From an article at Truthdig entitled “Do not pity the Democrats” by Chris Hedges, this opening paragraph:
There are no longer any major institutions in American society, including the press, the educational system, the financial sector, labor unions, the arts, religious institutions and our dysfunctional political parties, which can be considered democratic. The intent, design and function of these institutions, controlled by corporate money, are to bolster the hierarchical and anti-democratic power of the corporate state. These institutions, often mouthing liberal values, abet and perpetuate mounting inequality. They operate increasingly in secrecy. They ignore suffering or sacrifice human lives for profit. They control and manipulate all levers of power and mass communication. They have muzzled the voices and concerns of citizens. They use entertainment, celebrity gossip and emotionally laden public-relations lies to seduce us into believing in a Disneyworld fantasy of democracy.
This is, with appropriate substitutions, true also in Australia. I have for a long time held that we live in a society largely run by special interest groups, a form of governance I call “lobbocracy”. It is the perversion and substitution of liberal democracy by those who hated it. That includes organised labour, commercial interests, the media, the military and especially the political machinery. At some point, we are going to have to take back our respective countries, and hung parliaments and third party options are a good start. But that won’t work all that well given that those who oppose actual democracy (in contrast to the mob rule that is exploited by the lobbocrats) are well funded and control all the power outlets, both literal and figurative.
Progressive parties, which are the traditional academic’s solution, have failed badly, supporting either big business (because that is where the employment now comes from, a self-reinforcing perversion of the old capitalism) or big unions (since that is where their apparatchiks come from). Liberal (in the non-American Millian sense) parties, which are the traditional solution of the trader and businessperson, have become so conservative they do not retain any of the individualism of their ancestors. There are no progressive parties or individualistic parties left.
I don’t think that libertarianism or Naderism is the solution, though. If you look closely, you’ll see I allow an animated GIF advertising the Australian Sex Party in my sidebar. This is not just a joke. They may be somewhat disreputable (which aspect a philosopher can only love), but they have a serious point to their politics: government should be for grownups. Whenever societies are run as if for children (somebody think of the adults!), things rapidly go out of kilter, and get corrupted by those who treat citizens as children. The Sex Party (so far!) treats adults as adults, and children as children. That, I believe, is how you get back to democracy. We should insist upon it.