Resisting the (American) Dictatorship

From the Foundation for Economic Education, off the beaten path of duopoly-serving think tanks……a treatise on the political theater that so many Americans willingly sacrifice their intellect, integrity and honor.


Giving Undue Credit

First, whenever we say “The President should do more of X,” we are ceding the ground that could be covered by Congress or, even more appropriately, by ourselves. Nothing is more absurd than when people praise or scold the President for the price of gasoline, something which he has almost no control over (and should not have control over). One could go on for days with other examples. President Reagan didn’t “cut taxes,” Congress wrote a bill which they then sent to him to sign. President Clinton didn’t “create jobs,” private citizens created, bought, and sold goods and services which generated the need for labor and thus the need to hire people. President Obama didn’t bring marriage equality, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of it. By crediting Presidents with these things, we not only act as if we live in an absolute monarchy, we act like it’s a good thing!

All Power to the President

Second, building up the President encourages servile thinking. It’s a way of buying into the cult of personality while pretending to reject the sales pitch. When we panic about a certain candidate winning the White House and all the awful things he or she plans to do, we’re admitting that we as a nation would simply go along with it, that no acts of congressional or private disobedience would stem the tide of executive power. Coming from a nation whose founding was based on separating from a monarchy, this realization is especially sad. It should serve as a sobering reminder that a part of every person desires a personal dictator to do the things he or she personally agrees with – without the pesky “obstructions” of argument and opposition.


The rest…..


7 thoughts on “Resisting the (American) Dictatorship

  1. Pretty spot on but:

    1. The president does exert influence by setting an agenda. Executive agencies have considerable influence.
    Congress has been pretty effective blocking Obama’s agenda and that has become the Republican function.

    2. makes a good point about over reliance on government but doesn’t do much to help us understand what situations require government action.
    Also should so much foreign policy be ceded to the executive branch?

    3. Dictatorships subordinate art and music to the government. Well sometimes you get Rodchenko, sometimes you get socialist realism crap. The history of Russian art in the first half of the century is fascinating.
    Using the market as your sole generator of art and culture is also a recipe for crap.

    It’s a worthy essay but ultimately fails at finding a necessary balance.


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