Monday, April 21, 2014

Don't let the oligarchy get you down

Last week, the media exploded with the news that the United States is not a democracy, but an oligarchy:
Oligarchy is a form of government in which power is vested in a dominant class and a small group exercises control over the general population. 
A new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities concluded that the U.S. government represents not the interests of the majority of citizens but those of the rich and powerful. 
"Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens" analyzed extensive data, comparing nearly 1,800 U.S. policies enacted between 1981 and 2002 with the expressed preferences of average and affluent Americans as well as special interest groups. 
The resulting data empirically verifies that U.S. policies are determined by the economic elite.
This should not come as a shock to anyone who is involved in the pro-life movement.

The American public overall is opposed to abortion on demand; whether they call themselves "pro-life" or "pro-choice," a majority do not want abortion to be legal except in the "hard cases" (e.g. rape and incest), and of the remainder, most support limits on later-term abortions. The problem is that low-income Americans lean pro-life while the well-off tend to support abortion. For instance, in a January 2013 Gallup poll, 58% of those with an annual income of $75,000 or more identified as "pro-choice." Among those who earned less than $30,000 a year, only 41% identified as "pro-choice"—a whopping 17-point gap.
The 1973 Supreme Court

This leads, unsurprisingly, to abortion groups having a fundraising advantage over right-to-life groups. Abortion groups also enjoy the patronage of billionaires like Warren Buffett and Susan Pritzker. And of course, they command a majority of
a particularly elite group of nine.

But I don't think the oligarchy report (or at least, the media's reporting on it) captures the full picture. When the United States was founded, the vote was restricted to certain white males over the age of 21. It has never been a pure democracy. Put into that historical context, we are moving in the right direction; this study just serves as a reminder that we aren't all the way there yet.

And the pro-life movement is moving in the right direction too. Abortion levels in the United States are at record lows, pro-abortion think tanks are panicked by our progress at the state level, and just last week, the representatives of the people of Colorado rejected abortion-on-demand legislation.

So don't let the oligarchy get you down. Wealthy elites are powerful, but they are not omnipotent. By banding together, we can win.

P.S.—If you're a young pro-lifer in college, thinking about majors, consider business. The revolution needs funding!


Michelle Ewing said...

Funny how you said Business would help this revolution. I was just thinking about how I could use my education for the pro-life movement. Im not sure what would pay enough to support my family, but I would love to work hard on this.

Rebecca Rose Downs said...

Thank you for this article! I have been trying to share how the abortion movement has a much bigger budget than the pro-life movement which really doesn't have all that much money.