Where Is America’s Democracy?

Paul Craig Roberts
May 6, 2014

Anyone who looks carefully behind the veil of words cannot find democracy in America. For years I have been writing that the US government is no longer accountable to law or to the people (see, for example, my book, How America Was Lost). The Constitution has been set aside, and the executive branch is degenerating into Caesarism.

Government is used to impose agendas that result from the symbiotic relationship between the neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony and the economic interests of powerful private interest groups, such as Wall Street, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby, agribusiness, and extractive industries (energy, mining, and timber). Dollar imperialism, threats, bribes, and wars are means by which US hegemony is extended. These agendas are pursued without the knowledge or approval of the American people and in spite of their opposition.

Professor Martin Gilens at Princeton University and Professor Benjamin Page of Northwestern University have examined American governance and have concluded that the US is an oligarchy ruled by powerful rich private interest groups and that the US government has only a superficial resemblance to a democracy. Their analysis is forthcoming in publication in the journal, Perspectives on Politics.

Their conclusions are striking:

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

“When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.”

“In the United States, our findings indicate that the majority does not rule–at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes.”

“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

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