Idealists, political reformers both of the left and the right and in between, pundits and other assorted malcontents should recognize that what they are really upset about is the American people.
It's common to make excuses, to find scapegoats in order to avoid facing the truth. Some people say it's the Eastern Establishment that manipulates the American people. Some people blame investment bankers. Some people blame the media. Some people blame the politicians. Some blame special interests.The excuse, regardless of the choice of scapegoat, goes like this: Gee, if only the American people actually knew the truth, then they would agree with me that . . . (substitute your own panacea).
This assumption, that things are the way they are because the American people don't know any better, is incorrect. The American people are not stupid. When they are interested in a subject, they can find out a lot about it. There is, in fact, very little truly hidden information in this country and it is mostly technological and military-related.
A person who really wishes to do so can find out an awful lot about almost anything. What some people think is secret is lying around in public libraries or public data bases. The notion that secret forces are raining on our parade is so strong that a fellow once sent me a clipping from the New York Times, which was a long story about the Trilateral Commission, with a complaint that the "establishment press" is keeping the existence of the commission a secret. Dearly beloved, if the New York Times ain't the establishment press, then I'm the Duke of Kent.
The Trilateral Commission, which was started by David Rockefeller, is not a secret organization. Its address is 345 East 46th St., New York, NY 10017, and if you write them, they will be glad to sell you copies of all their publications. It's a group of bigwigs from North America, Europe and Japan who study issues relevant to the industrial nations. It's influential, but it's not secret and it never has been.
What a lot of people don't want to face is that many, perhaps most, Americans are reasonably content with the government they have. Certainly we must cite elections as evidence of that. Most incumbents are routinely re-elected. They are re-elected because a majority who vote think either they are doing a good job or the people running against them would be even worse.
In 30 or so years of observation, I have yet to find any vast number of Americans hungering for laissez-faire government. I think you could put the Libertarian Party presidential candidate on the ballots of 50 states and give him 17 hours of national television campaign time and he'd still lose by a huge margin. People don't ignore Libertarians out of ignorance of their positions; they ignore them because they don't agree with them.
How many Americans want to abolish Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? Not many. Face it. If vast numbers of Americans were really discontented, they'd change things. Much of the existing discontent is not discontent with the faults of government but discontent with the ratio of cost and benefits.
In the real world, people do not burn the midnight oil reading political philosophy and wake up early in the morning to meditate on the question of what would be the most ideal form of government or what would be the best policies for the U.S. government to follow.
The Age of Revolution in America is dead from the clogged arteries of prosperity and successful government. Many Americans today couldn't tell you what the Bill of Rights is because they're not interested; many more, if you put the Bill of Rights to them in the form of questions, would vote against them.
Wannabe revolutionaries of the left and the right will have to wait for conditions to get far more unpleasant before they will find an audience larger than two volleyball teams.
The majority is content, and you can't sell radical change to contented people.