So the President Of The U.S. (“POTUS”) claims. Hope we can believe in.
Barack Obama just got his own Twitter account. Just like millions of teenagers out there! He is coming out on his “own”! Let me reproduce the exchange:
“Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really! Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account.”
@POTUS Welcome! A question: who is “they”? What else are “they” “finally giving”? In any case, nice to see you on your “own”.
Barack Obama committed a Freudian slip, on steroids. This time, and not for the first time, he admitted he is not on his own. Barack Obama, president of the USA, is even more grounded that the average American teenager.
Some will say that this is understandable: a president, like other top politicians, has to have “handlers”, people in the shadows, telling him what to do, what to say, where to go, writing his speeches, etc.
A president, some will say, has to “preside”, represent everybody, the nation itself, he, or she, cannot be just an individual, but a function, an institution.
However, who does he talk to?
When one visits Barack Obama, and pays attention to the surroundings, what is striking is the military deployment. Hundreds of superb professionals, trained to kill with heavy weapons are all around, hidden from public view. It has to be hidden, because it were not, the USA would start to look like a military dictatorship. We don’t want to feel that way, do we?
So who goes through this (peregrinating) military fortress? The best and the brightest. Access is denied to common folks. Serious scholarly studies have show that, in the matter of legislation, only the preoccupations of the elite go through.
(Since this is known, that only the elite legislates, the very knowledge of this anti-democratic horror may have change the behavior of the “Democratic Party” rank and file. Thus, I feel incline to believe, the resistance to the Trans Pacific Partnership, the TPP. That other scholarly studies, just published have shown that such “free trade” treaties are reduced quality employment in the USA, did not improve matters.)
Who is the best and brightest? The most powerful and wealthiest. Those who will feed and comfort all the critters of the present Obama administration, once that vaporizes in two years.
In other words, the president, and his collaborators, talk to the powers that be. The wealth, that is.
Barack Obama was explicitly told, before he became President, that he had to leave his friends behind. “They only cause problems.” So he was told by a plutocrat who used to be Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Erskine Bowles.
Those are the ones who control Barack Obama as if he were an unruly teenager. After six years of good behavior, those worthies are happy to let little boy Barack get his own Twitter account. Little Barack is now a big boy. A boy who served the big white masters very well. They are grateful, and impressed.
So what we see is that, having just one, or a few people in charge, cannot work: unavoidably, they will come under the spell of the pre-existing class of owners.
That was a well-known problem. So Robespierre, Saint-Just and company decided to exterminate the pre-existing owners and controllers (the famous “Terreur” of the French Revolution). Earlier in England, Cromwell, the “Lord Protector” had instituted a similar system which dissipated quickly after his death (which happened within 5 years). The Terreur lasted roughly a year, before its perpetrators got cut down to size.
However Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and the Khmers Rouges were more successful: they eradicated the pre-existing class, ruthlessly. In retrospect, everybody agrees that was a mistake (and the present “Princelings” in command in China’s “People Republic” will be the first to tell you so, thus they reconstituted an elite composed mostly of themselves!)
Get out of the class problem entirely. How? Make an increasing number of drastic decisions subject to the vote of the People.
For example, our newly liberated boy Barack wants to get “trade authority” to negotiate the TPP (and a similar Transatlantic Treaty). Then he will talk to the adults, the very wealthy and powerful adults who control his Twitter accounts and all what he is supposed to feel and think about, and how.
Why not to submit the TPP to a referendum?
Because most of the individuals negotiating the TPP right now are employees of giant corporations? Whereas government representatives are few; the TPP will give corporations right they don’t have now, such as modifying laws, and suing states. Although that was hidden below thick layers of lies.
That the boy who could only get his Twitter account after six years wants to represent, all by his little self, nearly a billion people in the West, is surrealistic.
We used to have representatives and officials and ministers, out of necessity. In countries such as France, or, a fortiori, the USA, it would take weeks to travel across. In the Middle-Ages, only the cardinals living around Rome, no more than 20 of them, would elect the Popes. A cardinal in England, or Spain, or Germany, would not take part in these elections.
But now we have the Internet.
The root of the word “minister”, as in “Prime Minister”, is the Latin ministrare “to serve, attend, wait upon”. In the Middle-Ages, it was closely related to servitude (or ministrels, the musicians who attended to courts). We don’t need those servants anymore: they have other masters, they do not obey us anymore.
Thanks to the Internet, we can give our own opinions, and debate them. Switzerland is increasingly using these “votations”. The system works splendidly. Most controversial measures lead to fierce debates, and public opinion varies accordingly.
Debates do not have to replace democratic institutions (army, police, justice, the orders of MDs, etc.). These institutions, which are meritocratic, are the answer to Socrates’ objection to electing generals and the like (as was done in Athens).
However Socrates did not object to Athens National Assembly, which often necessitated a quorum of 6,000. That meant that farmers of Attica, if they wanted to vote, had to leave their farms for many days. Nowadays, with the Internet, they could vote while having breakfast.
Debates allow good ideas to exterminate bad ideas. That’s what we need.
We don’t need to be led by people who need six years of good behavior to be authorized to have their own account.