Published on March 12th, 2019 | by Chris Cartelli0
Democracy In Free Fall
March 12th, 2019 by Chris Cartelli
The foundation of the ‘great experiment’ is eroding – America has lost its way. This is not new, as history is littered with failed ideologies and withered empires. Democracy, socialism, and communism are not inherently flawed systems, as they all have their ‘good’ and ‘bad’ points, but we’ve seen each of these systems historically fail at one point in time or another.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, a group that rates these things in several areas, “The US scored a 7.98 out of 10 last year, dropping into the flawed democracy category for the first time. The change reflected what the report said was “a sharp fall in popular confidence in the functioning of public institutions. This predated and aided the election of Donald Trump, according to the think-tank.”
The open hearing of Michael Cohen was a troubling indicator of this very statement. The Republicans on the committee had only one end in mind – protecting the President and thus themselves. Truth was not on the table, their only motive was to discredit, ridicule, and undermine the testimony. Logic tells us that the way to proceed in these hearings is to take statements along with evidence and evaluate them with respect to other material and known facts. The Republicans were not interested in evidence, and blind adherence to an individual that reigned over their reelection was their only consideration. Had the shoe been on the other proverbial foot, I suspect the Democrats would have acted no differently.
Democracy, as a philosophical justification, falls under the heading of Rule Utilitarianism. Fundamentally a rule is right if the majority ‘benefits’ from it, a stop sign being an example of rule utilitarianism. While it has its short comings it can, on paper at least, enable a society to function relatively well. The problem, the bug in the ointment, is that man is flawed — deeply. Democracy, just like every other political ideology, eventually erodes and crumbles at its very foundation from man’s greed, hate, dishonesty, and many other inherent failings. There is no utopian ideology, religion, or system — there can never be. The best any system can afford society is a degree of flexibility. It is what each individual does with that flexibility that determines his or her freedom. It is only on the individual level that man can find morality, freedom and happiness. Politicians do not care for this perspective, because their power is in convincing the masses that safety and freedom can only be gained through the system, specifically their system and not their opponents’ system! This, by the way, is not much different from most religious ideologies. Power and truth always remain outside the individual.
Trump ‘dangles’ power and wealth before all those yearning for it — and there are many! That is the source of individual power, an individual offering nothing is powerless. It is only when an individual — any individual or system — has something we want can they, or it, have power over and control us. Part of individual freedom is in the application of this realization.
Institutions, regardless whether political or religious, are not moral. They contain both moral and immoral individuals. When the immorality of the group outweighs or approaches the morality, the group is doomed to failure. Hate and greed can never be aspects of morality, regardless of the societal justification — again, watch the open hearing of Michael Cohen. Watch a President who has cleverly and decisively made lying a justifiable everyday propaganda tool. Watch a Mitch McConnell twist the truth and laws to appease his Kentucky 80% Trump-supporting base for the sole end of his own reelection. Watch evangelicals justify and dismiss Trump’s greed, lies, and blatant womanizing, and worse, giving him Bibles to endorse!
Man clings to the group for safety. The morality of the group is not an issue — Hitler’s Germany saw to that. American morality under Donald J. Trump sunk to a new low. Let’s be clear, Trump is just an indicator, the tip of the iceberg. The disease is systemic, and he could not have been elected if it weren’t.
So, how does man exist in a climate of corruption, dishonesty and failure? We should each ask ourselves what we would have done had we lived in 1938 Germany, would we have sat quietly by and, as a nation driven by propaganda not much different than our own, marched to war and cried out “Ich dien?” We always think that could never be me but it is — it is each of us. MAGA hats anyone? We live in a climate of unprecedented violence, hatred, and divide. Do we dismiss the errant actions of those we idolize and scorn those who don’t align with our beliefs? The instant we do that, the instant we fail to recognize that there is no individual, religious, or political system greater than the truth we become part of the eroding foundation. The instant we put hate, greed, and blind adherence before truth and reason, which should always dictate our actions, we become the failure of this democracy and every system before it and to follow.