Monday, May 26, 2014

American Democracy: Challenged, Still Alive

“the dark truth of Cultural Marxism [is that w]hile it claims to stand for equality and against elite privilege, its method has always been to become the elite, not to destroy it. [R]adicals can win. . . through the growth of . . . elite, unaccountable institutions[--]the university system, for example, has been adding administrators at a much faster rate than it’s been adding professors. And the federal government has seen a steady abdication of power by its most accountable institution—Congress—to its least accountable institution—the bureaucracy. Vague laws give broad power to those who write the regulations. Trends like these . . . create fertile soil for radical power.”

--John Allen Gay, National Interest

Gay’s comment is on the money. Of course, “Cultural Marxism” is but a piece of Marxism, a religious-like world view that in its Communist totalitarianism form, engulfed culture along with every other aspect of human life. Gay singles out “Cultural Marxism” because he is writing about culture, but he himself broadens Marxism’s reach to all knowledge by describing academia as one of our “unaccountable institutions,” and to all government by naming bureaucracy another “unaccountable institution.”

As America allows academia and the bureaucracy to move beyond democratic control, we risk placing our fate in the hands of an increasingly extremist elite. Fortunately, the latest Heartland Monitor Poll, an annual in-depth effort of the liberal National Journal to determine American political and social attitudes toward change, offers reassurance democracy still lives.

Summarizing the poll, the National Journal’s editorial director Ronald Brownstein writes that people seem unhappy with how our country is evolving, with 70% of those polled saying the U.S. "needs major changes," while only 25% opted for "minor changes." Significantly in the 6th year of Obama’s presidency, nonwhites were about as likely as whites to support major change.

Democrats trumpet continued failure to ensure equality, yet the poll reports that on "ensuring equal rights for all Americans," 51% said the country was moving on a positive path, compared with only 42% who thought it was on the wrong track. And while the Democratic left noisily pushes its anti-fossil fuel agenda, on the subject of "producing more domestic sources of energy," presumably meaning oil and natural gas along with green energy (“drill, baby drill”; “fracking”), poll respondents were 51% positive and 40% negative.

On all 12 of the other issues, those responding to the poll similarly landed on the other side of our current leadership, believing on all 12, the country is moving in the wrong direction. On expanding the economy and creating jobs, for instance, while two-thirds of Democrats said they see the country moving in the right direction, just 16% of Republicans agreed, and independents tilted alongside Republicans, with just 34% perceiving progress.

In a reassuring endorsement of democracy over elite rule, 74% of those surveyed said that "major social changes … in this country" such as civil rights and women's rights have happened because of "average Americans leading on the issue and pushing government" to respond. And in more bad news for our progressive national elite, just two of 16 organizations received a "mostly helping" rating from those polled: “community groups” (66%)--the so-called “civil society” that stands outside government--and small business organizations (64%), the heart of the Republican grassroots base.

This blog believes in democracy. In spite of all elite efforts to maintain otherwise, people are not only unhappy with the country’s current elite, they are looking for a new direction. And that new direction seems more in line with a conservative agenda--expand the economy, create jobs, boost energy production, and achieve major change by relying on the people, on small business, and on civil society at the local level.

Democratic political guru Joe Napolitan once taught us, “Never underestimate the intelligence of the voters, nor overestimate the amount of of knowledge at their disposal.” I would emphasize the “intelligence” half of Napolitan’s quote--voter instincts seem sound.

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