American Politicians Are Bought and Paid For
Virtually all independent economists and financial experts agree that the economy cannot stabilize or recover unless the giant, insolvent banks are broken up (and here and here). And the very size of the big banks is also warping our entire political system.
Politics today is little more than legalized prostitution. While a streetwalker gets busted for selling her body to a john, politicians get rewarded with campaign contributions for selling their souls to a corporation or lobbyist. With all of the whoring going on – the money exchanged and the pleasures lavished – the only
one actually getting screwed was John Q. Public.
But the chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University (Donald J. Boudreaux) says that calling politicians prostitutes is inaccurate – because it is being too nice. Specifically, Boudreaux says that it is more correct to call politicians “pimps”, since they are pimping out the American people to the financial giants.
So the state of banking and politics in America is grim, indeed. But do we really even need banks or politicians? Or can we cut out the middle man?
This post looks at whether we can use Direct Democracy to cut out the corrupt political middleman. In a separate essay, we look at whether we can use alternative financial arrangements to cut out the big banks as financial middleman.
Do We Need Politicians … Or Can We Cut Out the Corrupt Middleman?
Gerald Celente writes in this month’s Trends Journal:
For some years we’ve been seeing the promising stirrings of a global Renaissance;
a “new order” that would reject the gross materialism, excessive consumerism and
glorified militarism that has dominated contemporary western societies. But each initiative undertaken to retrofit and change the failing system has had its momentum blocked or sabotaged by the entrenched agents of “no change.”
Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only solution is to take that control
from the handful of “them” – the power possessors and power brokers – and put the
power into the hands of the people. But how?
I propose … of Direct Democracy – a potentially globe-changing movement that would replace today’s “representative democracy.” Positive change will not and cannot occur until power is taken away from the power obsessed.
While, in 2011, no one would dream of reinstituting the divine right of kings, what
is passed off today as “Democracy” is little more than a structure to clandestinely
support an ersatz nobility that perpetuates that very divine right practice.
The Direct Democracy solution I propose will not only transfer power to the
public (for better or for worse!), it will make “we the people” fully responsible for
creating the future. The choice is stark. Either we take action to create our destiny, or
others will continue to create it for us … and judging by past performance, we’re not
going to like what they create.
Regardless of who is elected – Republican or Democrat – the only solution I can see at this time that could save America (and be applied worldwide) is to take the power out of the hands of politicians and put it into the hands of the people.
In Switzerland, where this is practiced, it is called “Direct Democracy.” The people vote on major issues that affect them locally and globally, and the elected officials (whether they agree or not) perform their duties as “public servants,” carrying out the will of the people.
The US and other nations that call themselves “democratic” have “representative democracy.” In theory, elected officials pledged to carry out (represent) the will of the people. But, in practice, at least in modern memory, most elected officials carry out the will of special interests whose “campaign contributions” (a.k.a. bribes and payoffs) assure their subservience. While most everybody knows this, it’s both tolerated and
accepted as political business as usual.
Given today’s dire socioeconomic and geopolitical conditions and our forecast for them to dramatically deteriorate, I believe that changing from a faux-representative democracy to Direct Democracy would be a giant step in the right direction. If the Swiss can do it successfully, why can’t anyone else?
WHERE TO START Understanding the tremendous power that social networking
played in galvanizing the revolutions of the “Arab Spring” and the uprisings and protests raging through Europe, I propose using the same model to bring about a Direct Democracy revolution.
It should never be forgotten that no law is immutable. Laws are made only to be superseded by new laws. No clearer example can be given than the wholesale raping of the Constitution by the Supreme Court and successive presidents. What better time to write a new one? If the Founding Fathers could pull it off with horses, sheer will and quill pens, surely 21st century revolutionaries can make Direct Democracy a reality with the strokes of a keyboard. Not only can the Internet serve as the galvanizing force
to bring about Direct Democracy, it can also be used as the 21st century ballot box.
“Voting online could be subject to hacking and fraud,” the entrenched parties will argue. But casting a vote online is no more susceptible to “irregularities” than casting a vote at the polling place … be it stuffing the ballot boxes or rigging the voting machines.
In fact, voting online, with full transparency, would prove more secure than any polling place run by party operatives. I say, “If you can bank online, buy online, gamble on line, you can vote online!” Going to vote should be easier than going
to the ATM. And if you don’t have your own computer, there’s always the polling place.
It is due time Thomas Jefferson’s vision that “… in due time the voice of the people will
be heard and their latent wisdom will prevail,” prevails.
Publisher’s Note: “Representative Democracy,” the form of government we adhere to in the West, is no more than a cruel sham, a bone thrown to the proles following the overthrow of the aristocracies of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. The restive public was gulled into believing that, by voting for members of political parties pledged to represent their interests, their voices would be heard.
While attractive in principle, in practice, political parties come to represent the same very rich and very powerful interests that have ruled throughout history. Only the names and ranks have changed. No longer called Kings, Queens, Czars, Dukes and Barons, the new aristocracy is called the “too big to fail.”
Thinking people everywhere are recognizing that Direct Democracy can provide a blueprint for revolution in the New Millennium. Non-violent, intellectually and philosophically sound, emotionally empowering, and potentially inexorable … the greatest obstacle to Direct Democracy is to do nothing.
Celente also includes in his latest newsletter an article on direct democracy from Thomas H. Naylor. Naylor is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University. For thirty years, he taught economics, management science, and computer science at Duke. As an international management consultant specializing in strategic management, Dr. Naylor has advised major corporations and governments in over thirty countries.
Taking note of the unsustainable, unfixable, gridlock nature of the US government and its inability to fix the American economy, Gerald Celente has proposed that the United States turn to Swiss-style Direct Democracy as an alternative way to resolve such divisive issues as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the magnitude of the government’s budget deficit, how to finance health care, the size of the defense budget, and national immigration policy. He envisions this being carried out on the Internet.
Over the past 700 or so years Switzerland has developed a unique social and political structure, with a strong emphasis on federalism and Direct Democracy….
Switzerland has a coalition government with a rotating presidency, in which the president serves for only one year. Many Swiss do not know who of the seven Federal Councillors in the government is the president at any given time, since he or she is first among equals. In Switzerland a petition signed by 100,000 voters can force a nationwide vote on a proposed constitutional change and the signatures of only 50,000 voters can force a national referendum on any federal law passed by Parliament.
Among the high profile issues that have been resolved by Swiss national referendums
are women’s voting rights, abortion rights, creation of a new canton, abolition of the army, and Swiss membership in the League of Nations, United Nations, World Bank, IMF, and the European Union.
Most political scientists agree that the Swiss have taken the concept of democracy to levels heretofore unattainable any place else in the world. In his excellent book Direct Democracy in Switzerland (Transaction Publishers, 2002), Gregory Fossedal describes Switzerland as “a Direct Democracy, in which, to an extent, the people pass their own laws, judge the constitutionality of statutes, and even have written, in effect, their own constitution.” That’s a lot!
All of this is in stark contrast to the United States in which our government is owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America, the Pentagon, and domestic and foreign lobbies. Whereas the primary role of Swiss Direct Democracy is to protect the Swiss people from the Swiss government, the US government is more concerned with protecting its powerful clients from the will of the American people. In Switzerland the people own their government. In the
United States the government owns us.
[Given how much larger the U.S. is than Switzerland, and our different politicial system, it would be challenging to institute Direct Democracy in the U.S.]
But the alternative is a nation whose government has lost its moral authority and is tightly controlled by a self-serving military/industrial/congressional complex accountable only to itself – a nation that has become unsustainable economically, militarily, socially, environmentally, and politically. The United States is so large that it may no longer be governable and has possibly become unfixable.
If there is a way out of our nation’s death spiral, Direct Democracy just might be one of our last remaining viable options. We could do a lot worse than emulate the Swiss.
If American politicians have become so corrupt that they are beyond redemption, maybe we should use Direct Democracy to cut out the middleman.
And see this excellent description by Yves Smith of how the direct democracy-like process involved in the Wall Street protests is one of its greatest strengths.