March 2, 2016 - admin

Volume 41, Issue 7-8: Dumbing and Numbing of the American Electorate

The political commentator and comedian George Carlin famously ranted about how the educational system was designed to keep Americans in the dark, to create a population unaware of both how the country is being run and in whose interests, and to produce an electorate unable to critically understand the political process that makes it all possible ( A major theme of his routines was that politicians were in the pockets of the monied interests of the US (and for capitalist societies in general). This was funny in part because it was not news. The need for money to run campaigns, hold on to political dynasties, and maintain both electoral discipline and finance patronage systems has a well-rehearsed history. Corruption in local government was a prime example of this: witness New York City’s Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed during the second half of the 19th Century, and a century later Richard J. Daley’s 21-year reign (1955–1976) as boss supreme serving as Mayor of the City of Chicago. Patronage and wealth, serving the interests of investors, land developers and industrialists in these great cities, dominate local politics.

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