Recent unbalanced commentary on socialism, capitalism and democracy omitting oligarchy (a small group of people having control of a country) requires a brief response, which unfortunately cannot do justice to the subject matter.
A great fear of the Founders was abuse of power concentrated in the hands of an unjust ruler, king or oligarchy. It was also one of the main causes of the Revolution. Critics from right to left have described how our nation has descended into oligarchy or an oligarchy of private interests. See for example the 2010 interview of former Reagan administration Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts at the dailybell.com. On the other side of the political spectrum, see Chris Hedges and note his agreements with Roberts at commondreams.org.
Critics of socialism would do well to heed the words of the late major general and two-time Congressional Medal of Honor winner Smedley D. Butler in his 1935 book, “War is a Racket,” and especially in his speeches:
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service, and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
U.S. intervention under the Monroe Doctrine and otherwise has often been a tragedy.
Other authors, including A.J. Langguth (“Hidden Terrors…”), Nick Cullather (“Secret History…, 2nd Edition), John Perkins (“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”, “The Secret History of the American Empire…”, and “Hoodwinked”), Steven Hiatt (editor of “A Game as Old as Empire”), Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman (co-authors of “The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism”), and Jeffrey Sachs have updated and expanded upon Butler’s comments.
Currently three U.S. citizens — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet — have more wealth than the bottom half (160 million) U.S. citizens combined, according to CNBC. The late renowned U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis stated, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.”
Arthur E. Yeske