I’m posting this because I absolutely love Nat Henthoff! He is right on about almost everything in my mind. (at least, for the most part!) I think he’s in his 80s now- he co-founded the Village Voice and has always been concerned about our civil rights. But I think that he’s like the voice crying in the wilderness. Or rather, the boy crying wolf- because nobody is listening to him!!
Honestly, he is a consistent critic of any and all who mess with the Constitution! He protested about Bush, and now he’s on Obama! And the thing is, it appears that Obama’s administration is even more clandestine and cavalier with our rights than the Bush one was, if that’s possible.
Like in the paper today, Obama’s administration being sued for refusing to follow the War Powers Act regarding our involvement with NATO in Libya. Granted, many presidents have disregarded this law – but weren’t we supposed to expect more from Obama? I mean, he seemed like the “anti-war” candidate, and he was a Harvard constitutional law professor previously. But as if still being in Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t enough, he wants to spend millions on Libya, which certainly is not a threat to us? What’s next, the rest of the Middle East?
Anyway, I digress about Obama and his blatant disregard for the Constitution….more on that another time.
What I wanted to write today relates to Nat Hentoff’s column- about the importance of education regarding the constitution.
Democracy (or a representative democracy, a Republic, which is what the US has), is one of those things, like communism, that in theory seems great. But it, like communism, holds an optimistic view of humanity that is not warranted by factual reality and history.
Instead, as the founding fathers called it, it is an experiment. And experiment that fails if the presumption is incorrect- namelt, that the average person (American) is capable of engaging in, and being knowledgeable about, holding up their end of the social contract. THis presumes a basic level of intelligence, education, critical thinking, reasoning, intellectual curiosity, knowledge of not only history and civics but also of current events.
A basic level that is truly no longer basic. It is now almost astonising if a person has those abilities, or admits to them.
The rules of the “game” of this experiment require peope to be able to (literally) read them and get them. Otherwise it’s like a toddler trying to play monopoly.
Both assume the “proletariat” is apable of rule -or even of meaningful participation. Both assume the soile reason for their position in loife is factors such as oppression, or the “cultural elite” –That Joe 6-Pack, as well as a peasant worker, are no different in leadership, etc. ability than the