In rethinking the American Union I struggled with finding a term or definition that accurately describes government in the 21st century. Terms from a bygone era such as representative democracy, republic, or aristocracy miss the mark. The term “inverted totalitarianism”, coined by political philosopher Sheldin Wolin, comes to mind. But that too misses the mark in my opinion.
Our modern day government and political system is what I call “Managed Socialism”. This may change over time to Managed Totalitarianism or something else, but I think the current state of affairs is aptly characterized by the term Managed Socialism. What are the key components of this system? After much thought I’ve condensed the list to six specific components:
1) Maintain the illusion of legitimacy. This is done under the guise of elections and representative government. If the people vote the government is therefore legitimate regardless of the laws or policies enacted. Moreover, low voter turnout (i.e. 50%) ensures the people remain complacent and apathetic. Representative government in modern times is a far cry from representative government envisioned by the founding generation. Originally, there was one representative for every thirty thousand people. Today, that ratio is one representative for every seven hundred fifty thousand people. This is not representative government. If the original ratio of representatives to people were adhered to we’d have approximately 10,333 representatives in the House of Representatives. Now, if you apply today’s ratio to that of the founding generation there would have been 5 representatives in the House of Representatives. In fact, there would have been less representatives than there were Senators. Undoubtedly, the founding generation would not consider this representative government.
2) Propaganda and mass media control – Under the guise of an open system that supposedly advocates for freedom of speech, the government, political parties, and the main stream media corporations control information. The content, messages, and meanings are either suppressed or managed for a desired effect. Any attempt to speak out, protest or otherwise question the authority of the government is marginalized, trivialized, or demonized publicly as violent, racist, extremist, etc.
3) Party Politics – Two political parties with opposing views and policies while working to protect their power and the status quo. Neither party represents constitutionally limited government or federalism. Neither party protects unalienable rights. Neither party protects property rights. One party gives us Medicare Part D the other gives us ObamaCare. One party gives us No Child Left Behind the other gives us Race to the Top. Both parties bailed out the banks and the banking system and transferred the debt to the public. Both parties continue the Ponzi schemes known as Social Security and Medicare. Both parties support the TSA, and pass laws like NDAA.
4) Maintain an illusion of freedom – Government centrally manages critical components of the economy (i.e. money supply and interest rates), enacts laws or implements regulations to restrict or constrain certain free market choices, or eliminates/subsidizes entire industries and businesses to advance their ideology, further entrench themselves in the political system, or to secure votes from some voting block. Moreover, under the pretenses of a Constitution, the government itself acts as sole and final arbiter of its own powers through a judiciary claiming independence and fidelity to the Constitution, while blessing acts that are in conflict and violation of the Constitution.
5) Intimidation and Fear – The mere threat of arrest, fines, prison, or indefinite detention is the powerful tool wielded by government to ensure compliance and obedience to any government law, act, rule, or regulation. The TSA, EPA, FDA, FCC, ATF, IRS, etc. are agencies that use the brute force of government authority to demand compliance.
6) Confluence of Corporate and Government Interests – A two-way street where corporations use the power of government and the law to further their interests, and where politicians accept donations in return. Pay-to-play politics that pits government and corporate interests against the citizen. Government bailouts, subsidizes (grants, tax breaks, credits, loans) are sweeteners to ensure a political outcome. Rules and regulations are used to control and manage the economy and environment to ensure a political outcome. The tight integration between the government and The Federal Reserve bank results in a top-down, centrally planned economy and banking system run for the benefit of a few and the detriment of society on the whole.
The illusion of a free society is more powerful than a totalitarian regime imprisoning or killing people. The illusion of a free society that voluntarily enslaves themselves to their government masters is more powerful than traditional slavery. Why use physical force on people when government provides the illusion of legitimacy through free elections and the people voluntarily enslave themselves. Is there any better system of slavery than a voluntary system of slavery?
Those that are not compliant, obedient, or question their government masters find themselves threatened with fines and prison to force acceptable behavior. Those that dare to exercise their unalienable rights to associate, assemble, or speech are marginalized and demonized by the media and government. Those that dare to demand adherence to the Constitution – the rule of law – are mocked and trivialized as some sort of historical creature unable to adapt and cope with modern day society. Those that stand up for individual rights, liberty, and property rights they are called selfish and greedy.
Those that refuse to comply with unjust laws are fined, imprisoned, or killed. Does this sound a bit extreme? Is my statement a bit over the top? Try to do any of the following:
1) Refuse a TSA pat down or screening.
2) Refuse to pay taxes for unconstitutional government (which is most of the government).
3) Refuse to pay property taxes (are you the rightful owner of your property or not).
4) Refuse to comply with EPA regulations.
5) Refuse to comply with FDA regulations.
6) Try to produce or consume raw milk (you may get away with it but you are violating the law).
7) Try to use the light bulb of your choice (you may get away with it but you are violating the law).
8) Try to produce vegetables on your property and sell them at a roadside stand (this can be regulated).
9) Refuse to buy government mandated health insurance (assuming ObamaCare is upheld).
10) Use your property in any way you deem appropriate (i.e. put in a chicken coop, put in a pool, etc.). Regulations prohibit activities and permits are required to build on your own property.
We are told where we can live, what we can and can’t do with our property, property is confiscated for unconstitutional purposes, we are told what we can and can’t consume (eat, drink, etc.), we are told what kinds of products we can and can’t use (light bulbs, shower heads, toilets, septic systems, automobiles – the list goes on ad nauseum), whether we can or cannot own a firearm or specific types of firearms, children are forced to attend government indoctrination centers (i.e. public schools), etc., etc., etc. The money supply and the cost of money (i.e. interest rates) are controlled by central planners. Disinformation and propaganda is disseminated to confuse and frustrate the people. Television shows, movies, sports, etc. are used as the modern day bread and circuses to entertain and distract the people from the real issues. Elections are held to provide legitimacy to the corrupt system now in place.
Because we are allowed a certain amount of freedom and choice people comply with unjust, draconian laws robbing us of our humanity, dignity, and unalienable rights. This violates the ideal of popular sovereignty (the consent of the governed) as the people do not consent to unlimited submission to a powerful centralized government. Self-determination and self-governance means the people decide how to best govern themselves. Representative government does not mean one person represents 750,000 people.
Our free society is a cleverly disguised system meant to manage, control, and exercise dominion over the people under a veil of legitimacy. And, I call it Managed Socialism.