions (if they're lucky).

It will be the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte all over again. History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. And third, as pointless tragedy again.


The Mound of Sound said...

Interesting ideas. You should read The Deep State, an essay by Mike Lofgren that's available at Lofgren describes a new order dominated by plutocrats that blends elements of the political state with corporate power - Pennsylvania Avenue meets Wall Street - that floats above Washington and directs both the government and economy of America.

thwap said...

I saw the link to that on your blog. It was one of those things that I wanted to look at but was hurried. At your recommendation I'll give it a look.

Anonymous said...

You're more or less on the right track but that military will be controlled by the very plutocrats that are purposely ruining the western hemisphere and the world economy. Those guys (et al) make all the wonderful toys for the army guys, then sell them to the appropriate gubmint, make a ton of money, buy a parliament or congress with their incredible wealth who then makes sure the "right" guys are in command of the army guys so, you see, the whole rotten fucking mess is beautifully orchestrated. No single maverick will ever be able to take over the u.s. or Canada in a military coup. He will not live long enough to rule. You have no idea how deep the rabbit hole is if you think any one individual will ever topple the corporatocracy that has become Canadian and u.s. politics, Thwap.

thwap said...

Perhaps. But the military has different values from Wall Street. And it promotes from a different criteria from Wall Street.

There's a chance that the extreme arrogance and unconstitutional behaviour of the plutocrats will produce a Hugo Chavez or an Adolph Hitler.

Things weren't so bad for some capitalists under Hitler, but in the end, he called the shots.