Monday, 19 September 2011

Voting Against Our Own Self Interest


"Money and power, in the service of money and power", has become the template upon which our human experience is built.

This is at once both obvious, and, in need of some clarification.

What is obvious today is that the multi-national corporations, and the politicians who serve them (along with the mainstream media, think-tanks and a host of unelected advisory and regulatory entities) together form the power structure that, virtually unopposed, shapes our lives.

It is further obvious that this corporatist structure is the source of the vast sums of money -- the enabling mechanism -- that now powers the policies and politics of our so-called democracy.

It should be obvious that the corporatist ethos now dominates every facet of our society and culture.

And it might be obvious that today's pay-for-play politics is, in reality, a self-perpetuating and self-reinforcing feedback loop, the negative outcomes of which we seem unable to escape.

Less clear, though, is how this situation came about, and what might be done to change it.

The history of mankind is the struggle for power -- the power to rule and to dominate -- by emperors and kings, and despots and tyrants. The great events of history have arisen out of this struggle, in which chaos and upheaval gave way to a productive equilibrium.

And recently, as we began to imagine ourselves as more civilized, having learned the lessons of distant history, we re-discovered the philosophies of the ancients.  It is from them that the liberal revolutions of the Enlightenment shaped the early traditions of democracy, and the notion of "consent of the governed".

And today, kings have been replaced by prime ministers, dictators by presidents. But the struggle for power remains, and our consent is now mostly manufactured.  The great liberal traditions that infused our founding documents in North America are being rapidly swept away.  The age-old desire to dominate still persists, and more than just natural resources are at stake -- after all, the minds and will of the people are the greatest prize, are they not?

This struggle for power simply reflects the tension that has always existed between the rich few and the poor many.  It is a tension that has been played out throughout the history of mankind, one that is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

Between the polar opposites -- government for the benefit of the rich, and government for the benefit of the poor -- is the middle way with which we are most familiar, a liberal democracy supported by a strong middle class.  However, as is increasingly clear from all manner of reports, the middle class in Canada and the US is under grave assault, and the gap between rich and poor unprecedented.

In his book Death of the Liberal Class, Chris Hedges describes how the central institutions of our liberal democracy have been co-opted as part of this assault on the middle class.  This diminution of the moderating force between rich and poor has positioned the elites to retake much of the hard-won gains of the liberal revolutions. As Hedges says,
"With its reformist and collaborative ethos, the liberal class lacks the capacity or the imagination to respond to this discontent.  It has no ideas.  Revolt, because of this, will come from the right, as it did in other areas of bankrupt liberalism in Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and Tsarist Russia.  That this revolt will be funded, organized, and manipulated by the corporate forces that caused the collapse is one of the tragic ironies of history.  But the blame lies with the liberals.  Liberals, by standing for nothing, made possible the rise of inverted and perhaps soon classical totalitarianism."
The institutions that comprise the liberal class, and the strong middle class necessary to sustain it, perform a very specific function in the liberal democracy in that it provides a safety valve through which reform is possible.  But when, as Hedges suggests, that safety valve is removed, discontent cannot be adequately expressed, and incremental reforms become impossible.  In the absence of change mechanisms that offer even the faintest of hope for greater equality, radical social movements can arise.

The dramatic shift away from liberal democracy in North America is generally attributed to the rise of right-wing forces inside the Republican Party in America and, more recently, the new Conservative Party in Canada.  The potent mix of neoliberal, neoconservative, corporatist and Christian Right ideologies has served very well the interests of the wealthy few over the needs of the many poor.

How has this been accomplished?  By what sorcery has the great liberal revolution been turned back?  It is a never-ending source of amazement that the great mass of citizens have no idea how completely they are manipulated to endorse policies through the "democratic process" that are in direct opposition to their own best interests.

To understand how consent is manufactured both here in Canada and the US, I am delighted to share an article from a recent volume of Humanist Perspectives, written by Professor Shadia B. Drury of the University of Regina.  Fake Populism describes how our naive conception of democracy, purposefully cultivated by the now dominant elites, provides the necessary conditions to enact five key strategies that manipulate the public into voting against its own self interest.

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Fake Populism, by Professor Shadia B. Drury

Our political culture is characterized by a radically democratic or populist rhetoric that belies the fact that we live in an unprecedented global oligarch -- which is to say, rule of the rich on a global scale.  Our political culture exudes so much populist rhetoric that one would think we lived in a radical (ie, populist) democracy that caters to the needs of the many, not the privileges of the few.  Even though oligarch reigns supreme, democracy is so revered in our society that it has become a new god.  People are willing to die for it, launch wars in its name, and bomb others in the hope of converting them to the true faith.  Unfortunately, our faith in democracy is as naive as our faith in God.  In my view, the prevalence of this naive conception of democracy allows us to be hoodwinked by our ruling elites into supporting an agenda that serves the interest of the global oligarchy while pretending to be radically democratic or populist.  To loosen the grip of the fake populism on our collective psyche, it is necessary to subject our view of democracy to rational scrutiny.

We have inherited our understanding of democracy from inflated American rhetoric such as Abraham Lincoln's memorable Gettysburg address, where he romanticized democracy as "government of the people, by the people, for the people."  But this vision of democracy is neither attainable nor desirable.  It is unattainable because it relies on the fiction of the rule of the people, as if the people had a single will.  In reality, there is no such thing as the will of the people; the will of the people is not a single unified entity but a plurality of diverse opinions and conflicting interests.  Any meaningful account of democracy must be nothing other than the rule of the majority.  So understood, democracy is only as good as the majority of the people in the society.  If the majority is ignorant and bigoted, then democracy will be the tyranny of the ignorant and bigoted.  This is why rule of people in the interest of the people is neither realistic nor desirable.

Ever since Aristotle, philosophers have acknowledged that politics is a perennial conflict between the few rich and the many poor.  The government in which the rich get a stranglehold on society is known as an oligarchy, or the rule of the rich in the interest of the rich and the exploitation of the poor.  When the many poor control the government, the result is a democracy or rule of the many poor in their own interest.  In such a radical or populist democracy, the rich are not given their due.  Aristotle was justified in thinking that both forms of government are seriously flawed.  Both forms of government invite a degree of animosity between rich and poor that can easily erupt into class warfare.  Aristotle rightly argued that both the few and the many, the rich and the poor, had claims to rule.  Because the wealthy can contribute to the enhancement of culture and the arts, and because wealth provides opportunities for self-development, self-cultivation, wisdom, and good judgement, the wealthy have a claim to political power.  On the other hand, just because one lacks the wisdom to rule, it does not follow that one cannot be a god judge of what constitutes good government.  In this view, many heads are bitter than one.  Moreover, an oligarchy may abuse its power and rule in its own interests.  In view of these considerations, Aristotle surmised that the best attainable regime is a mixture of democracy and oligarchy.  In such a mixture, a middle class that is neither rich nor poor emerges as a useful safeguard against class warfare that extreme disparities between rich and poor invite.
"In truth, the prevalence of policies that continue to favor the rich at the expense of all others invites class conflict."
Unfortunately, the common sense wisdom of Aristotle is sadly lacking in our time.  The rich have the upper hand; the middle class is shrinking; the gap between rich and poor is increasing dramatically.  Any effort to defend social justice by advocating policies that equalize the benefits and burdens of society is denounced as instigating class warfare.  In truth, it is the prevalence of policies that continue to favor the rich at the expense of all others that invites class conflict.

What made our democracy tolerable is that it was a compromise between the rule of the few and the rule of the many.  What made it succeed is that it has never been a radical or populist democracy.  It was a liberal democracy, which is to say that the will of the majority has been limited by the rule of law, limitations on executive power, separation of church and state, independence of the judiciary from the ruling party, and protection of the rights of individuals and minorities against the will of the majority.  All of these liberal principles prevent democracy from turning into a tyranny of the majority.  But the combination of liberalism and democracy was not a natural love affair.  It was more like the co-habitation of an odd couple.  Unlike democracy, liberalism is by nature elitist -- it prefers excellence to mediocrity, eccentricity to conformity, and unique individuals to collectives.  Writing in the nineteenth century, John Stuart Mill, the father of liberalism, felt compelled to defend liberty in an age of democracy (On Liberty, 1859).  He understood instinctively that democracy poses a serious threat to liberty.

The co-habitation of liberalism and democracy in our society makes us assume that the two are natural allies; we assume that democracy automatically yields liberty.  But that is not the case.  The conflict between them is particularly apparent when democracy is imposed by force on foreign soil, as it was in Iraq.  There is clearly less freedom and security under the democratic regime imposed by the Americans than there was under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.  During the dictatorship, Shiites and Sunnis could marry and live in religiously mixed neighborhoods, without fear of being abducted and killed; women could walk down the streets of Basra burka-free, without getting beaten up.  In the absence of the limits set by liberal institutions, democracy can be much worse than dictatorship.  What make our democracy workable is the deep integration of liberal institutions into its core.  But this process has taken several hundred years to develop, and cannot be recreated in an instant.  Our mad forays into foreign lands are fueled by historical oblivion to the fact that liberal institutions are integral to the proper working of our democracy.

In the current populist fervor, elitism has become a term of abuse.  It is an automatic way of discrediting any institution, society, or policy.  In my view, there is absolutely nothing wrong with elites; they are a fact of life.  every society has elites.  To call a society elitist is neither here nor there.  What's important is not whether a society is elitist, but rather what kind of elites it has -- there are good and bad elites.  Even a democracy needs elites.  In fact, it cannot function without them.  The golden age of Athenian democracy in the fifth century BCE could not have existed without the leadership of Pericles, who was an outstanding individual and a democrat.  To be a democrat is to believe that ordinary people have a capacity for good will and good judgement -- but only if they are informed.  Not everyone in a democracy has the leisure to be informed about all the issues -- that is the function of the ruling elite.  A good ruling elite must strive to make the popular will, the will of the majority, as good as it can be.  This means studying the issues, presenting the facts, setting out the pros and cons of alternate policies, and talking to the people as adults, the way Pericles did.

A decent ruling elite in a democracy does not pander to the people as if they were children, seduce them with promises of the impossible, mislead them into expecting the unattainable, or manipulate them for partisan political purposes.  Good elites in a democracy do not pretend that there are any easy solutions, magic cures, or fool proof policies.  Responsible elites do not claim to possess strategies free from all negative repercussions and unanticipated consequences.  What distinguishes a democracy from from an autocratic society is not rule according to the will of the people, but the existence of a plurality of good elites competing for power.  In other words, democracy and elitism are not incompatible.
"But liberals and conservatives have been replaced with neoliberals and neoconservatives.  These new elites serve the rich, impoverish the middle class, and ignore the needs of the poor."
Our conception of democracy is so naive and unrealistic that it has allowed us to become dupes of the most unscrupulous elites.  There was a time when good liberal and conservative elites competed for power in our democracy.  But liberals and conservatives have been replaced with neoliberals and neoconservatives.  These new elites serve the rich, impoverish the middle class, and ignore the needs of the poor.  Progressive conservatives [in Canada] have exited the scene.  Meanwhile, the Liberal Party [in Canada] has lost its way, and liberals have given way to neoliberals who support the same economic policies as the the neoconservatives.

The dramatic ascendancy of gargantuan wealth could not have happened without the acquiescence of the majority.  But how can this acquiescence be elicited?  It seems to me that there are at least five key strategies that are used by the ruling elites and their right-wing pundits to hoodwink us into a fake populism.  It is my contention that all these strategies are parasitic on the the prevalence of the naive conception of democracy criticized above.

(1) Demonizing liberal elites as champions of the lazy and indolent.
The first step is to delegitimize the elites in general, as being at odds with a democracy, and to define all elites as liberal.  Teachers, lawyers, judges, artists and university professors are counted among the elites, but not bankers, money-managers, corporate executives, or multi-millionairs.  In other words, the richest men in society are not part of the elite.  Instead, they are presented as allies of working men and women against the latte liberal elite.  And that is the coup de grace.

In a speech delivered on December 7, 2010, Christine O'Donnell, a poster-child of the Tea Party movement in the US, declared that evils usually come in threes, and that the three evils of the day were (1) the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, (2) the death of Elizabeth Edwards from cancer, and (3) the extension of unemployment benefits by President Barack Obama.  In the same speekch, O'Donnell made sure to praise the president for extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich on the same day.  At the heart of this apparent mean-spiritedness is the conviction that the capitalist system is meticulously fair and therefore rewards the virtuous and industrious.  It follows that the poor and unemployed are lazy bums who live off the tireless industry of productive, hard-working people.  By inventing a huge underclass of bums and free-loaders living off the largess of the state, the fake populist ideology forges a spurious alliance between the working classes and the ultra-rich.  The message is that the poor are not only stupid and lazy -- they are blood-suckers demanding the expansion of government to serves their interests -- and the liberal elites are their champions.  So, the working classes had better stand with the ultra-rich against the bums and liberal elites.  The working classes had better stem the tide of the free-loaders and the liberal elites by putting pressure on politicians to roll back social security, government health care, and the rest of the safety net.  The most striking thing about O'Donnell's world view is the total lack of compassion for working class men and women who are subject to forces beyond their control, such as inflation and unemployment.  This hostility to the working classes, who have suffered the consequences of a recession resulting directly from the greed and mismanagement of the monied classes, is what passes for populism in our time.  Although O'Donnell lost her bid for a senate seat, many other psuedo-populists have made their way to the corridors of power in Canada and the United States.  If their voices are not as loud and clear in Canada, the credit must go the uncanny ability of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to silence and censor members of his Party.  

(2) Undermining the liberal separation of church and state.
It is not enough to demonize the liberal elite; the triumph of fake populism requires the destruction of the liberal aspects of our democracy -- especially the separation of church and state.  This strategy involves using religion and so-called family values to demonize liberalism.  The idea is to blur the distinction between freedom and license; in so doing, liberalism is painted as the ideology of the vulgar, licentious, sexually perverse, and atheistic.  In this way, liberalism is presented as a threat to any decent, god-fearing society, while conservatism is the ally of the upright and devout.  This strategy has been brilliantly documented by Thomas Frank in What's the Matter with Kansas? (2004).  Frank argues that in the United States, Christianity has been used surreptitiously to demonize liberals and further a corporate agenda.  But a direct appeal to Christianity may not be as effective in Canada.  Accordingly, the Prime Minister has relied on a more ingenious tactic.  He has managed to convince a plurality of immigrant minorities -- Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs -- as well as Christians, to unite against a common enemy -- namely, the wanton, immorality of secular liberal society.  In this way, liberalism, which provided the solution to the warring religious sects of Christendom in the seventeenth century, may ironically be defeated by the miracle that made it possible -- namely, the existence of a plurality of religions living peacefully side by side.  The strategy is predicated on oblivion to the indispensability of liberal principles in the proper functioning of our democracy -- especially the principle of separation of religion from politics.

(3) Promoting a crude conception of representation.
Once the liberal elites are discredited, they can be replaced by the notion of anti-elitist ruling elites.  The trick is to blur the distinction between the people and the ruling elite.  On this view, representatives in a democracy are simply instruments of the will of the people, eager to do its bidding.  In a recent discussion on elites and elitism on CBC radio, former Parliamentarian and Reform Party member, Deborah Grey, seemed genuinely surprised that she was counted as a member of the ruling elite.  She believed that she was one of the people, representing the "gut wisdom" of the people.  Like Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, and other members of the pseudo-populist Tea Party movement in the US, our neoconservative elites regard themselves as mere servants of the will of the people.

This spurious conception of representation allows unscrupulous elites to pretend that all limitations on their power are limitations on the power of the people.  It explains how the Prime Minister of Canada can shamelessly declare that the judiciary should be accountable to his government, implying that the judiciary was just another pernicious liberal elite that must genuflect before the power of the people.  In an important speech delivered in Parliament in December of 2010, an opposition member explained that interference with the judiciary by the party in power is the essence of dictatorship.  In other words, dictatorship is parasitic on a crude or populist conception of representation.  In contrast, a more sophisticated conception of representation regards the representative as someone entrusted with power by the majority of his or her constituents; someone entrusted to exercise good judgment, guard the common good of the nation, and vote according to the dictates of his or her conscience.

(4) Introducing voodoo economics.
This strategy involves the dissemination of a voodoo brand of economics (also known as trickle-down economics) that promises to the magic star-dust that will save the world.  According to this economic "theory" the whole of society benefits when the rich get richer.  In the United States, this economic thinking has led to absurd policies such as huge tax cuts for the rich in times of crushing deficits, or the launching of irrelevant war that augment corporate profits while killing and maiming the children of the poor.  Supposedly, the economy is like a tide that raises all boats.

In truth, the economy is nothing like a tide.  The metaphor feeds on the naive view of democracy, which assumes that there are no conflicting interests -- the interests of the few rich by the oxymoronic.  This spurious conception of representation allows unscrupulous elites to pretend that all limitations on their power are limitations on the power of the people.  It explains how the Prime Minister of Canada can shamelessly declare that the interests of the rich are allegedly identical to the interests of the many poor, as if the exorbitant rewards for the rich automatically make everyone better off.  The reality is that in Canada, as in America, the middle class is shrinking and collapsing into the ranks of the poor and the unemployed; the contributions of the rich are inflated to astronomical proportions, while the contributions of ordinary people are dramatically undervalued.  The result is a growing deficit of social justice because the benefits and burdens of society are inequitably distributed, with the rich getting the lion's share, while the rest bear the heaviest burden.

(5) Cultivating the illusion of meritocracy.
The success of the economic agenda of the global oligarch and its fake populism depends heavily on exploiting the meritocratic conception of inequality on which liberal society is based.  Liberalism was a successful revolution that replaced medieval inequalities based on birth with liberal inequalities based on merit.  Unlike aristocracy, meritocracy regards life as a race in which status in society depends on talent, diligence, and hard work.  Appealing to our deeply ingrained meritocratic sentiments, the new elites maintain that the rich deserve their riches as a reward for their skill, ingenuity, risk, sobriety and diligence.

The assumption is that the wealthy are self-made men and women who have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps without any social assistance -- as if education, health, and other opportunities that enabled them were of no account.  In reality, all the ability of a great athlete or musician is of little worth were it not for the opportunities to cultivate them, and these opportunities are provided by the society into which one happens to be born.  This is why the wealthy should resent paying higher taxes.  They owe it to the society that made their achievements possible. 

When meritocracy replaced aristocracy, capitalism replaced mercantilism.  The latter was an economic system, based on power, privilege and monopoly.  In contrast, capitalism was based on opportunity, individual initiative, entrepreneurship and competition.  But the trickle-down economic claptrap has endowed corporations with hitherto unprecedented power that surpasses the oligarchic monopolies of old.  Society has become increasingly dependent on corporations that are "too big to fail" because their failure threatens the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people -- but if corporations are too big to fail, it follows that they are too big to exist in the first place!  However, neoliberal and neoconservative governments are reluctant to reign in corporate conglomerates; they prefer instead to bail them out with taxpayer money.

In this way, an inverted form of no-fail capitalism has developed -- a capitalism in which the profits are private while the losses are public.  This inverted capitalism makes a mockery of the meritocratic principle that was supposed to justify the inequalities of the capitalist system in the first place.  In light of this, it is uncertain how long the illusion of meritocracy that legitimizes the power of the wealthy can be sustained.

In conclusion, let me totally clear -- it is not democracy that our troops are fighting side by side with the Americans to defend -- it is the global oligarchy that they are dying for.  I have argued that this global oligarchy is sustained by a fake populism.  Moreover, the strategies used by the peddlers of fake populism depend on a naive, unrealistic, anti-liberal, and anti-elitist conception of democracy that is neither historically nor philosophically tenable.  Unless we divest ourselves of this untenable view of democracy, we will continue to fall prey to this fake populism and its consequences -- destroying the liberal elements of our liberal democracy, expanding the power of the corporate elite, creating huge disparities between rich and poor, dismantling the social safety net, and inviting class conflict

Postscript. The insights of Hedges and Drury are clearly important. But they offer only a framework for our understanding. The details and the nuances of their writings are certainly open to interpretation and debate, and we need not know or care about Aristotle or Plato, or Mill or Strauss. But we can't be blind to the facts on the ground. And the reality is this; the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the moderating middle class has very effectively been impoverished. And the politicians who serve the new breed of wealthy elite are utterly disdainful of the majority they supposedly represent because they know there's not a damn thing we can do about it. And maybe that's why they hold us in such contempt -- because we gave up so easily.

Don't think the political class holds us in callous disregard? How else to explain a presidential candidate who openly boasts (to cheering crowds) that as governor he has executed 234 men without a moments' regret or reflection. How else to explain a presidential candidate -- a medical doctor, no less -- who is not troubled by the death of a hypothetical man without health insurance (again, to a cheering crowd), and who failed to help his own campaign manager who died without health coverage. How else to explain the GOP's pompous bluster over Obama's tax plan, calling it "class warfare". How else to explain, how else to explain...there are so many examples every day -- I could populate this blog with nothing but the inane hypocrisy and mean-spirited pronouncements of the political class and their corporate masters.

And so it seems true that "if the majority is ignorant and bigoted, then democracy will be the tyranny of the ignorant and bigoted".

This is a train wreck in slow motion. We are witness to a catastrophe of epic proportions in the economy, the environment, social justice, human dignity, war and peace. And all the while, as the crime is being perpetrated before our waking eyes, the elites and their servants smile back at us smugly. And they'll soon be back for more -- in fact, they never stop taking. And when they've got all that there is, they'll ask for a small donation and our support at the polls. And we are dazed and confused, and we are compliant. And we call it, democracy.

Its been said that if voting was really effective, they'd have banned it by now. Our job is not to take power, our job is to hold the elites accountable. To this point, we've done a lousy job.

Update. You can't make this stuff up! I noted in the Postcript above that the politicians who serve the monied class are utterly disdainful of us, and hold us in apparent disregard. And I suggested that I could populate this blog with nothing more than examples that prove the point. This morning (Friday) we find two more of the many, one from the Washington Post, and one from the New York Times.

The Post reports that House Leader John Boehner managed to win approval, his second attempt in less than 48 hours, for an interim funding bill to sustain the operations of the government through to November 18. The beauty part, though, is that tucked into the legislation is a nasty little provision to cut $3.65 billion in disaster relief money from FEMA.

Not content with this bit of gamesmanship, 24 Republicans in the House voted against the bill in part because the reduction was not sufficient! It is reported that Boehner and his team  engaged in a frantic, full-court press to bring his fellow Republicans on side, and as the Post article noted,
"The extraordinary effort required to pass such a basic bill suggests even bigger battles later in the fall on potential blockbuster deficit-reduction plans."
As the article also suggested, it is clear that Boehner controls the House on paper only. The wild influence of the Tea Baggers holds hostage even the routine function of government. The Democratic majority in the Senate promptly rejected the House bill, and the charade will begin all over again. Drastic cuts -- this time in disaster relief -- are couched in the rhetoric of fake populism.

The second item is a commentary from Paul Krugman in The Times. In it, he refers (indirectly) to the on-going struggle between rich and poor; Obama's latest pronouncement that the rich should pay more in taxes (you can just smell the election rhetoric) brought immediate howls from the Republicans of "class warfare." It is the Republicans who wish to shield the monied class from an equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of society -- see strategies one, three, four and five in the main post. Krugman brings his usual clarity to the issue; estimates from the Congressional Budget Office for the period 1979 - 2005 show that inflation-adjusted incomes for the middle class rose just 21%, a rather modest growth rate. For the same period, income for the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent, rose by...wait for it...480%! So, as Krugman asks,
"do the wealthy look to like victims of class warfare?"
Krugman's commentary also speaks to the social contract, in which no one gets rich on their own, suggesting that the rich gain enormous advantage in a stable well-functioning society that provides the opportunities to prosper. I would point the reader to strategy five in the main post above, and the concept of meritocracy, to explain again how the monied elite strive to make the most of the benefits they enjoy while refusing to acknowledge the burdens they must share.
"Republicans claim to be deeply worried by budget deficits. Indeed, Mr Ryan called the deficit an existential threat to America. Yet they are insisting that the wealthy -- who presumably have much of a stake as everyone else in the nation's future -- should not be called upon to play any role in warding off that existential threat. Well, that amounts to a demand that a small number of very lucky people be exempted from the social contract that applies to everyone else. And that, in case you're wondering, is what real class warfare looks like."
Krugman's summary statement to his article serves well to close this post on fake populism.

Well, almost the last word. In a post at Truthout, an article says that Conservatives hate democracy. Well of course they do! And for all the reasons discussed above and in detail. Go to this article if you need further proof of the crisis we face -- and of the need to hold our elites fully accountable.

By David.

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Your musical accompaniment for the day: Mozart, Piano Concerto #19 in F, K459; Alfred Brendel, Neville Marriner, Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields.  Enjoy.


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