Outside View: A new shot heard round the world

By MORGAN STRONG, UPI Outside View Commentator  |  Nov. 21, 2012 at 12:27 AM
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BRICK, N.J., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- "The shot heard round the world" is a reference to events at Lexington, Mass., of April 19, 1775. The American militia fired on British troops and began the American Revolution.

There is at this moment in our history another American Revolution, clearly less bloody, but of greater consequence. This revolution has come about through the election of Barack Obama for a second term as U.S. president.

The United States has been ruled by an oligarchy through most of its history. Wealthy, well-positioned men and women controlled the political process and ruled through their surrogates holding elective office at nearly every political level.

This at least is how revisionist historians understand our history and political processes. Revisionist American history allows a less romanticized version of our past and present. They painfully cut to the quick, a dispassionate, less hysterical, history.

The essence of revisionism, a most pejorative description, is to reinterpret American history with a critical analysis of causes and effect, decisions and evidence.

G. William Domhoff, in his book "Who Rules America" describes the political process of the United States as one held captive by a small percentile of the population, whose position and wealth allow them control of the ordinary citizen's political and economic state, a classic oligarchy.

Domhoff first published his revisionist thesis in 1967 and added new editions in '83, '98, '02 and '06. He demonstrates the interrelationship between American presidents and their extended families to show the close family ties of many of our presidents.

Their intent is to serve both on another and the larger oligarchy's purpose. Maintain the status quo that is most to their advantage, politically and economically. They have ruled this country from its inception.

Taking the most critical understanding of our history we are meant to understand that the American Revolution was begun as a rejection of the burden of taxation and control of American business held by the elite of our early society.

George Washington, perhaps our greatest American hero, was more a corporation than an individual. He was the largest landowner in the country and owned the largest whiskey distillery in the United States, an exceptionally profitable undertaking.

The British Crown's taxes on his business were oppressive. The same paternal position is true of nearly all of the founding fathers of America's revolution. Benjamin Franklin was a business man, a publisher and printer of newspapers, and books. Thomas Jefferson was a plantation owner, a vast plantation, dependent for its success on his profit, absent taxation.

The list goes on to include virtually all of the principal members of the revolution who agitated so successfully among the American populace for the breach with the British king. Taxation of all colonies was necessary to support the British monarch's conquest of territory and rate payers.

King George III, himself an absolute monarch, made a great deal of money through conquest, colonization and taxation. Money was necessary for the king to wage war, endure and expand the crown territories.

There was no noble purpose to British conquest; it was only a matter of creating wealth and power. Better to keep the money at home to themselves was the prevailing thought of America's revolutionary hero's, revisionist theory posits.

America's revolutionary elite were to seize and hold power through an oligarchy of the wealthy throughout the following decades. Domhoff describes the close personal and family relationship among a number of our past presidents.

The Roosevelts originally an American colonial family of Dutch descent, are the clearest example. There were a number of intermarriages among the oligarchy to ensure continuation by the elite in their dominance of the American the political and economic states.

The rich coalesced into a social class that developed institutions through which the children of its members were socialized into a permanent upper class. Members of this class control major corporations, the primary mechanism for generating and holding wealth in the United States.

The ordinary American has had less power through the electoral process than is understood. The ability for the electorate to force change and create a more equitable society has been severely limited by elite's resistance.

Voting doesn't necessarily make government responsive to the will of the majority when the control of our government is in the hands of elites who won't permit their primacy to be undone or their wealth and influence diminished.

That is perhaps until now. American society has changed. The composition of the society is altered by the influence of the have nots. The once white, complacent, majority is no longer the deciding factor of the U.S. electorate.

There has been a great deal said of the brilliance of Obama's electoral campaign. There was far less brilliance than there were the realities and the dynamics of the electorate and the desire for dramatic change and a rejection of what is seen by a majority as the obstructionist elite who make their lives untenable.

No candidate represents this class better than did Mitt Romney. Romney admitted as much in his revelation of the 47 percent of Americans receiving government assistance whom he, and his class hold in contempt and hold as societies parasites. A revealing thoughtless remark from a member of the oligarchy.

The remarks were both an admission of the existence of the elite and their dominance, albeit revealing the frustration with the new demographics dominant, within the social context and contrary to the elite's purpose and intent.

Romney and the elite haves been undone bringing an opportunity for the United States to right itself after decades of frustrated dreams. Romney's supporters are abandoning the sinking ship. Clamoring down its ropes like rats, they scuttle away with a snarl and most unseemly comments as to the character and competence of their hapless candidate. Their obsequious character demonstrated in a most unflattering way.


(Morgan Strong was a professor of Middle Eastern and American history and was an adviser on the Middle East to CBS News' "60 Minutes."


(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

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