On This, Our Electoral Sabbath


 As we go to the temple of the ballot box, it's an appropriate time to reflect on the imperiled state of democracy in  the 2020s.

There's an idea making the rounds about "inverted totalitarianism." Think of "managed democracy" which is, itself, a more respectable name for illiberal democracy.

The idea that the United States has long ceased existing as a democracy was the subject of the late Sheldon Wolin's 2017 tome, "Democracy Incorporated."

Here is Chris Hedges review:

Democracy is struggling in America — by now this statement is almost cliché. But what if the country is no longer a democracy at all? In Democracy Incorporated, Sheldon Wolin considers the unthinkable: has America unwittingly morphed into a new and strange kind of political hybrid, one where economic and state powers are conjoined and virtually unbridled? Can the nation check its descent into what the author terms “inverted totalitarianism”?

Wolin portrays a country where citizens are politically uninterested and submissive — and where elites are eager to keep them that way. At best the nation has become a “managed democracy” where the public is shepherded, not sovereign. At worst it is a place where corporate power no longer answers to state controls. Wolin makes clear that today’s America is in no way morally or politically comparable to totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, yet he warns that unchecked economic power risks verging on total power and has its own unnerving pathologies. Wolin examines the myths and mythmaking that justify today’s politics, the quest for an ever-expanding economy, and the perverse attractions of an endless war on terror. He argues passionately that democracy’s best hope lies in citizens themselves learning anew to exercise power at the local level.

Have Canadians not become passive, submissive? Are we not ruled by a managed democracy, the wheels greased with lies and empty promises? Have our governments not yielded our democratic sovereignty through so called "free trade" agreements that are anything but free? Have we not allowed corporatism - fossil energy giants, the big accounting houses, shady outfits such as SNC Lavalin - to insinuate themselves between us and those we elect to high office?  

You'll remember Justin Trudeau's #2 man, Morneau, who, without thinking twice, consigned Canadians to the "gig economy" telling working Canadians to roll over and die. When was the last time a Canadian government stood up for much less promoted organized labour? How did majority government become a vehicle for the political caste at the expense of the electorate? When did you last have a real voice in how your country was to be governed?





Comments

  1. To get down to brass tacks. An hour and a half after the polls closed in Atlantic Canada, it's obvious the Green Vote has collapsed -- from about 10 or 11 % to 3. The Cons seem to have taken up the lion's share of the collapse. Paul for the win! Not. I'm sure she will blame it on Atlantic Canadians bring anti-semite goons, because she's deaf as a post on her personal shortcomings, which are legion.

    Western Nova Scotia is going Con -- the fishermen are pissed off with Bernadette Jordan Minister of Fisheries and the Mi'q Maw unilateral fishery. Funny, since Jordan was on the commercial fishermen's side. She'll lose her seat there. The nutters living in Northern NS abutting NB, where being an anti-vaxxer is the norm, are going Con. They put in a screecher of a naturopath former PC MLA who helped organize the TCH blockade as an independent in our provincial election a month ago, and Liberal is a dirty word there.

    PEI, where Greens ran a close second in the provincial election last time, Green vote is off 11% of the fed total two years ago. Buggering around with the Israel/Palestine question and the anti-semitic bias that Paul claimed the Greens and particularly MP Atwin exhibited has its just reward from voters -- "fuck off Anamie" seems to be the polite term I'm searching for. Perhaps Paul can go back to being a legal aid lawyer or something where her unmatched confidence in herself can be put to good use lecturing judges. She sure won't be elected in Toronto.

    I expect a hung parliament, maybe one with a few Con seat lead, what with all these *star* party leaders just appealing so well to voters. Having Old Toole with most seats by a little would be a typical continuation of the shit show that is Canadian federal politics. Who'll prop that two-faced arsehole up? Old Toole, I mean, not that other two-faced one Trudeau. The Bloc likely, mining Canada for dollahs. Money for jam blackmailing the pols scrambling for seats.

    That's the reality. Now back to the intellectual side of politics.




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    Replies
    1. You weren't far off, Bill. I was resigned to my Greens being thrashed. I do feel badly for Paul Manley, now third in a tight race for Nanaimo. And, yes, this fiasco rests squarely with Annamie Paul and her odious ego.

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