Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Compelling Article on the Emergence of Elitism

David Swanson writes: It used to be 9-11 theorists. Then it was doomsayers wallowing in their post-Obama hope overdose. Now it's people who are afraid of majority rule and want to avoid it. At a recent book-tour stop there were three examples. First, one gentleman wanted to impose testing and allow only the smartest 10 percent of Americans to vote. The basis for this was his claim that "most people just don't have the sense that god gave a cat."

Second, a professor told me that if we didn't impose checks on majority rule the teabaggers would take over the United States just as the Nazis did Germany.

He later writes: The teabaggers will never ever be a majority. No activist group has ever been a majority. The one thing you can always count on the majority to do is . . . not a damn thing. The rights of individuals are being eroded in this country against the will of the majority, but with the support of an elite minority. Of course, we need to prevent a slide into fascism. The question is: how?

Going by public opinion polling, I would take the will of the majority over the will of our current government any day on just about any topic. But how do we get more people who hold enlightened views to get off their butts and do anything? I don't think we can do so by focusing on disenfranchising people, blocking majority rule, keeping the filibuster in place, or shielding elected officials from election challenges. I think we need to get more people more information, more education, and more useful ways to get active.

I have to agree with him. It's really damning of liberals and the left as a whole to engage this elitist train of thought, and it continuing on such a path may very well sink the left. Furthermore, what Swanson says of public opinion polling is absolutely true.

Do Americans want single-payer healthcare? Mounting evidence suggests that, yes, they overwhelmingly want single-payer healthcare.

And that only pertains to the main issue that's energized the Tea Party. From Paul Street's great article on the suicide of the Democratic Party,

* 71 percent of Americans think that taxes on corporations are too low (Gallup Poll, April 2007), 66 percent of Americans think taxes on upper-income people are too low (Gallup Poll, April 2007) and 62 percent believe corporations make too much profit (Pew Survey 2004).

* 77 percent of Americans think there is too much power concentrated in the hands of a few big companies (Pew Survey 2004), 84 percent think that big companies have too much power in Washington (Harris Poll 2007), and two-thirds think that “big business and big government work together against the people’s interests” (Rasmussen Reports, 2009).

*A majority of American voters think that the United States' "most urgent moral question" is either “greed and materialism" (33 percent) or "poverty and economic injustice" (31 percent). Just 16 percent identify abortion and 12 percent pick gay marriage as the nation's "most urgent moral question" (Zogby, 2004). Thus, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the population think that injustice and inequality are the nation's leading "moral issues” (Katherine Adams and Charles Derber, The New Feminized Majority [Paradigm, 2008], p.72).

* Just 29 percent of Americans support the expansion of government spending on "defense." By contrast, 79 percent support increased spending on health care, 69 percent support increased spending on education, and 69 percent support increased spending on Social Security (Chicago Council on Foreign Relations [hereafter "CCFR”], "Global Views,"2004).

* 69 percent of Americans think it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide health coverage to all U.S. citizens (Gallup Poll, 2006) and 67 percent “think it’s a good idea [for government] to guarantee health care for all U.S. citizens, as Canada and Britain do, with just 27 percent dissenting” (Business Week, 2005).

* 59 percent of Americans support a single-payer health insurance system (CBS/New York Times poll, January 2009) and 65 percent of Americans respond affirmatively to the following question: “Would you favor the government offering everyone a government-administered health insurance plan – something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and over get – that would compete with private health insurance plans?” (CBS-New York Times, September 23, 2009)

Yeah, I would definitely trust the majority over the government.

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