Tuesday, August 2, 2011
In all the hysteria over the Debt Crisis Crisis and the Deal, one thing is startlingly clear: Washington is so divorced from We, the People that it is institutionally incapable of addressing or even acknowledging the People's Will or the Public Interest -- except inversely.
The fashion is to govern exactly contrary to the People's Will and the Public Interest, and at this point in history, there is no way for governments in the United States or pretty much anywhere in the developed West to do otherwise.
This fashion for governing contrary to the People's Will and the Public Interest seemed to get going in earnest during the premiership of Maggie Thatcher in Britain, and it then became the style of the Reagan Administration in Washington (of course he'd done it to a certain extent previously as Governor of California, but it was actually somewhat subtle and much more deceptive than the Thatcher way. That's another discussion altogether, though.) By degrees, Governing Contrary became the operating theory of government throughout the West: whatever the People wanted or the Public Good needed, Government would do the opposite -- because that's what would inevitably enhance the wealth and power of the favored few.
And so it has been, relentlessly, for decades, so much so that many people have come to accept it as natural.
Since they've known nothing else their entire lives, why wouldn't they?
"Government is the problem, not the solution." And if the Government looks like it might be the Solution, then make it the Problem. Simple.
Make most people distrust government instinctively; make it harder and harder for them to participate in democracy; falsify "democracy" through media; make more and more ridiculous rules; make much more draconian punishments for more and more intrusive and incomprehensible laws; set trade policies that destroy industry and jobs at home; "liberate" the economy so that one bubble after another can be inflated and then deflated, thus providing the periodic illusion of "opportunity" for the masses, while ensuring that each time the bubble deflates, the proles are pillaged more comprehensively for the benefit of the Overclass; conduct wars of aggression overseas, institute an aggressive security apparat at home; put everything on credit.
This is what governments in the West have been doing for decades, led by the examples in the United States and Britain, under both Democratic (Labour) and Republican (Tory) administrations, one of which might be slightly less harsh in its Contrariness than the other, but both of which operate on the same principle of Governing Contrary to the People's Will and the Public Interest.
Nothing at all seems to move them from their course, and one catastrophe after another is simply an excuse to increase the level of Governing Contrariness.
So what do you do about it?
So far, nothing tried has even come close to working. No public argument, tumult, uprising or revolution has managed to alter the course of governments obsessed with operating contrary to the People's Will and the Public Interest anywhere... except, perhaps, to an extent in Latin America for a brief period after the horrors of the Reactionary/Fascist Period and its numerous civil wars wound down.
If we really want to overcome the fashion of Governing Contrary, it might help to understand what gave rise to it in the first place, and why it was adopted by both "liberal" and "conservative" governments throughout the West almost without exception as the General Rule of Government.
That will require a whole other exploration.