Democracy That Isn’t

Antidemocracy does not take the form of overt attacks upon the idea of government by the people. Instead, politically it means encouraging …“civic demobilization,” conditioning an electorate to being aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy.  ~Sheldon Wolin from Democracy, Inc.

Demacracy as Fraud and Illiberal.pngIf we remain faithful to the cause of “democracy” as we know it, will everything turn out alright? Maybe? But maybe not. According to David Frum and others, we are beginning to experience what to the average mind appears as the unexpected fragility of democracy and democratic systems. Most of us feel this vulnerability as a “wrongness” within the current sociopolitical situation. To be sure, we differ on what is wrong and how to fix it, but most of us feel that our society is “off” in some way. Regardless of our current sociopolitical perspectives, Sheldon Wolin’s notion of “inverted totalitarianism” is most likely at the root of our troubles. Whether by its direct effects or the structures necessary to sustain it, our society has been skewed in various ways, skewed away from the revolutionary Thomas Paine’s notion of “democracy” and “freedom”.

This blog has made passing references to inverted totalitarianism and its author in the past. We are currently working on a thorough exposition of this important concept as a base for exploring various economic, political and social ills we face daily. As a broad (and unfortunately, not very well structured) overview, here are a couple videos that roughly introduce the concept and its importance. The first is an interview of Mr. Wolin by Chris Hedges. The second is a talk by Chris Hedges explaining the concept more fully.

You should be aware that the first video is long (~3 hours). Take your time. Take it in small sittings. To get an extremely thorough description (quite well written, in fact, and easy to read) try reading Mr. Wolin’s book Democracy, Inc.

Sheldon Wolin.PNGChris Hedges interviews Sheldon Wolin (2014)
Chris Hedge 6.PNGSheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism
explained by Chris Hedges (2011)

As a follow-up to the idea that inverted totalitarianism is and has been dominant in U.S. society, you might be interested in Chris Hedges presenting his views suggesting that “the fall of America” is (or might be) imminent. Mr. Hedges cites the work of authors who have described the classic characteristics of the fall of past civilizations and societies, drawing obvious parallels to the notion of “America” in general and the United States in specific.

CHris Hedges being interviewed.PNGChris Hedges on the Fall of America (January, 2018)