Informed Consent Essential to Democracy.

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One of the most basic assumptions of a democracy is an informed voting public is essential. A democracy by definition is a people who are governed by the majority consent of the people. If a democratic nation is insufficiently informed, government direction will often be ineffectual in solving a nation's problems. However, if the voting public is misinformed by its leaders or a minority, then the government ceases to be a democracy, since, majority consent is not based on informed consent, and government is being directed by those who misinformed the public. All dictators of the 20th century knew the importance of misinforming the public and formally set up propaganda ministries to deliberately misinform the public in such a way as to retain support from the people.

Couldn't happen in America, you say? We currently have hard evidence of the undermining of democracy through misinformation going on today in America. Polls have shown that the American people, by a majority, believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible in part or whole for the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., [CSMonitor]. Where did the American people acquire this false connection?

First, IS it false? The administration has defended against the accusation that the president made the connection. Note the following from the Christian Science Monitor by Linda Feldmann | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor:

In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11.

Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago.

She writes further:
"The administration has succeeded in creating a sense that there is some connection [between Sept. 11 and Saddam Hussein]," says Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.

So, in the absence of any other possible source of information which linked Hussein to 9/11, and there appears to be none, it is reasonable to say that the President was solely responsible for this misinformation.

A strong correlation in the polls shows that those who believed in this connection made up the majority of the American people who supported the invasion of Iraq. Had the people not been misinformed, the U.S. may never have invaded Iraq, and the U.S. may have spent that time and those resources over the same period waging war on the real terrorists responsible for 9/11, Bin Laden and the Al-Queda, remember them. There still out there.

An informed public is essential to a functional working democracy. Without informed consent, the people become puppets to be dangled about by propaganda in support of a government which inevitably will act against the interests of the majority of the people.

This war in Iraq is raising the deficit significantly, as well as the national debt. This war, though now the President says it is over, is still costing American soldiers lives every week. Where is the media in this regard? Where is the administration's report of weekly casualties still occurring in Iraq? Where is the information the public needs to direct its government, instead of being directed by it?

Government and the media is a whole other topic to be taken up later.

What do you think? Is democracy alive and well in America today? Or are we in trouble?

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on May 19, 2003 8:17 PM.

Overview of American Political Landscape is the next entry in this blog.

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