Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Soros: Not sure democracy will survive

GEORGE SOROS' incisive, if not entirely optimistic, essay in the June 23 issue of the New York Review of Books ought to be read - and reread - not as the incidental passing commentary of a billionaire liberal activist but as a provocative survey of the global mess in which America is deeply mired.

(I will pause at this point for all of Soros' right-wing critics and Fox News perps to turn blue at the very mention of his name.)

The Soros opus, which appears in the June 23 issue and is available on line, covers a broad field of trial-and-error government and spares neither side of the aisle. The guiding force of Soros' piece might be summed up in this wistful warning by the author:
''The United States has been a democracy and open society since its founding. The idea that it will cease to be one seems preposterous; yet it is a very likely prospect." [Italics added]
An essential attribute of a faltering society, he believes, is its inability to face reality - the unpleasant burden that all of us in a free society must necessarily share.
"Already the reelection of President Bush had convinced me that the malaise of an American society went deeper than incompetent leadership. The American public was unwilling to face harsh reality and was positively asking to be deceived by demanding easy answers to difficult problems. The fate of the Obama presidency reinforced that conviction."
Asserting that the Republican narrative thrived in a propaganda machine - Orwellian Newspeak - he says the party advanced its own game plan that the "government cannot be trusted and its role in the economy - both regulation and taxation - should be reduced to a minimum."

That sort of mindless political hogwash plays well with a public that doesn't want to hear the bad news, particularly from the politicians on the stump. And quite likely it will stay that way in our lifetime.

Soros says he has spent more than $8 billion creating a global network, the Open Society Foundation, to explore "new frontiers" in searching for solutions to make the globe more livable but wonders about its viability and continued work once he passes from the scene.

. The essay is not recommended for patio reading while waiting for guests to arrive at any moment. But it brutally reaches to the core of where we are today and why we are not anywhere near Camelot.


Mark said...

Don't you think in some ways our democracy is already dead? Most elections are bought and sold and recent rulings by the supreme court have only made it easier for corporations to control the message. I for one mourn the loss.

Mencken said...

Our democracy is dead ? As far as I know, there are precious few Americans seeking political asylum in countries around the world.

I suggest reading an excellent novel, The Joke by Milan Kundera about life in communist Czechoslovakia.
It was given to me by a political exile from South America where democracy was truly dead in some countries for awhile. When you're burying family members and friends, killed by government soldiers, then democracy is dead.