Back in the 50's, when I was in grade school, we were taught the basic tenets of American Life:
1. There is an "American Dream" which each of us is living;
2. God is on our side;
3. America = good;
4. Communism (fill in "current bad guy") = evil;
The reason were good was because our system was good. Capitalism (always equated with Democracy and Freedom) would prevail over Communism (always equated with Tyranny and Bondage) because of "checks and balances" and "the Watchful Media". We learned that Marx, who postulated that in a capitalistic society, the rich would get richer and the poor would get poorer, was wrong because of the intervention of Trade Unions and the power of the democratically elected government to prevent monopoly and restrict the rise of a "ruling class".
Now... don't get the wrong idea... this is not a manifesto in support of Karl Marx or a exhortation to the establishment of a communist society. It's just a post-mortem to the ideals of the 50's having succumbed to their capitalist executioners. The USSR's experiment was doomed to fail because it was enveloped in a totalitarian shroud. Marx's ideal was one in which people ran their own lives and in which the ruling class was eliminated by law. Even had Marx's ideal been more fully realized, it would have been doomed to fail because it's simply not the way the world works. It's like trying to straighten a curly head of hair -- it's gonna spring back to its natural state sooner or later!
There has always been some sort of ruling class. In the most primitive state of nature, the fittest survive. In a struggle between two organisms, the stronger will prevail over the weaker. Even in the absence of a physical advantage, aggression is a substitute for strength. Imagine this "thought experiment".
There are two people locked in a room... they are evenly matched physically and mentally in every respect. The only difference -- one is basically good and peaceful. Though he will defend himself, if he prevails, he will not kill. The other is a homicidal maniac and because of this, at every opportunity, he tries to kill the peaceful one. If he prevails, the game is over.
Because they are evenly matched, the odds of the good and peaceful surviving each successive homicidal maniac attack are: 1 attack, 50%; 2 attacks, 25%; 10 attacks, less than 1 in 1000... the odds of surviving beyond, say, 30 attacks are about the same as winning the Power Ball jackpot. In other words, in this thought experiment, the homicidal maniac has an overwhelming edge.
Now, modify the situation slightly so that instead of ONE good and peaceful person, there are, say, TEN, and these ten form a pact that they will, if the homicidal maniac attacks, band together to fend off the aggression. Though the odds of survival are difficult to calculate, they are suddenly overwhelmingly more favorable to the peaceful ones... it's unlikely the homicidal maniac can prevail against this coalition.
Now, substitute for the good and peaceful, just your ordinary average folks. All they want from life is to live, love and generally, pursue happiness. For the homicidal maniac, substitute those who ruthlessly seeks power and dominance over others. Over the course of human history, these people have designated themselves, The Ruling Class. Average folks form coalitions to increase their odds of prevailing in their pursuit of happiness against those who seek to dominate them. We call these coalitions, of course, Democratic Governments.... unless The Ruling Class wrests away control, in which case the subverted coalitions are called Tyrannies or Monarchies or perhaps, the Bush Administration.
The role of the Media in preserving democracy is as a watchdog. When the erstwhile homicidal maniacs are attacking a member of our Average Joe Coalition, they are to sound the alarm so that the rest of us can spring to action and defend those of our kind. During elections, we rely upon the media to examine the candidates closely and tirelessly to question them to expose their positions on vital issues. For those candidates who become our elected officials, the media are trusted to alert us if the representative's actions are not in our best interests or not consistent with their campaign stances. Without the alarm of the media, our good and peaceful Average Joe citizens are sitting ducks for the homicidal maniac Ruling Class.
The Ruling Class, though homicidal, domineering and ruthless in nature, are, unfortunately, not stupid. They are well aware that a Watchful Media is our alarm system and that without it, we're unable to respond to their threats in a timely fashion. So, they've spent the last several years, simply buying up all the media outlets. (Does anyone else think it's very strange that FOX News features reports on their shows "Survivor" and "American Idol" alongside their version of the days events in Iraq?!)
Particularly after Monday's (June 2nd, 2003) FCC ruling which bypassed existing limits on ownership for radio, television and newspapers, our watchdog is now a lap-dog for the Ruling Class. They'll next go after the internet, so read this quickly and visit these links: