Chris Hedges articulates the dangers of Oligarchy.
Oligarchs care nothing for competency, intelligence, honesty, rationality, self-sacrifice or the common good. They pervert, deform and dismantle systems of power to serve their immediate interests, squandering the future for short-term personal gain.
... once oligarchs take power, rational, prudent and thoughtful responses to social, economic and political problems are ignored to feed insatiable greed. The late stage of every civilization is characterized by the sophistry of oligarchs, who ravage the decaying carcass of the state.
Oligarchs use power and ruling structures solely for personal advancement.
The parts of the state that serve the common good wither in the name of deregulation and austerity. The parts that promote the oligarchs’ power expand in the name of national security, economic growth and law and order.
Oligarchs look at regulations to protect the environment or the safety of workers as impediments to profit and abolish them.
They use the language of patriotism to stoke hatred against their critics and to justify their crimes. They see the world in black and white—those who are loyal to them and those who are the enemy.
Oligarchs accelerate social, political, cultural and economic collapse. The unchecked plunder leads to systems breakdown.
In the end, they are overthrown or destroy the state itself. There is no institution left in America that can be called democratic, and thus there is no internal mechanism to prevent a descent into barbarity.
The longer we are ruled by oligarchs, the deadlier our predicament becomes, especially since the oligarchs refuse to address climate change, the greatest existential crisis to humankind.
History may not repeat itself, but it echoes. And if we don’t recognize these echoes and then revolt, we will be herded into the abattoirs that tyrannies set up at the end of their existence. [emphasis mine]
Ravaging the decaying carcass of the United States government for short-term personal gain. Yup. That's what I see happening. Hedges articulates what's happening from a systemic perspective. But his advice to revolt, with "no internal mechanism to prevent a descent into barbarity." Not very helpful. <sigh> I imagine an entirely new social structure based on two-way information flow, where those with most power and money deserve the least privacy. A return flow, as it were.
"Abattoirs that tyrannies set up" brings to mind Third Reich concentration camps, but the UN says the prison system of North Korea is worse than they were.
Oligarchy (in OED) — a small group of people having control of a country.
The US of A and 32 states are oligarchies and their people are the victims of those they elect. The 18 states whose voters have the DIRECT initiative and referendum are ON ELECTION DAYS not ruled by a few. They can become democracies.
Most of the direct initiative and referendum states are in the West. In Arizona, where I got my baptism of political fire, the Statehood Committee a century ago looked to the Eastern states and saw their corruption. They wanted no such corruption in Arizona and added the direct initiative and referendum to the constitution they drafted.
Not so curiously, some people oppose democracy. Just over a century ago when California voters adopted the direct initiative and referendum, they ignored opponents’ charges that they were voting for socialism.
I have seen reports that this year, 2018, Marylanders and Wisconsinites are considering whether to add the direct initiative and referendum to their constitutions.