by Wallace Shawn
In 2004, in association with Seven Stories Press, I published a magazine called Final Edition that was designed to have only one issue.
Most of the writers who appear in this magazine live in New York. We are all “Americans.” We all live in the United States. And we have to think about being Americans, because this is a very unusual moment in the history of this country or any country.
A few months ago, the American public, who in political theory and to some extent even in reality are “sovereign” in the United States, were given a group of pictures showing American soldiers tormenting desperate, naked, extremely thin people in chains – degrading them, mocking them, and physically torturing them. (more…)
America is destined to Roman era decline, only at light speed! Before we can begin to solve problems we must first understand the problems.
Problem #1 – Democracy. Too many people with too many unfounded opinions, too many vested interests, too many de-facto legally created monopolies, with too many dreams, goals and aspirations all willing to step on the backs of others to achieve their goals!
Problem #2 – Economics. Poor resource distribution. Income and expenses are totally out of kilter! Economics as a science is sophisticated dogma at best, and as conjured-up in America, fails to paint a true and accurate picture of our economic world, resource base, wealth creation opportunities and wealth distribution.
Problem #3 – America has zero ability to compete globally. We are destined to become a nation of burger flippers.
Problem #4 – Mediocre legal and judicial system that enforces our totally dysfunctional system. Restrictive practices in the professions, trades etc. all intended to benefit a few at the expense of the many.
Problem #5 – Every new law is designed to carve out a niche of protected activity for some special interest sector of society!
Problem #6 – A huge population of know-nothings. Even those with top educations often know little to nothing! An educational system from kindergarten up to graduate school that deserves nothing but shame!
Problem #7 – A body politic that is second to none in terms of personal selfishness, foolishness and short sightedness!
Problem #8 – A military hegemony that has few true friends on the planet that has created the conditions for about 5 billion people, or barbarians in Roman speak, to one day crash down our gates and enslave the American population. From the vantage point of God’s accounting ledgers, one would say, and deservedly so!
So, with all of these problems there is only one real solution, only one possible way to right these wrongs, only one possible way to harness the once mighty American industrial machine. This way is NOT found in voting nor democracy nor elections, nor congress, legislators, governors, judges or county clerks…
One fears that those who so strongly urged George Washington to claim a crown, to forgo democracy, who foresaw the folly of democracies, will be proven unquestionably correct!
You want real leadership then our answers lie in benevolent dictatorships! Many will recognize this leader as a Philosopher King. Ronald Dworkin once gave us the idea of the all knowing, timeless intellectual giant that could ponder the rubrics of our time and lead us to just and fair results.
For those fearful of the yoke they will shout DICTATORSHIP or DICTATORSHIP of the proletariat! How much would our lives really change? China developed state backed capitalism? It is time for peaceful revolution. Americans are cows. They can be lead to the bolt gun with easy credit!
Philosopher King? Yes, who would make a good Philosopher King?
By Roger D. Hodge, from The Mendacity of Hope: Barack Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism, out this month from HarperCollins. Hodge is the former editor of Harper’s Magazine. Reprinted from Harper’s Magazine, October 2010 issue
As we prepare yet another round of offerings to the demigods of America’s political religion we would do well to remind ourselves of what our electoral votives truly signify. Ideally, our ballots purport to be expressions of political will, which we hope and pray will be translated into legislative and executive action by our pretended representatives. Through hard and painful struggles, against daunting odds, our forebears and elders fought so long for voting rights—for unpropertied men, for women, for blacks—that we may perhaps be forgiven the error of thinking that casting a ballot is the perfection of civic virtue, the ultimate and sovereign duty of the citizen-ruler. Alas, the agony of citizenship is never ending; voting is the beginning of civic virtue, not its end, and as suffrage has expanded so has its value been steadily debased. The locus of real power is elsewhere. Wealth and property qualifications, poll taxes, and the like are very far from being historical curiosities; they have simply mutated. Campaign contributions and other forms of political spending have assumed that old exclusionary function, and only those who can afford to pay are able truly to manifest their political will. Voters still “matter,” of course, but only as raw material to be shaped by the actual form of political influence—money—which molds the body politic by realizing itself in the ductile mass of common voters.