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Hierarchy and Fascism - How the Ruling Few are Destroying Democracy

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My first job in Security, I quickly realized, would not be interesting or exciting. Guarding an entry post at a nearly deserted business, the most challenging thing would be not falling asleep or going mad from boredom. Of course I still had to be observant but as I paced and scanned the vacant hallways I realized I would have to find some way to entertain my restless, idle mind.

Years before I had memorized a few of my favorite poems and thought that perhaps I could use the hours of solitude to memorize something of value. I had a pocket sized copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that my husband had bought, one copy for each of us and one for each of our children and I thought of all the documents it would be a good endeavor to commit to memory.

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As I paced for hours I would glance down at the book, reading a line, repeating it back in my mind over and over as I watched my area. As the hours wore on I would add sentence after sentence lengthening the amount I could recite from memory.

Looking back now, I am struck by the metaphor. There was nothing so important that I would ever guard in that building that wouldn't pale in comparison to the concepts embodied by these words, which I used at that moment merely to pass the time.

As I read the words over, the profound meaning in them stirred me. I had always been a deep believer in the concepts and at times, especially during the Bush War years that I had serious anxiety about the destruction of our most basic rights. As a matter of fact, my husband had gotten the little books during those years and said we should call carry them at all times to remind ourselves about tyranny.

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Being of Irish ancestry, I joked with him that I could smell tyranny. It was a sense that evolved in the Irish, thanks to the British, and I never trusted the government because to me it represented just another type of ruling elite.

But I thought the little books were a great idea. Everyone should carry these little books, not for ourselves as much as to wield against the tyrant, as a crucifix is wield against a vampire.

Still, as I committed the lines to memory the substance, the underlying philosophy and the way in which it was so artfully expressed was truly moving to my soul. Most people of course will recite the "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" when asked what they recall of the document but mine would be the lines that follow:

"That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

This says everything. Our rights are unalienable. And the only purpose of government is to secure these rights.

So why is it, how is it, that government is the very thing which we find ourselves defending against its tyranny?

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The reason is power. Unrestrained, unchecked, unbalanced power. "Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

The only power the government should ever have over us is the power that we give to it.

It has always been the dynamic that the elite, being small in number, must employ mechanisms of control over the masses. Throughout history the ruling class feared mobs and any large gathering of the commoners, because it was very apparent to them in these displays that rulers are vastly outnumbered by those they rule. If all of the masses rose up against the elite they would be overthrown and probably violently dispatched.

They used all manner to keep the populace in line, often controlling the press and thereby controlling public dialogue. When people refuse to be shut up, then government begins to become a police state, it becomes more authoritarian.

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I was born in 1970 in Wheeling, WV and have lived here all my life. I come from mostly Irish Catholic coal miners and railroad workers. My original academic interest was in teaching foreign languages studying both French and Spanish in High (more...)
 

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Michele Goddard

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To return power to the people we have to recognize and reject hierarchy in all forms because it is the fulcrum which the ruling elite minority uses to divide the masses and diminish our strength and silence our voices. The truth of the elite's crimes can't be heard when we are screaming at each other.

Submitted on Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 3:34:47 AM

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Art Costa

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People have been against pretty much every war, and yet, the government through manipulation of messages pursued.

I'm wondering when this democracy in the US ever existed? This was set up as a constitutional republic. Whether the seeds of destruction began there or not, one still has to ask "what are we, the people, taking back?"

I think we need to rethink what exists and has existed. I'm not satisfied with pure fantasies. People are told they need to struggle for rights, and these, even when laws are passed or constitutional amendments are added, do nothing to change the circumstances for those who pursued these rights. Perhaps we've been hoodwinked by thinking such "struggle" is meaningful. We've been chopped up into ever finer identities, and things are noticeably, measurably worse.

Yes Assange and Manning should be free to shed light on the corruption (by the way Wikileaks shed much light on nations across the globe, not just imperial USA). The USA has ruled the planet for some time - rights and democracy be damned. The decision was made to be an imperial empire...and if you look around you'll see that while our material exports have decreased, the US model has captured the entire world! Triumphalism!

Democracy?

We must first purge ourselves of self-deception regarding something we, here, in the US have once had. Only then can we become democratic in the true sense.

Submitted on Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 5:40:09 PM

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Michele Goddard

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I believe that the words in the Declaration of Independence were a response to British Imperialism and that the mechanisms of control were being employed then which is precisely why certain rights like the freedom of the press and assembly were focused on by certain forefathers. However there was an element who favored imperialism. These ideas have coexisted since the inception of our nation and before. I believe the modern desire between the two groups, one for communal egalitarian rule and the other for centeralized top-down hierarchy-based rule is something that occurred as a result of human evolution. Those cultures who remained hunter gatherers favored the top down style which fit their survival situation best and an egalitarian societies evolved from agricultural communities. In the former, the focus is on the individual in the latter it is on the group. It is true we haven't had a true democracy but I think the point is if we are to get anywhere close to it we have to recognise the things that are actively working to suppress the will of the people and have a plan to counteract it. If thoae who actively support authoritarianism are actively pursuing their goals and we don't actively resist and protect ours we will fall prey to them.

Submitted on Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 6:37:41 PM

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Art Costa

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There are, to be sure, ambiguities regarding the declaration of independence which is probably a much more exact way of describing the revolt against Britain by the settlers (not a revolution). The demands by the settlers - attributed to Jefferson - included the right to continue slavery (the Brits wanted all their colonies to end this practice), and to expand westward (the Brits could not afford to do this and demanded a halt to all expansion in the American colonies. It's told that most of the native Americans sided with Britain during that revolt (aka revolution).

I agree that there were various strains of thinking over time about the reason for revolt and "where do we go from here" once the revolt was successful.

My reading of the dawning of our species tells a different story than the one you describe. That it was hunter/gatherers who tended toward egalitarianism/communalism and agrarianism created both settlements and hierarchies.

I would recommend a recent book by Jeremy Lent, "The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning ".

By the way, I support a Gandhian form of democracy...but we've never had one here to "take back". I would also recommend a closer look at Libya during Gaddafi. A surprising example of grass roots democracy. Of course we snuffed it out and it's now a failed state.

Submitted on Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 7:05:27 PM

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Michele Goddard

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Thanks for reading and commenting but for clarity, when you correct my use of the word revolution and instead smdescribe it as a revolt, can you explain what distinguishes the two? Just some follow up so I fully understand what you are conveying there.


Also, when you speak of the "Brits" wanting to end slavery in all of their colonies I am curious about that because there aas a long and oroteacted battle, just like here, to eliminate slavery because the wealthy had bought off or attained political positions and used their power to continue the paracticw at all costs. Those opposing it in both instances, the US and the British were mostly common people who felt empathy with the slaves and saw them as human beings where the elite continued to sustain their position that slaves were not human beings and that treating them as property was perfectly fine and not even morally or spiritually a problem for them. England had one of the worst records on slave trade even kidnapping children and the poor from their own streets and sending them on slave ships. When they did finally outlaw slavery in Britian they STILL made exceptions for British territories outside of the mainland. The ruling elites were won over only by giving huge amounts of money to the slave owners to basically pay them for reparations for giving up their slaves and they were swayed up by the idea of using the slaves for cannon fodder for their imperialistic wars. I realize there are distinctions but the British desire to bring unwilling countries under their control by force and make them part ofnthe British Empire in itself is a form of slavery albeit not accompanied by the horror and abuse of other forms it is still the enslaving of people who have thenabsolute right to self determination.


One last questions. When you mentioned the British not wanting then colonies to spread westward, can you give some time frame to that for historical context. Thw French under Napolean owned the central part of the US. It would seem they would desire that area given they were warring the French. I hadn't ever heard someone make the argument that the British feltnit was too expensive so I want to read up on that aspect. I know the Louisanna Purchase was controversial because its Constitutionality was questioned by those who still had allegiance to the British government but in the end it was determined that being a treaty the Preisdent did have the constitutional right to enter the agreement.


Thank you for the conversation,


Take care,


Mic

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 11:41:02 AM

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I agree. We have to see with bottom-up eyes, ever looking for excessive, unnecessary, even exploitive or extractive top-down systemic patterns, behaviors and structures. Hierarchy is one of the easist to spot but hard to get rid of. As I write about in my book, even when given the opportunity to work in non-hierarchical work settings about 25% of workers prefer to hold on to hierarchy. I think these are the authoritarians-- the passive authoritarians who live a life needing to be told what to do by dominaror authoritarians.

Submitted on Monday, May 27, 2019 at 11:22:43 AM

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Thank you for your comments. I have just started reading your book and I'm excited with what I've read already and in regards to hierarchy I completely agree that there are people who prefer dominance or at least paternalistic government. My theory on that is that it is partly biological and partly a construct of the ruling class who constantly tries to destroy familial bonds so they can assume this emotional role as parent. Of course if we continue to acquiesce our parenting role to the sociopaths who desire only to create in us a slave class, we should assume that it will only lead to horrible conditions for us all.


Take care,


Michele

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 11:49:10 AM

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Susan Lee Schwartz

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Your summary "we have to be united against this most basic tool of hierarchy to steal our power - to divide and conquer us."

Such an easy equation results in this polarized society. Gary Brumbacks's book " LIFE'S TRIANGLES AND AMERIC A'S POWER ELITE " offers a look at what the power-elite are doing to sow fear, to cause us powerless people -- here at the bottom, to lose trust in the rule of law, which is really all we have to save us from the fascists and autocrats, and the hierarchies the create to run the whole shebang... while stealing every bit of wealth that we the people have.

To me, the fly in the ointment is for humans to learn HOW to recognize --and then-- to reject divisive rhetoric.

Humans are tribal entities, and identity politics thrive on the' deep, dark web', which promotes and provokes some very stressed, frightened folks (did i mention ignorant, too) .

We are seeing the UC--the unintended consequences of a transformational era -- one of information technology! Like all transformational eras in human history, things happen that we never saw before! Unprecedented.

Who'da thunk it??? That the anarchy of cyberspace, allows those who thrive on division, to promote that behavior and in the 21st century, to see a world revert back to warring tribes which distrust 'the other."

We were on our way to some kind of Global Earth, with semblance of the rule of law so that the bottom have a chance to affect change.

So Sad!

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 1:10:27 AM

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William WAUGH

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The most effective mechanism whereby the ruling few prevent any democracy is the mechanism explained by Warren D. Smith, Ph.D. in https://rangevoting.org/Cash3.html

Submitted on Friday, Jun 7, 2019 at 2:12:11 PM

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