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The Reformed American Political Theory: A Government By and For the People (Part 2)

June 26, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 118

It is fast becoming clear that the American government will never truly serve the interests of the population, will never seek, first and foremost, to act for the common good, without a thorough overhaul and reform of the entire political system. Previously noted was the first step towards this reform: the removal of financial interests from elections and from the influence they wield in the operation of the two political parties. But this is far from being the only step necessary.

The next requirement involves a reformation of the current state of government contracts. In a word, the first step must be followed by further removal of the influence of money, but now it must be done in the actual operation of the political system. Complete transparency is necessary in this regard, for if financial influence is removed from elections it will surely attempt to maintain its grasp on the day-to-day operations of the government. Decades of privatization of virtually every aspect of government function--private prisons, private defense contractors, even private mercenary contractors--has caused the step-by-step privatization of the government as a whole, further alienating the voice and interests of the people.

Today, this voice can hardly be heard, as it is drowned out by the cries for ever-expanding private profit potential. As things currently stand in this respect, money has a direct and immediate effect on the decision-making of legislators: the awarding of government contracts can mean more money in politicians' campaign coffers and lucrative job offers in the private sector, so legislators must weigh their options and do what is in the best interest of either their constituents, as is their duty, or private corporate interests and the financial gain that comes with them. For a return to the ideals that formed the building blocks for such a great nation, there must be complete transparency in government and elimination of private profit interests in its functioning; as long as there exists the opportunity for politicians to succumb to greed in their official duties, there likewise will exist a chink in the chain of liberty and justice in the American government. The pursuit of greed to the detriment of others is universally considered to be fundamentally wrong and immoral, as is taking the life of another man. Few would argue that it is unthinkable to tell a known murderer the combination to the gun safe or where the spare key is hidden; but far, far fewer know anything of the back-door deals among politicians, corporate executives, and the lobbyist middle-men, frequently falling into the legal gray area and always involving taxpayer money. It matters not what a given deal is meant to accomplish: the populace is left in the dark in virtually every instance of this sort. Any and all take part in these deals as a result of greed. If the general will is not involved in such decision-making, doesn't even know that there is a decision being made, then according to the line of logic (it would be near-impossible to find a politician that is innocent of such behavior), there are now two universal truths:

1) politicians (especially the most powerful) have constant opportunities to succumb to greed in their official duties, and,

2) these politicians will allow their constituents, whom they serve, to suffer--or perhaps the politician will forego a chance to really help them--if it means that they themselves might benefit considerably.

The cardinal sin for a politician in a representative democracy is to fail to act on behalf of the general will. The founding fathers chose to design the government in the hopes that it would best represent all of the individual and differing voices across this diverse country while keeping it as straight-forward as possible. It is not an opinion, but rather a fact that those same men would be the staunchest opponents to the government as it functions today. Despite the profound evolution that capitalism has incurred, largely instigated and guided by America and now reaching all corners of the earth, the world is constantly changing. What was best for progress in the 18th century is assumed to be best for progress today only by the ignorant fool. The explosion of capitalism, for example, coincided with the relatively new inhabitants of North America slaughtering entire cultures native to the continent and having survived thousands of years. Today, the reach of capitalism can be found almost anywhere in the world where a human being can physically be; and comparatively, Americans are so thoroughly concerned with treating those very cultures that their ancestors destroyed with dignity and respect that high school and college sports teams' names and mascots are no longer allowed to reference Native Americans or their cultures in any way: countless schools with mascots such as The Indians, The Tribe, The Braves, and so on have been forced to change their names, and often rich heritage, over a matter of political correctness that the majority of people really do not care about. It is impossible to imagine America having gone through any more profound of a change than she has in less than 250 years of existence. And throughout this time, America has played the single-most important role in the liberation of the downtrodden, whether living under tyranny, corruption, or criminal-like oppression in general. Why, then, have there been so few calls for the liberation of Americans from the corporate- and financial elite-controlled government? It matters not that citizens of the United States are already as free and enjoy as much liberty as any other populace in the world. The creation of this nation was perhaps the most profound act against the status quo that has occurred throughout history, and fast-approaching is an opportunity for America to do so once again. If America had not won independence, would the status quo today still be monarchy, tyranny, slavery, and what we now consider to be criminal treatment of citizens?

The possibility exists, even though what has come to be known as the 'American way' would never allow for it; should, then, America sit back on her laurels and protect the vast wealth of the elite to the detriment of the many? A crossroads is approaching, and the treatment of the previously noted fault and injustice of the American government could very well decide the legacy of the USA: will it be remembered as a flash-in-the-pan superpower so resistant to change that it was surpassed by the ever-expanding China, India, or even Russia? Or will America make the considerable changes necessary in order to ensure that the history of the nation thus far will be viewed in retrospect as the early years of a long, altruistic, and revered reign as the role model for the rest of the world? Part of the American identity assumes the latter premise as inevitable, and thus the single-most significant obstacle to the proposed reformation is this deep-seeded sense of entitlement present across the country in epidemic proportions. The notion that the status quo must be upended has been thoroughly exhausted, but the other side of the process involves attacking the widespread belief that all of the rights and liberties enjoyed by Americans are a birthright; just as the founding fathers and early settlers fought and sacrificed for their beliefs and freedom, so must everyone who sees the unrealized potential of this nation today.

Once the complete removal of financial influence on all levels of the political system is complete, it becomes necessary to further reform the government in order to solidify service to the general will as its primary function. A heavily progressive system of taxation, which requires the most wealthy to pay the highest percentage of taxes, will be enacted in a manner that prevents them from using exemptions and other loopholes to minimize what they ultimately pay. Corporations, which are currently able to use the existing loopholes and their influence on government to escape huge portions of their base-line tax requirements, will all be required to pay a certain percentage and face devastating consequences in cases of hiding profits or other creative accounting procedures that presently fall within the gray area of the law. The system of taxation, as it stands today, favors growing disparity in the distribution of wealth. For the bottom three-quarters of income earners, though the percentage required of them is lower than that of the top 10% of earners, there is no escape from or avoidance of their taxpayer duties. But for the highest bracket of earners, especially the top 1%, and likewise for the biggest corporations, creative accounting employs a multitude of methods to avoid paying that which the system 'requires' of them. This reality does not serve the general will or well-being, but rather the factional interests of the financial elite, and, in effect, limits upward social mobility--the 'American Dream'. The rich remain rich because 1) they are able to skirt around sizable portions of their tax duties; and 2) they have firm hold on the ear and the wallets of politicians and legislative authorities and bodies: if, out of the 100 wealthiest Americans, only the odd-numbered enjoy influence over the government, no difference is made. What is good for the top 1% is universal as far as their wealth is concerned; and as the only incentive for the financial elite to exercise their expensive influence is to either protect or increase their wealth, they are able to remain united in their pursuits, thus strengthening their position and maximizing their influence. The elite power structure--the rich, the wealthy, the well-connected--ensure that it is in the best interest of these politicians whom they can influence to keep the system of taxation unchanged. And so the lower and middle economic classes are up against this behemoth of a power structure, shedding light on why class struggle of this sort is found in every country with a McDonald's.

The concept of Liberty put forth in the Declaration of Independence refers to a state of freedom for all of man; a prudent definition of this concept, promised to all who enter into the American social contract, describes liberty as "freedom from arbitrary or despotic control". How, then, can concerned parties interpret the socially stifling financial influence on the political system as anything if not a violation of the populace's liberty? Rousseau's seminal work, Of the Social Contract, describes the relationship of a people with the power that their social contract creates in accordance with that which the founding fathers intended for the United States (indeed, Rousseau's influence on the creation of America was considerable). Rousseau explains that the social pact is the source of the body politic's power over all who enter into the pact; and this power, which is directed by the general will, can only legitimately function on behalf of the general will. So because, for Rousseau and the founding fathers, the general will always tends towards public utility, always favors all citizens equally, every legitimate act of the given political system's supreme power is therefore an act of the general will.

Thorough analysis has shown, however, that the American government does not act on behalf of the general will unless it is also in accordance with the factional financial interests that plague the power structure. But for Rousseau, the separate interests cannot coexist, for once a factional interest acquires power, which in this case it certainly has, "... there no longer is a general will, and the opinion which dominates is only a private opinion." The government of the United States of America is no longer legitimate, and it is up to the general will to recognize this fact and take quick, decisive, and all-encompassing action in order to regain legitimacy and utility. The power of the body politic, only present due to the people that make it up, is likewise present for the people to either reform or destroy it.

The government of the United States of America is no longer legitimate, and it is up to the general will to recognize this fact and take quick, decisive, and all-encompassing action in order to regain legitimacy and utility. The power of the body politic, only present due to the people that make it up, is likewise present for the people to either reform or destroy it.

Source: EzineArticles
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