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Democracy Is FAKE (Part 1 REVISITED)

April 21, 2011

I’VE BEEN banging my head trying to organize thoughts for a follow-up to my recent post on the evils of democracy, and have come to realize the terms “rulers” and “elite,” as I employed them, don’t satisfactorily convey my intended meaning.

For instance, when I say the foundation of functioning democracy, that is, a democracy that is able to function in perpetuity, is: “an elite: technocrats charged with steering the majority where it ‘needs’ to go,” I’m speaking of a small group of technocrats in whose judgement the majority is said to have placed its trust. I don’t mean to say that this small “elite” is itself entirely secure in it’s position. These “elites,” are just the ambitious devils who happen to have been able to scramble to the top of the pile, at least for the time being. “The elite,” in my system of thinking, is a position, a slot, a category. The individual people who inhabit this category are essentially interchangeable.

It does occur to me that thinking about democracy as a structure which requires a foundation, where the “foundation” is a trusted minority who have scrambled to the top, draws a pretty fucking confusing picture, doesn’t it? Let me just duck out of my stupid mixed-metaphor and once again drag out this fantastic explanation, which is thankfully the product of a clearer mind:

The ruling class comprises those people who have their own independent means of survival, while the ruled is everyone forced to work for them.

The salient thing about the ruling class though is that it’s a class, not a conspiracy. It arises and perpetuates itself not according to some Plan scrawled in goat’s blood in a musty grimoire somewhere, but inevitably out of certain blindly deterministic functions of economics/psychology/etc… There’s no capstone to the economic pyramid, no one ultimately pulling the strings. The system is such that the strings pull themselves. Everyone, no matter how high up they might seem to us, is replaceable, because it’s the machine that’s immortal. [boetian]

Moving on, when I regrettably went on to mention the potential threat of “unadulterated, one-person-one-vote, majority rule,” rather than calling it a threat to “the rulers’ pocketbooks,” the idea would have been better served if I’d called it a threat to financial power itself. That is, the unequal allocation of resources through which a minority is able to wield power over the majority.

My phrase, Power Seekers, (another idea I plan to flesh out in yet another planned re-write of another post,) has also proven to be a point of contention. For now let’s say: A) a Power Seeker’s motivation is to maintain and/or consolidate and/or gain power over others; that B) successful Power Seekers, having attained whatever position of power, are more able to remain in it, and gain more; but that C) Power Seekers have little choice but to serve the system that affords them their position, for they will lose power should they seek to affect the system in a way that runs counter to the purpose of the system.

Not sure if this is true of all power arrangements, but in functioning democracy at least, I hope to have shown that its purpose is simply to go on functioning, to remain as THE system of power.

So here is the questionable text from the original post which I have revised to include the edits shown here:

There’s a famous argument that says, “[Democracy] can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury,” but don’t read this as a threat to sound fiscal policy! It’s a threat to the very foundation of functioning democracy itself, the need for an elite: technocrats trusted experts, authorities, charged with steering the majority where it “needs” to go, where the need is always to allow democracy to perpetually “function.” The result is a category of public figures you might call “a ruling class”. The threat of unadulterated, one-person-one-vote, majority rule would not be the draining of the public treasury, it would be the fair distribution of society’s total wealth. It is a threat to the rulers’ pocketbooks financial power itself. By examining the circularity of the logic at work here, we learn what it means to have a functioning democracy. Worse than a mere tyranny of the majority, (i.e. a bunch of assholes;) it’s a tyranny of a tiny cadre of oligarchic elite functionaries, (i.e. a handful of Überassholes.)

At some regrettable point long ago, “politics” stopped being a broad category encompassing all manner of human social interactions and became instead A Political System alienated from everyday life. I’m inclined to think Original Alienation occurred with the emergence of an elite. (More on this in part 2.) (Let’s forget this was even here and just leave a potential discussion along these very poorly drawn out lines for part 2.) Along with a privileged elite deference and authority come self interested Power Seekers: those who strive within such a system to gain or keep said privilege power and authority, (privilege, comfort, prestige,) for themselves. What’s more, the system of functioning democracy depends on this power seeking impulse. [and in the interest of maintaining power, some mechanism like what we’re calling “functioning democracy” becomes necessary.] (Again, let’s just forget this last bit of cart before the horse nonsense was even here before.)

In a prior post on power and human nature was a proposed dichotomy for evaluating the ethics of exercises of power: power employed to nurture (good) vs. power employed to dominate (bad). Democracy, as an instrument of elite power amoral system of power, which only “functions” when it serves to protect authority, to preserve the favored status and wealth of an elite are preserved, resulting in the inequalities inherent in a class system, if not Hereditary Aristocracy Lite, is domination.

Credit where due to: Mr. Magundi, ADAMCRAZYPANTS (begrudgingly) and John Michael Greer for helping Your Montag uncross his wires. ;-)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2011 2:44 PM

    I myself dabbled in anarchism once, not in ‘Nam of course.

  2. drip permalink
    April 21, 2011 5:38 PM

    Nice. I noticed, but did not at all understand this phenomenon when Bush and Dukakis ran for President. The financial power surely went in one direction, didn’t it? Both men were otherwise similar. Technically competent, well educated, if a little awkward, it gave them some humanity. I remember wondering what difference would it make? Only people able to secure a nomination could be president and only those with actual financial power could influence the result of those nominations.

    There is a group for whom the exercise of power is important. In order to gain access to that power, they need money — their own or that of somebody with a great deal more than they need, willing to acquire the services of a technically competent executive who remembers who butters his bread.

    Individuals do these things, but what I like about your re-write (and really, more people should “show their work”) is that it is now absolutely clear that it does not matter one whit who those people are. They will play their roles. The system makes sure that the large classes are are divided against themselves, trapped in a position of yielding their productive lives for the enhancement of the powerful, no matter who or what they are. The state, populated with individuals, is a conduit for the transfer of that produced wealth.

    It is a system which limits individual choices to a range narrow enough to reproduce itself, but wide enough to give the illusion of freedom.

    • April 21, 2011 7:13 PM

      right on, drip! your last two sentences especially.

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