Thursday, September 28, 2006

Your word of the day: Polyarchy

In the video below, Noam Chomsky points out, as everyone should already know, that the United States is not a true democracy. He argues that it is instead a Polyarchy, which he describes as "a system in which power resides in the hand of those whom Madison called 'the wealth of the nation', the responsible class of men, and the rest of the population is fragmented, distracted, allowed to participate every couple of years [...] and they have a little choice among the responsible men, the 'wealth of the nation.'" He goes on to explain that our government was "founded on the principle, explained by Madison in the Constitutional Convention that the primary goal of government is to protect the minority of the opulent minority against the majority." This would certainly explain McCarthyism, and the country's general aggression in fighting the spread of communism, as the opulent minority have the most to lose from communism.

He also argues that we are a one-party state, and that that one party has two factions claiming to be opposing parties. I disagree with this assessment, not because I believe that Republicans and Democrats are completely different animals, but because I don't think that the two are well-defined enough to be classified as factions. As I discussed yesterday, the division between the "parties" is based on an arbitrary and overly-simplistic taxonomy. Both perpetuate the current form of government rather than pushing for real change, but the issues on which they do differ are so disparate and tenuously connected, with so much disagreement within the broadly defined "parties" that calling them "factions" is even less accurate.

digg story

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