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.
If 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”.
“We are living through the most dangerous challenge
to the free government of the United States
that anyone alive has encountered.”
Juxtapositions, oxymorons and other somewhat paradoxical encounters can presents useful intrigue, piquing our interest considerably more than more mundane occurrences. David Frum and his new book Trumpocracy, might present just such an experience for you. (more…)
“A democratic society becomes very fragile
when [Truth] the central common good is assailed…
directly and repeatedly”
~ Robert Reich
What are the most fundamental components of any democracy? Robert Reich, speaking on the theme of his book The Common Good, suggests that “truth” (which he defines as a “common good”) represents one of the most significant foundations of any democratic endeavor. Regardless of sociopolitical persuasion, preservation of high standards for truth should be paramount in our thinking. Democratic governance depends on such a perspective. However, according to Mr. Reich and many others, the manner in which certain government officials portray the concept of truth represents a clear and present danger to the very foundations of democratic institutions.
In this 40 minute video, Mr. Reich presents his case around three general categories: (1) how did “this” happen (2) the central problem we face and (3) what are we going to do?
In defiance of the FCC
On March 5, 2018, Washington State governor Jay Islee signed into law some bold legislation – HB2282: entitled “Protecting an open Internet in Washington State”. In direct defiance of the abolition of net neutrality by the Federal Communication Commission or FCC, Washington State became the first state in the Union to defy what some consider the corporate takeover of the Internet at the behest of the United States federal government. Other state governments are resisting the FCC by warning Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) that no state government business will be conducted with companies that do not comply with former net neutrality rules. While appeals attempting to restore net neutrality on a national level are already in place, even if such a restoration is upheld by the Senate, the House of Representatives is not likely to reverse the FCC’s December 14th, 2017 decision. Armed with the knowledge that the vast majority of Americans (including most Washingtonians) favor net neutrality and anticipating the aftermath of the FCC ruling, Washington State and an increasing number of municipalities have mobilized to counteract the federal government’s seeming willingness to defy the will of the People.
Two Items from Jen Hofmann’s
Americans of Conscience Action List
It has been more than a year since the current person occupying the White House along with a curiously right leaning Congress began implementing changes which have altered and at times threatened the lives and wellbeing of common people. Even those who support the person whom some call “45” have begun to realize the People are not his primary interest.
Last year, many began flying a banner with the essential sentiment “Resist!”. When a perceived wrong is being committed by anyone—an individual, a collection of individuals or a government—resistance represents the bare minimum activity for people of conscience. But resistance is not enough. We who truly do seek the wellbeing of the People should be focused primarily on proactive behavior that seeks to enhance or at least maintain the rights and privileges Americans have come to expect.
In this light, for well over a year, Jen Hofmann has been faithfully posting both opportunities for various types of action and thanks to those who have acted on behalf of others. Although we have posted several links to Jen’s Action List in the past, we have not yet passed on anything from her list this year. Today, we correct that. Take a look at a couple entries from Jen’s list. Better yet, go over to her page and choose something to do this week. (more…)
Introduction to Part II
We began this journey with the Sophia Burns article on the movie, The Last Jedi. Uncharacteristic for the Star Wars series, the general message was curiously populist—that people cannot rely on leaders or grand heroic figures to “fix things”. We must rely on ourselves. In this second segment of Inside-Outside, we consider the driving forces within us and our collective experience as these forces impact our ability to choose. Toward the end of the article, a simple exercise is presented—an exercise which, if employed diligently, could revolutionize our daily lives. (more…)
Remember the post from last summer when we highlighted Timothy Snyder’s book On Tyranny? He has begun a YouTube series called “Timothy Snyder Speaks”. Take a look at episode 7, in which Professor Snyder talks about “The Evil of ‘America First’”.
Prof. Snyder describes the series as informal talks that fall between “the 90 seconds” afforded during a TV interview and a 45 minute class lecture. Each is a five to fifteen minute treat of a learned person concerned about the current political climate in America. Agree or disagree, his gentle, almost offhanded style should allow you the opportunity to debate with yourself in an open, civilized manner. While your there, check out other episodes in the series.