This post will probably win some kind of award for being the most naive post in the history of Blue Mass Group. At least I will bring home some gold (fool’s gold, no doubt).
Back in the Cold War 50’s and 60’s there was an NY outfit named Freedom House –not sure if they were liberals or conservatives, but back during the Big Freeze, what was the diff?–and their shtick was giving ratings to countries depending on whether they were advancing to or retreating from democracy.
I was wondering what rating they would give to American democracy today. I’d say we slipping and slipping badly. Basically, the “demos” are getting tossed out of the “-racy.” I mean, we don’t even get to sit in the cheap seats anymore.
Let’s all strip naked and have the doctor take a good look. Hmm. Here is what Doc sees, and it is, well…”concerning”. There are shadows on the MRI:
• Republican re-districting makes it a big “so-what” that most more Americans vote Democratic
• The epidemic use of filibuster makes majority rule a joke
• Voter suppression laws…I assume you have heard
• Mass Dept of Education and Boston School Committee: unelected
• State secretary of education appointed
• The advent of charter schools and the fact that their leaders now controlling the public school system
• The privatization in education and prisons
• The decline of unions and the continuing attack thereupon
• Citizens United…enough said!
• Gates “Policy-targeted Philanthropy” etc
• Think Tank subversion…drip, drib, drip
• Media concentration
• No doubt developments I have missed…probably because they are too obvious to gather my attention
What moved me to write this piece was the my own personal need to list all these anti-democratic “advances” in one place so I could feel the full heft. And it is hefty.
But the most immediate cause was the hot-hot bromance between the Boston Globe and the Pioneer Institute. I already knew the Globe was dating the Boston Foundation, the Business Roundtable, the Municipal Research Bureau, and the Hi Tech Council. I mean, I knew the Globe got around. It’s a classy paper, and very desirable to its fellow members of the (secret) Vault. Who can blame them? But Pioneer? Every time I pick up the paper the deep thinkers at Pioneer are cited. (The “Pioneers” practically own the opinion page of the former Globe subsidiary, the Worcester Telegram). The Globe actually did, at least once, describe the Pioneer Institute as “right-leaning.” When is the last time you saw anything “left-leaning” get even a speed date with the Globe?
After a recent article about the T, the reporter noted that not everyone felt the same way about the report.
First, they went to a Pioneer for a comment. And only then to former transportation secretary Fred Salvucci, who was more critical. After all, we know Fred doesn’t know a whole lot about transportation. I guess it helps that Pioneer has its former executive director in the governor’s chair.
What is oozing out of every Boston Globe pore–even more than usual–is a most regrettable tendency of the Progressive Movement of the early 20th century: the belief that only experts and commissions of experts are needed to solve our problems, that only their views are required.
Democracy? Hey, whats that? Not so very important really, not on Morrissey Blvd. After all, they are Serious People who prefer to talk only with other Serious People. “I pledge allegiance to the….” Oh yuck.