… What has happened to the West is that it can see itself and others only through the eyes of its own propaganda. There was a great deal of talk about China’s lack of democracy. As the BBC program was being broadcast, the news intruded that Greeks had again taken to the streets to protest the costs of the bailout of the banks and Wall Street–the rich–being imposed on ordinary people at the expense of their lives and aspirations. The Irish government announced that it was going to confiscate with a tax part of the Irish people’s pension accumulations. It simply did not occur to the host and other guests that these are not democratic outcomes.
It is a strange form of democracy that produces political outcomes that reward the few and punish the many, despite the energetic protests of the many.
Political scientists understand that US electoral outcomes are determined by powerful monied interests that finance the political campaigns and that the bills Congress passes and the President signs are written by these interest groups to serve their narrow interests. Such conclusions are dismissed as cynicism and do not alter the mindset.
While the program’s host and guests were indulging in the West’s democratic and human rights superiority, the American Civil Liberties Union was sending out a bulletin urging its members to oppose legislation now before Congress that would give the current and future Presidents of the United States expanded war authority to use, on their own initiative, military force anywhere in the world independently of the restraints imposed by the US Constitution and international law.
In other words, in the great American “democracy,” the president is to become a Caesar. (full text).