Democracy In Bloom

“Democracy, whether in Sweden or the United States, depends on the voter’s capacity to think. If you have read the best of what has been thought and said, then your cognition and understanding is on a much higher level than if you have read Harry Potter or Stephen King. So what this decline into half-literature and mediocre media really means is de facto a self-destruction of democracy.”

I don’t quite understand the reasoning here, Harold Bloom. If there is an absence of a capacity among the people to think, it follows that there is an absence of democracy. So how can an absence of democracy cause democracy to self-destruct?

The rest of the interview is worth reading, however:

I don’t understand the motivation for the war, but suspect the real reason for the war, which one would suspect of a country which is a third oligarchy, a third plutocracy and a third theocracy, is that it simply is a profitable machine.

Yep.

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3 Responses to “Democracy In Bloom”


  1. 1 copernicus January 15, 2008 at 11:53 am

    War may be a profit machine, but that is only for a small number of people. So the strength of your democracy (and economic actors as a whole) can be judged by how often you go to war, ie, how in thrall to a particular special interest group your politicians are. Or indeed, how in thrall your politicians are to a third state whose politicians are in thrall to a special interest group that profits from warmaking.

    European states tend not to make war not least because of its economic destructiveness. Even in the USA, the public debt which represents the corporate externalising of the costs of warmaking while enjoying all the profits is becoming a source of disquiet among conservative bourgeoisie.

    I hope.

  2. 2 Hugh Green January 15, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    So the strength of your democracy (and economic actors as a whole) can be judged by how often you go to war, ie, how in thrall to a particular special interest group your politicians are.

    I recall reading somewhere that every congressional district in the US has a defense industry in it, so for a politician to be anti-war is also to be anti-jobs.

    Or indeed, how in thrall your politicians are to a third state whose politicians are in thrall to a special interest group that profits from warmaking.

    Pointing no elbows…

    European states tend not to make war not least because of its economic destructiveness.

    That’s the short term trend anyway, and due in part to US hegemony post-war. I take your point about the externalising of costs, but even that doesn’t encompass the full extent of externalities – the destroyed lives and infrastructure of the targeted countries, for instance.

  3. 3 copernicus January 15, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    It encompasses them as far as conservative Americans are concerned. The point being that in Europe, the same class would see those costs not merely as externalised, but as opportunity costs.

    You can’t trade with dead people.

    Of course, some would say that Europe has maybe taken this idea a bit far and handicapped too severely its latent capacity to wage war. An externality of that being the current full spectrum hegemony of the USA.


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