Ralph Benko

Does this government represent you?  78% of us say that America is on the wrong track.  Only 15%, near an historic low, feel America is headed in the right direction.  This implies that a supermajority says that their intention, their well being, and their very dignity are being violated.

The “ruling junta” governing the U.S. seems to have forgotten an axiom critical to its legitimacy:  “the consent of the governed.”  Americans of all parties and ideologies bitterly cling to a fundamental American principle, stated in the Declaration of Independence, that we “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” … and “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” (Emphasis added.)

Complaints about the unresponsiveness to popular will have been emerging with greater and greater clarity and force from the populace.  They were called “uprisings” by progressive journalist David Sirota, and the “Middle America Rebellion” by conservative journalist Mark Tapscott.  Citizen actions by disaffected people are crescendoing from their first (and still most effective) manifestation, MoveOn.org, to the Tea Parties, to — worldwide — the still nascent Occupy movement.  These outpourings might not agree on the solution, but all agree on the problem.  The permanent government isn’t listening to the citizens.

Major figures on both the left and right are beginning to offer thoughtful approaches. Lawrence Lessig, of Harvard Law School, offers a populist “social democratic” position in his recently released Republic, Lost. Lessig’s book lays out some horrible distortions produced by the current campaign financing system and offers to introduce a non-coercive citizen voucher-based financing as an alternative option.

Ralph Benko

Ralph Benko, author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to transform the world. He serves as an advisor to and editor of the Lehrman Institute's thegoldstandardnow.org and senior advisor to the American Principles Project.