When you lay out a continuum of possible political points of view and compare it to the range of opinion in U.S. mainstream media it is clear that a narrow spectrum dominates, roughly Center or Corporate-right to Hysterical Right. Another way of saying it is that the greater, or at least a significant band of opinion, is excluded from the national dialogue. What then can only be called a propaganda system insists, relentlessly, that freedom and democracy are inseparable. What is meant by freedom in this sleight of hand, is capitalism, the favored value, trumping at all times democracy, which term is utilized not for its actual practice but in order to coopt its prestige. An obvious instance of this deception is in the workplace. If democracy is our highest value why is it not practiced where most of us spend half of our waking time? This question of course never arises in mainstream “debate”, chief proselytizer for the free market.
In private discussion however one can find libertarians and right wing ideologues scurrying to obscure the issue by claiming that we are a republic not a democracy! Or that the masses are not smart or well-informed enough to trust democracy. Well then, why not pair capitalism with republicanism in our slogans? Not quite as catchy, from a marketing point of view. And it begs the question, what does it mean? The answer, a system that allows a tiny elite of wealthy individuals and corporations to run things, an oligarchy actually, isn’t going to draw a lot of majority support so less insightful terms must be substituted. I think it was Jefferson who said that if the people are not sufficiently educated then educate them. If the choice is between education and throwing out democracy I modestly propose that we transfer a couple hundred billion dollars from the war machine towards true security.