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Thursday, January 26, 2006

More from Jim Bovard

Ya gotta read the entire intro to Jim Bovard's new book, "Attention Deficit Democracy"! Here's another excerpt:

This is the age of Leviathan Democracy. Leviathan was the Biblical term that English philosopher Thomas Hobbes used in 1651 to describe a government absolute and far superior to its subjects, whose task was to obey and, when ordered, die. The United States was an anti-Leviathan at its founding – the first government to be created with strict limitations on its power enshrined into the Constitution to protect citizens from their rulers in perpetuity.

But in recent decades, government power has become unbounded. The U.S. government still has the formal trappings of a democracy – candidates, elections, congressional proceedings, judges draped in long black robes. But we have fallen far from the Founding Fathers’ ideal of a Rule of Law. Today, when the president’s desires extend beyond legal boundaries, the Constitution and the statute book be damned.

Attention Deficit Democracy begets Leviathan because rulers exploit people’s ignorance to seize more power over them. The bigger government becomes, the fewer citizens understand it, the less representative it will tend to be. The contract between rulers and ruled is replaced by a blank check. As long as presidents and their appointees recite the proper phrases and strike the correct poses, they can do as they please. . . .

Government is an elective dictatorship when voters do little more than select who will violate the laws and Constitution. Bush, like other U.S. presidents, perpetually equates democracy with freedom. But if the purported consent of voters confers upon the winner the right to nullify citizens’ rights – they are voting for a master, not a representative. Elections become little more than reverse slave auctions, in which slaves choose their masters.

Voting is now a way of conferring power and honors on politicians, rather than a method of reining in rulers. In the early American Republic, candidates would stress their fidelity to the Constitution. But the Constitution has vanished from the campaign trail, replaced by competing promises of new handouts and new protections against the vicissitudes of daily life.

Again, you can read the entire intro at http://www.lewrockwell.com/bovard/bovard19.html.


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