Skip to comments.Citizens United damage: Is America still a democracy?
Posted on 06/27/2012 6:34:26 AM PDT by An American!
America is in uncharted territory now that Citizens United has taken hold in the 2012 elections. It has some people questioning whether or not the United States of America is still a democracy.
Since the Supreme Court declared corporations human beings (people) in the 2009 Citizens United case, more than U.S. elections have changed. Millionaires, corporations, and secret donor Super PACs are now allowed to spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the outcome of U.S. political campaigns.
The majority of Citizens United funding is coming from conservative groups that are backing Republican candidates. With enough negative TV ads against Democrats, the millionaire-funded Super PACs can literally brainwash the electorate enough to take control of the U.S. government. While some people may believe that unlimited campaign spending by millionaires is just another form of freedom, others suggest that it signals the end of democracy in America.
To understand what Citizens United has really done to America, a short visit to a dictionary can be an eye-opener.
Democracy: Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
Oligarchy: A form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.
Plutocracy: The rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy; a government or state in which the wealthy class rules; a class or group ruling, or exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.
Based on the definitions above, America currently has some elements of oligarchy, plutocracy and democracy. It is also fair to say that America is also in a transition period, as Citizens United takes effect. But after the next election that will change, because all three cannot coexist for any length of time.
What is likely to emerge after the 2012 elections will be plutocracy controlled by oligarchy, which, if allowed to follow its natural course, will gradually suffocate what is left of democracy.
SNIP...the rest of this gibberish is at the link
I forgot to give credit to most of the good writing in my comment above. It came from http://www.garymcleod.org/republic.htm
Correct. We never have been and we still are a Republic.
“THE USA is a REPUBLIC!”....
Ahhhhh we use to be but the constitution hasn’t been observed for a while and state sovereignty has been destroyed. Established as a constitutional representative republic. I have no idea what we are now... Actually we are closer to a democracy that we may think.
Very well and succinctly put.
Both of you guys beat me to the Republic not Democracy correction.
Allowing people (including in the form of PACs or corporations) to buy PAID ADVERTISING to add a little balance to the 24/7 propaganda of the alphabet news isn't exactly leveling the playing field. It is just allowing a diversity of opinion which would otherwise not be present.
The problem is idiots are actually influenced by advertising put out by the media, the candidates and superpacs. They’re too stupid to do a little bit of research.
All these evil corporations can do is talk to you. They can’t grab your arm and make you vote for someone against your will.
WHAT????? When did that happen? I guess I must have forgotten that’s how it was from the beginning.
And why are these clowns complaining anyway? Unions have been cranking out the cash for years and not a whimper or any hue and cry about that.
Helping keep mankind warm for 65 years.
The USA is not, never has been, and pray God never will be a “democracy”!
The founders universally abhorred the idea of a democracy and rejected it out of hand!
yup and right to the point
I know. This tires me to no end. We have stopped teaching the future generations what we really are, so they don't understand how it should be working.
Thanks for the link to an excellent article and website.
Sadly An American, I say you are correct. We Americans have failed.
YES! I’m sick of this “democracy” BS!!
Say the “Pledge of Allegiance” if you know it...,”And to the REPUBLIC for which it stands one nation UNDER GOD”....
The dips did not even offer what we actually are as an option. We are a constitutional republic. They cannot be taken seriously when they don’t even know the basic form of the government of the Nation.
They propose two options, both of which are illegal under the constitution - China style fascism or Soviet style marxism.
Actually, anyone with any sense of our nation knows that we are A REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC!
The most important support under the Republic was the sovereign state. The 17th kicked that leg out from under the Republic. We are no more than just a representative democracy now. The states have been neutered.
Yes, ours is a republic.
I’m noting the increase in misinformation that is being posting on FR just by the headlines on this main forum. So much mis- and disinformation have been injected into the minds of FReepers just from scanning the headlines and not reading the followups. Just copying an untrue or inaccurate headline from the newspaper or another website doesn’t seem adequate anymore for keeping conservatives informed.
Democracy is mob rule............
After having viewed the link at #2 am seeing why it was posted.
“we are A REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC!”
Thanks for the snip: it IS gibberish.
When you start from stupid, your conclusions can only be stupid. This article proves the point.
I note that those opposed to corporate contributions NEVER seem to mention union contributions.
I note that those opposed to corporate contributions NEVER seem to mention union contributions.
Was it ever? I must have missed that.
The Democrats get endless free TV air time via the politically biased (left) 'news' shows and even a few 'entertainment' shows. The majority of big city newspapers are liberal as are the major 'news' magazines (although print media has lost much influence). The public schools have drifted ever closer to (leftist) political indoctrination (as U.S. students test scores keep sinking) and the American university system has long been a leftist fortress. 'Hollywood' (the show business industry) is in lockstep with left-wing politics and brain-dead-but-cute/hunky 'stars' constantly utter stupid 'political' comments that always reflect the liberal POV. Many 'mainline' churches have adopted the liberal ideology and used a skewed interpretation of the bible to justify all sorts of politically correct (but biblically incorrect) positions, e.g. 'gay marriage'.
Now, because corporations and those individuals that wish to contribute to Republican Political Action Committees (with no arbitrary limit on the amount of their donations of their own money) can legally do so and the PACs can buy TV ads promoting their candidate and/or disparaging his or her opponent. It's hardly the 'level playing field' liberals always claim to seek - but it's a beginning. So, of course, liberals, quite comfortable with their advertising hegemony during elections, whine and moan, falsely claiming that 'democracy' is in dire jeopardy.
As many FReepers have accurately pointed out, America is a Republic, not a' pure' democracy, which often equates to mob rule. Liberals probably know this but are attempting to fool unsophisticated voters into thinking that the Republicans are working some dastardly plot intended to subvert democracy, which they're using as a 'buzz word'. Of course it's BS on stilts, as usual. This nonsense must be opposed for the sham it is.
So long as a significant percentage of Americans decide who to vote on based upon TV advertisements - we will continue to see the necessity of billion dollar political campaigns.
The solution is not more government control (and unconstitutional restrictions on free speech) - it is a populace that is better informed and disdainful of paid advertisements.
And here we have the crux of the matter. The unions have been dumping their propaganda on us, unchallenged, for decades. They now have competition coupled with dwindling income to pay for more propaganda. They are in panic mode. It’s about time.
Both sides assume that, out there, are "the sheeple" who are unthinkingly swayed by market-speak and slanted advertising. Both sides forget that the American people are being trained, almost from birth, to discount the commercial messages that bombard them daily, even messages hidden in schoolbooks. movies, TV shows, pens, letter openers, and the Internet. The People know that any message from any political candidate will contain information useful only to that candidate -- there is no requirement for "Fair and Balanced." (Neither is there that requirement in media, but that's another argument.) It's like the cop who will use any incriminating statement you might make to help convict you in Court, but conveniently forget anything that's exculpatory.
Part of political campaigning is "the art of the spin", something our schoolchildren learn about in Civics class, a topic taught even by the most Leftist or Rightist teachers in a surprisingly balanced manner. The basic rules of the game apply to all sides equally.
So the cries of "Greenspeech is Bad!" are just shortsighted sloganeering by the Left. The Democrats want to stimulate the economy; what will pump more nongovernmental dollars into the kettle than a good dirty political slug-fest in the media? You have the Corporations on one side, the Unions on the other, and the communications and tchotchke industries -- radio, TV, billboards, portasigns, printers, button-makers, party-hat makers and more -- in the middle laughing all the way to the bank. And then spending all that cash on the necessities and luxuries of life.
Now that's trickle-down economics for you.
And, moreover, a help with the cash flow for These United States. More spending means more collected taxes -- remember political contributions are not tax-deductable, so they are paid with after-tax dollars, not taking money out of the US Treasury. And the campaign spending on the other side? Subject to sales tax, room tax, and other taxes in most states. True, We the People pay the price of being exposed to more targeted crap (from both sides) to ignore, but it isn't like our training will fail us.
The art of marketing is to let people know you have a product, and convince them they desire your product. With politicians, the "solution set" is much, much smaller for marketeers to work with, especially as just about everyone knows the old joke "Q: How do you tell a politician is lying? A: his lips move".
So, remind your Left-leaning friends that "greenspeech" is just another way of taking from the rich and giving to the rest. They'll like that.
This being said, Citizens United does point out the now glaring need for a new constitutional amendment, but one not yet considered.
Civil Rights are individual rights endowed by the Creator.
However, when people form organizations, be they subordinate forms of government under the federal government, corporations, political parties, unions, professional organizations, non-profit organizations, homeowners associations, public and private clubs, and others, their rights *as a group* are *inherently* different from their rights as individuals.
In some cases this is recognized by the law, in other cases it is not, and thus there is a conflict.
Certainly there is a need for organizational rights as well as Civil Rights of individuals, and considerable overlap, but the two need to be constitutionally distinguished from one another.
One of the greatest of these problems is the need to distinguish the rights of corporations. Unlike Civil Rights that are *endowed* (inherent) in individuals by the Creator, corporate rights are civil rights *bestowed* (given) by the government.
They are given by the government, so they can be taken away by the government. So calling them corporate Civil Rights, *the same* as human Civil Rights, is very wrong. It dilutes human Civil Rights.
And corporate civil rights has now come to dominate all aspects of business law, so the problem continues to worsen.
Another problem is the rights of political parties. These organizations have used their *bestowed* civil rights to become close to para-government organizations, though they are not even mentioned in the US constitution. And they use these political party “civil rights” to undermine our republican form of government in numerous ways, such as the coordinated exclusion by the two big parties of third parties from the political process.
In any event, this is why a constitutional amendment is needed. Not to strip organizations of their *bestowed* rights, but to recognize that they are different from *endowed* individual Civil Rights. That thought they are organizations of individuals, as a group, while retaining their rights as individuals, they may not collectively assert Civil Rights for their organization.
They have other rights, just not Civil Rights. Corporations, political parties, unions, etc., are not human beings, nor do they have endowed rights.
N.B.: I have excluded religion from this, because its sole purpose is the expression of an endowed right.
I thought this was really good FROM: http://www.garymcleod.org/republic.htm
Our military training manuals used to contain the correct definitions of Democracy and Republic. The following comes from Training Manual No. 2000-25 published by the War Department, November 30, 1928.
A government of the masses.
Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of “direct” expression.
Results in mobocracy.
Attitude toward property is communistic—negating property rights.
Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether is be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences.
Results in demogogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.
Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them.
Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences.
A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass.
Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy.
Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress.
Is the “standard form” of government throughout the world.
Wow. Look at the section under democracy, and compare that with what we are seeing today. And it was written in 1928...
The democracy defination describes the state of Democrat Party politics, doesn’t it!
As one commentator recently pointed out: The trouble with democracy is that 51% of the people can vote to defile the cornflakes of the other 49%.
Democracy is two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner.
A further very educational reading for those who are interested in the foundation of our REPUBLIC...
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2873431/posts which discusses this Res Publica article at http://www.teapartytribune.com/2012/04/17/res-publica/
As that article so aptly ends, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation UNDER GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Leftists hate corporations until they come out for “gay marriage” like General Mills in MN...then they love them.
Weird rant. The United States has, of course, never been a “democracy”. No offense, but childish screeds like the one you posted are all over the place. There is no shortage of ignorant buffoons out there. Look around at what gets elected.
“The majority of Citizens United funding is coming from conservative groups that are backing Republican candidates.”
Replace the words “conservative” with liberal and “Republican” with democrat and this article would have never been written.
Precisely. The ruling from SCOTUS IMO levels the playing field albeit not the stated intention, but it does.
IMO the Left was attempting to once again gain the upper hand in protesting the Super PAC while protecting their Union resources.
Typical of their anything to win mentality.
You posted some interesting points to mull over.
When Unions (an organization of like minded persons) donates big money to political campaigns, it is OK...even encouraged.
When Corporations (organizations of like minded persons) donates big money to political campaigns, it is a fascist activity!