No such thing as opaque democracy.

Tom Paine argued that legitimate government arose only from a compact between inherently sovereign individuals in The Rights of Man:

We have now to review the governments which arise out of society, in contradistinction to those which arose out of superstition and conquest.

It has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principles of Freedom to say that Government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed; but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with.

The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.

To possess ourselves of a clear idea of what government is, or ought to be, we must trace it to its origin. In doing this we shall easily discover that governments must have arisen either out of the people or over the people.

Clearly, this sort of agreement between sovereign individuals was precisely the sort of legitimate government envisioned in our Constitution.  

A ruling elite governing through coercion or superstition, that is, arbitrarily without accountability to the inherent sovereigns, is by definition illegitimate.

Now, I ask you to read the following, and take some time to let it sink in

Ilargi: Tons of stories today, of course, on the reform plans presented and defended by Obama and Geithner. A few critical ones make some sense, at least. Still, I keep thinking they all miss the point. Which is that you very simply can’t have bankers decide how reform themselves, even if they’re on a brief sojourn in government. There is no doubt about the side of the equation (banks vs you) the likes of Geithner, Summers, Rubin and all the rest represent. The financial reform then, is an exercise in insanity. And so, by extension, is our discussing it.

It’s by no means easy, but attempting to grant even bigger (or is that higher?) than existing powers to the Federal Reserve may be even more crazy. We don’t know what the Federal Reserve do, other than what they like us to think they do. An organization that would, under Obama’s scheme, have nigh dictatorial control over all financial institutions in the country, ostensibly all with the best interest of the people at heart, but that cannot be held to account, cannot be audited, and is at least in part owned (the people are not allowed to know that either), by private enterprises whose interests may potentially be 180 degrees different from those of the people.

How did we ever get here, what happened along the way? Are the people not supposed to rule themselves, is that not how the whole thing started, what the country’s foundations were all designed to be based on? Am I the only one thinking that once more under the guise of protection of the people, yet another set of rights and votes and self-determination is being “legally” stripped away, this time to an extent that makes it hard to see what will be left, if anything?

I mean, even if the negative aspects of what is being brewed in Washington now take some time to become evident, even if there may initially seem to be some things that can be perceived as positive by some that still would be the wrong focus to have as a people. It’s a matter of principle, one that your founding fathers would have understood perfectly well. There’s no such thing as an opaque democracy.

You can’t, or should we say you shouldn’t, continue to pretend you live in a democracy, and at the same time hand over all end-control over your welfare, if not well-being, as a people, as a society, to a group of individuals, corporations and interests who operate in a sphere that fundamentally excludes you from entering, from questioning and from voting them out of their powers. What you can do, today, is make sure they don’t get that level of control.

That will not be easy. You know now that the government you recently voted in is not on your side in this issue. Which means you’ll have to find other democratic ways to make sure your interests, and those of your children, are guarded. Alternatively, if you don’t, you place your fate in the hands of the same small group of financiers that, in order to turn a larger profit, has brought your society to the brink of abject poverty. Are you going to let them push you over the edge?

 Emphases mine.

There’s no such thing as an opaque democracy.  Or as Tom Paine put it:

Because a body of men, holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody.

The whole thing reminds me of government going to war for our own good.  Government toturing people for our own good.  Government spying on us for our own good.  Government retroactively re-writing laws for our own good.  Government obstructing justice for our own good.  Government ramming mandatory health insurance down our throats for our own good.

We had elections, but still no accountability.  This is not legitimate government.  Not even close.


And here’s why we must not call it legitimate:

When you make people accept a plausible fiction, you’re just winning that one issue. But when you make them accept a lie which everyone knows is a lie, you’re destroying their integrity, destroying their will to describe the world as they see it, rather than as you tell them it is. It’s the bully on the playground holding the weaker kid’s arm and slapping his cheek with it, saying “Why are you hitting yourself?” Like Vaclav Havel’s grocer hanging “Workers of the world, unite!” in his shop window, once a person has acquiesced to something they do not believe, and which everyone knows they do not believe, they become complicit in their own oppression.



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  1. He’s either a liar or a fool, and judging from his behavior covering-up for and even extending the policies of Bush & Cheney, I’d guess liar by now.

  2. you aint getting anything other than what we decide to get you, Obama, Bush, or whoever.  

    • Edger on June 20, 2009 at 05:24

    “So what is government? Very simply, it is an agency of coercion. Of course, there are other agencies of coercion — such as the Mafia. So to be more precise, government is the agency of coercion that has flags in front of its offices.”

    –Harry Browne

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