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American democracy


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A guide for diplomats and foreign policy makers.

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American democracy

  1. 1. 1 American Democracy The World’s Second Biggest Sham
  2. 2. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham Copyright © 2009 by Shivaprasad Srikantia All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without explicit prior permission from the author and publisher. Contains extracts from the book titled AMERICAN CAPITALISM, AMERICANOMICS, & MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS - The concealed economic and political secrets of capitalism that made America a superpower in less than one century, by Shiv Srikantia. First Edition : A06030610 EQUATION MERIDIAN (Publishing & Syndication) 10 Hornby Building, 172/174 Second Floor, Dr. D.N. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001 INDIA Limited edition Laser typeset at Equation Meridian, 1D Hillcrest Manor, Shankarpuram Bangalore 560004 INDIA
  3. 3. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 3 Presenting the World’s First Reference Handbook for Diplomats, Politicians, and Foreign Policy Makers living in an American-Centric world ! AMERICAN CAPITALISM, AMERICANOMICS, & MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS - The concealed economic and political secrets of capitalism that made America a superpower in less than one century, by Shiv Srikantia. International paperback edition : 530 pages
  4. 4. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 4
  5. 5. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 5 THE AXIOMS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY While it is believed that America represents the world’s oldest democracy, it is also widely believed that India represents the world’s largest democracy. However, neither nation can boast of an enlightened pool of citizens capable of understanding the sophisticated tenets of democracy. While America represents a democracy of uninformed citizens, India represents a democracy of illiterate citizens. Based on Thomas Jefferson’s ideals,both thesedemocracieswould belooked upon as complete shams. The Indian democracy is the greatest sham. The American democracy is the second biggest sham. In the real world scenario, religion, democracy, and honest public administration cannot coexist peacefully. Within most democracies, religion tends to suppress free speech. Religious societies persecute intellectuals. When societies support a large number of uninformed or illiterate people who are drawn to temples, churches, mosques, and synagogues, the death of democracy begins. In such democracies, the the general consensus of the ignorant masses might turn out to be horribly erroneous. Ignorance, illiteracy, and religious faith could be hazardous for a democratic establishment. In fact, even the American constitution clearly emphasizes the separation of church and state. This is the most fundamental principle that needs to be kept in mind by those wielding political power. However, Presidents, politicians, state government officials, federal government officials, and town officials routinely ignore the guidelines embedded within the constitution. Most citizens have not been made to understand the fundamental spirit of the constitution. Even during legal trials in everyday life, defense lawyers gently remind the jury and point out how the constitution has been violated. Good liberal arts education gives ordinary citizens something to talk about other than football,baseball, basketball, and the movies. Unlike science and business education, liberal arts education in a democracy empowers people with a remarkable body of moral and political wisdom handed down through generations. It also moves citizens away from senseless violence, and instructs them to behave more responsibly.
  6. 6. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 6 As America claims to represent the oldest democracy in the world, it would be worthwhile examining her democratic journey through the centuries. Incidentally, a wide array of books in American bookstores beckon citizens to learn about the new moral and political dilemmas faced by America’s military-industrial plutocracy. Incidentally,WilliamHudson has written abook titled American Democracyin Peril: Eight Challenges to America’s Future. The Russians, North Koreans, and Chinese will point out that the principle of democracy in itself is full of glaring internal contradictions. Democracies that respect the rights of citizens often become too dysfunctional. Democracies that are repressive run more smoothly than democracies that guarantee a lot of freedom. In fact, if we look closely, we observe that even the American democracy is somewhat repressive. Edgar Hoover, the most infamous director of the FBI is alleged to have abused his authority to maintain a well oiled American democracy. Many scholars believe that Edgar Hoover brazenly violated civil liberties. For instance, during the Korean War in 1950, Hoover wanted nearly 12,000 Americans to be imprisoned on frivolous charges. To many self respecting American citizens, it seemed as if Edgar Hoover was interested in establishing a police state by grossly overstating the threat from dissidents and subversives. However, President Truman was clever enough to know that Edgar Hoover’s recommendations were absurd, irrational, and impractical. In recent decades, American military commanders who fought wars did not know what they were actually fighting for. The real reasons for military aggression was hidden away as classified information by the civilian leadership in the White House. The reasons given to Congress, news media, and the military units were miles away from the truth. In a democracy, public support has to be obtained through deception. On the other hand, dictatorships that seek no public support can afford to be more truthful. In fact, dictators brazenly disclose their wily intentions. It is now possible to examine the degenerative evolution of the American democracy during a period of 200 years, and build a set of guiding axioms. The first axiom of governance is that a bad political decision by the White House administration would be better than no decision at all. It is said that the earlier generation of American Presidents took extremely bold decisions, and sincerely hoped that future Presidents would correct many of their serious mistakes. As America was a militarysuperpower, she had the political strength to withstand a lot of flak without buckling.
  7. 7. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 7 Most American Presidents wanted to boldly exercise their authority and move on, withoutgetting boggeddownbyminutedetails.Therefore,American Presidents often made decisions in a hurry. In the White House and the Pentagon establishments handicapped miserablywith astrong laborclass heritage,human emotions ratherthan intellectual reasoning guided military decisions. The decisions to use nuclear warheads in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were driven by human emotions. The decisions to go to wars in Vietnam and Iraq were made without carefully examining ground realities or deeper political consequences. Recently, a senior American military commander in Iraq resigned. According to the rumor mill, he was disappointed with the quality of decision making at the White House. Many decisions made from the White House have resulted in foreign policy fiascos and military blunders. In fact, a string of bad decisions have eventually got America entangled in nearly 50 military expeditions. A few thoughtlessly framed American policies have drawn third world nations unfairly into staggering levels of debt. Later, American politicians, capitalists, and opportunists have tried to negotiate debt reduction in exchange for permission to annex the nation’s mineral wealth or oil reserves. In some other instances, American politicians have tried to negotiate debt reduction deals in exchange for permission to set up military bases. In practice, these unethical schemes have worked very well. It has made America an economic and military superpower. Thomas Peterson has written a voluminous book titled Major Problems in American Foreign Policy. Incidentally, George Kennan, an eminent political scientist in the White House administration constantly criticized American foreign policy and the brash way in which Presidents made decisions. In the last century, George Kennan was every President’s worst nightmare. As he had a long life and lived for 101 years, policy makers had to face George Kennan’s criticisms for nearly 70 years. American Presidents believed that even if they did something terribly wrong, the nations of the world would eventually back them. This is the second axiom. During the last century, civilizations of the world had been ravaged by political revolutions, world wars, and economic failures. Nations of the world were desperately looking for a torch-bearer nation to follow. At such worrying times, the Statue of Liberty was highly symbolic. Lady Liberty stood tall as a figure of reassurance.
  8. 8. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 8 The third axiom of international politics is that if a lie was told repeatedly, it would become more believable than the truth. Moreover, in the real world political scenario, information about foreign nations was not easily verifiable. Often, even the United Nations was not in a position to seriously verify allegations. Therefore, well devised misinformation campaigns would be extremely effective in helping achieve political objectives quickly. Recently, the New York Times published an article that vigorously suggested that military analysts who had appeared on American network television channels to discuss the Iraq war had been meticulously tutored by Pentagon officials. Therefore, in a strict sense, these analysts were not independent military analysts as originally claimed by the news media and the Pentagon. The article in the New York Times also alleged that many of the military analysts had ties to military contractors operating in Iraq. It seems as if the Pentagon had engaged in a well orchestrated propaganda exercise to sway public opinion in favor of the war. Essentially, misinformation campaigns carefully designed to manipulate public opinion by concealing vital facts dupe the democratic system. Fortunately however, many military analysts who appeared on TV networks have expressed remorse for having intentionally mislead the American public on behalf of the Pentagon and the White House. However, a great deal of damage might have already been done to America’s image in the international arena. After the military adventures in Iraq, the American nation might have lost the trust of the international community. In the new millennium, the world will be extremely suspicious of American politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, Pentagon officials, business contractors, and aid agencies. Therefore,Americamighthaveto periodicallydemonstratehersavagemilitarypower to be feared. The fourth axiom points out that placing the economic security of the American nation in the hands of foreign nations would be imprudent. Therefore, all international trade laws had to be rewritten in a manner that would significantly benefit American interests. The fifth axiom aims at keeping mainstream society in a state of ignorance. The corporate news media had to be roped in to keep citizens either misinformed or uninformed This would give the ruling political class more leeway in framing foreign policies and national policies. An eminent scholar named Naom Chomsky expressed the view that the American news media was actually engaging in the activity of
  9. 9. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 9 manufacturing consent. There seemed to be an unholy alliance between corporate media and the politicians holding power. In its new role as a mouthpiece for the White House and the Pentagon, the American media was trying to steer public opinion. With support from Wall Street, media tycoons like Rupert Murdoch seemed to be more interested in building personal wealth than in maintaining high levels of journalistic sanctity. The sixth axiom of governance aims to keep mainstream society strapped to huge credit card debts, car loans, and home loans. American citizens have actually raked in a staggering $ 900 billion in credit card debt. In a democracy, debt has the ability to subdue individuals and make them submissive. A citizen crippled with credit card debtwould beless inclined to revoltorchallengeAmerican politicalphilosophies and policies. Therefore, credit card debts have paralyzed voters and taken away the fizz fromtheAmerican democracy.Withoutpoliticaleffervescence,American democracy now tastes as flat as draft beer. The seventh axiom of governance aims to nurture an extremely competitive society. The constant threats of layoffs and corporate downsizing would make mainstream society insecure. Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor has written a book titled Supercapitalism. According to Robert Reich, most American workers are struggling to keep up professionally. The lurking fear of layoffs would weaken the resolve of mainstream society to stand up and protest if their democratic rights were gradually withdrawn. The eight axiomaims to muzzle the voice of young Americans with an idealistic view of the world. American diplomat George Kennan advised college students in America not to get involved in politics. Looking back in history, World War I was actually started by a Serbian student who fired shots at an Austrian royal couple. The Hungarian Revolution against Soviet communists was spearheaded by students in Budapest. In Czechoslovakia, the Velvet Revolution was also spearheaded by students in Prague. In China, students had lead a protest at Tiananmen Square and embarrassed the Chinese government. In Indonesia, violent student protests are common. The ninth axiom aims to build an extremely overworked society. American democracy was built on a fast-paced capitalistic economic system that behaved like
  10. 10. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 10 a bicycle. When the economic bicycle was not peddled fast enough by mainstream society, it wobbled and fell sideways. In contrast, a slower economy that walked on its feet would have been stabler. Overworked citizens peddling the American economicbicyclehad no timeto participateeffectivelyin the democraticsystem.This gave the American President and the scheming capitalists a free hand. The tenth axiom aims to muzzle the voices of the American intelligentsia. Politicians and capitalists had always felt threatened by wayward intellectuals with superior oratory skills. Scholars, philosophers, and intellectuals with advanced degrees were incarcerated in college campuses. In universities, the practice of granting tenure was primarily conceived to keep the intellectuals under political control. Citizens with extraordinary philosophical insight and strong oratory skills began finding lucrative careers in religious evangelism.In fact, those with powerfuloratoryskills weregently weaned away frompolitical activismand installed in churches. This way, mainstream society was kept more religious and less politically astute. Middle class Americans were never told that a good college education could catapult them into exciting careers that assured political power and fame. Working class citizens were never told that college education could turn them into highbrow intellectuals capable of steering the American democracy in the right direction. Instead, working class college bound Americans were assured that a college diploma would eventually translate into money making opportunities that would extricate them from a life of poverty. Essentially, this was a flagrant departure from the basic precept of a college education philosophically enlightening the human mind and opening up mind boggling career possibilities. American college education failed to veer away citizens from consumerism without a dignified social purpose. Instead, American working class college education set in motion a social culture where young citizens developed a craving for earning and spending money. A bigger problem began to emerge when impoverished third world nations began to see American colleges as the trend setters. Many Asian nations began emulating America’s working class college education system. College students in America felt terribly alienated when the government imposed a ban on LSD, and refused to legalize marijuana. The American government condoned the use of land mines, biological weapons, and napalm bombs, but banned the use of
  11. 11. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 11 LSD and marijuana. This example graciously reinforces the theory that the law, as crafted by either capitalists or communists, is just another arm of politics. In general, laws might have to do very little with amorality. In fact, President Richard Nixon expressed the view that young Americans had begun to lose faith in their country and in America’s foreign policy. If American, Asian, and European colleges were imparting the right type of education to produce citizens who were independent thinkers, civilizations would not have fought so many wars or struggled so hard to extricate themselves out of poverty. Out of thousands of colleges scattered all over America, Asia, and Europe, only a few could boast of providing an education that was intellectually stimulating. A disproportionately large number of graduates from Reed, St John’s, and Franklin & Marshall have carved out careers for themselves in Washington D.C.Thesegraduates have eventually been enticed into money making by special interest groups. Their purpose in life, of strengthening the American democracy, has been temporarily derailed.
  12. 12. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 12 THE CORPORATE DEMOCRACY While visiting New York City, acute hunger once drove Secretary of State Colin Powell to get out of his limousine and buy a frankfurter from a street vendor. In a nonchalant manner, the street vendor ignored the social stature of General Colin Powell and demanded a dollar. The vendor was either a bumbling ignoramus, or a sophisticated intellectual confirming his deep understanding of the basic axiom of American democracy as envisioned by the founding fathers. In the last century, nations in Europe were letting intellectuals lay the foundation for a healthy democracy. However, after the Great Depression, the American nation desperately began turning to capitalists and business tycoons to revive the economy. Thereafter, American capitalists began imposing new ideas on the political system of the nation. The founding fathers would have wanted patriotic American citizens to forthrightly condemn warfare. However, during the world wars, when many special interest groups in America began benefitting economically from warfare activities, militarism became a tender obsession. Thereafter, American citizens were carefully manipulated by the plutocrats into believing that they must unconditionally support wars. No self respecting American citizen would have supported the Vietnam War or the second Gulf War in Iraq if they knew the correct reasons behind these military expeditions. However, erudite citizens in America who sensibly expressed the anti- war sentiments of the founding fathers were unjustly described as being unpatriotic. There was also a feeling that American corporate media, with ties to wealthy capitalists, was trying to assist political candidates who support big businesses. For nearly five decades, the common citizenry in America were kept ill-informed by the corporate media. This left an entire generation of American citizens in a state of debilitating ignorance. Later, a second generation inherited the ignorance of the earlier parental generation. In the new American democracy, the interests of the multinational corporations mattered most. Though America has tried to project herself as a giant economic power, nearly 20 percent of American citizens do not have adequate health insurance. After World War II, American businesses such as Exxon, Chevron, Bechtel, and Haliburton became politically powerful. Thereafter, American foreign policies were
  13. 13. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 13 being designed to help multinational corporations profiteer. The outside world and the United Nations slowly learned to see American democracy as a society guided by a powerful cartel of multinational corporations. Political scientists were amazed that a superpower democracy of 300 million citizens could be brought down on its knees by a cartel of big businesses. Living in the quiet shadow of American and European multinationals, small member nations at the United Nations have lost relevance. These nations have also lost their political bargaining power. In the international political space, American and British oil companies are politically and economically more powerful than national states in Asia, Africa, Middle East, and South America. It was ethically flawed capitalism and corrupt democratic ideals that created such powerful business entities. Research by American psychiatrists has established that there is a direct correlation between creativity and criminal instincts. Psychiatrists have enthusiastically pointed out that criminals show exceptional creativity which could be channeled for the good of mankind. Creative people also show deep criminal tendencies. If creative minds are not given challenging opportunities within the legal framework of society, their minds might turn to criminal activities. A nation’s best creative and intellectual talent is probably locked away in the prisons. In America, the Federal prison on Alcatraz Island and businesses in Wall Street hold America’s best creative talent. Herbert Marcus, an American political philosopher had casually expressed the view that modern industrial societies were repressive. Industrial corporations, like the military, gained brutal control by being uncouth and repressive. In the new world orderusheringglobalization,Americanmultinationalcorporations arebecomingmore powerfulthan smallnations.Moreover,eminentstatesmen,politicians,anddiplomats who do not tow the line of American and European multinational corporations are rendered powerless. On the other hand, politicians who help big businesses and multinational corporations land foreign contracts are rewarded with lucrative job offers. Incidentally, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was offered a high paying job by JP Morgan Chase. Richard Nixon introduced tax legislation that allowed American multinational corporations to reduce their tax liabilities significantly. While poor citizens in America began paying a tax of about 15 percent, American oil companies were
  14. 14. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 14 paying about 5 percent in taxes. The average American corporation was paying about 9 percent in taxes. These tax rates intentionally made multinational corporations very wealthy. Along with wealth came political clout and the power to shape foreign policies. Ruthless free-market corporate competition often lead to fatal restructuring and reckless downsizing. Most fundamentally, American and Japanese societies have failed to understand that aggressive competition is just a zero-sum game that can destroy the softer cultural fabric of society. While endorsing competition, a civilized society must never forget that every winner eventually burdens the society with a miserable loser. Therefore, as the effects of winning and losing cancel each other out, a competitive society’s bottom line remains unaltered. Jack Welch, the CEO of General Electric who made corporate layoffs trendy became a national hero in the golf course. Gradually, corporate layoffs and social insecurity began destroying the civic tranquility of American homes. Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University has estimated that corporate outsourcing could lead to the loss of more than 30 million jobs in America. As American families began living in fear, merciless capitalism made middle class American families insecure and dysfunctional. Young citizens who lost faith in society began acquiring self esteem by excelling in violent computer games or creating dreadful computer viruses. Many Asian, Middle Eastern, and European economies have made themselves excessively dependent on the American economy. They have become slave economies. A political disagreement with America could hurt their slave economies. To a significant extent, American consumerism might be supporting some sections of the European economy. Until the industrial revolution, American lawyers made a living defending the constitutional rights of ordinary citizens and criminals. After the industrial revolution, the lawyers discovered that defending the unconstitutional rights of business corporations was a more lucrative occupation. In the twentieth century, lawyers smelt more money in corporate law. Almost 60 percent of Congressmen are lawyers, and many of them practice corporate law. American Congressmen have become an integral part of the corporate fraternity. Through underground social networks, both houses of Congress are actually controlled by multinational
  15. 15. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 15 corporations. American social culture, with primary emphasis on money making, began producing a new political ruling class more interested in promoting capitalism than in rendering righteous administrative services to society. When this happened, America’s public school systems and health care systems began to break down. The new class of leaders who wished to make American multinational corporations extremely prosperous included Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney. In fact, Robert McNamara and Paul Wolfowitz were so intensely interested in money matters that they managed to jostle their way into the World Bank. While engaging in diplomatic dialogs with leaders of other countries, the new political ruling class had a knack of precipitating economic disputes which had the potential to escalate into wars. Fortunately however, these wars could benefit the American economy. In the big league political setup, George Shultz, Casper Weinberger, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were former business executives. It is said that Henry Kissinger had shown a great deal of interest in buying oil company stocks. Though President Richard Nixon did not demonstrate an extraordinary interest in accumulating money, his Vice President probably did. In 1973, his Vice President pleaded guilty to tax evasion. The American nation has been a trend setter in corporate driven international politics. Over a dozen corporate executives have held senior positions in the White House. They have crafted foreign policies with a sharp eye on economic gain.. Incidentally, Tom Watson Jr., the iconic President of International Business Machines (IBM), was sent to the Soviet Union as the American ambassador. In any intelligent democracy, where money can command political power, the social influence of business tycoons should never be underestimated. The participation of tycoons and multinationalcorporations in democraticpolitics is imminent.Therefore, their participation should be legitimized through appropriate legislation, and later controlled through close supervision. Perhaps, well laid down regulations can be utilized to influence the political behavior of major multinational corporations. In the new millennium, political emphasis will be on the economy. The crystal ball indicators point to corporate executives, business cartels, and banking fraternities
  16. 16. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 16 shaping vital policies. Instead of battling the waves of corporate incursion, it would be more sensible to ride along politically with the waves. Republican politics in America is currently embracing this philosophy. Unlike European culture,the extremelyinsular American social and political cultures were not cut for hard core international politics. Most American Congressmen knew verylittle about international affairs. The more intelligent of the American Presidents desired to focus on domestic issues and stay away from international issues. After the two world wars, the diplomatically inept American political leadership became increasingly dependent on military solutions. American B-52 bombers and missiles, rather than tactful negotiations, were becoming critical to American diplomacy in the post World War II era. With such a political make over, the best scientific brains in America had to be quickly sucked up by the defense contractors and put on weapons development programs. Often, modern societies handsomely reward people who can lie convincingly and dodge the regulatory authorities. In business and politics, it is the law of the jungle that is often upheld. Political scientists often point out that the law is just another arm of clever politics designed to keep power in the hands of the ruling elite. Technically, a government is just another political creation. The fundamental point to note is that governments and business corporations are fictitious entities that cannot be sent to jail. The government is just an imaginary legal entity created to protect the ruling class of politicians, bureaucrats, and state officials. A government cannot be punished with prison term for engaging in illegal activity, just as a business corporation cannot be punished with jail termfor engaging in illegal activity. When thegovernmentis found to be at fault, the politicians and government officials would not have to face charges or endure prison terms. Similarly, the corporation is another fictitious legal entity created to protectbusiness executives and high networth individuals.Fundamentally, the corporation functions as a fictitious entity that can limit the economic and political liabilities of high net worth individuals. When a business corporation defaults, or is accused of wrongdoing, the promoters cannot be held liable. Deeper thinking will reveal that democratic societies can be managed by either capitalists or socialists. However, American politicians endorse the view that
  17. 17. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 17 democracy and capitalism are natural partners. In a truly democratic society, even socialists, communists, and fascists must have a say. A nation cannot claim to have a sophisticated democratic system when socialistic ideologies are repressed. However, socialistic ideologies can be constructively criticized or challenged in a democracy. A democratic society cannot achieve its fair objectives with an anti- intellectual operational framework that is strong enough to completely represses socialistic ideologies. We must remember that the working classes from France, Britain, and Russia demonstrate a fair amount of scholarly thinking which has eventually helped them contribute to political thinking. Democraticsocieties in France,Britain,and Indiahavestrong socialisticcomponents. The Labor Party is Britain broadcasts socialistic ideologies. In France, a democratic society with socialistic ideals had a stake in the Airbus Industrie that was directly competing with Boeing in America. In democratic India, the government has a stake in many engineering companies, oil companies, and telephone companies. For American capitalists with a narrow world view, this might seem preposterous. France had an intellectual culture that exhibited a soft corner for socialists and communists. Unlike the Americans, the French wanted to have a spirited democracy where the capitalists and socialists could be pitted against each other. In some European nations, philosophy was taught to high school children. In France, adults were served with a dose of philosophy along with their morning coffee. Nothing would go unnoticed on the French horizon. After R.K. Rowling released her books on Harry Potter, the French intelligentsia examined the books to see if the stories promoted capitalism. While Americans relished watching football teams beat each other up, the French relished watching the capitalists and socialists beat each other up. Incidentally, the French consider themselves the most intellectually refined race in the world. There may be an element of truth in this. French and British colonists were zealous capitalists. However, in the British and French democracies, the common people of France and Britain condemned the colonizing agendas oftheircapitalists.TheFrench capitalists had colonized Vietnam. French capitalists had also invaded Libya and humiliated the Libyans. Mainstream civilian society in France had strongly disapproved colonialism, but the French politicians and capitalists had remained undeterred. In the Soviet Union, mainstream
  18. 18. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 18 Russian society disapproved communism. However, Joseph Stalin was not listening. Democracies actively spearheaded by eminent intellectuals, scholars, political scientists,and sociologists would haveensured lowerlevels ofnationalignoranceand higher levels of functional illiteracy. Those spearheaded by persuasive intellectuals, eminent sociologists, and brilliant economists would have ensured more equitable distribution of wealth, income, and social justice. On the other hand, modern democracies actively spearheaded by politicians and business tycoons might create economic, social, and intellectual divides within a society. This could lead to civic discontent and social uprisings. European leaders try to articulate complex ideologies in scholarly language. Their speeches readily find an appreciative audience within working class mainstream society. As America is still a young nation, it may take time for a critical mass of working class Americans to become politically and philosophically astute. Today, when American politicians address the people, their speeches have to be confined to elementaryideas. Devoid of intellectual content, these speeches fundamentally target the ignorant underclass. In America, White Anglo Saxon Protestants were an elite class who were unlikely to supporthonorablepoliticalcandidates in favorofsocialreformoreducationalreform. Upper class Protestant Americans did not want to confront the issue of poverty in the ghettos or the neglect of public schools. The affluent classes did not want tax dollars to be spent on educating poor immigrant children. In fact, wealthy American philanthropists were willing to help Ivy League universities and colleges with endowments, but were unwilling to provide funds for secondary and high school education. They wanted the American government to take responsibility for public school reform, but were unwilling to support political candidates interested in carrying out reform on a war footing. With these enigmatic attitudes towards social reform, the American nation was becoming extremely divided intellectually and economically. If we look closely, the American Constitution in its most pristine form actually endorsed racism and condoned slavery. Through the drafted constitution, capitalism and racism became somewhat native to American democracy. Just as European cultures were overly class conscious, American culture was overly race conscious.
  19. 19. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 19 Therefore,fromamorerealisticperspective,thereshould beno negativeconnotations associated with either American capitalism or racism. These may be aberrations which might get ironed out as industrial civilizations gradually attain philosophical enlightenment. Quite often, the American intelligentsia and the ruling club of capitalists and politicians did not see eye to eye. Soon, the intellectuals in America withdrew into their shells. After intellectuals withdrew from public debates, American democracy began to be commandeered by special interest groups, Wall Street tycoons, and Pentagon officials. Like the emperors of ancient Rome, Presidential candidates in America began organizing pompous fund raising banquets. If fund raising was banned, only the wealthy classes would have been able to fund Presidential election campaigns. Fund raising enabled the poorer classes of citizens to collect millions of dollars from American businessmen and WallStreettycoons.Later,big businesses thatgenerously donated money for election campaigns got a chance to help politicians frame national policies and foreign policies. Allovertheworld,thecollegeeducated citizens are reluctant to vote. Politicalleaders are not elected by the scholarly elite. In fact, the scholarly citizens tend to distance themselves from politics. The political leaders elected by the illiterates might be incapable of finding practical solutions to the complex problems of the third world. Eventually, the poor choice of leadership explains why there is such a great deal of mismanagement of domestic economic affairs in third world countries. In most third world countries, Presidents, Prime Ministers, and political leaders get elected by the illiterate and ill-educated masses. In many African countries, incompetent dictators get elected and run the government administration. At present, political leaders everywhere are generally the choice of the less educated masses of a nation. While class struggles were common in European culture, the vast majority of the European working classes idolized royalty that brutally persecuted them. However, it was the rebellious minority among the poor European classes that fled to America. Bewildered by the dominance of working class values in mainstream society, the
  20. 20. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 20 intellectuals in America began distancing themselves from local politics, social issues, economic issues, and international affairs. In fact, intellectuals started distancing themselves from mainstream American society. Mostintellectuals in Americabegan getting involved in politics onlyaftertheyretired into societies of senior citizenship. The American democracy has now become a democracy established on the silence of the intelligentsia. American politicians are also flaunting an anti-intellectual attitude. As intellectuals were capable of questioning traditional opinions and norms, the new generation of politicians condemn intellectuals. When a few intellectuals began confronting politicians, the newer generation of politicians pointed out that intellectualism was extremely undemocratic. American politicians claimed that intellectualism nurtured elitism and social inequality. Eventually, American society became industrially progressive and intellectually stunted. American middle class culture consistently failed to nurture a passion for philosophy, politics, poetry, literature, and art. In other words, the vital cultural elements thatcommonlygo into building an eruditeand cultivated democratic society wereneglected.Itis importantto understand thatintellectualismis notdirectlyrelated to formal education. Intellectualism is about acquiring a philosophical bent of mind and learning to think independently.
  21. 21. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 21 PLUTOCRACY AND THE BIG BRASS In the American democracy, an ensemble of 300 million well meaning citizens leave critical policy issues to 3 ethically frail politicians in the White House. Economists have developed the Public Choice Theory that suggests that politicians, government bureaucrats, and a small group of wealthy citizens control the decision making in a democracy. These decisions may not accurately represent the wishes of the well meaning public at large. Many foreign relations policies of the government benefit only the politicians, bureaucrats, and capitalists. Moreover, politicians and bureaucrats have the freedom to utilize tax dollars to bring benefits to themselves. George Stigler, an eminent American economist was of the opinion that special interest groups, capitalists, businessmen, and politicians would not hesitate to utilize the government machinery to evolve policies and regulations that would collectively benefit them. In many capitalistic societies, political leaders with government machinery at their disposal, can pursue their personal agendas. In a plutocracy, wealthy capitalists and business cartels indirectly govern the nation by forming alliances with politicians. Froma democracy of passive citizens, America began steadily turning into a plutocracy. In the process of rapid industrialization, the very fundamentals of American democracy were being menaced by an emerging plutocracy of big businesses, oil magnates, Wall Street tycoons, and lobbyists. Wealthy capitalists and business tycoons in America attempted to interfere with the democratic systems. They began guiding election processes through huge financial contributions. President Woodrow Wilson had warned that American capitalists wanted to gain enormous political clout. However, much to everyone’s surprise, Woodrow Wilson began allowing Wall Street tycoons to guide economic policies. In fact, he helped a powerful caucus of bankers create an organization known as the Federal Reserve. Thereafter, the power to control the supply of money was gradually taken away from Congress. At a later time in history, President John Kennedy expressed the view that the creation of the Federal Reserve was completely unconstitutional. Thefounding fathers of Americahailed fromaristocraticfamilies.In America,wealth
  22. 22. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 22 automatically bestowed political authority. American President Theodore Roosevelt doubted wealthy capitalists. Theodore Roosevelt felt that a corrupt alliance existed between big businesses and politicians. In fact, he initiated anti-trust lawsuits on many major American companies. After the office term of President Theodore Roosevelt,American capitalistswishedto graduallyeclipsetheauthorityoftheWhite House. There is a strong feeling that big businesses in America wish to wield a great deal of power over the nation’s political leadership. There is also a feeling that American corporatemedia,with unethicaljournalism,is tryingtoassistpoliticalcandidates who support big businesses. The corporate news media likes to focus attention on politicians who seem to be willing to form alliances with big businesses. Lately, even the American government has been uncomfortable with the extent of influence of big businesses and corporate media on American politics. In recent decades, Congress has been marginalized by American Presidents. American politicians hobnobbing with capitalists have tried to ignore the legislative branches of the American democracy. Congressmen are unable to influence actions of the White House. Political experts Tom Mann and Norman Ormstein have now written a book titled The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track. This book examines how the Republicans and Democrats got together and butchered the American democratic system. In the twenty first century, the Democrats have become wiser. Former Democratic Vice President Al Gore has written a book titled The Assault on Reason. This book patiently explains the weaknesses of American democracy and suggests solutions. Congress is in the process of passing tougher laws to modify the rules of lobbying in Capitol Hill. Under the new rules for the twenty first century, even shady political campaign contributions might be perceived as outright bribery. Now, it is up to the American fraternityof lawyers to cleverlydiscovertheloopholes and figureoutaway to circumvent the rules of lobbying and campaign funding. Big businesses and oil tycoons wanted to acquire political clout and diminish the effectual power of the White House. In the dark corridors of power, multinational corporations in the Fortune 100 list were striving to become political institutions. At every step, American businessmen, lobbyists, and special interest groups began
  23. 23. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 23 assisting the White House in crafting national and foreign policies. By the end of the twentieth century, the extent of meddlesome interference had reached epic proportions. In the last century, business tycoons redefined American capitalism and established new rules for the American democracy. Today, American capitalism is not just about market forces, stock markets, and the style of running an economy. Its outreach is far greater. American capitalism also establishes the way the government and the office of the President function. In a capitalistic society, money influences politics and policy. This is fundamental to American capitalism. When citizens of a nation choose the American brand of capitalism, they are choosing a political system where money influences decisions. In American capitalism, election campaigns are generously funded by rich capitalists, special interest groups, and big businesses. In America,business and politics areclosecousins.Politics has becomean interesting money game like poker. Many American companies like to hire executives with an established track record of savage political clout. In the annals of White House politics, big time politics had given a man named Dick Cheney many heart attacks. Therefore, a Texas based multinational hired Dick Cheney as their chief executive officer. For a very good reason, Dick Cheney had never completed his college education. According to British philosopher Bertrand Russell, man is born ignorant, but is made stupid by education. Brooks Atkinson, an eminent American journalist, had pointed out that it took five years to recover from a college education. A capitalistic intrusion into the White House political command structure occurred when George Bush chose Dick Cheney, the CEO of Haliburton Corporation as a running mate. Symbolically, Dick Cheney’s entry into the White House signaled the successful corporate taker of the White House. For citizens seeking more details, Lou Dubose has written a book titled Vice : Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency. From a political scientist’s perspective, American capitalists had managed to weaken the credibility of the White House. Though America was a superpower, the American President in the Oval Office had a very small group of advisors. Not only was a small team more prone to make serious errors in judgement, it was also inclined to be influenced or intimidated by capitalists and big businesses. It was easy for special interest groups, big businesses, and tycoons to influence a small team of advisors in the White House. It is said that very few American
  24. 24. American Democracy : The World’s Second Biggest Sham 24 Presidents have been able to win the confidence of the common people or received praise, until they were safely buried away in a cemetery in their hometown.