The Kakistocracy is formally recognized: The people are nothing. Spare a moment to consider the article that follows. For it is why you find yourself on this website. The realization that we, as nominally “free” men, wield absolutely zero influence over the direction and affairs of our state, that it is in fact The State that is free and we who serve its interests, is not a gratifying notion to digest. No more palatable, I imagine for ingenues, is the realization that tribal conflict is an immortal feature of man. And one no lessened by importing antagonists into closest proximity.
And while the proclamation of popular impotence strikes me as obvious, I’m sure many in the mainstream will find them quite bracing. Good.
A shattering new study by two political science professors has found that ordinary Americans have virtually no impact whatsoever on the making of national policy in our country. The analysts found that rich individuals and business-controlled interest groups largely shape policy outcomes in the United States.
This study should be a loud wake-up call to the vast majority of Americans who are bypassed by their government. To reclaim the promise of American democracy, ordinary citizens must act positively to change the relationship between the people and our government.
The new study, with the jaw-clenching title of “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” is forthcoming in the fall 2014 edition of Perspectives on Politics. Its authors, Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, examined survey data on 1,779 national policy issues for which they could gauge the preferences of average citizens, economic elites, mass-based interest groups and business-dominated interest groups. They used statistical methods to determine the influence of each of these four groups on policy outcomes, including both policies that are adopted and rejected.
The analysts found that when controlling for the power of economic elites and organized interest groups, the influence of ordinary Americans registers at a “non-significant, near-zero level.” The analysts further discovered that rich individuals and business-dominated interest groups dominate the policymaking process. The mass-based interest groups had minimal influence compared to the business-based interest groups.
The study also debunks the notion that the policy preferences of business and the rich reflect the views of common citizens. They found to the contrary that such preferences often sharply diverge and when they do, the economic elites and business interests almost always win and the ordinary Americans lose.
The authors also say that given limitations to tapping into the full power elite in America and their policy preferences;the real world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater than their findings indicate.
Ultimately, Gilens and Page conclude from their work, “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”
Rich individuals and business interests have the capacity to hire the lobbyists that shadow legislators in Washington and to fill the campaign coffers of political candidates. Ordinary citizens are themselves partly to blame, however, because they do not choose to vote.
There is the obvious temptation among eyes to roll at the notion that we can exert influence by voting for one of the two vetted and pre-processed candidates the dems and repubs ritualistically offer on display. Though it must be granted, we have had opportunities–and squander them always. As examples, several hawks against the human wave have sought higher office; few have won. Democrats, in the northeast particularly, don’t accept immigration traitors–they demand them. McConnell, McCain, and Graham: all republicans who hold their constituents in lower regard than animal excrement on the soles of their shoes. And all righteously punished with easy reelection.
And so the predictable results are stated above. Those who have respect for themselves and require it of others see ears bent to tongue. And those who demand to be treated with contempt…live forever free of disappointment.