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View Diary: The political system is broken (287 comments)

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  •  Sheldon Wolin (4+ / 0-)

    "The fact that politically organized interest groups with vast resources operate continuously, that they are coordinated with congressional procedures and calendars, that they occupy strategic points in the political processes, is indicative of how the meaning of "representative" government has radically changed. The citizenry is being displaced, severed from a direct connection with the legislative institutions that are supposed to "stand in" for the people. If the main purpose of elections is to serve up pliant legislators for lobbyists to shape, such a system deserves to be called "misrepresentative or clientry government." It is, at one and the same time, a powerful contributing factor to the depoliticization of the citizenry, as well as a reason for characterizing the system as one of antimocracy.

    How is the role of the citizen being redefined and to whose advantage? Almost from the beginning of the Cold War the citizenry, supposedly the source of governmental power and authority as well as a participant, has been replaced by the "electorate," that is, by voters who acquire a political life at election time. During the intervals between elections the political existence of the citizenry is relegated to a shadow-citizenship of virtual participation. Instead of participating in power, the virtual citizen is invited to have "opinions": measurable responses to questions predesigned to elicit them."

    I read this today in the book I've recently started "Democracy, Inc: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism." (2008)

    He lays out how corporate forces have taken control of public sphere and shaped America into a totalitarian society, but have done so in a method very different from the classical totalitarians like Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. It's a fascinating read.  

    "Today is who you are" - my wife

    by I Lurked For Years on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:08:33 PM PDT

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