The Big Brother

Hi, I’m David Brooks, and fortunately for you I got rip-roaringly stoned last week. Being so high, I was able to make some fairly clear judgments about what you people down below need. First, it’s clear that democracy is in crisis. Now that we have no communists to oppose, aside from Obama, Americans and Europeans are dissatisfied with the effects of the system they so passionately fought for. No less, other democracies, like South Africa, haven’t figured out that secretly stuffing ballots is much less efficient than publicly buying votes, but they’ll surely come around to the American way eventually.

Worse still is that things are great economically: productivity has been on the rise in many countries, bringing great wealth and happiness to common people such as yourself. This is the good news. On the other hand, governments are becoming less productive, at least in Britain, the only country I looked up, which is the bad news.

So, as the title of a journal I briefly glanced at indicates, we are facing a question: what is the best way to make sure our actually existing democracy doesn’t turn into a real democracy, which would be the really, really bad news for people like me?

On the back flap of Micklethwait and Wooldridge’s book, The Fourth Revolution, I was struck by how a couple of people pointed out the overwhelming positives of guardian states such as Singapore and China. They have an inconsistent and meager safety net, so poor people are left to rot if they are not particularly good at anything; their best students are forced into government service and iPhone production, whether they like it or not; and their retirement system, which includes what barely passes under the definition of ‘pension’, leaves workers pretty much on their own. If that’s not the pursuit of happiness, then I clearly don’t know what is (unfortunately, the definition wasn’t included on the back flap).

Of course, there are some downsides. There’s a bit of absolute corruption, and local government tends to be dictated by the state, but I think those downsides are really net plusses. If you think about it, which might be hard for you, wouldn’t you rather have your children go to school six days a week for extremely long periods of time and then suffer a high tendency towards suicide? No less, isn’t it clear that having almost no pension system is better than having a well-funded one? The one semi-poor person I talked to for a few minutes told me that his fellow poor people would certainly want these things, and I’d argue that’s proof enough.

So how do we bring our dying democracy back to life? The simplest and final solution is to simply kill off the inferior system we currently have. Counterintuitive as it may seem, the problem is that there’s just too much democracy in Washington—all of that earnest political discussion has gotten in the way of real progress. I’m fairly certain from my cursory readings that there is no essential issue with how capitalism itself works. The problem is all of those interest groups in Washington. We should simply replace them, including that especially irritating member, the people, with absolutely powerful councils that will negotiate great, sweeping changes from on high. But councils on their own are ineffective. Using the most advanced methods of propaganda, they will have to indoctrinate the masses with their ideas so thoroughly that resistance will be minimal. We already know from Fox news and Hitler that if you repeat something often enough and with little rationality, not to mention the full force of ideological state apparatuses, people will get worked up and act.

It’s at that point that we can really start watering our grass roots democracy. Once the people have been brow-beaten into docile conformity, they will be poised to act according to the whims of the grand elite. As their Guardians, we will make sure they understand that democracy is nothing other than the smooth functioning of markets in the interest of the ruling class. They will then hunger voraciously for charity, compete viciously for entrance to charter schools, and scramble desperately to return all public services back to the market.  Only then will they understand how work doled out from the Makers of the market place will set them free.

Our country used to be innovative, and we can be again. A malleable, unthinking workforce has always been the necessary grist for the mill of democracy, or markets, which are essentially interchangeable concepts. So call it trickle-down Guardianship, or call it autocracy. I like to call it the future.

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