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Is there such a thing as too much democracy?
(some Dayville 4th of July thoughts)
As the business of survival becomes easier the laziest, stupidest and least competent portion of the population who in a harsher age would never have lived to adulthood must increase. We have reached the point where our collective judgement is dysfunctional.
Democracy alone only guarantees that a nation gets the government it deserves. Venezuela's current government was democratically elected and Hitler began as an elected leader.
Current politics in some leading democracies is presented as a reaction of the masses against arrogant elites. I see a spate of incoherent tantrums.
Is there any field other than politics where lack of experience is considered a plus? No one would seek a man who had never seen a hammer to build his home. But a large segment of the electorate believes that legislation and government are so easy and uncomplicated that recruiting a corps that has zero experience will yield superior results. Is this really true, or is it an emotional rejection of the compromises responsible adults need to make in dealing with reality?
In the US we have a presidential candidate who is obviously incapable of handling the job.
Great Britain as of July 6 has voted for a radical experiment without knowing precisely what it entails or any apparent plans for what comes next. The leader of the political party that precipitated this has bailed. The opposition party is enmeshed in a power struggle and the leader of what was considered the fringe who prevailed has jumped ship at the moment of victory. Things are dull let us steer towards the rapids. Now let's throw the oars overboard.
The government created in the American Revolution has been robust enough to stand for over 200 years and flexible enough to adjust to circumstances that the founders could never have imagined. This was all done by a franchise limited to men who owned property and paid taxes. And in most cases these men had many years practical experience in government and business before they sat down to create a government of their own.
The assumption is that if democracy is good, more democracy is better. If the goal is wise decision making this may not be true. I recently read and exchange of letters between Thomas Jefferson and Henry Adams, lifelong political opponents. The level of the argument, elegantly phrased, based on evidence and appeals to reason and free from vituperation is utterly different from today's political discourse.
Robert Heinlein suggested limiting the franchise to mothers on the basis that they would be more likely to think about the long term results of their decisions for their children's sake. He had a higher opinion of women's moral compass than I do but the idea is worth considering.
The 4th of July 2016
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