The Power of Freedom The Power of Prosperity The Power of Knowledge The Power of Choice
In a democracy its citizens have the power of freedom, the power of prosperity, the power of knowledge, and the power of choice. It all adds up to the power of the people; their self-rule and control of their own lives, not to the power of the corpocracy and its tyrannical rule over the people.
The Power of Freedom
Democracy, needless to say, is synonymous with freedom. But have we thought of freedom in the way that Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman Consul and Orator (106BC-43BC), thought of it? “Freedom,” he said, “is participation in power.” He wrote Western civilization’s first democratic constitution and he prized freedom. So did the framers of the U.S. Constitution who were heavily influenced by Cicero’s writings. The reason he believed freedom is participation in power is because power means control and a free people thus have more rather than less control over how much health, happiness, and prosperity they have. And in a democracy of self rule it is the participatory power of the people, not the tyrannical power of the corpocracy that governs.
The Power of Prosperity
The late Justice Louis Brandeis said, “We can have a democracy or we can have great wealth in the hands of the few. We cannot have both.” And we don’t. We don’t have a genuine democracy but we do have great and sometimes vulgar (i.e., ill begotten) wealth in the hands of one percent of Americans who possess nearly forty percent of all wealth in the nation.
Poor people are powerless compared to wealthy people. But the real and full meaning of prosperity goes far beyond material wellbeing, which is itself a minimal right for every citizen in a democracy to have. As Justice Brandeis implied, poverty among citizens does not a democracy make. America’s corpocracy is not about to make any but false gestures toward meeting Article 25 of the 1948 United Nation’s Declaration of Universal Human Rights that everyone on earth is declared to have the right to an adequate standard of living.Corpocracies thrive on the poverty of the masses.
In her magnificent book, The Real Wealth of Nations, Riane Eisler, trained in sociology, anthropology, and law, wrote a book about the “real wealth of nations.” She argues that the real wealth of a nation ultimately depends not on the market but on the quality of its human and natural capital and that the primary purpose of any economic system ought to be the promotion of human welfare and happiness.
As already noted, there is large income inequality in America. A democracy ceases to be a democracy when this happens. Thomas Jefferson knew that amassing excessive property or material wealth by the few at the expense of the many would prove dangerous just as it had in Europe prior to America’s founding. That is why, in drafting the Declaration of Independence, he changed philosopher John Locke’s ideal of preserving life, liberty, and estate, to the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
The Power of Knowledge
In a letter to James Madison in 1787, Jefferson wrote that “to educate and inform is the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” Democracy requires knowledge. It is not the knowing of how to acquire, keep and abuse excessive power and wealth but the knowing of what is required to be healthy, happy, and prosperous and also in knowing what is required to keep from losing democracy.
In his book, Idiot America, journalist Charles Pierce contends that stupidity and ignorance are being glorified in America. Democracy cannot survive in America’s version of the Dark Ages where the corpocracy stands in for the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the church. When high school students take a miniature U.S. citizenship test, most flunk it. Ignorant high school students become ignorant adults, uncritical voters and ripe for demagoguery. This is an outcome exactly intended by the corpocracy that is privatizing public education, one of the hallmarks of a democracy.
The Power of Choice
It’s axiomatic that being free, prosperous, and knowledgeable makes available a wide range of choices in life. It also follows as night does day that the powerless and the poor have a narrow range of choices available to them; they usually come down to bleak options like living wage, poverty-level wage, or no wage at all; emergency-room care or no care at all; slum housing or no home at all.
Unleashing Two-Fisted Democracy Power
This part has been transferred to the companion site www.uschamberofdemocracy.com