Democracy, eh?

A poll on Friday by Public Policy Polling perfectly encapsulates the Republican presidential race so far: “30% of Republican primary voters nationally say they support bombing Agrabah.” That would be the fictional country in Aladdin.

And don’t 20% of people think that the Moon landings were faked, and 100% of Democrats think you can raise the minimum wage without job losses?

Given the gross stupidity of the electorate shouldn’t we therefore have another system?

Except, except, of course, no one has ever managed to come up with a better one. The answer thus being that we have democracy where we must have it, to decide upon those things that government must do and which only government can do. And then leave the rest of life to individuals to decide as they may. For, collectively, we’re all obviously idiots.

As is said, the IQ of a crowd is that of its most stupid member. We must reduce to the minarchist level those things we decide as a crowd therefore.

27 thoughts on “Democracy, eh?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    That would be the fictional country in Aladdin.

    Well who wouldn’t support that? Especially if they targeted that Genie? And the writers of such politically correct drivel.

    Pocohantas – watch out, you’re next baby.

  2. The figures were Reps 30% for 13% against bombing while Dems were 19% for 36% against, (the pussies), so more dems had a position on bombing the place than reps.

    This kind of ‘aren’t the rubes dumb’ stuff is easy enough to set up, but if you’re going to do it, at least report the full story.

  3. Kevin B: They did report the full story, as it mattered to them. “Aren’t the rubes dumb” *is* their story. It’s pathetic really. There’s enough to criticise Trump voters about without making things up.

  4. Or instead create a form of government whose democratic components are so indirect and weak that it is in practise an oligarchic hegemony, which is what they’ve actually done.

  5. and of all of those things, the only one that really matters is people being wrong about the minimum wage. Seriously, in terms of living in the modern world, making us all richer, happier, more peaceful, what is the problem with someone believing in creationism?

    “The figures were Reps 30% for 13% against bombing while Dems were 19% for 36% against, (the pussies), so more dems had a position on bombing the place than reps.”

    Good point.

  6. A democratic constitutional republic places limits on what the idiocracy can do. Til eventually, the idiocracy does it anyway.

  7. The People are generally not as communally stupid as The Leadership. The IQ of a crowd is not the IQ of its stupidest member, this is simply an absurd assertion. Most people also are pretty good at knowing their own limits, and also recognising the limits of their peers, unless they’re members of extremist cults like Progressivism.

    If every law required an absolute majority in a plebiscite, most of the stupidity we now live under never would have happened. There would have been some other stupidity of course, but it would certainly not be as ruinous as the state we are now in.

  8. Just imagine what would have happened if we had fought WW2 by vote

    As a small experiment we all know that football fans always know better than their favourite teams manager. So next year let 50% of the teams in the Championship be run by the fans voting on each issue

  9. OTOH, if we’d fought WWI by vote, they’d all have been home by Christmas. Christmas 1915 at the outside.

    The problem with fuhrerprinzip is always the kind of person who ends up as fuhrer.

  10. As far democracy being the ‘best worst system’, that’s just nonsense. Especially given that we currently live under the worst democracy possible. We’d be better off under a Franco, or Salazar, or Pinochet, than the insane universal-suffrage system where people vote for scum based on what they learnt from the Kardashians or Will and Grace.

    Democracy doesn’t mean you have to have _no standards at all_. There is no incompatibility between democracy and having minimum reasonable standards that keep out emotive voters (as most of the West had before the early 20th century) or superstitious, ignorant, and easily cowed voters (as in Rhodesia until the last days).

    As for bombing fictional countries, who really cares? The only reason not to bomb a country with a name like that is that it’s expensive, we might not fully control the oil there, and some retards might want us to accept some ‘refugees’ from there afterwards.

  11. The thing is, there’s democracy and democracy.

    Any form of direct democracy is simply not feasible on a large scale, even in this day and age of the internet, where you could at least solve the logistics of it. Between local, regional, and national issues, you’d spend most of your day …voting.. ( whether or not that action will be informed, or even serious remains the question after two hours of questionnaires and proposals..)

    The representative democracies most modern nations have more or less solve this porblem, but introduces another: The more a person craves power, the less likely he is to use it for the Common Good. And elective democracies tend to concentrate these people in exactly the spot where you do not want them. Especially if they get a large following amongst the idiots and ignorami.

    The problem is, that as long as there’s Power to gain, the less savory elements of a population will endeavour to gain it for their own purposes, and those of their backers.
    And the biggest problem of US “democracy” is that the system is set up to do *exactly* that. The system is not a democracy, but a selection system to put the “Right Persons in the Right Place” to maintain the status quo of a very select group of people, with the show culminating in gaining Executive Power over the entire federation. controlling legislative *and* executive power ( and in the case of the US possibly judicional power as well) gets you home free, and a virtual dictator.

    While also suffering from their own problems, the western european Constitutional Monarchies have solved this problem in a rather elegant way, by locking up executive power into the old royal families.
    Politicians can only use executive power *by proxy* , and never gain it directly, and monarchs tend to come from family lines that are experts in defending prerogative, making sure their part of the status quo is actively defended against hyjacking. ( the british royal family has failed magnificently in that respect..)
    It also makes it easier to spot the powerhungry bastards, they’re universally the most vocal Republicans around.

  12. The People are generally not as communally stupid as The Leadership.

    What’s your evidence for this? Group-think afflicts both leaderships and the masses. Given the hysteria that can grip the masses, I’d prefer an accountable leadership, however flawed, to mob rule.

    Most people also are pretty good at knowing their own limits, and also recognising the limits of their peers

    In a crowd or group, they are very poor at exercising independent judgement. Many people are so keen to conform that they will agree to almost anything. Your view of human nature is far too optimistic.

    If every law required an absolute majority in a plebiscite, most of the stupidity we now live under never would have happened.

    Most people don’t want to live in a participatory democracy where they would be able to vote on every law in a plebiscite. Which means that in such a system the decisions would be taken by the activists who voted in any and every plebiscite. The result would be rule by activist obsessives, or mob rule when an issue was emotive. The quality of our laws would deteriorate rapidly.

    if we’d fought WWI by vote, they’d all have been home by Christmas. Christmas 1915 at the outside

    How would you fight a war by vote? That would have handed Germany victory on a plate. The electorate and the servicemen would have been even less able to see the whole picture and grasp what needed to be done than the generals and politicians.

  13. Theo-

    That’s why I said, “absolute majority”. If you can’t get 51% of the electorate to a polling station to vote “yes”, the law doesn’t pass. Not 51% of those who bothered to vote, but 51% of those eligible to vote.

    Probably should be a supermajority as well.

    The majority stay-at-homes would ensure that new laws would be a rare thing.

    The electorate and the servicemen would have been even less able to see the whole picture and grasp what needed to be done than the generals and politicians.

    What needed to be done after the first massacre was to get the BEF home and sort things out diplomatically. There was no threat to Britain from Germany at all.

    As to my view of human nature, it’s not I think optimistic. It’s realistic. The biggest political problem we have is tiny minorities of fanatics who prosper from a political system concentrated in the hands of the few.

    Grikath-

    At least in Britain, the monarchy has no power at all. All the power is in the Parliament. The pretence that they exercise it by proxy on behalf of the Queen is as fake as Roman Emperors pretending to be acting on behalf of the Senate, first among equals, or every communist republic with “democratic” in the title.

    It’s pure make believe. The Queen is an expensive rubber stamp who lives in a tourist attraction, performing fake ceremonies for their amusement.

  14. We’d be better off under a Franco, or Salazar, or Pinochet,

    What an idiotic comment. Perhaps the silliest thing I have ever seen on this site.

    People died trying to change those regimes. Not all of them extreme leftists by any means (though a few were). Many others fled rather than live in them. Others withdrew completely from society rather than risk arbitrary arrest.

    All three countries even ended up being worse of economically than their democratic equivalents. Pinochet used the excuse that the system was heading to Communism, but that doesn’t excuse him holding power for so long afterwards.

    How many people die trying to escape our “insane” system? How many are thrown out of helicopters over the sea because they hold the wrong view? We have to hold people out, not in.

    Get a grip. Leadership by some nasty right-wing loon involves repression as a matter of course — since no-one gets a say other than the loon. It starts nasty, with shootings to establish power, and gets nastier, with torture and extra-judicial killings becoming more frequent.

    Why not just go the whole hog and suggest we be ruled by an Ayatollah, since that would stop our “moral decay” while we are at it.

    Cretin.

  15. What’s your evidence for this?

    Opinion polls regularly show that voters have much more sensible positions than the politicians they elect. If Europe had direct democracy, they wouldn’t be voting to flood the continent with Muslims, for example.

    And voters regularly vote for candidates who claim to support those sane policies, then turn around and do something completely different after they’re elected. Since there’s no way to hold a candidate to their promises, they just need to be good liars to get the votes they need.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    Chester Draws – “People died trying to change those regimes. Not all of them extreme leftists by any means (though a few were). Many others fled rather than live in them. Others withdrew completely from society rather than risk arbitrary arrest.”

    Not all of them. But virtually all of them. Apart from Salazar, none of them took power because they wanted to take power. They stepped in to save their countries from Communism. They made the right moral choice and every single person who opposed them did not.

    “All three countries even ended up being worse of economically than their democratic equivalents. Pinochet used the excuse that the system was heading to Communism, but that doesn’t excuse him holding power for so long afterwards.”

    I am not sure that is true. It isn’t true of Chile – what are the democratic equivalents anyway? Romania? Democracy was not an option. Pinochet did not hold power for very long after. His rule was brief. Compare with Cuba.

    “Leadership by some nasty right-wing loon involves repression as a matter of course — since no-one gets a say other than the loon. It starts nasty, with shootings to establish power, and gets nastier, with torture and extra-judicial killings becoming more frequent.”

    Not true in either Spain or Chile where repression peaked and then rapidly fell away.

  17. ‘That would have handed Germany victory on a plate.’

    And the problem with that would have been . . . ?

    No Soviet Union. No Stalin. No Hitler. No Chairman Mao. No WWII. No Korean War. No Viet Nam War.

  18. IanB:

    That’s why I said, “absolute majority”. If you can’t get 51% of the electorate to a polling station to vote “yes”, the law doesn’t pass. Not 51% of those who bothered to vote, but 51% of those eligible to vote. Probably should be a supermajority as well.
    The majority stay-at-homes would ensure that new laws would be a rare thing.

    Most issues don’t interest most people, so your 51%/super-majority would rarely be reached (unless you made voting compulsory, which would be deeply unpopular if people had to vote regularly in numerous plebiscites). Even sensible and necessary government would be paralysed. For example, a government might want to ban the import of plant x because it carries a virulent bacterium that threatens the existence of crop y in the UK. Most people would not be bothered to vote. The government would be incapable of banning the import of x and so y dies off, cannot be bought in shops any more…and people will moan and possibly be seduced by demagogues promising firm government. – Essentially, governing is boring, which is why representative democracy works fairly well and why delegate or direct democracy would soon fail.

    EMG:

    Opinion polls regularly show that voters have much more sensible positions than the politicians they elect.

    Opinion polling and voting are different: see 2015 GE for details. In a direct democracy

    If Europe had direct democracy, they wouldn’t be voting to flood the continent with Muslims, for example.

    That’s probably true. In the UK, we’d probably also have many disastrous economic policies, too, such as protectionism and re-nationalisation. And we’d have capital punishment (which I support), though many on here (including our esteemed host) do not. So swings and roundabouts: liberal representative democracy delivers many unsatisfactory outcomes, but it also gets a lot right, too.

    And voters regularly vote for candidates who claim to support those sane policies, then turn around and do something completely different after they’re elected. Since there’s no way to hold a candidate to their promises, they just need to be good liars to get the votes they need.

    Yes, that does happen; but not always because the politicians lie. Other factors can kick in – such as civil service opposition, international influences, party management, legal judgements, lobbying, polling evidence, a change in the facts, etc. We live in a very imperfect world: there are often no easy answers, and some problems simply don’t have solutions.

  19. Sorry, EMG:

    Opinion polls regularly show that voters have much more sensible positions than the politicians they elect.

    Opinion polling and voting are different: see 2015 GE for details. In a direct democracy, opinion would be more volatile and fickle than it is when people are gently asked questions by a pollster. Twitter storms and Facebook mobs would have a disproportionate influence.

  20. IanB

    There was no threat to Britain from Germany at all.

    If Germany had won, it would have dominated the continent, closing European ports to British exports and extinguishing democracy in France and elsewhere. France’s colonies would have fallen in German hands, threatening the British Empire. So, in the circumstances, Britain had little choice but to fight.

  21. @ Theophrastus
    Britain had to fight because Germany invaded Belgium whose neutrality Britain had guaranteed. If Britain had stood back then, nothing in the British Empire would have been safe. The Kaiser (more probably his generals) failed to realise this, just like Galtieri.

  22. Theo:

    The purpose is the paralysis of the legislature, not the administration. We have ample laws within which they can govern. The Parliament should be keeping the administration in check, not passing an endless stream of new laws.

    As to WWI, the only power with an identifiable war aim was France, who were determined to snatch back Alsace and Lorraine. The German (Schlieffen) plan was entirely defensive (in the sense of, beat the French before the two fronts crush Germany). Everyone saw themselves (except initially France, perhaps) as fighting because they had to, not because they had any particular aggressive goals. Germany didn’t want France. The Russians didn’t want anything. Neither did Britain.

    Britain should have pulled out once all the initial attacks failed, pulling together a diplomatic “peace with honour” for all combatants. And the French told to STFU about Alsace-Lorraine.

  23. IanB

    Paralysis of the legislature is neither a worthy nor a prudent aim. The scope for unintended bad consequences is vast. Like the leftists desiring revolution, you desire legislative paralysis because you assume that it will be an improvement on what we have. I would like to see fewer laws, too; but to propose legislative paralysis is to be naively optimistic about the outcome.

    As for WW1, you are wrong. Schlieffen was not purely defensive: the German high command discussed a pre-emptive strike against France long before hostilities opened, just as the Kaiser’s advisers were talking about creating a Europe-wide customs union excluding the UK if their forces overran France and the Low Countries. The customs union became a war aim after hostilities opened. For 500 years, England’s policy had been to prevent the continent being dominated by any one power, so preventing German hegemony was a war aim in 1914. And your suggestion that the German war machine, with the deranged Kaiser and paranoid generals in charge, would have paused to allow diplomatic negotiations is naive: the Germans would have taken it as a sign of weakness.

  24. ‘Except, except, of course, no one has ever managed to come up with a better one.’

    Yes they have.

    It is called the free market… in which people vote with their money.

  25. Theophrastus,

    “and why delegate or direct democracy would soon fail”

    Why would a delegated voting system fail? It would yield very high turnouts (either directly or by delegates), thereby avoiding both paralysis and activist capture. It liberates most voters from the drudgery of actually taking an interest in government, while still obtaining a result closer to the electorate’s wishes than our current system.

    Delegative democracy hasn’t been tried much; so we can’t dismiss it out of hand.

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