The Tyranny Of The Democratic Establishment
A case study of oligarchical manipulation.
The human mind’s endless malleability is always taken into account by tyrants that want to go any further than petty bullying. Getting someone to want to be your servant is obviously more desirable than forcing them into it, so a litany of reasons are produced by elites for the hierarchy to stay in place. When you remember this aspect about how oligarchies are run, much of the population’s belief that things like endless war, mass state surveillance, and a rigged economic system are to be glorified makes more sense.
The ideological knots the elite has tied to justify the status quo come in many forms, stifling independent thought, as they’re of course also meant to do, within almost all political circles. So my emphasizing the establishment liberal aspect of this problem in the title is mainly a play to the anti-establishment crowd, whose interest is most excited these days by such critiques (perhaps because it’s most taboo to voice those critiques). And I’ll use the tyranny of the Democratic establishment as an example of the larger turn our culture has taken towards authoritarianism.
Namely, the old guard liberal groupthink, like the oligarchy’s other ideological tools, tells its adherents to reject their roles as human beings who make up a universal community of life. It says to ignore wars for profit and their genocidal consequences. It says to disregard the suffering of workers who’ve been sidelined by neoliberal trade, families of color who’ve been hurt by mass incarceration, and other victims of Democratic policies. It says to treat things like climate action and wealth redistribution as secondary or even unpragmatic goals. Its message is essentially that adhering to the clique is more important than any human or environmental realities.
This detachment is made possible by shielding ordinary people from the direct consequences of supporting the clique, so that one’s worldview can be filled in with neutralizing slogans or with nothing at all. It’s no challenge for someone that’s never seen for themselves the tragedy and slaughter that our current foreign policy model causes on a daily basis to say interventionism is just a word. It doesn’t feel wrong for someone that’s never had to experience the all-encompassing miseries of poverty to call a living wage and universal health care unpragmatic.
Better still, people don’t need to be convinced to support something if they’re unaware it’s even there. Most of the time I’ve seen pro-establishment liberals explain their support for a neoliberal and imperialist entity by simply denying it represents those things, and for understandable reasons; Democrats are the most likely group to trust news outlets like CNN and MSNBC, which naturally avoid covering such subjects. This gap in historical knowledge is no coincidence; DNC officials are revealed to have written “the best way to do that is to keep the people ignorant” in the context of hiding Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street ties.
I could go on for a hundred paragraphs about how the empathy instinct is crushed by elites, in this case summarily through the establishment liberal echo chamber started by Podesta, Maddow, and others ten years ago, and the program the CIA has had since 2013 of sending secret agents into media outlets. But that wouldn’t answer the question of why this has all come to be.
Human beings have become uncaring for each other and for the natural world because they see things through the distortions of privileged modern life, where the experience of the less fortunate is witnessed impersonally and the biosphere looks like something separate. They’ve not noticed these objectively very clear illusions because pundits, politicians and certain academics have learned to affirm this into a useful ideology of detachment and ignorance.
These authority figures have been able to do this because, ultimately, we’ve let them gain such a voice. The oligarchical takeovers of the last half century, as well as so many of history’s injustices, would have been avoided if more ordinary people had stayed engaged and active in shaping history’s course-instead of only doing so in times of crisis as they are now. It’s disingenuous to act like these problems are purely the fault of a handful of corrupt politicians and businessmen; a certain small facet of humanity will always have the urge to take oligarchical control, and it’s our job to continually stop them from doing so.
This isn’t to be self-righteous, as I, like most others, have only been very politically involved since the inauguration. But I hope you consider it, and use it as a motivator for teaching young people or anyone else to make politics and current events a central part of their daily existence. If we create a culture that values the world around us in such a way, something like this won’t be able to happen again.