© by Stephen Neitzke, 2006After my experiences through the past two days with a thread of comments on the Truthout blog -- written in response to my "diary" cross-posting of "Bush Wiretapping In 1936 Nazi Germany" -- I had an apostrophe, you know, epiphany. It was unavoidable. The realization slammed home. The lib-progs (liberal-progressives) collectively turn off at the mere mention of the terms, "direct democracy", "populism", or anything related.
Initial comments to my diary cross-posting were very civilized. The anti-trollish rules on the Truthout blog are apparently well-enforced. There's a better cut of commenters there. But there was a change in the weather as soon as I began discussing the need to use DD outside the box of our mega-corrupt, pure rep govt.
There was no querying about why I hold my DD/rep-govt views and no discussion that indicated any examination of evidence pro or con. There was no expression of anything logical or reasonable. There were a couple of off-the-mark comments about demands to and by local and state govts for impeachments, but no grip on my discussion of people-handled solutions. Then there was just silence.
It could only have been a result of emotional-level turn off.
To me, this indicates that the 200-plus years of money-power shills planting anti-DD propaganda is the root cause. From the "Federalist Papers" on, the anti-DD propaganda, sophistries, vacuous arguments, convoluted polemics, spin, and out-right lies have been a major activity of the predator elites.
Collectively, we the sovereign people cut through that propaganda barrier in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many tens of millions of Americans came to the conclusion that the prevasive corruption of their times negated the representative government that they wanted. They saw that the people are the only effective check and balance on governments wide open to corruption. (Never more true than today.)
They increased direct democracy from merely electing representatives to formulating citizen law, vetoing legislature-made law, and stepping out of government's "impeachment" cronyism to recall the elections of those who violated the public trust. Parts of those democracy increases went into the constitutions of 26 US states, 1898-1918. It was the Reform Era, the greatest democracy movement of recorded history.
Elites fought back hard. In all the states with direct democracy's I&R (initiative and referendum), they passed "administrative law" statutes that directed public officials and judges to violate the state and federal constitutions so that I&R could be controlled by the right people -- and the rabble kept down. Their unconstitutionalities -- "separation of powers" and "binding judicial review of proposed law" -- are so subtle and seemingly authoritative that the criminality is generally undiscovered yet today.
And, of course, the elites went right back into the hunt for effective anti-DD propaganda. They started with what worked for the "gentlemen" of the 1780s. Any sophistry / spin / bad-argument that worked was resurrected. Much of what worked in the 1780s was already time-tested. Much of it began working again in the 1920s.
There is no puzzle here. The Revolutionary War Era college education was the "classical" education of Greek and Roman texts studied in the original Greek and Latin. Anyone passing such an education through elitism's filters -- as did most of the college-educated "gentlemen" of the 1750s to 1780s -- would have seen that direct democracy had always allowed the people to limit the social, economic, and political power of the elites.
Conversely, seen through elitism's filters, the absence of direct democracy had always allowed the elites to gain obscenely excessive profits and power. The multi-branched abyss between populous rich and populous poor at the fall of the Roman Empire has probably never been equaled in any later society -- although the current US society is steadily approaching that overall situation.
I conclude that the anti-DD machinations of the elites, 1920s to now, dominate the emotional non-thinking of most Americans. I conclude that online lib-progs, as with the religious right and other right-wing extremists, are emotionally set against DD as any sort of governmental option -- especially at the national government level.
The remedy, if there is one, is to begin a project to use logic and reason to take apart the irrational, anti-DD propaganda -- bad argument by bad argument. It won't be earth-shaking. We only have to open some minds to a willingness to examine evidence and to react cerebrally, not emotionally.
I've suspected for a long while that such a project would be necessary. Writings of mine from 1999 to 2003 are laced with sections on the bad arguments of anti-DD propaganda. Still, it took a few months experience with the lib-prog blogs to turn the suspicion into reality.
The project is necessary. Pro-direct-democracy and pro-people logicians wanted, preferably with legal training or philosophy of law backgrounds.
No matter how extreme any near-future catastrophe, including collapse of the national economy in WMD attacks, a bird flu pandemic, financial-industry-triggered global depression, or eruption of one or more of the 3 western-states super volcanoes (all way past due in their natural cycles -- one would be a near-extinction event for the human species, worldwide), there is no hope for pro-people help from the lib-prog community until their emotional rejection of DD/rep-govt has been reversed. In the anarchy following such a catastrophe, the lib-progs would be out to resurrect the Democratic Party.
The importance of the current emotional rejection of DD/rep-govt by the lib-progs should not be underestimated. There are a number of populous ideologies ready and waiting for national or global anarchy -- so that they can take power. Any one of them would re-introduce another anti-people elitism that will simply plunge us back into the same old, deep doo-doo. We'd be right back to the species-juvenile super-competition among elites for who gets to butcher the people next. Civil society would again be the private food chain of some favored few.
The threat of such a future is even wrapped up in the nebulous "consensus" of the World Social Forum -- a horizontal consensus waiting for the arrival of the behind-the-scenes vertical hierarchy..
Species-mature governance will not happen until an optimum system of sovereign, fully independent, direct democracy is mixed with a well-regulated and nonpartisan system of representative government.
Let the project begin. Watch for the series, "Direct Democracy vs. Sophism 101".