Beyond Representative Government
By Mike Meyer
We definitely have a problem with democracy. It’s difficult to ignore although a large percentage of the American population is very hard at work doing just that. The majority thinks the problem is Trump and the disastrous collapse of the Republican Party into a racist and fascist front. That is a problem and an ugly one but, as I and many others have been saying, these are symptoms that are part of a much larger problem.
In fact I’ve come slowly to realize that I’ve been stumbling around the problem for the last six months and refusing to see it. I’ve even said it several times in the way you do when you are trying to convince yourself while talking to someone else. It’s hard to overcome a lifetime of indoctrination and belief. I’ve spent a lifetime paying taxes, working for political outcomes, defending the country, working, educating students, raising children and then grandchildren. All of this was done, reluctantly sometimes, but in the end as American.
I’ve given up on this emotionally several times over the last forty years but not really. It’s not the kind of thing that you can easily give up because we have so much of ourselves invested. And for everyday living it has been good until you realize that the technologically driven growth of information has made it impossible to ignore several contingent realities.
American society has been long dedicated to hiding the reality of racism.
The first reality is that America is a product of racist privilege. You just don’t see the privilege that you were born with. If you don’t see it you can’t judge it. American society has been long dedicated to hiding the reality of racism.
The second reality is even more complex. We have gained tremendous innovation and wealth from the evolution of market based capitalism. But as with all systems considered in the dynamics of historical change, variables change, and what once was good can become bad. In fact it can become very bad unless significant changes are made to adapt to new realties. From the analysis of capitalism by Marx in the mid 19th century, to the detailed analysis of capitalism in the 21st century by Thomas Piketty the structural problems…