[EM] language/framing quibble

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Fri Mar 20 11:05:18 PDT 2009

Good Morning, Terry

Thanks for joining in.  I hope more people will show an interest.

re: "I suspect part of the differences are that you place such
      an overwhelming focus on political parties as the center of
      control and corruption, while others may view parties as
      virtually appendages of more significant power centers
      (whether that be corporate wealth, unions, intellectual
      elites, or whoever)."

You are probably correct.  We have a tendency to see Enron as a black 
sheep in a field of white ewes.  Doesn't that make it even more 
important to call attention to the mechanism by which "corporate wealth, 
unions, intellectual elites, or whoever" exercise their control over our 
government?  The financial rubble among which we find ourselves could 
not have happened without the gutting and ultimate repeal of the laws 
passed in the 1930's to protect us from a repeat of the calamity wrought 
by financial institutions.  Characterizing those who killed that 
legislation "appendages of more significant power centers" is neat and 
accurate phrasing.

re: "For example you quote A. MacIntyre to support your view ...
      but I believe, as an anti-capitalist, he was writing about
      an oligarchy of wealth that narrowed the range of options
      voters were allowed to deal with, rather than political

Does MacIntyre's bias alter the accuracy of his assertion?  Whether he 
referred to "an oligarchy of wealth" or the parties that are its 
appendages is like being run over by a truck.  It doesn't matter whether 
you are hit by the tractor or the trailer, it's the devastation that counts.

It is the parties that establish the electoral rules that arrogate to 
themselves the right to select the candidates and set the platforms 
which are the only alternatives available to the people.  That the 
parties speak for 'the power behind the throne' is obvious.  In time, 
those who are able to shed their emotional partisan attachments and 
allow their reason to surface will see it as well.

re: "IF political parties in the U.S. were indeed the most
      powerful centers of control and corruption, your proposal
      to steer clear of party structures entirely might be
      interesting to more people."

The parties are, indeed, but conduits.  Who among us sees through those 
opaque pipe-lines to the Boeings and the Microsofts and the Goldman 
Sachs and the Exxon-Mobils who pull the strings?  In time, more people 
will understand why we must dismantle the means by which political 
control is exercised.  Perhaps, then, their interest will grow.

re: "But I suspect many people see parties as merely pragmatic
      'super-structures' catering to the needs of the real
      oligarchs.  I know plenty of party officials, and can assure
      you they are not 'in control' of things."

You're probably right.  We vent our anger, disgust and outrage on a 
string of 'straw men'.  This effectively deflects our attention from the 
more subtle, but more significant, means by which our political 
existence is controlled.  We lament the Jack Abramoffs of the world but 
ignore the fertile ground in which he thrived and those who enabled him 
and funded his operations.  Although we do it to ourselves, it is still 
a form of 'divide and conquer'.  The party officials you mention may not 
be 'in control' but they are the means by which control is exercised.

Fred Gohlke

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