Posts Tagged ‘Political Science’

“Each new generation is a fresh invasion of savages.”
Hervey Allen

What do you think when you hear the word savages? Do you think about the small tribes in the rainforest worshiping the Sun God, and practicing black magic? Do you think of ancient times through the early stages of our evolution where man was primitive in their knowledge and behavior? This is a pretty broad word which may mean different things to different people. When I was studying theological anthropology the word “savages” was primarily used to describe primitive people, who still lived in small villages or tribes and believed in so called “primitive” religions. This sentiment is well known in the Christian missionary objectives. If this is indeed the case should we still be considered savages, or have we evolved into sophisticated beings?

I look at this world and I do not see sophisticated beings, I see nations of evolved savages. When I think of the word “savages” I think of beings that live by their primal urges, and are concerned with only their own personal survival. I think of men and woman driven by greed, and the rat race to accumulate more wealth and possessions. I think of people who preach hate and intolerance. I think of perverted minds consumed with insatiable desires for power. I think of these leaders who choose themselves over those they are charged to rule. To me this is what a savage is, and in my opinion we are infested with them. We may have evolved technologically wise, but we are far away from being sophisticated. We may be able to log onto our Facebooks from our iPads, but we still can’t think of others before ourselves.

If we look at our society we will find plenty of examples of people living for their own self-interests as opposed to living for the self-interests of the collective. This is why there will never be peace on earth, or a society which resembles a utopia. Peace and serenity can never be achieved if we are driven by self-interests. I already know one of my occasional readers Tony will chime in on how self-interest is what fuels progress, and without it we would not have evolved technologically and we would not have the amenities we do today. I have heard the argument from one of my co-workers that if we had universal healthcare than our quality of care would go down because no one would be motivated to become a doctor, and therefore your continuity of care would decrease. I think this statement only further shows our savagery. If this is the case than our society is breeding men and woman who get into this profession  not to actually help people, but to garnish a higher paycheck?

I would happily trade our technological advancements in exchange for a society which has advanced on an enlightened path. I would happily walk to work, live without my blog, watch non HD television, and give up my dream of becoming a writer to know my children were living in a world where the well being of your fellow man came before the well being of yourself. To live in a world were innocent men, women, and children did not need to die in the name of war, or suffer from hunger and pestilence in the name of greed. A world where are elected officials are humanitarians as opposed to crooks. A world where nations stand hand in hand in peace and unity, where differences are met by listening and understanding instead words of threats and aggression. A utopia where hate is replaced with love and love is known by all.

I would like to say a world like this is possible, but like the quote says each generation is a fresh invasion of savages who are raised on morals learned from television and video games. New generations raised on greed and self-preservation. Generations who will spit on a dying man just trying to get healthcare so he can live. A society where war is so common it seems like second nature, and is replaced on the news by movie stars babies. A world so dummied down by the media we are easy to control like herded sheep. A world where the good are hidden by the evil and the evil are in charge. A world run by savages.  

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American exceptionalism is an American theory that the United States occupies a special role among the nations of the world in terms of its national ethos, political and religious institutions, and it’s being built by immigrants. Even though its origins date back to the 1600’s the concept still lives on today. This mode of thinking is what has damaged our reputation throughout the world. The concept that we are better than all other nations because as Alexis de Tocqueville, argued; the United States held a special place among nations because it was the first working representative democracy. We may have been the first but we were not the last. I am sure there are some out there who could have a valid argument how a later form of democracy trumps ours. Belief in American exceptionalism is more characteristic of conservatives than liberals. Which being liberal to me makes the idea seem even worse.

Parts of American exceptionalism can be traced to American puritan roots who believed in divine providence. They believed God had made a covenant with their people and had chosen them to lead the other nations of the world. The scary thing is; there are those republicans out there who still believe such a thing.  If we take a look at the Latin phrase on the back of the great seal and our one dollar bill it reads “novus ordo seclorum” which translates as “New Order of the Ages.” I think our republican leaders at that time and still to today would want nothing more than to spread their form of “order” to the entire world, and become the nation God has chosen to lead the world.  

Proponents of American exceptionalism argue that the United States is exceptional in that it was founded on a set of republican ideals, rather than on a common heritage, ethnicity, or ruling elite. In the formulation of President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, America is a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”. In this view, America is inextricably connected with liberty and equality. We may be connected with liberty (although this may be up for debate) and equality (also up for debate.) The notion of republican ideals against the ruling elite? Isn’t that a bit oxymoronic?

The United States’ policies have been characterized since their inception by a system of federalism and checks and balances, which were designed to prevent any person, faction, region, or government organ from becoming too powerful. Some Proponents of the theory of American exceptionalism argue that this system and the accompanying distrust of concentrated power prevent the United States from suffering a “tyranny of the majority.” What I find interesting is we are protected from the “tyranny” of the majority, but we do nothing to protect us from the “tyranny” of the minority.

All countries probably believe they are exceptional in their own right. Britain at the height of the British Empire, Nazi Germany, as well as the communist state Russia, and France in the wake of the French revolution all demonstrated exceptionalism in terms of systematically engaging in what they considered benevolent enterprises. I believe although broken America is one of the greatest nations in the world. Do I believe we should feel superior over all other nations because we are what we are? No. We are not the judges and jury’s to the world. The belief and ideals we have are fantastic, but are these ideals better than say Norway’s? We could look at Norway or Iceland and say they are exceptional over us because of their low crime rates and penchant for staying away from wars. Does this make them better than us? In my eyes it does, but I cannot speak for a nation of people, nor should anybody else. It is fantastic to have pride in your country, but this pride should not stir up supremacism. I have always believed America should keep to herself. Trying to find nations we believe should be a democracy then enforce said beliefs by military force is wrong anyway you look at it. This concept that America is exceptional above all other nations is the exact way of thinking that caused other nations to hate us.

“Civilization is a youth with a molotov cocktail in his hand. Culture is the Soviet tank or L.A. cop that guns him down.”
Edward Abbey

The great thing about quotes is you are not always there to bare witness to what exactly was going on when these things were said, or for that matter in what context the quote is being used. What I love about doing these pieces on the philosophy of quotes is it allows me to find a quote that speaks to me and add my own philosophical spin on it. I am a fan of many things Abbey has said, but I like this quote, because the question is “what did Abbey mean by this?” Edward Abbey was an author, and primarily known as an environmentalist activist; many of his quotes resonate on a deeper political landscape.

In many of his writings and quotes you can tell Abbey was opposed to any form of government. In his opinion the only just government is no government at all. He once said Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.” Abbey had very little faith in man to do the right thing. His claim is if we are not even able to take care of ourselves and be responsible enough to make the right decisions; then what does that say about man’s ability to rule a nation. This sentiment was repeated in many of his famous quotes. I wonder what Abbey would think about our society now, with the discovery of global warming and the oil spill. I can only imagine he is rolling in his desert grave.

Describing civilization as a youth, and one with a primitive weapon in hand; says to me that in anarchy there may be violence, but this violence is minor, yet necessary to right the ship of society. The description of culture being a tank or L.A. cop gunning this youth down represents how quickly and swiftly our culture can break us down. He is saying the violence and destruction this youth will bring is nothing compared to the level of violence and oppression our current government shells out.

In one of Abbeys quotes he says; Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.” The youth’s purpose in an anarchy run society is to stir the stew, keeping us from being overrun with the greedy, but because of our culture the powers that be prevent this from happening; hence why our society has slowly fallen a part. We have no youths standing up and demanding change. We do not have this, because we know it isn’t possible. We have no recourse but to submit to our masters. 

I often think about what our society would look like if it was over run and anarchy reined supreme. I think the concept of anarchy sounds great, but just like socialism it is corrupted by mans hand. I think you look at any government system and on paper it sounds great, but somehow we end up screwing the pooch. If we were just to switch to no government it would not stop the corporations from taking over. They already hold to much power in this country imagine what it would be like if they were able to take the politician gloves off and truly have at us. As a society we could still have our Molotov cocktails, but the corporations would have the tanks and machine guns. There would still need to be some sort of hierarchy. There would still be the few who held all the power, and the many who don’t. Abbey once said this about power Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.”

I go back and forth on whether big government is a good or bad thing. I suppose like most Americans I am all for big government when it benefits me (universal healthcare) and against it when it doesn’t (bank bailout.) I think if we had honest people in office who legitimately cared about the country and the well being of the people, the more favorably the public would perceive our government to be. Our elected officials have been letting us down for the last thirty plus years. Instead of standing up and protesting for change and holding our officials accountable we have just grown to accept this as status quo.

We have all grown tired over things remaining the same and we are always skeptical when the government legitimately tries to do something good for us. Take the healthcare reform bill. The democrats were finally able to make a push towards universal healthcare. Everyone was positive about it until the special interests killed it with the negative ads regarding the change. People starting freaking out thinking we would become socialist if we accepted this change. The majority of people wanted reform, but as soon as that magical picture box started saying negative things, is when people started to believe this was bad. Its amazing how much power that little box has; isn’t it?   

I think our government in its current form is as destructive as they come. This is true whether you are talking about republicans or democrats. Abbey had this to say about our conservative leaders our ‘neoconservatives’ are neither new nor conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell.” And this to say about democrats One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain’t nothin’ can beat teamwork.” His sentiments and complete lack of faith in our system is harrowing. The sad part is during his time; he would have been in the minority for thinking this way. I think today he would most definitely be in the majority. I look and wonder where are our Edward Abbeys to try and stir the pot? Where are our youths holding their molotov cocktails? I can easily answer these questions. We are indoctrinating our youth to become blind followers of the establishment.

We have accepted things as they are without questioning them, or partake on any real quest at changing them. We have been so hypnotized by money, media and possessions that we have been blind over the hijacking of this country. Big business has infiltrated our government, and we have just sat here and allowed it to happen. We have not stirred our society up enough by questioning our leaders and challenging their policies. The end result is we have let ourselves get overtaken by the scum of the earth. Our elected officials are demons in suits, selling lies to the gullible.

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
Karl Marx

I was doing some reading on various government structures and came across oligarchy, and I was shocked on how closely America resembles this type of governmental structure. As I did some more reading I came across a form of government called corporatocracy which actually defined our structure better. Many Americans think they live within a Liberal Democracy which favors the freedom of the citizens of the state. Every 2-4 years we have the freedom to elect new officials whose purpose it is to serve their constituents. These elected officials do not serve us they serve the corporations lining their pockets more than the people. I would like everyone to sit back and ponder this. Do you feel you live in such a nation?

An oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, or military control. These states are often controlled by politically powerful families whose children are heavily conditioned and mentored to be heirs of the power of the oligarchy. In this country we do not have royalty, but we do have great wealth that controls most of this country. I am sure the children of these wealthy people are groomed to take over when they pass. I wonder if the ruling rich can be considered royalty. Who ever controls the country controls the military. The military fights for our safety and well being, but at the same time guarantees there is no possible way the people can revolt.

Oligarchies have been tyrannical throughout history, being completely reliant on public servitude to exist. The corporations controlling this country would not have the means to operate without the people. In the movie “Capitalism a Love Story” by Michael Moore he shows a letter from I believe US Bank sent out to their “Elite” customers stating the only thing standing in their way of a complete “plutocracy” is the American people’s right to vote. A Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy or power provided by wealth. The combination of both plutocracy and oligarchy is called plutarchy.

Robert Michels believed that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy. He called this the “iron law of oligarchy.” According to this school of thought, modern democracies should be considered as oligarchies. In these systems, actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians’ careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is only one political party, the incumbent party.

Corporate oligarchy (Corporatocracy) is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative.

One of Satan’s greatest deception was tricking the people he does not exist. I wonder if the greatest deception our government has done is tricking us into believing we are truly free.