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Reflections on Representative Government - Articles Surfing

For a great amount of time, perhaps for the greater part of the civilization of the world, mankind has been under authority. And, when it came to the origin of the rights of this authority, it had always been force. Barbaric rulers of an uncivilized people would not answer questions with arguments or reasoning, but rather with brute and unrestricted force. To what right does a man, namely the king, or despot, or dictator, to what right does he have to control the lives of all the men around him? Philosophers, who are sometimes little better than absolute products of the societies they develop in, would defend these ridiculous and cruel governments. They might point to the sky and say that the gods praise such an emporer, or that without a ruler there would be disorder and chaos, and the rights of the people would not be respected at all. Whatever the case may be, no thoughtful or intelligent person today believes that any ruler should have absolute power, that there should be no check to his political abilities. Today, we hail the system of representative government as the great liberator, the mechanism of society that allows each of its members to engage in the process of governing the whole. For a great deal of the world, this system of representation has replaced the system of monarchs and kings. There are still countries in Europe, even ones we consider "progressive," which hold positions for kings and queens, whom weild powerful political powers.

Revolutions were waged, in which millions of people would die, so that the system of monarchy was completely removed and the system of representation installed. What was the essential desire of these revolutionaries, when they were overthrowing their governments? What hope, or goal even, was it that they desired to achieve, when they entered the battlefields to end the power of despots and kings? Without a doubt, I think that everyone knows the answer to this: people wanted to create a government system of representation because it most effectively allows the people of that nation to govern themselves. The people of every nation and of every age have given an importance to the matter of governing their own lives. When the government of the time decides to take some action, whether it is military, or commercial, or domestic, or international, or when it raises or decreases taxes, or starts a war or not, all of these are issues of the whole body of a nation. The citizens of that country make up the tissues and organs of this body. Their ancestors from far ago had come together as countrymen and as citizens of the same nation, that they might offer mutual aid and benefit to each other. The social contract was created based on the principles of reciprocity. As members of a collective based on a reciprocal ethic, the members of this society believed that they each had an equal say in the determination of the future of this body they called the group.

The most effective method, to the opinions of these people, for creating a system in which all of their opinions were counted was that of a representative government. People would elect a person to rule over them. The creed that was attached to this representative system was that the people would be able to choose the person who would rule them, and therefore, they would be able to create a system of government that would be effective. If the people desired to alter the military standing of the government, or the policies of commercial dealings, or the matters of national, international, domestic, or other affairs, then the people had the right to vote. By this vote, they could alter the government's standing on these affairs, by choosing a representative to change these policies. In this respect, the people had control over the government, or so was their justification for this sentiment. The forms of government that are based on dictatorship or despotism or monarchy, these forms of government were regarded as the enemy of the people, and with reason. If men are to be in control of their lives, then a king with great military might is in the wrong, when he can simply enforce whatever regulation or policy or law that he desires.

With that respect, it seems that there is enough justification for the theory of a representative government. The trial of representative government has been tried in all parts of the world. What has its result been? When trying to understand the mechanics of a representative government, there are certain things that must be taken into consideration. First, the representative government, no matter what branches it has, or what formation it might take, or whether it is combined with a hereditary government to create a sort of hybrid, no matter any of these circumstances, there is one thing that must be considered above all: there are two classes, the ruled and the ruling. That is to say, there are essentially two types of people: those who are given the power to rule, and those who are not given the power to rule. Individuals who support the idea of a republican government will not argue me in this fact. There is a clear distinction in this society of who is in chargeand who is under rule.

The second observation that must be considered is that of human nature. That is to say, each individual person, whether ruled or ruler, has that set of emotions that we understand human beings to have. Particular to our inquiry, the emotion of self-interest is to be considered. When we look to the ruling parties, we see they are humans, not robots -- they are conscious beings, not constitutions or charters or laws. As human beings, they have this desire of self-interest. What is it that this self interest impels them to do? I imagine some government enthusiasts, some aspiring promoter of the republican form of government, will come up to me and say, "They will do what is best for all of society. They will only enact good laws, improving the society and their world." If it is true that every politician thought this, then I imagine there would be no need to have a representative government at all. After all, if a politician honestly thinks this, no matter what politician, then I imagine that kings and queens would feel this as well, and that there would be no effective difference between a representative government and a dictatorship. In fact, if one can bestow upon every politician the character of a saint, then I see no reason why such a character cannot be bestowed upon every member of the ruled class.

There is a not-so stunning realization that is had here. The only reason, at least as far as supporters of the representative government go, the only reason why government exists is to protect the rights of the people. If it proves to be true that all of mankind is saintly, without even a slight inkling of sin or cruelty or brutality, then there is no need for government, since there would be no infringement of anyone's rights. So, we come to the realization, that mankind is not inherently good, nor is he inherently evil. Returning to the abovementioned question, what would the desire of self-interest lead the ruling class of society to do? Since like any humans, they have a self-interest that cares for their personal security and welfare, we can expect that the ruling class will act not completely unlike the ruled class. What kind of interests do people normally have? Usually, to secure and protect their own rights: the right to life, liberty, and property. As members of the ruling class, the easiest and most effective way of maintaining these rights is the capability of power.

Power. By this word, I mean the ability to enforce a rule, or suppress an outbreak, or otherwise repress the natural tendencies of others. We see demonstrations of power everyday, in our police forces and our militaries, united with courts and prisons, judges and juries. The ruling class wants to maintain their power, because it is in their own best interests. There can be no doubt or skepticism towards this one fact. After all, if the ruling class -- a group made up of kings and queens, presidents and governors, senators and congressmen -- if these people truly were saints and had the interests of the people as their best desire, then government would have no purpose of existing. The ruling class, to maintain their interests as human beings, want to maintain their power. That is, above all, their primary interest, as determined by their disposition in life.

I don't think any educated person honestly doubts this. The ruling class has the interest of maintaining their power, above all other interests. The rights of the people, the liberty of the citizens, all of these are second grade interests to any politician. There may be some exceptions to these statements, but it must be admitted to act as a general rule. What does it mean, then, for a ruling class to boulster its power? Among these first acts, there is the act of criminalizing the act of treason. When I speak of a treason, what am I talking about? Treason might rightly be regarded as perhaps the only act that is truly inspired by the will of free men and turned into a living life realization by men who are not only free of heart, but liberated of mind and with an undying will power. For a collective of people to demand that their opinions be regarded, that the land they work must also be the land that they own, these are the true calls of freedom and liberty. It can be granted without a doubt, that treason and rebellion, an armed revolution backed with the peasatry, may be considered the most sincere and the most honest reflection of the people's will. The vote has done nothing. The representatives have done nothing. The system of representative government has been a failure like every philosopher predicted. It was not enough. The people took up arms to change things for themselves, through direct action! And yet, this most sincere, most honest form of the will of the people, of delivering power to the individuals who inhabit the countryside and the city, is considered TREASON! It is an act of TREASON for any person to believe that they have a right to live their life as they desire. And what is the punishment for this crime of Treason? In all nations, there seems to be a uniformity here: the punishment for treason is death. There are no negotiations, no arguments, only the logic of the guillotine, only the sense of justice ommitted by the gallows. Why is it that the most sincere form of human expression has been punished with the most brutal forms of punishment? Because, the ruling class has the interest of maintaining power, and by destorying any other uprising of power, they have succeeded in maintaining their positions.

Opposition to the government, that is to say, a support of the peoples' right to be heard, and an opposition to the government's right to smother them -- yes, true treason! -- has been regarded as the uptmost of crimes. But, only by the governments of the world. What other acts have been forbidden by the governments of the world? The actions of freedom of speech. The very first presidents of the United States of America made it a crime to say a single word when it was a word against the government. I'm sure you are all familiar with the Alien and Sedition Acts. Every time that the civil rights of the people were curtailed, every time an innocent person was behind bars for expressing some thought, it has always been for protection of the nation. Well, I cannot speak for anyone else, but I am more inclined to feel afraid than to feel free, when men and women are placed behind bars without any evidence against them. Why should I be forced behind bars and into a cell for expressing thoughts that naturally arrise when I am surrounded by these observations?

The greatest punishments have be reserved for the greatest crimes. Second to Treason: Tax Evasion. When the government decided to issue an unpopular war, disregarding entirely the wills of the people who elected them to de their bidding, those people refused to pay their taxes to fund such a war. Such criminals include Thomas Henry Thoreau, who sat in a jail cell because his senator and his representative had decided that imprisonment of the people was by for more important than freedom of the people. By evading taxation, people are refusing to support a government that has neither their trust nor their intention. These scoundrels are locked up and their property seized anyway. Sedition is another one of those greedy crimes, it reads as though it is to defend the state and the people, but when it is given to the police man, it is an excuse to abuse, to violate, and otherwise enslave every person he desires. The Patriot Act is nothing more. Far from giving us freedomof security, it has given us the fear of covert spying, of undercover police officers who have a proven track record of violence and brutality. Those individuals who have proved themselves barbarians to the world have gained a width of power with the passage of the Patriot Act.

If the most sincere acts of truth, honor, and independence are the greatest crimes in our government, then there should be no question as to why freedom of speech has been limited so much. The argument of the politician has always been: If men can speak as they wish, if they are allowed to think thoughts and say words, and develop ideas, they may come to the conclusion that we are vestiges, that the government of the world is a tyrant, denying the people their rights. It is no secret that the government has for long outlawed Anarchist literature, that it disallows it from being printed in this country or imported from other countries. Then there is the investegation to what literature people are reading. Library records are tracked by the government now, so that the opinions of the people can be monitored. By decreasing the power of the independent citizen to think and believe as they wish, the state grows stronger with ferocity. The FBI and CIA were hardly created for "national security," so much as they were created for the security of the ruling class. There was never a need to protect citizens from terrorist bombings until the government had agreed to unjust trade agreements. If anyone doubts this, they can check the track record of 3Com and Enron, companies both that had the ears of the government, created tens of millions of dollars for investors, but left tens of millions of people broke, unemployed, and with no future. Imagine the same catastrophe taking place internationally, imagine everyone knowing that it is the fault of the United States, and then you will understand completely why there are people willing to do all that is possible -- even sacrifice their own life -- to destroy the empire.

The ruling class has secured its rule in several ways: by making it illegal to question that rule, and punishable by death, as well as curtailing freedom of speech and all civil liberties that would peacably question that rule. Finally, the government has instituted a propaganda program. Every school, every government rally, every speach delivered, by these government officials -- they can all be regarded as propaganda at its best. They will discuss lukewarm issues, things that are of least importance to the people. They will discuss how to decrease the national deficite, how to gain exclusive oil and mineral mining rights to a third world nation, increasing the pay of soldiers, annexation of third world nations, among other things. Not once will they discuss how the government is a whore that tracks down the actions of the public, nor will they discuss the armies of unemployed, the tens of millions, the one hundred million Americans of this nation that do not have enough food to eat. Not once will this be discussed. The children that are starving in the streets, the education that is used to create an early response to authority, all of these institutions that exist today to make people think that it is just to have any government at all -- these things will stop people from thinking altogether.

In what ways have the ruling class established their rule? Through treason, through curtailing civil rights, through avoiding the issues and issuing propaganda in the form of "public education." Here we have understood rightly the desires of the ruling class, as they can be seen in any nation, in any people. Every torture chamber has united with every presidential podium to deliver a message to the people that with power in the hands of a small, few select, the safety of all can be guaranteed. Yes! There is no doubt that the first and sole interest of the ruling class is to maintain their power as human beings, and if this interest was absent, then it would be absent in the class of the ruled, and cruelty and brutality would wholly be absent from the people, and there would never be any need of government to begin with. The most ironic of all facts that must be admitted by everyone, is that if George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine, had these three figures been erected today, in uttering less than one hundred words, they would be put to death by the Supreme Court on account of treason. Finally, with the state defended, by the laws of treason and the mockery of civil liberties, there is a final blow that humanity takes, and it is in formal education.

Our schools may adequately be regarded as institutions of brainwashing. Children attend at a set time, go to class at a set time, agree to rules that they had no decision in choosing, follow a procedure of "learning" that is opposition to actual education. The facts that are given to the children in these inane textbooks are highly swayed and it seems that more attention is paid to the 200 years of our nation than the thousands of years that brought our way of life. Before any child is allowed the right to use the bathroom, they must ask permission. Allow me to repeat that. Before a child can commit an action that is most human and most natural, they can be denied this right by a superior. The rules are formed for the betterment of the teachers, not of the taught. Every teacher is regarded as a professor, or a Mr., or a Mrs.. Orders are given with more fluency than a military bootcamp. The fine contradiction that exists in compulsary education is this: BY TRAINING CHILDREN TO BECOME SLAVES, WE ARE EXPECTING THEM TO GROW UP AS FREE MEN. No greater contradiction can exist in our modern society than just that.

So, it must be accepted, that to elect a senator, a governor, a congressman, a president, or any othe erroneous position, is essentially to put into place a tyrant, who can boast that he has the will of the people behind him.

If the Anarchists were to create a system of public rule, a method by which we choose laws and vote down other laws, it would be a common gathering of men and women, to discuss the issues, and to say what they will of them. By choosing one man to lead all other men has created very little difference than having a man chosen for you, which is what two hundred million Americans do every four years complacently. By Anarchy, I mean this: that there is no ruler, and that every law that is created is created by the will of the people, not the will of a person. It must be accepted as a philosophy that adheres to justice as much as it adheres to the will of the people. Two concepts which are based on the ideal of a better world.

We see there primary vices in the system of representative government: the interests of the representatives are opposite those whom they are supposed to represent, the boulstering effectiveness of power (in essence, making it more difficult for the public to see the mistake they've made), and propaganda on behalf of the system of government. It is not enough to simply have control over an area. Those in power must have the ultimate power of a district. Thus, we have the system of representative government. It is, I must admit, not much an improvement from the monarchial system. In fact, it may be worse, in that it lends itself some credilibility which the monarchy were forever without. People looked to the monarchial system, they saw the dictates of the kings and the arbitrary rules of the queens, and they all know that it was injustice, that it was the greatest form of debauchery and deceit. When the republican system came along, people felt -- for a moment -- that they were in control of their lives, that they had some voice when it came to matters of public affairs. But, they found themselves destitute of any real control.

The reality of the present system truly hits us when we realize that so many people hold the same view. Every person simultaneously feels powerless in this system, as they are forced to vote for leaders that they don't believe in. This past year was known to the Democratic Party as "Anybody But George Bush." People who voted for George Bush felt that he was insufficient to governing the whole body of the United States, just as those who voted for John Kerry would tell you, "I only voted for him because he's not George Bush." In France, an identical situation would come up, but only worsened to a great deal. Their slogan would be, "Vote for the thief, not for the Fascist." The alternative they had to a Nazi regimist was a man whose hobbies included stealing funds from the public and abusing power to the point that would make kings seem just. And that is just the point I am trying to demonstrate in this treatise: rulers are rulers, no matter the origin or justificationof their power, and as rulers, they will abuse their power, exploit their people, and do what they can to maintain their power. I have ample evidence of this point. For one, I have the greatest piece of evidence of all. Americans are feeling more and more powerless with every passing year, as they find that the social ills that fill their lives with misery and pain remain unchanged. An ethic of "choose the lesser evil" takes hold on the minds of the populace. We start to feel that there is nothing that we can, that throwing our vote away is just as powerful an act as choosing the lesser evil.

One may interject, saying that the people are not sheep, that they can take control of their lives and have done so in the past. Yes, I know this. The error in such reasoning is thus: the government does what it can to maintain its power in the face of the people trying to make a genuine expression of their interests. The Patriot Act, for example, was used by the government to imprison and otherwise obstruct the path that American revolutionaries today are on. It's not protection. It's control. As much as they say that this is for the protection of the public, to save us from a handful of airplanes falling out of the sky, they think that a thousand distant prisons and an enormous police state is a more pleasing alternative. Police and law enforcement officials search buildings for certain types of literature. Not only has this happened to me, but it has occured to my friends on more than one incident. Certain ideas, thoughts, and beliefs are considered too dangerous by the government for the people to have. Free speech, free press, free minds. Our American government has made clear where it stands in these areas, so it is our obligation as American citizens to revolt. If anything, I am as guilty as Thomas Paine. When I am persecuted for my conscience, then I can only know that I am not free.

We now have an accurate view of the representative system: it is ineffective and more apt to deceit than it is to any other vice.

When one thinks of the system of Anarchy, the greatest questions are asked. Does it not mean chaos? Does it not mean unrestricted violence? Does it not mean the greatest and most brutal form of cruelty -- completely unrestricted? Does it not mean a perpetual war of every man against every other man?

What is it about state power that makes it such an enemy of freedom and happiness? The answer is clear: state power hands authority over to people whose only intent can be to create misery and vice -- those who run the state. And whether these people are picked by raffle or ballot, the actions they commit are always the same. Anarchy means the absence of government, the absence of oppression, the absence of power belonging to a small and select few and being held within the hands of the people. It is a simple yet beautiful idea, one that has captured the inspirations and hearts of every man to fall in love with freedom.


For Life,

Submitted by:

Andy Carloff

Punkerslut (or Andy Carloff) has been writing essays and poetry on social issues which have caught his attention for several years. His website www.punkerslut.com provides a complete list of all of these writings. His life experience includes homelessness, squating in New Orleans and LA, dropping out of high school, getting expelled from college for "subversive activities," and a myriad of other revolutionary actions.



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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