USA: The Passive Democracy
Posted by paradox
In 2000 the President assumes office by judicial abrogation with less votes than his opponent and by suppressing legal counts. Inadequate reforms are initiated and nothing happens.
In 2000/2001 illegal energy market manipulation occurs in CA that steals $25 billion. Evidence of possible wrongdoing by the Vice President is suppressed and prosecution is virtually nonexistent. No subsequent reforms are initiated and nothing happens.
In 2003 the President lies to start an illegal war. Thousands die and the US is spit upon by the world. No subsequent reforms are initiated and nothing happens.
In 2003 political operatives in the White House, with extremely close ties to the President and Vice President, commit treason in a clumsy political payback. The Attorney General does not prosecute. No subsequent reforms are initiated and nothing happens.
The passivity and submissiveness of the American populace is remarkable. Our European Democratic cousins, especially the French and the Italians, are especially adept at wielding power and influence when abused or threatened. They simply shut things down.
Ignore political process and target critical infrastructure elements with a general strike, usually. Trains don't run, food isn't delivered, nicotine addicts denied. The government caves and things more or less return to "normal."
Political theory teaches us that human societies will endure enormous abuse for hundreds of years under repressive regimes before revolting. How many centuries of torment did the peasants of Russia go through?
Psychology teaches us that humans are ridiculously susceptible to authoritative orders. Research has exhaustively shown that humans will follow orders from authority figures, even when there is irrefutable proof their actions are hurting other humans with yelps of pain as they carry out the orders.
Given the 2 factors above and the normal passivity of Americans, is there any reason to suspect that Americans will abandon their submissiveness?
No. For many readers here that might be a disappointing answer, but it's just extremely unlikely Americans will organize and get the moxie of the French or Italians. There are good arguments as to why that's not a bad thing, by the way.
"The Tipping Point" is often discussed as a purely electoral threshold--at some point enough voters will reject Bush and he'll get voted out. But what if the machines don't count the votes and the will of the people is thwarted and abused yet again?
No subsequent reforms are initiated and nothing happens. Inheritors of the legacy of Tom Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Sam Adams, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln just wouldn't sit there and take it sheepishly. Would they?