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One of the most complicated and frustrating aspects of operating a global capitalist empire is maintaining the fiction that it doesn't exist. Virtually every action you take has to be carefully recontextualized or otherwise spun for public consumption. Every time you want to bomb or invade some country to further your interests, you have to... Read More
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On Monday, the Monmouth University Polling Institute released the results of a survey that found that "a large bipartisan majority... feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a 'Deep State' of unelected government officials.....[1] According to the survey:"...6-in-10 Americans (60%) feel that unelected or appointed government officials have too much influence in... Read More
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First, a quick disclaimer or, should I say, a clarification: When I speak of minorities, as I will below, I do that as a person who belongs to a long list of minorities. I was born in a family of Russian refugees. Right there, that makes me part of a (rather small) minority. Furthermore, I... Read More
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Still too soon to tell?
In 2005, Germany transferred her high speed rail technology to China. Today, China’s HSR is bigger, faster, safer and cheaper than Germany’s, runs entirely on Chinese intellectual property and Chinese trains are displacing Germany’s in the world market. Coincidentally, in 2005, The Carter Center began transferringAmerica’s democracy knowhow to China. Today, China’s democracy is bigger,... Read More
"You all start with the premise that democracy is some good. I don't think it's worth a damn. Churchill is right. The only thing to be said for democracy is that there is nothing else that's any better. ... "People say, 'If the Congress were more representative of the people it would be better.' I... Read More
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Did you know that democracy is dying in Eastern Europe? That is the accepted consensus among the foreign policy establishment, from the New York Times and Washington Post to the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute and John McCain. Well, it’s not exactly democracy that is dying. Even these critics admit that the Polish Law and Justice... Read More
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The most striking feature of the failed Turkish coup has been the people’s response. The plotters did their routine right: they seized the broadcasting station, they sent a sortie to kill the president, they stationed troops in the vital points, they rolled out the tanks. They calculated everything but the people’s response. As the president... Read More
Before the West spreads democracy abroad maybe it could get some for itself. The US is an oligarchy in which government is answerable to six powerful private interest groups. In Europe governments are answerable to the EU, Washington, and private bankers and not to their peoples. In the UK the military brass has declared its... Read More
Sapience, not Sentience
In the modest and unassuming manner natural to this column, I advance a small proposal for the emendation of such tatters of the Constitution as can be found: For voting in federal elections, we should employ a literacy test to disenfranchise the majority of the population, to the infinite betterment of the country. This wise... Read More
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Recently while working on a paper concerning the English political journalist Walter Bagehot and his 1867 classic The English Constitution, I was struck by Bagehot’s heated objections to the Reform Act of 1867. An act introduced by the Tory government of Benjamin Disraeli and reluctantly supported by most Liberal MPs, it doubled the franchise in... Read More
What if you were allowed to vote only because it didn't make a difference? What if no matter how you voted the elites always got their way? What if the concept of one person/one vote was just a fiction created by the government to induce your compliance? What if democracy as it has come to... Read More
On Memorial Day weekend, scores of thousands of bikers arrived here for their annual Rolling Thunder tribute to America's veterans, especially those lost in our wars or left behind. But this year the tribute has been sullied by a squalid scandal in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Sick vets seeking medical care at the Phoenix... Read More
And can China get along fine without it?
So where are we with this democracy business? Last time I brought it up I left you with Robert A. Heinlein’s time traveler: It’s not clear that American democracy, as it has developed to the present, really is so wonderful. One of our big political parties somehow manages to market itself as the party of... Read More
Ancient Greek mythology explained the origins of the great Trojan War by claiming that the goddess of jealousy incited a quarrel among other goddesses over the question of which one was the most beautiful. Probably not even the Greeks themselves ever really believed this, but perhaps it makes more sense than most democratic political theory... Read More
Category Classics
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
An alliance of pro-immigrant Democrats and anti-immigration Republicans could finally fix our broken system
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind