What luck for the rulers that men do not think.
Through the shrouds of the smoke screen of History, we vaguely discern how the awesome power of the Priests,
those faithful and honest servants of god, was, as specialism grew, gradually taken over by the War Lords; a process still going on. But the War Lords grew impatient with the slow progress; they wanted more, faster—
and came up with a new and brilliant idea.
The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination.—VoltaireThe eternal struggle between the State and man.
—Jean Shepherd, In God We Trust, All Others Pay CashHain't we got all the fools in town on our side?
And isn't that a big enough majority in any town?
—Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people.
On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last
and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
—H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
As any reasonably smart school kid can tell you, the Greeks first thought of this system. Every Greek had an equal vote in important decisions, publicly taken in market-square meetings. Except women and other slaves, of course, who's kidding whom here?
In most places, slavery has been abolished since then. You are quite free to look for another job—thanks to the trade unions, you are guaranteed the same salary and conditions there. Often, you are even free to move to another country—if it will let you in. As for women, they are super-human now (at least, in some places; those places where men are mere sub-human rib growers).
Then, with the Enlightenment, a body of great thinkers hearkened back to the Greeks and their democracy, figuring this might not be such a bad idea after all and merited renaissançal reconsideration. Everybody had a right to vote for himself (except females or slaves). After some more deliberations, the statesmen in their incorruptible fairness found this was a Good Thing that needed pushing along, and they gave their Power away to the People. This may be hard to understand, but take into account that in the course of many of those deliberations they looked out upon an angry mob, seething right outside the window. And maybe they were smart enough to see a way out: Demobcracy.
It would not make too much difference, in the first place. Just like in any enemy occupied country, in Paris the same jail-keepers were kept on in la Bastille; poor criminals were partly kicked out and replaced by the aristocracy, on their merry way to the guillotine. Still later, prominent revolutionaries followed them, maybe running into former enemies they'd put in there themselves, who knows? One can only hope for the best. Next to the jail-keepers, the police kept their jobs. So did the tax gatherers: Democratically elected representatives kept right on collecting taxes. As costs were higher (just look at all those jails!), taxes even had to go up. And all those army conscripts ate so much; think of the cost of their weapons and uniforms when they were sent to foreign countries to fight wars they had democratically voted for; and then, as, practically, volunteers they had the chutzpah to complain about low pay! Yes, you can always trust your representative to make a fearless stand for the country's best interests.
And for their own? If Congress in Otto Preminger's movie Advise and Consent reminded you of a market square, at least now you understand how this stems from a long, rich tradition. Of course, it would be outrageous to suggest that anybody who has been working so hard to achieve such a position of power would ever be able to abuse it. Or that anybody who has been scheming all his career to become a people's representative, would go on scheming once he has become one. They regulate their own salaries; so what—who could be better trusted not to shortchange them? Don't you have confidence in politicians or sump'n?
Meant here is Paris, France, not Paris, On, Can.; AR., U.S.; Id., U.S... you get the idea. Not that there's any real difference. If you haven't got the message by now, you never will:
Democracy is the ultimate confidence trick.
(it even largely replaced religion)
features common to democracy and the con-trick, based on
How Con Games Work
by M. Allen Henderson
The Big Con
follows ten traditional steps
(book page 68)
Note: most steps are only needed for private con entrepreneurs;
for the legally established democratic government, they are superfluous
1 locate a mark
superfluous: the country is full of them; they're even forced by law to register
2 play the con
gain the mark's confidence by playing the opposition role for a while
3 rope the mark
guide the mark to a party election meeting, or appear in media "news" services
4 tell the tale
deliver your speeches in election meetings or the media
5 deliver the convincer
superfluous: convince the mark he's illegally involved already, and might as well go on with the game;
again, he is obligated to vote and even may be fined or jailed for not doing so.
6 calculate the breakdown
figure out what the mark's worth
superfluous: the democratic mark is required by law to do all that work himself by filling out tax return forms
7 put the mark on the send
superfluous: get the mark to take his money out of the bank;
only comes later in step 8, via the publican, aided and abetted by the sheriff's office
(both paid for out of the mark's pocket)
8 put the touch on
take the mark for everything you can
9 blow off the mark
superfluous: get rid of him
"If skillfully executed, the victim will never realize that he has been conned."
(it doesn't matter, anyway)
10 put in the fix
superfluous: convince the mark not to go the authorities
The Short Con
strictly small-time; government doesn't need to bother with it
Now see how it works, sucker?
(join the club - oh, you're a member already)
Come to think of it, weren't those Greeks right not to have everybody vote?
Guys you feel aren't even smart enough to trust with their own money get to vote about how to spend yours?
Is this a system? Couldn't everybody be better off with another system?
The Dutch have a sayingThe best pilots stand ashore:
People tell me I must come up with something better before I have a right to criticize thissystem.
I don't agree. Must I be a swimming champion to see a guy is drowning?
What I don't get is, why did it take so long for me to see this?
Somebody must have been washing my brain.
Evidently we have more in common with cattle than with cats, for we are herded with amazing ease. True democracy is not possible if the people fail to understand the issues.
John Glad - Future Human Evolution p.52
King of the Apes
Perhaps he did. I only know
That taxes aren't abolished!