web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


American Democracy as Masquerade

Louis Rene Beres

Louis Rene Beres

Significantly, these rare souls can seldom be found anywhere in politics, universities, or corporate boardrooms. Such souls are to be found, to be sure, but we must learn precisely where to look.

The strength and courage of a needed inner-directedness can never lie in holding an advanced degree, or in engaging others in assorted contests or contrivances of language. Indispensable qualities of originality must be sought, instead, in the complementary powers of intellectual independence, social justice, and spontaneous empathy.

Adam Smith saw in capitalism not just an admirably rising productivity but also the required foundation for political liberty. He also understood that a system of “perfect liberty” – what we might presently call an ideal democracy – could never be based upon a smug and facile encouragement of needless consumption. The inexorable laws of the marketplace, he reasoned, demand a palpable disdain for vanity-driven buying. For Adam Smith, the main problem of dangerously orchestrated hyper-consumption was not economic or political but psychological.

It was a problem of unresisted absorption into the mass.

For Adam Smith, contrary to widespread misunderstandings of his complex thought, “conspicuous consumption,” a phrase that would later be used by sociologist Thorsten Veblen, must never be taken as evidence of economic or political progress. It follows that while the crowd call of American democracy may remain loud, crass, and even disturbingly persuasive, we the people must keep up the struggle against the suffocating mass, purposefully, and, above all, as authentic individuals.

Then we Americans could perhaps lay bare the essential ingredients of a democracy that offers more than the sum total of individual souls fleeing breathlessly from themselves. Then, finally, we could fashion a democracy that is far more than a demeaning and ultimately destructive masquerade.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “American Democracy as Masquerade”

  1. It's sad that every election, there are campaigns to "get out the vote" or "rock the vote" with no direction telling potential voters that it's their obligation as conscious voters to educate themselves before voting. In their desire to win elections, America's political parties prefer voters to be ignorant to get into office and apathetic to stay in office, but eventually, we'll get a real monster in office that knows how to take advantage of the drones that are programmed to chant in unison. "The cattle are branded. They bed down behind gates. Trading sky and horizon for safety and grain."

  2. Sadly I agree R.Locust. Worldwide to the end time,and our Creator is not going to hold back .We our on the verge of a Nuc. final WW111. Watch and Pray.This WILL
    come to pass in our generation.Seek Truth in this deceived world. Find inner peace, help and guidance is there. ASK, ask-seek-knock.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/american-democracy-as-masquerade/2014/01/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: