This is a brilliant essay and a short and very worthy read. However, for what is worth, the author maintains an assumption that I think correct in theory and to some extent in practice, but he misses the truth behind the overarching reality of our socioeconomic and geopolitical evolution in America and all of the democracies comprising Western Civilization.
The warnings, starting with Plato and de Tocqueville to the present, concerning the dangers inherent in the evolution of democracies, remain more than valid, but they all underestimate the role of elites in manipulating, directing and utilizing the foibles of mass participation in self-government through the power of wealth, and in the 20th Century, the tools of propaganda and in the manipulation, in fact, the origination of mass consensus disguised as free choice.
In point of fact, the associated problems of mass self-rule, particularly that of an uneducated, civically ignorant population, are exponentially amplified to the advantage and the goals of the power elites. Unanticipated by the great minds in the history of western political philosophy warning of the inevitable end- game of mass democracy, tyranny, is the even more corrosive nature of the increasing concentration of wealth and power in a capitalism unrestrained by the rule of law.
A power elite able to control the collective desires and sentiments of the masses through the behavioral sciences, educational brainwashing and the overwhelming modern techniques of Madison Avenue and technologically enhanced programs of government media controlled propaganda is not a democracy, not even close. It is an illusion of democracy. Does it matter that if the end result is the same? I think it does.
A natural evolution of the stages of democracy may end with a form of tyranny equally unpleasant to that of an elite directed and prodded modified process, taking advantage of the same inherent flaws of democratic political systems, but chains self-imposed are easier to unshackle than those forced upon a people by an unassailable, and mostly hidden power elite.
As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends… to increase. And the dictator… will do well to encourage that freedom. In conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope, the movies, and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.
= Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next
We live at a time when the growing catastrophes that face Americans and the rest of the globe are increasingly matched by the accumulation of power by the rich and financial elite. Their fear of democracy is now strengthened by the financial, political and corporate elite’s intensive efforts to normalize their own power and silence those who hold them accountable. For many, we live in a time of utter despair. But resistance is not only possible, it may be more necessary now than at any other time in America’s past,
=Because We Say So (City Lights Open Media) (Chomsky, Noam)
“The Five Experiments.” Del Pino is one of the sons of the late Rafael del Pino y Moreno, the founder of Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial, and has been involved in asset management of the family fortune since 1998.
I worry that we might be blindly participating in the decline of our own civilization in the name of progress, that we might be losing our freedom in the very name of freedom. Our deified democracies are degenerating into a race where majorities vote for themselves with largesse ever increasing rights and ever decreasing duties. Freedom without responsibility and without moral constraints is not freedom, but barbarism. Indeed, once morals are sufficiently corrupted by the anesthesia of conscience and the passage of time, the sovereign masses, unconstrained by any rules at all, having already kidnapped truth and redefined right and wrong, will become ruthless arbitrary tyrants. This moment is looming on the horizon.