Monday, August 4, 2008

Worst Case Government

Only a thorough investigation has a chance of revealing the full scope of the Bush administration’s illegal activities and the support of those activities by Congress. In lieu of such an investigation, the public is forced to guess what really happened, and the cynical among us (and believe me, I‘m far from alone) are likely to suspect the worst. Whatever the motivations of the administration (and there is some evidence that they actually believe they are doing what’s right for the country), the lack of transparency to their actions and deliberations coupled with almost daily revelations of wrongdoing tend to reinforce these suspicions.

Exploring the consequences of the worst case is a valuable exercise in that it helps prepare for them, or at least helps us find ways to avoid them; and in the example at hand, the survival of our nation may well be at stake. The worst case here is that our government is being run by a conspiracy that will stop at nothing to expand its power over the people of the world based on the mistaken notion that its members know what’s best for everyone. The consequences of this assumption are easy to guess in light of recent events, among them: attempts to rig the upcoming election in favor of the Republican nominee or the postponement of the election to keep the current administration in power; and the pursuit of total military dominance, domestically and internationally, including a strong intelligence-gathering component and expansion of prisons.

Thwarting the worst case and its consequences would involve several components. The most critical component is the establishment of total transparency, beginning with the investigations associated with impeachment hearings. Reestablishing the requirement for congressional declaration of war – any war – is another component. Banning the use of private military forces at home and abroad would keep this and future administrations from bypassing the will of the people (or providing for their subjugation). Reducing if not eliminating the role of money in elections would also help, since money is a major carrier of personal power.

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