Friday, September 27, 2013

The Voice of the People

Tom Paine advocating the adoption of an American Constitution, urged cool and deliberate heads to prevail, lest some rabble rouser

". . . may hereafter arise, who laying hold of popular disquietudes, may collect together the desperate and discontented, and by assuming to themselves the powers of government, may sweep away the liberties of the continent like a deluge."

He was thinking of a 17th century uprising in Naples, a populist and tax revolt that ended badly because of the failure to control the mob and left Naples under the control of the Spanish Crown.  It's not a unique story. It's easy to think of more before and after that one. Can I help but to think of the mad remnants of the former Conservative party now spending endless millions on endless lies -- infuriating, frightening and focusing the anger of Americans against our constitutional and duly elected government, for the benefit of it's would-be overlords?  Can I help it when listening to Ted Cruz begging Americans to go back to Industrial Revolution era health care practices now when it costs far more than it did then?  A hundred years ago, if a worker had to miss a few weeks because of an injury incurred on the job, in a job that demanded 12 hour days and 6 day weeks and that demanded the worker live in filthy tenements, he was evicted and his family dumped out on the street, forced into crime or prostitution, disease and untimely death. Today, we have frustrated overlords spending millions and millions to dress that up as "traditional Values"  "Family" Values and telling us we can't afford health unless we have wealth.  It's too expensive. We can't afford to have "takers." 100 years ago when what passed for middle class meant squalor, a time when most people died in poverty and disease, it was enough that a tiny few made a fortune often using business practices that would make us wince -- unless we're Republicans.

Direct Democracies have usually succumbed to those desperate and discontented elements no matter how well off they may be, often led by cooler heads of the greedy and hungry for power.  Perhaps the kind of tactics now practiced by those who spend massive monies appealing to the public to take direct action against things that will benefit them and harm the aristocracy are simply following an ancient script.  That's why we were supposed to be a Republic, to have educated, enlightened professionals of our choice to make choices for us. Now the men who would be kings encourage Joe the Plumber - a man of the people who like so many men of the people just aren't smart enough, educated enough and are easy to rile up, delude, enrage and control. That's just what Congress was not supposed to be about; spokesmen for self justifying power.

"The Imbecile bourgeoisie of this country make themselves accomplices of the very people whose aim is to drive them out of their houses to starve in ditches" 

Wrote Joseph Conrad, back when we were starting to move toward the modern era, perhaps thinking that would ever change.


Criag said...

What is the source of the Conrad quote? I would like to use it but need to verify it.

Capt. Fogg said...

It's from Conrad's novel The secret Agent