THE INDEPENDENCE ILLUSION Radical Bleeding Heart image


The right-wingers deplore our supposed dependance on government, as if we could avoid it, but we cannot escape dependance on government without becoming dependant on criminals and robber-barons. In particular, our economy depends on government, and a large and complex economy requires a large government.

What matters is who controls the government, whose interests it serves, and how it goes about serving those interests.

Traditional governments were the instruments of powerful elites which served their interests by controlling the people. Essentially, their function was to force the people to serve the elite. If they presented themselves truthfully in their naked reality, such governments would be bound to inspire discontent among the people. That clearly would not do. So to pacify the rabble, the elites created the myth of benign government: they presented themselves as Divinely appointed to care for their inferiors. When that lie became too obvious, a revolutionary idea was born: democracy. The idea behind democracy is that the only way to make government serve the people is to make it responsible to the people.

That is easier said than done. The elites hate the idea and have been fighting it ever since. They are still fighting it. Given the fact that the idea of democracy is now universally accepted, at least in the west, it is truly remarkable how successful they have been.

They manage it, as the powerful often do, by turning language on its head. In the old days, when government oppressed the people, they claimed it served them; now, with a government designed to serve the people, they claim it oppresses them. When Ronald Reagan famously declared that government is the problem he really meant that democracy is the problem.

A problem, that is, for him and the elites he represented.

Those who claim to dislike government really dislike democracy, which they seek to replace with plutocracy. They never object to those agencies of government that can be used to oppress people, like the army and the police. They hate government when it helps people. They detest Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and food stamps. They say that they make people dependent on government. They object to the government of the people acting like a government for the people.

The idea of democracy is that people control the government which then acts in their interests. There is no harm in being “dependent” on an institution you control. Control, as we said before, is the real issue. But the plutocrats want us to be dependent on them instead. We would still be dependent (as we said, that cannot be avoided), but would cede control to those who only want to exploit us and serve themselves.

So when the elites (usually wearing a populist mask) rail against government, they are really trying to destroy government for the people. They also try to destroy government by the people, but in a less direct way. They do it through the power of money. In the first place, they control the economy through their control of money. That gives them enormous power regardless who gets elected or who elects them. Not only do they possess most of the money, but they control the very creation of the money supply. And secondly, they use their money to corrupt government.

Isn't it interesting how it always comes back to economics?

(Return to The Independence Illusion).

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