Soon To Be Published Study Finds U.S. Is An Oligarchy
A new Princeton University study set to be published in the fall issue of Perspectives on Politics is the first empirical look at exactly who most influences American governmental policy. “In the United States our findings indicate,” the authors write, “the majority does not rule – at least not in the casual sense of actually determining policy outcomes.” In fact, the study argues that the US is more accurately an Oligarchy, because economic elites and special-interest lobbies are the most influential groups that affect policy.
The study is available online, but is laden with political science jargon. Essentially, the authors suggest that the multitude of Americans actually have little-to-no say in how policy measures play out in the government. From everything to the recent push for gay rights to the obstructions to Obamacare, how it all turns out depends on the whims of select rich individuals and moneyed interests.
Many Americans will remain skeptical about this. They will remember the time they wrote that letter to their Congressman or knocked on doors to discuss an issue important to them that ultimately went their way. The authors note that many times those results lined up perfectly with the desires of those who really hold the power in America.
However, it is not exactly time stockpile ammunition and sign up for your local militia. Often with groundbreaking research like this more questions arise than answers. The authors call for more “empirical research [to] pin down precisely who knows how much, and what, about which public policies.”
The authors also note an argument that goes back to the time of the Founding Fathers. If society is ill-informed and pays little attention to politics that don’t affect them directly, why should their opinions be considered at all? In the 1600s, the masses thought the problem of witchcraft was best dealt with by killing accused witches. Just because the majority agrees with something doesn’t make it right.
For many Americans on either side of the ideological spectrum, however, this news comes as no surprise. What is of monumental importance is how we react to this revelation. Will there be a move to correct this imbalance or will complacency get the better of us as long as the cable’s connected and you can still feed a family of four for under $20 at McDonalds? Do we still have the national attention span and focus required to address such a systemic problem? Only time may tell, and by then it could be too late.