Alternet - November 22, 2019

The argument for oligarchic control:
“With us in charge, we will keep you safe and happy and you really don’t need to concern yourself with the complicated work of governance. You don’t want to ‘tear down’ or ‘shake up’ the system: having a stable group of very wealthy people control the government has always led to the greatest level of stability and peace—look how stable Europe was for a thousand years when royal families and their landed gentry ruled. We’re the ones chosen by God or a brilliant DNA lineage to lead. Just go shopping and leave things to us.”

The current issue of the Atlantic magazine founded itself in the years just before the Civil War, is ominously titled, “How to Stop a Civil War.”

If we are, indeed, on the brink of a second Civil War, it’s already being waged as a “cold war,” with the occasional armed skirmish being provoked by the so-called alt-right movement. And, as in the past, this will be a war by the very, very rich against the rest of America.

This is not the first time we’ve faced such a crisis as a nation.

Each time, forces of massive accumulated or inherited wealth have nearly succeeded in taking full control of our nation, replacing a democracy, where the will of the people is accomplished through their elected representatives, with a form of government where most government functions reinforce the power, wealth and control of the morbidly rich.

This system of government is among the most ancient, stretching back 7,000 years, and is known to political scientists as oligarchyAristotle put it in context: “Tyranny is a kind of monarchy which has in view the interest of the monarch only; oligarchy has in view the interest of the wealthy; democracy, of the needy…”

Starting in the 1980s, oligarchy was sold to us by “conservative” religious figures (“Saint Reagan,” G.W. Bush was a godly man, Trump is King Cyrus, John Calvin was right that being rich is a sign of God’s blessing so nations are best run by rich people), as well as oligarch-owned media.

Starting in the past decade, this sales pitch has extended itself to a massive social media ecosystem majority-owned by a handful of American oligarchs, some of whom have expressed confusion about democratic governance and all of whom have directly or indirectly bought control of large numbers of local, state and federal legislators.

This led us from the “oligarch-friendly” President Reagan, to the conversion, in 1992, of the Democratic Party via the Democratic Leadership Council to become “oligarch-friendly” itself (a legacy it’s today struggling to undo). In 2016, oligarchs like Robert Mercer and Charles Koch finally put an oligarch himself, Donald Trump, in the White House. ...
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