Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Suggestion Box For Slaves

Why no intelligent discussion can ever occur in the hellscape of politics...

Consider this an epistle to my progressive/liberal/social-democratic friends:

On Nov 2, all over the United States, polling places will open to allow people to vote. It’s a good bet that those who have a vested interest in state power will use those polling places to vote for one of the competing politicians, each of whom presumably has their own plan for the exercise in livestock management known as “government”. In truth however, most of these politicians act as mere symbolism – fetishes to draw the rest of the masses into the voting booth. This one is “for hard working middle class families” , that one is for “plain old folks who have had enough” – they use their various cultural touchstones, carefully crafted to appeal to certain demographics, and yet it means very little in terms of actual policy. The plan is largely already set in motion and carries too much momentum to be stopped by the mechanism by which it is rubber-stamped.

The “Democratic Party” says they don’t want to lose their majority in Congress, but what have they done with it? They had a majority of the House of Representatives, a super-majority in the Senate, and the Presidency. And yet, they have seemed to struggle and compromise on nearly every point on their so-called agenda. What stops them? Well there are a lot of empty words thrown about like “bi-partisanship” and “Republican obstructionism”. But technically, they should have been able to pass almost their entire agenda without compromise or hesitation, if they wanted to. Of course, that’s a big big big “if” right there. What more do they need? How much more perfect of a situation do they need to actually represent the people who elected them, if they want to? Given basically complete power, they followed nearly the same plan, in all the ways that count, that a Republican administration would have. More corporatism, more war, no relief for the middle class or working poor. No advancement of civil liberties.

One must begin to wonder where the real power is, because it certainly must have little or nothing to do with how many people in the federal government have a “D” or “R” in front of their names on C-SPAN. The same reason that the Democrats, having taken over the entire federal government, in effect, have changed little or nothing in the overall plan of that government’s operation is the same reason why I have very little fear of the Republican Party gaining nominal control of the self-same government. If the best we can hope for from the Democratic Party is to move the plan forward somewhat more slowly than the Republican Party, then clearly, another approach is warranted. No matter how many “D”s you elect anywhere, forever and ever, the plan will not be stopped or even halted.

In California, they have a small experiment in Direct Democracy known as the proposition system. Unlike the normal representative process, this system actually has a chance to change things, for better or worse. One of the propositions on the ballot this year is Proposition 19. This involves the full-on legalization of small amounts of marijuana under very circumscribed conditions. Despite those restrictions, this act would do a great deal of good for a great number of people and would only harm certain sectors of the plutocracy, who happen to be its major opponents.

Recently the Democratic US Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced that the U.S. government will attempt to “vigorously enforce” federal prohibitions on marijuana if Prop. 19 passes. As a member of the federal government, he is a slave to the plan, like all the rest. The backwards illogic masquerading as “reasoning” put forth as an excuse for this opposition is, in part, that it will strengthen the large drug cartels. Of course, as anyone who has studied either economics or history knows, quite the opposite will result. According to a Rand Corp study on the matter (as if we needed one, but hey) Prop 19 will cut into the cartels’ overall profits anywhere from 3 to 23 percent, and could drive them almost entirely out of the US market. So one might begin to wonder if these wealthy drug cartels, who operate ostensibly in the dark without a trace, might be funding some of the opposition to this Proposition. In fact, it would only stand to reason that they are funding the overall “war on drugs”. And seeing this, one might begin to understand that this same mechanism could be at work behind the entire plan itself.

Such efforts of course are largely futile and laughable. The federal government can’t afford to flood the whole state of California with DEA agents, and they can’t force the hand of local governments that will quickly see the benefits of Prop 19 on their local economies and citizenry. Officials who try to subvert it will become very unpopular, and those who staunchly support it will become very popular, largely. However, what the federal government can do, and what they will do, is selectively enforce the federal laws. Those people who find their way on to an “enemies list” or are inconvenient or particularly troublesome to the powers that be, will be more likely to find themselves visited by the DEA. As before, this is a microcosm for all centralized law enforcement. In fact this is precisely the mechanism behind most of the financial scandals we have experienced, including much of the “subprime/bailout” nastiness recently.

Seeing all this: the futility of representation, the hidden hand of plutocracy behind regulation and the selective nature of enforcement – even if you don’t know how to improve the situation yet, at least you can begin to understand that this system such as it is can never get you what you want. Knowing that, you might begin to look for other ways that you can.-Anna Morgenstern at Center for a Stateless Society

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