Much of what we shall talk about here relates to what
Jefferson believed. But he was too much of a gentleman and scholar,
even though a fine organizer, to be the
Front-runner of Direct Democracy.
This role can be consigned to Andrew Jackson, a brash rogue,
whose life typifies a large segment of the American mind and conduct,
from the beginning to now. We aim to set forth what
direct democracy consisted of in sundry spheres of
society and thought.
This is, moreover, a good place to remind ourselves of our strong
interest in how the population trends on our scheme of values.
Many changes occur in the period of direct democracy,
especially with shifts in sectional political and federal power to the
frontier margins of the West, North and South.
The seats in Congress of the new States, with their
cultural crudity and vast ambitions,
soon numbered enough to put a man in
contention for the presidency.
Were the people of the United States now then better off
than they had been at the start of the Revolution,
in 1774 say, the last time
we paid some systematic attention to their condition?
We have seen that from the earliest landings a very small number of
men managed to get hold of well over half the power, wealth,
reverence, and authoritative knowledge to be had, no matter what
settlement we were talking about. We can call this
the exponential (mal)distribution of values.
We also noted that the development of cultures
subordinate to the major Anglo-American culture did not
produce lucky value-sharing peopes. Far from it.
Here we are now fifty years after the Revolution,
asking the same question. The answer is still a resounding "No".
But there may be a more interesting way of asking the question:
perhaps it should be addressed from the other extreme:
deprivation instead of fulfillment of values.
Let us peruse the list of values attainable by humans in
society and pitch them at the life conditions
of the underprivileged. She (he) - or let us say
"an American" - qualifies as severely deprived if
described correctly in the following statements:
Indicators of Poor Welfare:
Has been ill on the average at least 1 out of every 8 days of
Has never had medical care better than a family member
or neighbor could afford.
Has been hungry at least one out of every 20 days of one's life on the average.
Has never lived in a room of one's own for more than six months of one's life.
Has few teeth left after the age of 32.
Has died or nearly died of disease, malnutrition or extremes of temperature by the age of fifty.
Has died or nearly died of violence or accident.
Has never possessed more than two changes of clothes.
Has never enjoyed a nutritious diet for over one month of the year during most of one's life.
Has never been able to save more than a month's subsistence in a modest inn.
Has never been able to give a dowry or gift to another person of the value of a horse.
Has never felt that one was loved, cherished, and truly wanted by anyone.
Indicators of One's Weak Power:
Has never been able to decide matters for anyone outside of one's immediate younger siblings or one's children.
Has never particularly been helped by the authorities or police.
Has not served involuntarily as a slave, soldier, sailor, worker, servant, spouse, or in another capacity for more than one-twentieth of one's life.
Has voted on less than 20 occasions for a public officer in one's life.
Has not held office in a group of any kind on more than three occasions in one's life.
Has belonged to no more than two voluntary groups or associations in the course of one's life.
Has experienced forty or more occasions when one was physically bullied by persons outside of the family, whether in authority or not.
Has rarely dared to express in public an opinion contrary to one adopted or prevalent among the authorities or other opinion leaders around one.
Has been denied in nine cases out of ten due process of law (as presently construed by the Supreme Court) in all the externally handled troubles one has had in life.
Has considered oneself to be low-class or discriminated against.
Indicators of Retarded Culture:
Has not been taught to read, write, and figure.
Has belonged to no organized church for more than ten years, counting childhood.
Has acquired nothing but the barest of skills, like ditch-digging, chopping, fighting, sewing, and primitive cooking.
Has never visited a museum of art, natural history or technology, nor a professionally presented concert or theatrical performance.
Has not traveled beyond the nearest town, except twice to larger more distant towns, nor lived within a mile of a century-old culture-government-business complex for more than five years.
Has learned nothing but a few sayings and myths about history and civilization, except for some stories from the Bible.
We might reasonably declare that a person who scored "yes" on
practically all of these statements was extremely deprived. We might
reasonably believe that few people would be zero-scorers, that is, with
100% yes-answers. This is probably not correct.
One can argue over the meaning of the indicators;
still, it would not be surprising if one out of ten Americans
would have scored zero - winning a lousy
deprivation score of 28 affirmatives - in every generation from 1600
at least up to 1822, say.
We might expect one out of every three Americans from earliest times
up to 1822 to have scored 15 or more, and two out of three to have
scored 10 or more, which is still an index score of heavy deprivation.
As to what will have happened after 1822, that remains to be seen.
But we had better not expect too much.