In the spring of 1994, I enrolled in a course on deviance in the sociology department at the University of Texas at Austin. The course was taught by renowned sociologist Gideon Sjoberg, author of The Preindustrial City. The course wasn’t focused so much on deviance but on bureaucracies and on how with so many moving parts and unknown effects of those parts on each other, bureaucracies can take on the nature of a juggernaut, a terrible force beyond human control.
Being raised in an evangelical household, this made me think of the beast I was taught about at Brigance Road Baptist Church when I was a child. Dr. Sjoberg tried to make the point that many of the worst decisions made in human history were not so much the directions of one person but were the result of a bureaucratic process. It seemed to me these behemoths took on an inhumane spirit. Maybe this is what the prophets were writing about two millennia ago.
While traveling abroad with my wife 20 years later, it came to me that superpowers in the Northern Hemisphere were vying for control of the world because of fear. It is fear that the ambitions of each nation’s interests will not be implemented. It is trying to manage the unmanageable. Each move causes widespread and unknown reverberations. The reactions of other nations do the same, causing endless chaos. There is no trust.
We’ve had the perception in the United States that we are a moral authority in the world, bringing freedom and democracy to those who need it. While this was true during World War II, things have changed. Our democracy is no longer representative of people but of corporations and special interests. When given the choice of two candidates in almost every election, each choice’s campaign is financed by special interests. Special interests are the interests of our nation. There are so many of them that it is hard to discern the true motives of government policies.
Wars, environmental destruction, greed, violence are all distortions of this bureaucratic mess, the beast. The U.S. government has become increasingly more powerful over the past century, but it isn’t truly representative of human beings. There is no boundary between this immensely powerful entity and special interests, individuals and other bureaucracies that have their own agenda.
Our laws are written by lobbyists and passed by elected officials whose campaigns are funded by the very same lobbyists. We will not be able to pass ethical laws until money has been removed from politics. The longer special interests control the power of our government, the more inhumane and distorted our society will become.
“Our laws are written by lobbyists and passed by elected officials whose campaigns are funded by the very same lobbyists.”
There currently is a further threat from the unrestricted development of artificial intelligence. Timnit Gebru was fired from Google at the end of 2020 for seeking to publish a paper about racial bias in artificial intelligence.
Combining biased artificial intelligence with unbridled access to government power will further oppress humanity. This must be stopped before it goes on any further.
If we want to stop environmental destruction, inequality and other distortions within society, we must remove money from politics. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision gave corporations personhood. Corporations are not people. Only people are people.
In Eisenhower’s farewell address, he stated: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” What he didn’t foresee was that this threat would come from every industrial sector. He also said: “Yet in holding scientific discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”
He was right. But there is a better way.
Visit americanpromise.net or movetoamend.org to see a plan to amend the U.S. Constitution to remove money from politics so that we can truly love our neighbors as ourselves. It is my belief that Christ came to earth not only to save us but to teach us how to save ourselves, as noted in John 14:12 — “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father.”
By reining in this wild beast and making it heel, we will have power to bring about good for all people.
Konrad Waldhauser is a husband, father, river swimmer, backpacker, trail runner, skateboarder, Texas real estate broker, roofer and historic preservationist. His current project is trying to save an abandoned historic African American Baptist church building on the verge of collapse.
3 ways money poisons politics and 3 ways to address the problem | Opinion by Michael Chancellor
Our grandchildren will curse us for dismantling democracy | Opinion by Marv Knox