AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

Posted: Januari 11, 2011 in Research Papers

AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

Columns, GATRA, August 5, 1995
Date published: 5th August 1995

America ruled by an elite oligarchy. This oligarchy of power source: money. This is the basic opinion Juwono Sudarsono about American politics as he wrote in GATRA lately.
At Gettysburg in 1863 Abraham Lincoln made a speech about America. America, said Lincoln, is a country “which is dedicated to the idea that human beings are created equal”. And therefore the U.S. government is set to follow the motto: “from the people, by the people, for the people”.
If Juwono right, we can only Lincoln pursing these ideals. Because until now American politics was governed only by a handful of deep pockets elite in Washington. Juwono opinion is classified as very hard. In order for this opinion cannot be as hard as mere rhetoric, Juwono must support it with solid arguments and convincing evidence. Unfortunately, these two items we did not find.
Ralph Nader and Hedrick Smith – who was quoted Juwono to support his argument – not taken seriously in the world of thought in America. They are more regarded as popularizes of ideas. Smith’s opinion, for example, that the basis of political power in America is “money, money, and money”, based on the assumption that the most vulgar Marxism. With this sort of argument is difficult for us to understand the complexity of the political dynamics.
Juwono analysis, in many ways, based on the argument C. Wright Mills, a thinker who is more serious than Nader and Smith. Although raised in the late 1950s, the argument is that Mills is still quite popular in various circles. One reason: it allows us to greatly simplifies the problem and then pointed.
Where Juwono Mills and weaknesses? In any country – democratic or not, in Washington or in Jakarta – there’s always the elite levels. This is very trivial, we can understand without having to think hard. Relevant as the real political issue is the nature’s power elites. This is what distinguishes between a democratic system and the authoritarian.
Mills apparently did not realize this simple question. “The concept of power elite,” said Mills explained in his famous book, The Power Elite, “not connected at all decision-making manner. This concept is related to who was involved in that process.” With this concept, Mills consciously ignored the nature of political power. Instead, he emphasized is the composition of the political actors.
Mills ignorance of the nature of political power and instead focused attention on Mills that anyone in power that obscures views on political issues and democracy in America. Such indifference is what is conceptually impossible to distinguish between Jefferson Mills and Lenin, between Roosevelt and Hitler. And this is what traps the characters of elite theories, such as Mosca and Michels.
If the nature of power used as the main criterion is an important question related to democracy is: Is the control of the political elite running? Does the election of fair and open them? How do they make decisions? Is the press were banned? And in the presence of these criteria for our portrait of American politics not as simple as Juwono accusations.
In the process of decision making, for example, the most important in the American system is a mechanism that allows an open debate among the elite in Congress, Senate, and the White House. Of course, a combination of the power of money, ideas, personal charisma, and organization affect the outcome of this debate. But all this can not eliminate the basic fact that, among the elite in Washington, open debate ongoing. And the people, thanks to a free press, is widely watched.
If we follow, in the formulation of policy debate in Congress, Senate, and the White House often lasted a rambling and often emotional. This is to some people boring and redundant. But even in a prolonged debate behind it lies the essence of the nature of American power. These debates really is a form of bargaining continued between the rulers and the people.
Gingrich and Clinton – as the political elites in any country – was “ordered” and formulate policies. And the people – as people everywhere – are on the edge of the stage. But at the Jefferson and Lincoln country is the mechanism that connects the people and the elite is the bargaining, persuasion, argument, and ultimately trust. In this land of authoritarian rulers of the people and relationships more sustained anxiety and cynicism.
All this does not mean that American democracy is perfect democracy. Lincoln at Gettysburg speech was how one is an ideal which we should not confuse with reality.
Perhaps there are aspects and arguments enough Juwono describe some weaknesses of democracy in America. But if this argument made repeatedly and conclude too much, he not only would obscure the big picture of American democracy, but also, as Daniel Bell of thoughts Mills, will give the impression that any political power – democratic or not – basically a dark conspiracy. And therefore extend only cynicism toward achieving the ideals of a freer society.

*) Students Doctoral Program at Ohio State University. Now the Director of Freedom Institute.

Comentar :
In this article more focused on Juwono view of democracy in America and his opinion that compared with the previous opinion of the democratic character. According to the U.S. is controlled by an elite oligarchy. This oligarchy of power source: money. Relevant as the real political issue is the nature’s power elites. Because until now American politics was governed only by a handful of deep pockets elite in Washington. Juwono analysis, in many ways, based on the argument C. Wright Mills, a thinker who is more serious than Nader and Smith. Mills apparently did not realize this simple question. “The concept of power elite,”. Juwono here also review a little about the opinion of Gingrich and Clinton – as the political elites in any country – was “ordered” and formulate policies. And the people – as people everywhere – are on the edge of the stage. But in this country and Jefferson Lincoln is the mechanism that connects the people and the elites are bargaining, persuasion, argument, and ultimately trust. In this land of authoritarian rulers of the people and relationships more sustained anxiety and cynicism. This article describes the shortcomings more American democracy, but if the article This continues on to discuss it will bear the impression that any political power – democratic or not – basically a dark conspiracy. And therefore extend only cynicism toward achieving the ideals of a freer society.

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