The genius H. L. Mencken put it best when he wrote that ‘every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.’
We also like the one from P. J. O’Rourke, who wrote…
‘Don’t vote! It just encourages the bastards.’
And we can’t forget Twain’s pithy observation…
‘If voting made a difference,’ he said, ‘they wouldn’t let us do it.’
Until now, this area of debate has been reserved only for the fringes. The question of whether or not to vote, that is. Or if voting is actually effective in changing governmental policy (the answer? No).
As you’ll see in a moment, though, this debate is slipping into the mainstream. And in a very big way.
To begin, let’s rewind six years…
‘The voters who put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes,’ The Boston Globe article begins.
‘From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.
‘But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.’
‘It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists,’ Mickey Edwards writes in a separate article in the Globe, ‘to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft – presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary – but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands.
‘Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.’
Yes, there are countless ways to say the government is corrupt.
But here’s the thing…
At their core, all these theories have a ‘shadow government’ of sorts running things behind the scenes.
And, according to one highly regarded professor, that might not be too far from reality.
This post was published at Laissez Faire on OCT 23, 2014.