Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Discussion: US Political Scene Irredeemable?

There is an article on /. today regarding souped up DMCA laws being passed in various states (Illinois already has one, yay for us). In the attendant discussion, I noticed a user with the ID revscat who made a number of posts that hit me. They're along the same lines as the corruption essay I sent out some time back. Terribly cynical, but fairly accurate, I think. I thought I'd paste them in here for everyone's enjoyment (items to which he's responding in italics):

For crying out loud people, leave you homes and SHOW them how many people care.

Do you really think it will matter? Ok, so a bunch of people show up, and facing a modicum of public opposition they don't act on the bill.

...until 9 months from now when people lose interest in it, the lobbyists make their wishes known, and the bill gets tacked on as a rider to some unrelated (but much easier to pass) piece of legislation, signed by the governor, and becomes law. The end.

I don't think you realize how little control you have over your government. It's all money, all the time. In cases where public interest collides with money, the public interest will lose every single time. And if they can't get it the first time, they'll get it the second.

Your voice doesn't matter.

Since the only thing our politicians will listen to is lobbyists, we need to form powerful lobbyists groups of our own to protect our interests.

More specifically, they listen to lobbyists with money. If you can help legislator X to get reelected by contributing to his campaign funds, you will have that legislator's ear. If you are merely operating from ideology but can do nothing to help that legislator win the next election, you may get lucky and be able to have lunch with him or her, but you will not have any long term effect.

The day of effective public advocacy groups is over. Nader is a laughing-stock, the ACLU is loathed by many members of the judiciary and much of the public, the EFF has been almost completely ineffective, and the American public is content with whatever legislative travesty the President advocates, so long as it is in the name of national security and supported by Republicans.

Corporate lobbyists control the legislative process. You, unfortunately, have no impact on this process. Your precious vote is worthless.

Why not do away with entertainment purchases for a year to see how much of an impact we can make? Are we too addicted to their drug to do this?

Because for this to have any effect whatsoever it would have to be done by a significant percentage of the population. How will you be able to spread the word about this boycott? Do you think you could ever get more than a modicum of people to join in? Man, hell no! "Law & Order" is on tonight!

Think about this: There hasn't been an effective consumer boycotts since the 1980's. Even the religious right has given up on product boycotts. Why do you think that is? And do you think you could fight the backlash of propaganda from the media were this to ever even to show the smallest signs of gaining traction?

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