The problem with democracy in America…

In my most recent post, one commenter repeatedly insisted that I offer a solution or an alternative for the problems I was pointing to. As I noted there, I never suggested that there was a problem, and even if there were, it’s hardly my job to be proposing a lot of solutions that aren’t going to be acted on. If you believe there’s the slightest plausibility of change wafting in the wind, you haven’t taken a good look at the likely presidential contenders in your two major parties.

However, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that I think America’s current condition constitutes a “problem” and that I’m tasked with offering a solution. I would begin with one critical observation about your system of governance: The problem with democracy in America is that too many people are allowed to participate.

As my friend Walter Lippman noted as far back as the 1920s, ours is a complex society, and it’s almost impossible for the average citizen to know enough about most issues to actually cultivate an informed opinion. Society is unimaginably more complex now, 85 years on, and if anything citizens – excuse me, consumers – are even less capable of understanding the issues that shape their lives than they were then.

Think about it. In America you’re embroiled in a war that factored heavily in the last elections. Millions of people who cast votes in support of pro-war legislators would be hard-pressed to find Iraq on a map, however. People also care passionately about issues like stem-cell research, despite the fact that most don’t know what a stem-cell actually is. Americans are confused over scientific issues where there is near-unanimous consensus about the facts because politicians in service to corporate interests promote the myth that there is a “debate” on the issue.

What do a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and a drooling hillbilly who doesn’t know what “dihydrogen monoxide” is have in common? Their votes count the same. A lifelong international policy analyst with two PhDs and a woman who can’t name a country that begins with “U”? Ditto. When racially charged issues creep into campaigns, as they inevitably do, your vote counts no more than that of the moron in upstate New York who’s never been to the South, never met a Southerner, couldn’t name the 13 states represented by the stars on the Confederate battle jack, but nonetheless has one nailed to the side of his house.

In fact, when it comes time to vote, America does not require any knowledge of the issues (real or imagined) at all. If you think Canada is a state, that doesn’t mean you can’t vote for a candidate who’s against Canadian-style socialized medicine. Your inability to distinguish between “lesbian” and “thespian” doesn’t mean you can’t vote against the rights of people in states you can’t locate on a map to marry.

Not even the most rudimentary acquaintance with the government, its laws, traditions or history is mandated. No study of the Constitution is necessary, and in fact someone who thinks that document contains the line “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is in no way prevented from pulling the curtain and participating in your glorious democracy.

In America, as elsewhere, 50% of all citizens are intellectually below average, statistically speaking, but they are nonetheless encouraged to vote about things they can’t possibly understand.

The results are predictable, and if your leaders seem stupid to you, if you can’t fathom how they can do the things they do, if you wonder at how control of your government is entrusted to people who are hardly among your brightest and best, well, you have your answer.

None of this is the fault of the nation’s founders. They set up a system where very few people could participate: white, male landowners. They didn’t do so for explicitly racist, sexist or classist reasons, but for the most pragmatic and sensible reason of all: those were the only people who could afford sufficient education to participate intelligently in the government. There’s certainly no reason to exclude the franchise today on the grounds of race, gender, class, etc. – all can contribute to the democracy so long as they’re educated and understand the issues they’re voting on.

Brilliant people are a minority in any nation, and the excellence of any endeavor requires the participation of that elite group. In America they are despised and mocked, and under no circumstances are they elected to high office.

So, if fixing your problems and creating solutions and alternatives were my job, I’d work very hard to disenfranchise the stupid. I’d start by requiring at least a passing knowledge of the issues – actual factual knowledge, not me-too dogma – before I let somebody near a ballot box. And of course, I’d make sure that my schools prepared people for this challenge. Not only would students learn the details of their nation’s government, they’d learn to think critically about it.

That might not solve everything, but it would be one hell of a start.

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48 thoughts on “The problem with democracy in America…”

  1. Ah, Bonesparkle, what a hellish little plot you have going here. How seductive it is to take away even the last vestiges of power from the otherwise powerless under the guise of caring for them because they can’t care for themselves. What a wonderful US your US would be. The bright and well-educated, who also are usually wealthy, could make laws completely for their own benefit, unencumbered by the pesky voting patterns of their inferiors.

    Did you and Srewtape dream this up between yourselves?

  2. JS:

    You have it wrong. Completely wrong. You have interpreted my position as the exact opposite of what it really is.

    1: You accuse me of advocating for plutocracy, but that’s what America ALREADY HAS. If one is to take my modest comments here as a proposal, then it’s more accurate to say that I’d replace the existing plutocracy with a meritocracy.

    2: Can I see some data on the correlation between intelligence and wealth? There’s certainly a relationship between wealth and educational opportunity, but at present the system allows legions of brilliant minds to languish well beneath what ought to be their proper state and exalts many who are barely brighter than furniture into positions of tremendous authority.

    If I were waving my magic around and fixing things, I’d eliminate this nearly 1-to-1 correlation between wealth and authority and would insist on the educational system needed to effect the sorts of reforms we’re talking about.

    Hypothetically. As as I said in the introduction, I do not yet accept that your current condition is a problem. I’m merely offering some thoughts based on an assumption that others are making.

  3. Boney:

    Well, if you can find a consensus on exactly what “intelligence” is and how to measure it, then we can see if there’s a correlation to wealth. Based on one study, using a Binet-type IQ test, there isn’t a correlation to net worth, but there is a correlation to income, as one would expect since it’s not likely that people with an IQ of 65 are running the Fidelity Contra Fund (though they may be running the White House).

    http://www.thetaoofmakingmoney.com/2007/08/23/478.html

    As for your assertion that you’re trying to replace an existing plutocracy with a meritocracy, can you show me a study demonstrating that “merit” is related to the ability to name a country starting with the letter “U”?

  4. I would argue that 1/2 the US population doesn’t vote, and 1/2 the remainder votes against their interests most of the time. No one told them being good at stupid doesn’t count. James Kunstler calls them NASCAR morons. I differentiate them as the Dukes of Hazzard crowd versus the House MD crowd.

    And I’ll reiterate what I said in an earlier reply on Martin’s article.

    “We do not have a health care problem. We do not have an educational problem, a welfare problem, an environmental problem or an economic problem. They are symptom not disease. At bottom, we have an institutional problem, and until we properly diagnose and deal with it, societal problems will get progressively worse. There is simply no way to govern the diversity and complexity of twenty first century society with eighteenth century concepts of organization. Efforts to reinvent government are laudable, but they are not enough. We must reconceieve the fundamental nature of governance itself.” — Dee Hock, Founder of VISA International

  5. Well, if you can find a consensus on exactly what “intelligence” is and how to measure it, then we can see if there’s a correlation to wealth.

    Consensus? Please. I do know that one of my colleagues here, Sam Smith, has been threatening to write a piece on just this subject for a couple of years now, but it seems unlikely that anything he comes up with will earn universal acclaim.

    As for your assertion that you’re trying to replace an existing plutocracy with a meritocracy, can you show me a study demonstrating that “merit” is related to the ability to name a country starting with the letter “U”?

    I’ve never come across any research that addressed that specific posit, but would be willing to wager a good sum of money that most Nobel Laureates can name a nation beginning with “U.”

    In any case, I think a certain burden now falls on those who’d like to quibble with my argument here. To wit, I believe they’ll find themselves needing to demonstrate that the Republic is well served when policy is decided by those who don’t understand the issues at all.

  6. The wager on most Nobel Laureates naming a nation beginning with “U” wouldn’t be a good bet for you to make. In fact, I would be more than willing to take the other side of that bet, and give you 9:2 odds on your money.

    Now, if you said “living” Laureates, you’d have a good bet.

    Jeff

  7. Put it this way, Jeff. If you show me a dead Nobel Laureate who can answer questions of ANY sort I’ll concede…. 🙂

  8. Well….back in my past, I was known to make a proposition bet, or a hundred. During my prop hustler apprenticeship, I made more than a few bets that came crashing down on me because I didn’t consider all of the possible outcomes when I made the bet. I made mistakes because my wording was not absolutely correct. It was all part of the learning curve.

    But, the way you put originally put it, some sharp guy would have called you on it and won the bet. Of course, you could have welched, but that would have been ungentlemanly

  9. Thanks for pointing out the de-evolution inherent in the system. While we can’t guarantee the voting populace to be intelligent, can we at least try to guarantee them to be well-educated? I’m sure I’m just showing off my usual naivete, but I’d like to think a lot of our plutocratic issues could be solved with the clever use of more funding for education.

  10. In light of how whites gave blacks prohibitively difficult tests to keep them from voting during the Reconstruction, voting tests would never be legalized.

    Besides, no party wants to test citizens before they can vote. The ill-informed candidate is the easiest to win over.

    But what about a citizenship test like immigrants who become citizens take? It could be a rite of passage when a child turns 18.

    Doesn’t necessarily have to have questions about the Constitution on the test. It’s unfair to expect the average person to read it. Believe me, I’ve tried.

  11. Two observations:

    1) Dr. Binet himself described the IQ test as measuring that which can’t be measured for unclear purposes….

    2) All those who shouldn’t vote can raise children for market. A good, fat one year old ought to serve nicely for a roast or ragout….

  12. Smart people running America? Considering the state of the intellect in this country and the nannying that passes for education, we must concede that we are now generations removed from such a state with generations to traverse before we might reach such a state again. Which is not to say that there isn’t intellect in America or that it is not possible to be educated; but the former is scorned and the latter is nothing more than a path to “wealth”. And that liquidity and wealth would be so often confused proves many points about education and intellect in America.

    But i have known many a blue collared American with commonsense enough to make good electoral choices, provided that the people presenting those choices do not obfuscate cause and effect or couch the choices in Biblical morality and fear.

  13. Man is born free.

    Around him, over him, under him, below him and through him society insists on building, categorizing, grouping, evolving, warring, loving, dying, stealing, giving and inventing.

    But man is born free.

    No other man has the right to take away his freedom…the vote is, if nothing else, a symbol of that freedom.

    If you devalue him by denying him the vote then you sow the seed for his discontent and he will have no contract to bind him, no vested interest in your utopia, no stake in his own and his family’s future that he can control.

    He will be your enemy and with others that you disenfranchise will be your terrorist.

  14. Ahh, yes, our hearts are filled with song. Born free. As free as the wind blows, as free as the grass grows, born free to follow your heart. BOOORRRRNNNN FREE… Etc. As wonderful an empty homily for keeping the rabble in its place as has ever been crafted.

    Of course, not all are born equally free, are they? I mean, how much freedom you’re born with depends a good deal on how much wealth you’re born into.

    So since I pretended that I think there’s a problem here for the sake of entertaining a discussion on an issue that seems to matter to some of you, why don’t you engage the conversation, as well, and begin with the posit I set out above: please demonstrate that the Republic is well served when policy is decided by those who don’t understand the issues at all. And by all means, provide examples.

    I’m sure our discussion will be far better off if we eschew homily in favor of actual analysis. Especially since those homilies were designed by the power elites for the masses to use in celebrating their own exploitation.

  15. Man is born free.

    Whether one is poor or rich does not take away the fact that one has free will and the right to self determination.

    Life evolves…but I am not going to go back in a time machine and have an argument with those who were fitter and stronger in the beginning.

    “Amoeba…what are you doing?”

    “Evolving…I think.”

    “But why?”

    “Not sure… seems like a good thing to do.”

    “But what about all the other amoebas.”

    “I am the first but they will follow.”

    “So what are you?”

    “Not sure…but I am the cutting edge of design.”

    I do, rue the day, however, man stops singing. 🙂

    Thanks for the article it makes one think.

  16. Elaine:

    So let me make sure I understand your policy recommendations here. Everything will be fine as long as we keep singing.

    Ah, how much simpler than my over-thought ruminations. And as we look around at our condition we can see that you’re right.

    I guess all we need are simple answers.

  17. Two observations:

    Dr. Bonesparkle is picking on Elaine just like Edwards and Obama were bullying poor Hillary the other night. But most women don’t want men standing up for them any more.

    Dr. Bonesparkle strikes me as hell’s answer to Stephen Colbert.

  18. 🙂

    I know he is…

    When I first read his post Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged came to mind. It is a very long time since I read the book.

  19. There seems to be some sort of move afoot to dismiss me as nothing more than an agitator. I’m sure that’s convenient, but I assure you that the questions I’m posing are more than serious. So let me lob this up one more time and see if anybody can actually address THE ISSUE:

    Please demonstrate that the Republic is well served when policy is decided by those who don’t understand the issues at all. If possible, illustrate with some examples.

    If no one is willing or able to take this on, I suppose we’ll have our answer, won’t we?

  20. “Please demonstrate that the Republic is well served when policy is decided by those who don’t understand the issues at all. If possible, illustrate with some examples.”

    Hey there, Bonehead. How’s it cookin’?

    I’m going to decline to answer this question because it is a devilishly clever misdirection. The real issue lies in the nature of government and its relationship to the governed. This debate has been going on at least as far back as Plato (see “Republic, The”), and surely before then, if not always written down.

    In its basic form, the issue is whether government serves the people, or people serve the government. In a tyrranny, the government is one person, and all serve him. In a pure democracy with universal, adult suffrage, the adults are the government, so the governed, therefore, serve each other (and God bless the child who’s got his own).

    Take out universal adult suffrage, and you have a system in which some govern and others are governed. Plato thought that a philosopher king was most fit to govern, and that this would be the best form of government (he had little good to say about democracy, except that it was only slightly better than tyrrany). So, to Plato, everyone would serve the philosopher king who, being a philosopher, would make the best possible decisions, and always in the best interests of the governed (kind of a benevolent monarch on steroids as I recall).

    This is why your question obfuscates the real issue. Certainly, it is best for issues to be addressed by those who know something about the issues. This increases the odds that appropriate solutions will be found. Carried to its natural conclusion, though, your question could be stated as, “”Please demonstrate that the Republic is well served when policy is decided by anyone who isn’t the single most talented policy maker in the nation.” Naturally, installing a dictator who is the single most talented policy maker in the nation would lead to better policies than spreading those decisions among others, regardless of how limited the ruling class might be.

    But at what cost?

    The whole point of widespread suffrage is not that it is the perfect form of government, but merely that it is the best devised so far. It is not the best because it always makes the best decisions, but because it is the form of government in which government’s purpose is to serve the people,and not to rule the people to its own benefit and their detriment.

    Stalin’s government was surely very competent in most ways, but I wouldn’t trade in my bumbling democracy for him.

  21. This is why your question obfuscates the real issue. Certainly, it is best for issues to be addressed by those who know something about the issues. This increases the odds that appropriate solutions will be found. Carried to its natural conclusion, though, your question could be stated as, ”Please demonstrate that the Republic is well served when policy is decided by anyone who isn’t the single most talented policy maker in the nation.” Naturally, installing a dictator who is the single most talented policy maker in the nation would lead to better policies than spreading those decisions among others, regardless of how limited the ruling class might be.

    First, let me remind everybody that this post was in response to a demand that I state solutions for problems that I never asserted existed in the first place. Now, that out of the way…

    There’s no attempt on my part to essentialize or to push things to any extremes, although I would suggest that the same flaw in the nature of the American public is part of the current situation you find yourselves in. Not that I’m recommending that only one person be allowed to vote, but even if I were that’s hardly more ludicrous than “let everybody vote,” is it. In fact, if those are my only two choices (and gods, you Americans LOVE the idea that there are only two choices, don’t you?), then I’ll take my chances with the most informed guy in the country.

    The dictator things hardly works, nor does it remotely characterize my “solution,” which is nothing if not pluralistic. The experts on a given subject vary from subject to subject, and no one is excluded from that class by anything other than ability and effort.

    Further, my proposal was that you set some BASIC standards for the franchise in place, not that you only allow Nobel Laureates to participate. You must understand the Constitution, your own laws, and a few basic things about the propositions before you. I don’t think that’s radical, but I mark how some of my detractors here are reacting.

    I have no doubt that you can dismiss nearly any idea I might propose by distilling it down to its most extreme and implausible possible implication – I’m willing to bet I can do the same in return.

    The whole point of widespread suffrage is not that it is the perfect form of government, but merely that it is the best devised so far. It is not the best because it always makes the best decisions, but because it is the form of government in which government’s purpose is to serve the people,and not to rule the people to its own benefit and their detriment.

    It’s hardly the best devised so far, although it’s certainly easy enough to point to other systems of government out there (and really, why not point to the Stalin example instead of one of Earth’s more stable nations, since extremism appears to be the mode of the day?) and suggest that it’s better than many that have been tried. But until somebody takes a good-faith stab at the sort of meritocracy that Lippman hints at (especially if it also embodied a full-fledged Dewey-esque commitment to education) I’m unlikely to grant you “devised.”

  22. Very well, I’ll withdraw “devised” since this is unknowable. I cannot prove nor disprove (nor can you Bonedaddy) that a government that makes decisions by reading the entrails of giant squids would be better or worse than the one in the US if it has not been tried. I will assert, however, that republics with widespread suffrage disproportionately produce the most wealth, highest technology, and least human rights abuses in the world at this time.

  23. I cannot prove nor disprove (nor can you Bonedaddy) that a government that makes decisions by reading the entrails of giant squids would be better or worse than the one in the US if it has not been tried.

    I’m pretty sure I asserted nothing even vaguely that ridiculous. I offered a modest suggestion that maybe encouraging idiots to vote wasn’t in your best interests. Have fun with “squid entrails” because that’s certainly easier than proving me wrong using, oh I don’t know, the results of the last couple major elections.

    I will assert, however, that republics with widespread suffrage disproportionately produce the most wealth, highest technology, and least human rights abuses in the world at this time.

    Can you point me to where I argued against “widespread suffrage”?

  24. Actually, let me comment on your “widespread suffrage” jab a little differently.

    There are roughly 220 million Americans of voting age, if I understand the census statistics correctly. Now, let’s say that my proposal disqualified a full third of those eligible. That’s a huge number, but just say that’s how many failed the basic test of how government works. That means that roughly 145 million American citizens are now eligible to vote.

    On Election Day 2004 roughly 122 million Americans cast votes. A full 23 million fewer than my plan would leave eligible.

    In light of this, I’m not sure your “widespread suffrage” argument is as compelling as you think.

  25. Bonearoni:

    Disqualify 33.33%. That’s not what you said. Here’s the quote from the original blog:

    “In America, as elsewhere, 50% of all citizens are intellectually below average, statistically speaking, but they are nonetheless encouraged to vote about things they can’t possibly understand.”

    Sounds like you’re talking 50% to me.

  26. Now you’re just playing games. The 50% comment was made to illustrate a point, not to set benchmarks. I don’t know what the number would be, not do I think it much matters. The object of the game is to get as many INFORMED voters as possible to the polls.

  27. Bonaparte:

    My beelzebubbian friend (or is it just acquaintance?), I must insist that it all still boils down to what a government is for. Naturally, a minion of Hell would think it’s a good idea for some to rule and, presumably, do their very, VERY best for those who have no say in that rule. Others (and I assume I’m not completely alone) would think that the whole idea is to have a say in your own government because, after all, it IS supposed to be for you (and the others in your society).

    But it is a lovely thought, isn’t it, Elwood Dodd’s fantasy? Having someone who is smarter, and wiser, and better than you take care of you.

    All you have to do is give up any say in choosing those who get to help you.

  28. When all is said and done, it really isn’t my problem. It’s an entertaining debate, to be sure, but we now circle back around to what I said originally. America has a plutocracy, and the system is working precisely as designed. Bush and Cheney aren’t a violation of the Jeffersonian ideal, they’re a modern-day expression of it.

    And I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  29. it’s been my experience (and i work with a lot of uneducated, uninformed and apathetic adults of voting age) that people who have no knowlege of “the issues” make a practice of not voting. even with my (sometimes rabid) encouragement to vote they have a seemingly hurculean resistance to exercising their franchise as a citizen.

    having said that, i will not deny that there is no small share of persons of limited intellect or knowlege who pull the lever.

    in a free society we should all have that right.

    entertaining the idea that all citizens, before voting, should get some sort of a quiz about the mechanizations of government will not change the fact that, by and large, people are too concerned with paying off their credit cards, asking twice that the bartender puts salt on the rim of their margarita and figuring out (with much discussion among friends) whether britney spears deserves to see her children.

    when our citizens’ minds are consumed with the pablum that they are fed through our infotainment-mediastructure it is obvious that they will pay precious little attention to the minutiae of policy. ensuring that they know the total amount of electoral votes available in an election will not alleviate that fact.

    we need to encourage community interest as a virtue in our society, rather than self interest…..this is at the heart of voter/citizen apathy. i become so discouraged every november when i note that (of the few who vote) voters spend ten minutes picking the person who will make decisions that will affect not only their, but their childrens’ lives.

    okay. tirade over. i need a cigarette!

  30. djESNO:

    in a free society we should all have that right.

    Why? By “free society” do you mean “free to use my ignorance to help screw everything up even worse than it already is”?

    we need to encourage community interest as a virtue in our society, rather than self interest…..this is at the heart of voter/citizen apathy.

    Why do you present this idea as though it’s an either/or, which it clealy isn’t. My own proposal included this very component.

    i become so discouraged every november when i note that (of the few who vote) voters spend ten minutes picking the person who will make decisions that will affect not only their, but their childrens’ lives.

    You become discouraged, but yet you wouldn’t support a proposal to fix the problem.

    Interesting.

  31. No contention with the original proposal – but the implementation difficulties due to historical residues, and the risk-of-abuse issues, make it a non-starter pragmatically, of course. (I’m a Canuck, so the historical issues are less there, but nonetheless I’d oppose it from the risk perspective.)

    Here’s another approach: inject education into the process at a different level. This could be done by formal legislation, or simply by one-offs until it becomes normative habit. Or, hell, as a platform plank by somebody, after a little initial momentum. The proposal: draft all legislation by deliberative methods.

    Many variants on the theme are of course possible – perhaps we structure a “hearing” form of it where an initial statistically valid sample of citizens gets to listen to the pro and con sides of a pitch, and the amount of issue education they’re empowered (and required, and funded) to undertake for themselves is hardwired to the vote split in the hearing – the more contentious, the more education, with a minimum of some decent amount even if they thought it was a no-brainer.

    Make it more prevalent, but also more advantageous than, jury duty.

    Then you could reroute it back to the education proposal via the wallet hook. If you’ve taken an accredited course on the subject within (say) five years, you get a significant cash bonus if randomly selected as a deliberator on the subject. You might also get to skip part of the deliberators’ required education component, although that’d need testing. As a minimum, the course fees would be automatically reimbursed and your time during the course retroactively compensated at (say) the median wage.

    Let the galoots vote. But by strengthening the troubleshooting at the drafting and legislating (etc) stages, decrease the potential for dumbassery as a result. Much less risk of abuse, I think, for a similar benefit.

    Yes?

  32. Hello,

    I’m the one that asked for solutions/alternatives on the previous article which spawned this one. I originally came to this site via digg.com and thought it might be informative. I thought ‘here is a site that is questioning even the basic building blocks of our society’. At the very least… it should address issues of great concern to all (greed, capitalism, unconstitutional behavior, etc). I say this with regard to what’s happening to our rights as citizens under this administration. I only just revisited since I commented on the original post (so this response is very late).

    I needed to read this article a couple of times to make sure I understood even the nuances of what you were trying to convey with this post.

    There were none.

    You basically state that one possible solution to the ills that plague us today is to limit voting to those in our society that have been educated on the issues. You add that stupid people should not be allowed to vote. One can further infer that lazy people (those unwilling to educate themselves on either all issues or key issues) should also not be allowed to vote but it is not clear since the rant muddies your point and these people they may get a pass if they are ‘smart’ enough…

    A logical progression of this train of thought would mean testing voters (presumeably by the ruling elite – hopefully they aren’t the corrupt, power-hungry types…) before each election to insure that they qualify for the right to vote.

    Hypothetically speaking, in case one needs to make up for the all dummies that are voting… should Political Science majors be given more than a single vote to make up for all the dimwits (as judged by you)? How many more votes do History majors get over the uneducated? How about someone who is really great at Geography and can list all countries in order… by population?

    And… after all of this… when the next politician says “Read My Lips….” does it mean that these new rules should be tossed out the window because the 50 year old uneducated person is no better a judge of character then a 22-year old art major with a bong in his pocket?

    Sigh… I don’t run a website with a politcal theme. Given the number of posts on politics you have made, I might’ve expected a little more thought to the subject at hand instead of the criminal and hypocritical stance you have taken – which is to oppress others that don’t meet specific criterias. What has history and politics taught you in regard to oppression of even a small segment of the population?

    Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a flame job. I have read a few other recents post you have made and this topic really seems like an anamoly for you (including the nit-picking job on a baseball player)..

    The original article re: ‘Jefferson/Constitution/Oppression’ was a good read with much potential. My comment was about solutions (or even amendments to the Constitution) to further solidify the continued long-term health of this country and its’ people. I pointed out issues that plague all societies – such as greed and power and had hoped that you might *segue* into other related topics intelligently.

    I do understand your main point about the voting process 200+ years ago which you believe was a better method. If you have lived in those times, instead of seeing them through the comfort of your modern-age hollywood produced streams – you could very well be singing a different tune. History must not be one of your strong suits since the needs of the property owners hardly ever meshed well with the needs of all others even in those “good ‘ole days”…

    I’ll leave this site with the following words. You live in a democracy. You do have the power to effect change. You are FREE to lead a march against the corrupt, organize a boycott group against an individual or corporation, point out the “who’s” who are working against the rights of the people in this country, write open letters to Homeland Security and so much more – much of which falls under the guise of educating those around you in an effective manner. You are empowered but not so much that you can take these rights from another.

    This site is a testament to the rights you *still* have and allows you to speak to the entire world (save those countries that limit the rights of the individual).

    Hell… you are even allowed to vote (thank the process that someone has not yet judged you unworthy despite what you might think of yourself).

  33. I needed to read this article a couple of times to make sure I understood even the nuances of what you were trying to convey with this post.

    There were none.

    So the next time a blind guy tells me he didn’t see something I should conclude that there was nothing to see, huh?

  34. You seem to believe that:
    1. an expert is better at making policy than your average citizen dolt is.
    2. experts are expert enough to understand how their particular policies interact/influence other policies.
    3. there are apparently experts that are able to understand and rationalize the various individual expert policies into one big conglomerate universalist policy program.
    4. People should not be free to live their lives how they choose, or according to what they want, or what they think best for themselves (however mistaken they might be); they should be ruled by some remote ‘expert’ who can puportedly design a one-size-fits-all best solution for them.

  35. My first visit to this blog.
    I landed here from Google; after attempting to relocate an online article I read—some years ago—about the tendency of people in a large democracy to eventually leave “the thinking” about public issues to the “leaders” of groups with which they self-identify. This voluntary submission to a herd-mentality then leads to voting blocs: which eventually undermines the basic “individual participation” tenet of a democracy. Such is the stuff of American “identity” politics today: politicians prey upon the tendency of humans to self-identify with a particular social group—based upon things like gender (or lack thereof), race, age, ethnicity, and (sub)culture. Then they just need to convince the “leaders” of those groups that they (and/or their Party) represent the best interests of that “group” within the current political environment.

    America’s dumbed-down sheep (especially the lambs) no longer think for themselves as individuals–only in concert with their herd; so it really doesn’t matter to them whether they have an accurate, informed, or well-measured understanding of the issues and candidates….just how their herd is voting. Then they can get back to fosuing on American Idol and World of Warcraft.

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