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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/16/14

The U.S. Is Abandoning Democracy, Becoming an Aristocracy Instead

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Each country is either an aristocracy, ruled by hereditary wealth and status; or else a democracy, ruled by the public or "demos" (without hereditary wealth or status being a major factor deciding a person's success).

It's either one, or the other -- or somewhere between those two political poles.


The American Revolution was waged against aristocracy (which was the longstanding system), who happened to consist of British aristocrats. The American Revolutionists fought to establish a democracy instead. They did this, though democracy had never before existed (except in very limited form, in very small places, such as ancient Athens, and even there only briefly).

Thus, the American Revolution was a truly revolutionary "revolution," unlike any before it.

Not only was hereditary status banned by the Constitution (in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8), but wealth itself was removed from political power. A property qualification (a requirement that one must own a certain amount of wealth), for the right to vote, was rejected by the members of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, even though a few members there had wanted such a requirement. However, even the few who did want that, such as Gouverneur Morris, said they wanted a property qualification only in order to prevent an aristocracy in this country; not to start a new one here. That's how unified against aristocracy they were. Everyone agreed: aristocracy must be avoided.

On 7 August 1787, Morris said to the Convention, "Give the votes to people who have no property, and they will sell them to the rich who will be able to buy them." James Madison's record of the Convention went on to say of his speech: "He had long learned not to be the dupe of words. The sound of [the word] Aristocracy therefore had no effect on him. It was the thing, not the name, to which he was opposed, and one of his principal objections to the Constitution as it is now before us, is that it threatens this Country with an Aristocracy."

But, anyway, Morris's proposal, for a property-qualification for the right to vote, was voted down.

Madison then gave a speech himself, saying: "The right of suffrage is certainly one of the fundamental articles of republican Government, and ought not to be left to be regulated by the Legislature. A gradual abridgment of this right has been the mode in which Aristocracies have been built on the ruins of popular forms." Those words could be said by today's Democrats, against proposals by today's Republicans. But these words were said then by the man who drafted the U.S. Constitution. Today's Republicans should blush, as supporters of traitorism.

Everybody at the Constitutional Convention was an enemy to aristocracy; all of them were democrats (small-"D").

No policy-position is as anti-democratic as is the proposal to eliminate estate taxes -- taxes on estates (inheritances) that are very large. The reason is that inheritances are the foundation for any aristocracy. Even the idea or concept of inherited wealth or status is anathema to democracy -- a virtual invitation to aristocracy. America's Founders waged the Revolutionary War to destroy aristocracy here; and that's the reason why the U.S. Constitution prohibited it, in the only way they knew how (at that time). 

Inheritance of a small amount from one's parents -- only enough to give a child a modest boost (yet, still, children of the poor don't get such a boost) -- can be debated by supporters of democracy; but large inheritances must be taxed very heavily, if the concept of democracy is to be meaningful at all.

If inherited wealth or status is permitted, then democracy is doomed: wealth and power will become more concentrated with each successive generation.

However, today's U.S. has eliminated taxes on all estates below $5 million, and has lowered the taxation-rate on large estates. This means that some babies enter this world with more money than the average American draws as income throughout his or her entire lifetime. Other children are born with little or nothing, and must go into debt in order merely to survive. Their children suffer even worse. Then their wages are garnisheed to pay those debts. Serfdom emerges and spreads.

That's not the only sign of democracy dying in America. Other signs are more subtle. For example:

On 13 March 2014, Robbie Couch at Huffington Post headlined "Chelsea Clinton Tells SXSW That She's 'Obsessed With Diarrhea' -- For a Great Reason," and showed video of this U.S. princess, daughter of a former President, saying, "I'm obsessed with diarrhea" because "I find the fact that 750,000 children still die every year around the world because of severe dehydration due to diarrhea unacceptable." Reader-comments following this report did not object to the star-system that has taken over in our country and that propelled her upwards, the system that causes a person of no remarkable abilities (such as this princess) to have news-media flocking to her, and reporting every self-promotion that issues from her (so that not only the ex-President's wife, but also their daughter, will inherit the dynasty-founder's public attention), while far-more-capable actual experts on the given subject receive no such hereditary advantage, and are ignored by star-struck media. 

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that (more...)
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