Ronald Reagan launched an attack on the middle class. We must reverse it to save our democracy
Oct. 3, 2019 3:36 pm
By Thom Hartmann A...
The destruction of the middle class is destroying democracies and paving the way for authoritarian rule. In 2016, Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk published a paper in the Journal of Democracy showing how, in the era since Reagan led America out of classical economic policy and into neoliberalism (aka "trickle-down" and "supply-side" economics), many Americans have ceased to value democracy. "In the United States," they write, "among all age cohorts, the share of citizens who believe that it would be better to have a 'strong leader' who does not have to 'bother with parliament and elections' has also risen over time: In 1995, 24 percent of respondents held this view; by 2011, that figure had increased to 32 percent." By the time the paper came out in 2016, fully 49 percent of Americans thought elites should make decisions, rather than "government." And the growing disillusionment with democracy as a way to protect the interests of average voters doesn't just push them toward solutions hatched by the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Institute; increasingly, Americans would even consider a military junta ruling America, something that would shock the founders.
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A must-read history lesson -- and perfect timing! Thanks again, Thom.
This is a poignant reminder of the deep-seated dichotomy in our collective human mindset as it has evolved down through the ages: the desire to be free of tyrants versus the fear of insecurity, which the tyrant deliberately both fans and calms. ("Only I can fix it!" --the Orange King)
Greedy, self-centered powermongers have always found ways to manipulate basic human instincts -- forever preying on the resources of the lowly serfs and unwashed masses as the high lords and ladies, hiding behind thick castle walls, consolidate their stolen wealth and power through all means necessary, which usually means violence and cruelty built upon absolute lies.
From time immemorial, kings and queens and armies have filled our history books with glorious tales of blood and treasure ...and mindless atrocities! Nothing much has changed except the critical level at which we now find ourselves on this pale blue dot.