Die Plutokraten, das Volk, die Demokratie


Our founders warned against the power of privileged factions to capture the machinery of democracies. James Madison, who studied history through a tragic lens, saw that the life cycle of previous republics had degenerated into anarchy, monarchy, or oligarchy. Like many of his colleagues, he was well aware that the republic they were creating could go the same way. Distrusting, even detesting concentrated private power, the founders attempted to erect safeguards to prevent private interests from subverting the moral and political compact that begins, “We, the people.” For a while, they succeeded.

When the brilliant young French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville toured America in the 1830s, he was excited by the democratic fervor he witnessed. Perhaps that excitement caused him to exaggerate the equality he celebrated. Close readers of de Tocqueville will notice, however, that he did warn of the staying power of the aristocracy, even in this new country. He feared what he called, in the second volume of his masterwork, Democracy in America, an “aristocracy created by business.” He described it as already among “the harshest that ever existed in the world” and suggested that, “if ever a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy again penetrate the world, it may be predicted that this is the gate by which they will enter.”

And so it did. Half a century later, the Gilded Age arrived with a new aristocratic hierarchy of industrialists, robber barons, and Wall Street tycoons in the vanguard.
Bill Moyers, in:
We, the Plutocrats vs. We, the People
Saving the Soul of Democracy
commondreams.org

Ihr Kommentar

Kommentarfunktion für diesen Artikel geschlossen

Inhalt

Links

RSS Feeds

Suche