Monday, July 2, 2007

The Perils of Plutocracy

Want a quick read on how sick and benighted our political culture is these days, and why Al Gore's new book is so timely and critical?

Just have a look at what the MSM is gushing over this morning: Obama is taking the lead. In the polls? At the caucus before the caucus? Heaven forbid, on the issues facing our political nation?

No: in the money, silly. After all, isn't that the only thing that matters?

It's all here and here and even here (shame on you, BBC—I expected better of you). Clearly, there's a place for this sort of thing—but on the front page, in your headline?

As I've said before here, money is marvelous stuff, and even capitalism has its virtues*. But if it becomes your primary signpost in the search for leadership, you are planting the seeds of self-destruction. Has the grim experience of corporate tyranny these past six years years taught us nothing? When you wed your future to a plutocrat, you get plutocracy. Sometimes, if you're lucky, a benign plutocracy, such as Rome had with Augustus, or as we had with our nation's founders or more recently, during the Clinton years. But after Augustus came Nero and Caligula; after Washington came Adams (and his odious Alien and Sedition Act, a gun that still smokes before our immigration-challenged society); after Clinton came...well, you know that story.

Yet our mass media, supported, it seems, by the Supreme Court, think that the corporate dollar is the only leader worth following. Is it any wonder that the politicians, ideological sheep that they are, follow along? Yet imagine the good that could be done with all the hundreds of millions raised by the candidates pursuing the magic moment of broadcast message—if only we could turn off the TV set and ignore the propaganda of plutocrats.

*As I've also mentioned before, capital is the virtue concealed within capitalism--in this case again, it's the tail that makes the dragon: the -ism.

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