Democracy

Democracy in Decline?

If its recent record is any indication, Winston Churchill might have been wrong about democracy.

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There is no more satisfying description of democracy than Winston Churchill's declaration that it "is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Among compliments, backhanded ones are the loveliest, first making a show of retreating and then, like a boomerang, returning to hand. One cannot deny that democratic electorates occasionally lurch into unfortunate decisions, but Churchill consoles us that other systems are prone to worse. (He also thereby consoles himself two years after being turfed out of office by an electorate asking, "Yes, but what have you done for us lately?") The theoretical case for democracy is not undermined by such wayward episodes because the system's excellence is comparative, not absolute. Democracy embodies the virtue of moderation in its self-equilibrating disposition to retreat from perils that hurl other political systems off the rails.

I have long thought of myself as a Churchillian democrat. I do not believe in the innate wisdom of the masses or in a Rousseauian "general will" that unerringly directs the affairs of a politically engaged citizenry. Rather, democracy's chief achievement is that it makes it possible to peaceably throw the old rascals out. Mistakes are not eliminated but more or less rectified. There is nothing heroic about regular alteration of offices among contending parties, but it is better than the various despotisms that would otherwise arise. And perhaps some heroism is to be seen, after all, in the pattern of democracies in times of crisis bringing to the fore noble exemplars, such as Washington in the 18th century, Lincoln in the 19th, Franklin Roosevelt in the 20th—yes, and Winston Churchill up from the wilderness just in time to save Britain.

Sometimes democracies don't merely sputter; sometimes they fail disastrously. As Thucydides informs us in his History of the Peloponnesian War, Athenian democracy under the stress of a long war with Sparta bungled things with the imperial overreach of the Sicilian campaign (and then, as Plato reports, compounded the error with the trial and execution of Socrates). German democracy a decade after the Great War produced one unsatisfactory government after another until in 1933 it elevated Adolf Hitler to the chancellorship.

As distressing as these events are, they do not seriously undermine the Churchillian dictum. The former episode was very, very long ago, and the latter occurred in a country that had only superficially put on the vestments of democracy over its traditional autocratic garb. These and similar cases constitute evidence that democratic theorists need to analyze carefully. But they do not disconfirm the conclusion that, among imperfect constitutions, democracy is the least bad.

My Churchillian inclinations have, however, recently taken a buffeting. In 2016, the electorate of Churchill's own country defied pollsters and enlightened opinion to endorse withdrawal from the European Union. In the same year, the Philippines brought to the presidency Rodrigo Duterte, a strongman who, to the general approval of the citizenry, has superintended the slaughter of thousands of individuals alleged to have some connection to traffic in drugs. Brazil recently elected a president with similar views about the merits of extrajudicial executions and who looks back longingly at his country's days of military dictatorship. Hungary, liberated within living memory from jackbooted totalitarianisms, elected and then re-elected its own strongman, Viktor Orbán, who explicitly praises "illiberal democracy." Poland has done similarly. In the postwar era, Turkey has been championed as the exemplary Muslim state, a staunch member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and, in between the occasional military coup, a tolerant, open democracy. However, popular elections have repeatedly endorsed Recep Tayyip Erdogan, first as reforming prime minister and now as a caliph-in-waiting who smashes all other centers of power. Italy, always whimsical in its political ways, has recently returned a government of left-populists combined with right-populists. And then there was a certain U.S. 2016 election.

This is by no means a complete list of recent democratic deviations, and admittedly it omits some cheering upsets: a French government that at a stroke sidelined all the tired, established parties; Malaysia ejecting the party that had ruled uninterruptedly for six decades since independence. Nonetheless, and with all due qualification, something more may be disturbing democratic waters than the usual tides and eddies. Is there any call for Churchillians to be worried?

In a word, yes.

I fear that features endogenous to contemporary democracy create a propensity toward decline and, unless checked, decadence. I shall be very pleased to be shown that this judgment is based on hasty observation and faulty reasoning. But first a primer in the anatomy of democracy.

Rational Ignorance and Abstention

Since antiquity, it has been well-understood that democracies, more than any other form of rule, are susceptible to the disease of demagoguery. A would-be leader with fire on his tongue can capture, at least for a while, the rapt allegiance of the citizenry. When democracy was reborn in modern times, its architects, knowing this, tried to immunize it from the demagogic disease by imposing republican structures, two in particular: First, rule of the people is exercised through elected representatives rather than via a vote of the whole. Second, governance is not unitary but rather exercised through a division of powers such as a separate legislature, judiciary, and executive.

These two attributes admit of endless variation, and beyond them other features may provide a regime its distinctive form, such as a written constitution, an authoritative listing of rights, a tradition of customary law, and so on. To qualify as a democracy, however, rule must in some way be founded on the expressed and regularly re-expressed will of the people via the ballot box.

Theorists have identified two potentially undermining flaws in this model: rational ignorance and rational abstention. The former means it is almost never in voters' direct material interest to become better informed about the candidates and issues competing for their support. Time invested in political investigation is costly; it expends energy that could have been used in alternative pursuits. Moreover, study may simply confirm one's original untested hunches, in which case the effect on the direction of one's vote is nil.

Finally, even in those cases in which study leads one to vote more shrewdly, in an electorate with hundreds, let alone hundreds of thousands, of other voters, it is exceedingly unlikely that one's own ballot will swing the election. (Even in the exceedingly rare case in which it does, the likelihood that one may be wrong about which candidate best serves one's interests is non-negligible.) For these reasons it is almost always more profitable to study which car to buy, which stock to invest in, which video to view, or which person to marry than to bother unduly about which candidate to back.

To the extent electors are rational, they will accumulate shockingly little political knowledge. By similar reasoning, individuals find themselves with much less reason to take time and effort to vote than to use that time for more productive activity. The average voter has only a hazy understanding of what is at stake and has almost no chance of being decisive on the outcome anyhow. To the invitation to exercise the franchise the rational individual will respond: Thanks, but no thanks.

Voting as Expression

Rational ignorance and rational abstention, though, can seem most conspicuous by their absence. In some countries—e.g., Australia—voting is mandatory. In the United States it is not, yet at every election tens of millions of citizens regularly leave the comfort of their homes to cast a ballot. Leaving aside the degree of their wisdom in matters political, it is incontestable that they voluntarily consume enormous quantities of political (mis)information via newspapers, 24-hour cable news networks, Facebook posts, and disputation with the man on the next barstool. Pundits, being pundits, will declaim that this is not nearly enough. Nonetheless, even average voter consumption of political information is orders of magnitudes greater than would be predicted by an economically grounded account of voter rationality, the branch of political economy that goes by the name public choice theory. That theory is embarrassingly unable to answer satisfactorily the questions: Why do individuals bother to vote? Why do they direct so much of their consciousness to political matters?

Lin Zhizhao/Unsplash

No doubt there are many correct partial answers. Some people misjudge the likelihood of their own votes tipping the balance. Some have been propagandized by their high school civics teachers into believing that they have a moral duty to cast informed ballots. Others fear being chastised by friends or family for displaying civic laziness. Not inconsistent with any of these explanations but transcending them is that most voters want to "have a say." That is, voting is not so much a calculated effort to bring about political outcomes as it is an expressive act valued in its own right. Always and everywhere we are a species that relishes admiring and deploring, supporting and opposing, sometimes instrumentally but also for its own sake.

From our Paleolithic ancestors' painting the caves of Lascaux through graffiti on city walls and public restroom stalls and now via endlessly accumulating Twitter storms, we project ourselves onto the world. All political activity does so, but what is distinctive about voting as opposed to running for office or lobbying in support of a bill is that it is almost entirely expressive. It is more like cheering on a sports team than it is like buying or selling in the market. The fan devoutly desires a particular outcome, but she does not scream at the television set because she believes it will enhance that outcome's likelihood.

Nor are voters indifferent as to who wins or loses, else they would have other uses for their time, but their expressions of support are not primarily instrumental. Voting booths are by no means the only venue in which support is expressed, but unlike taverns or social media networks, they are a solemnly institutionalized forum in which matters of great public moment are determined. As a voter you partake of the emotional benefits that come from civic engagement even if you know you aren't deciding the outcome.

It is a commonplace of political science that individuals tend to vote their interests. Nothing said above denies that truism, but it does indicate the need to distinguish between material interest and expressive interest.

To a considerable extent these coincide. I am a teacher, so policies that benefit teachers benefit me. I therefore am apt to support them as a matter of prudent self-regard. But it is also likely, indeed true, that I regard education as a practice that merits social esteem. Regardless of the extent to which this attitude has been nurtured by my own career path, it holds out the opportunity of expressive returns not linked to my bottom line.

I will sincerely and unreflectively do things like cite Socrates on the worthlessness of an unexamined life, thereby reaping the emotive reward of standing up for my values. But although material and expressive interests largely coincide, it is crucial for understanding the workings of democracy to recognize that sometimes they do not. That is true for the generic form of republican democracy, but it is especially salient, I suspect, for understanding democratic distemper in the second decade of the 21st century.

Greater Extremes of Benevolence—and Malevolence

Some expressive acts are very costly. Telling your boss to her face what you think of her might be enormously gratifying but might also carry consequences you prefer not to bear. So instead you keep your mouth shut or inaudibly mumble to yourself. One generic feature of casting a ballot in a large-number electorate is that it is very inexpensive. Once you actually bestir yourself to visit the polling station, all you give up by your ballot is the opportunity to have voted for the other side; influence over outcomes is virtually a nonfactor. This means that expressive acts that in other environments come at a high price can be available almost cost-free in the voting booth.

For example, to express support for the cause of the poor by putting $100 in the Salvation Army kettle may be in accord with one's charitable ideals, but unfortunately it costs $100 of alternative consumption forgone. On the other hand, to vote for a measure that would tax one $100, the proceeds to the poor cost not $100 but only the opposed vote forgone, which, when calculated in expected value terms, is apt to be only a small fraction of a cent.

Lofty moral ideals are a natural for ballot booth expression. But so too are animosities. As noted previously, face-to-face confrontations can prove costly. To vote against the despised Other may provide considerable expressive satisfaction at almost zero expense, especially under conditions of ballot anonymity. (This is one advantage that voting still possesses over many social media ejaculations.) Accordingly, we can expect under standard conditions of democratic voting greater extremes of both benevolence and malevolence than tend to come to the fore when individuals bear substantial costs for their own expressive activities.

A further corollary is that individuals will be more likely to visit the polls when expressive returns in one or another direction promise to be high than when only undramatic business as usual is in the offing. Actors further up on the political food chain, such as candidates and party operatives, will be aware of this calculus and therefore will maneuver to secure votes by appealing not only to material interests but also to emotively rich factors. Because political competition is essentially a zero-sum game, when one side raises the expressive ante it is incumbent on the other to follow along. Doing so simultaneously addresses the rational abstention problem—staying home becomes less attractive if a visit to the polls allows people to satisfyingly vent their spleens—and also provides reasons to direct the vote this way rather than that.

Indirectly, that heightening of emotion also responds to rational ignorance. Human beings tend to spend more time and effort learning and thinking about that which is expressively meaningful to them (for example, the averages of the players on their beloved team) than to that which may be significant for their material interests but which engages only lightly their emotions (for example, the preferred policies of local sewage board members).

Rejection of Foreigners and Experts

My hunch is that in recent democratic politics across much of the world, expressive stakes have tended to tip increasingly away from the positive and toward the negative. That is to say, the joys of providing a comeuppance to deplorable Others supplants beneficence or disinterested moral yearnings as the dominant propulsion behind ballots. Moreover, there is reason to fear that this is not a temporary aberration that will soon be righted but rather a long-wave alteration in democratic propensities that will create an increasingly hostile environment for national and, especially, international comity. It would be a matter of enormous relief to me if this hunch is mistaken, but wishful thinking is not evidence.

First and most obvious evidence for this fear are the outcomes themselves. It is not terribly uncommon for campaigns to be succeeded by upsets. In American history, the 1948 defeat of Dewey by Truman has become a classic, in no small measure because of the Chicago Tribune's embarrassingly premature headline choice ("Dewey Defeats Truman"). Churchill's own defeat three years earlier was of a similar order. One established party more or less surprisingly supplants another, and business goes on. Not so for recent events. Britain's half-century-long integration with Europe is jarringly thrown into reverse. For decades Italy had seemed to occupy the frontier of political whimsy and yet now leaps miles further along into the surreal. Turkey, Poland, and, yes, the United States confuse and confound. The observer is not merely surprised but aghast. Tectonic political plates have shifted under one's feet.

All across the world of rich democracies, even unto the pure lands of Scandinavia, resentment against would-be entrants gains political potency. And the beggar-thy-neighbor impulse takes precedence even over one's own bottom line.

Second, insularity is in the ascendancy. One way to lose an election is to be less vigorous than one's opponent in decrying the baleful influence of outsiders or, even worse, their attempts to become geographical insiders. Xenophobia is, of course, nothing new in political practice. The dynamics of Us vs. Them is repeated endlessly, both in war and in peace. Often this phenomenon proves tragically negative-sum. After two world wars in the 20th century (and one Cold War that flamed dangerously hot at its fringes), electorates and their governments increasingly replaced their animosity toward the Other with embrace of practices that promised mutual gain. The Europe that had twice torn itself asunder formed first a trading bloc and then a community. Its free countries joined the United States in a defensive alliance that continues to endure. Tariff barriers were systematically lowered via the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and then massaged further by the World Trade Organization. Polities freely voted to tax themselves to provide aid to impoverished developing countries.

Recently, though, centrifugal forces have reasserted themselves. All across the world of rich democracies, even unto the pure lands of Scandinavia, resentment against would-be entrants gains political potency. It is important to note that while some of these moves seem to promise material advantage, many do not. Rather, the beggar-thy-neighbor impulse takes precedence even over one's own bottom line.

Third, rejection of foreigners is accompanied by a similar rejection of domestic experts, hereafter known as "so-called experts." For against whatever statistics and analysis they present, equal and opposed items can be put forth to counter. The technical term for these is "alternative facts." So, for example, when business leaders and economists laden with many advanced degrees declare that exit from the European Union will lower Britain's national income, other "experts" retort that hundreds of millions of additional pounds will be made available to the National Health Service. Voters are free to pick whichever set of facts fits their expressively favored choice.

At the turn of the century, postmodernist relativism enjoyed currency only within the rarefied air of the humanities departments of elite universities. Altogether unexpected was that it would come to capture the masses. Not long ago, democracies were disproportionately influenced by the considered opinion of the nation's elites. For better or worse, deference has turned to disdain. It becomes hard to utter the phrase "best and the brightest" without irony. If one aspect of democracy is acknowledgment of equality among citizens, then assigning equal epistemic credit to the opinions of all may be the ultimate progression of the democratic ethos. When high school ne'er-do-wells constitute a majority, why should they not have a turn at defining reality? I freely admit that I find this prospect appalling, but as the holder of advanced degrees I would, wouldn't I?

A fourth reason to fear these changes in democratic functioning are likely to linger is that technological developments—I refrain from calling them advances—have thrust credentialed opinion makers from the commanding heights of the communication infrastructure. With the coming of the internet and the social media that surf upon it, the balance of contending forces has changed, sometimes decisively. Those with an interest in getting out a message that contends against the respectable consensus have far more opportunity to do so than back in the era of furtive street corner exchanges and samizdat. Epistemological priorities have been reversed; instead of interested parties having to form their platforms in light of the facts that have been disseminated, now "facts" are manufactured to order and communicated instantaneously. Democracy has never been viewed by theorists as best suited for engaging in careful analysis prior to decisive action, but under contemporary conditions, democratic populaces operate less as a deliberative community than as a conditioned reflex.

Individuals across the social spectrum are more able than ever to avail themselves of data and considered opinion that were once the purview of an educated elite. Critics might argue that this is not a negative in assessing the success of rule by the people—rule by the whole people. I admit my own inability to make social media my friend may have biased me in a discreditably reactionary direction. I do admire and approve the way in which modern communications have lubricated the efforts of people endeavoring to remove oppressive boots from their throats, such as during the all-too-brief days of the Arab Spring. Nonetheless, it is not at all obvious that the overall tendency of Facebook, Twitter, and the rest has been for the good. It ought to be recalled that the greatest previous eruption of voices celebrated in our tradition is the Tower of Babel.

Very possibly these fears are overstated. Generalizing from a limited number of cases is hazardous. Then again, the number has not really been so limited. To be sure, it is statistically normal to see occasional bunchings of anomalous cases, whether it is hurricanes, 50–1 shots galloping home first, suicides, or political upsets. It is not, however, merely the numbers but rather what can be discerned as underlying these episodes that ought to give one pause. Economic, political, and epistemic disturbants have grown in force and do not show signs of abating. This is not a call to raise the white flags, but any end-of-history triumphalism based on very recent experience is out of place. Although hindsight flattens out terrors of previous days, the rise of dictators in the 1930s was not so very long ago, and not until 1989 did totalitarianism offer clear indications of being on its way out.

Moreover, unlike during these earlier periods, a competitor presents itself to many as an appealing alternative to democratic liberalism. Compared to Nazi Germany, China seems positively cuddly, and its ratio of millionaires to gulag prisoners is many times greater than the Soviet Union ever achieved. As democracies fray further around the edges, attraction to the Chinese model and other illiberalisms can be expected to wax. It gives me no pleasure to conclude with an admission that even we Churchillians have grounds for concern that the 21st century may not be kind to our cause.

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451 responses to “Democracy in Decline?

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  2. I would argue that given the recent behavior of ‘forigners’ and ‘experts’ the common voter has a good deal of sweet reason on his side when he rejects both. The ‘experts’ in particular have been making ostentatious and obnoxious fools of themselves for quite some time. For the last forty years the ‘experts’ held up for our esteem by the (Leftwing, wholly partisan) Media have backed Socialism (the political philosophy that murdered 100 million people in the 20th century), ‘renewable enery’ schemes that cannot possibly work, envoronmentalist panics based on junk science, anti-vaccination scares that represent serious public health threats, and gods alone knows what all else.

    And the position of foreigners has not been helped by the ‘experts’ continually telling the voters that they were wrong to worry about them.

    The ‘experts’ are so full of dung they should be sold in 50 lb. sacks.

    1. America has experienced successive waves of insular, intolerant, belligerently ignorant yahoos — railing against blacks, the Irish, gays, eastern Europeans, Jews, Hispanics, women, Italians, Asians, Catholics, other Hispanics, other Asians, professors, the media — throughout its history, but in America the bigots never win, not over time.

      The current batch of bigoted right-wingers seems nothing special, its reliance on the charms, insights, and personal integrity of Donald J. Trump notwithstanding. America is strong and resilient enough — from the momentum of a half-century of liberal-libertarian progress, and centuries of general improvement — to withstand the current demonization of immigrants, gays, Hispanics, and the “elite” rooted in our can’t-keep-up backwaters– to weather the current episode.

      If the Republican Party sputters and dies from its recent dalliance with ignorance, superstition, and bigotry — taking the aspirations of gun nuts, anti-abortion authoritarians, and others with it — perhaps the recent era of the Goober King might even have been worth it.

      Carry on, clingers. So far as your betters permit, anyway.

      1. Arthur L. Hicklib burping out his NPC programming again.

      2. rooted in our can’t-keep-up backwaters

        I wish it were that simple. Sadly, violent bigotry isn’t confined to those terrible red states. Rather, I learned in college that literally every institution in this country is poisoned from the top down by white supremacy.

        The horrific attack on Jussie Smollett is a perfect illustration. You’d think a mostly Democratic city like Chicago would be largely free of violence against marginalized groups. But not only are there roving gangs of white MAGA punks carrying nooses, now we find out the police department is covering for those gangs and investigating Smollett instead!

        1. A

          Though you could’ve more explicitly highlighted the fact that Chicago PD investigating Smollett proves institutional racism…

        2. ” You’d think a mostly Democratic city like Chicago would be largely free of violence against marginalized groups. ”

          Chicago Murder Counter
          https://goo.gl/ABpnQr

          Chicago Shooting Counter
          https://goo.gl/yYo43f

          Chicago is actually having a slow year. Too damn cold to run around killing people.

      3. You know the only good thing about the upcoming Progressive revolution Kirkland? Its that you’ll actually end up in front of the wall before I do. Before any of the ‘bitter clingers’.

        1. I expect no revolution. I expect another half-century or so of American progress and world improvement, occurring largely along the liberal-libertarian trajectory we have witnessed throughout my lifetime.

          1. “Deep State Now and Forever! Libertarian Moment!”

          2. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|2.17.19 @ 3:08PM|#
            ‘I expect no revolution. I expect another half-century or so of American progress and world improvement,’
            I expect lefty scumbags like you to continue in your attempts to limit freedoms

            ‘occurring largely along the (lefty scumbag) trajectory we have witnessed throughout my lifetime.’
            FIFY, asshole.

      4. Funny, the Party I see dying is the Democrats. Having failed to get Her Shrillness, Hillary the First elected they have gone completely off the deep end and are perpetrating acts of intolerant violence and attempting to stigmatize their opponents with fake ‘hate crimes’. Granted, fielding street gangs of violent thugs worked for the Socialists in Germany, but the United States has not just lost a humiliating War nor are we suffering from an economic crash.. I don’t think following the tactics of The Despicable Austrian is going to work out well for the Progressive Left. And making a start of of a delusional barista whose proposed future is about as realistic as the Wonderful Land of Oz seems likely to backfire badly.

      5. I read this–

        America has experienced successive waves of insular, intolerant, belligerently ignorant yahoos — railing against blacks, the Irish, gays, eastern Europeans, Jews, Hispanics, women, Italians, Asians, Catholics, other Hispanics, other Asians, professors, the media — throughout its history, but in America the bigots never win, not over time.

        And laugh.

        There have been no ‘successive waves’. It is always the same faction, the same party, the same group behind these things. From before they were ‘Democrats’ unto the present day.

        They have always been the ones behind local and national laws designed to damage the ability of a race or faith or ethnic group to access the fullness of the US. Always.

        And while the ‘other side’ is far from perfect, the perfidy of the Democrats continues to this day.

        But that’s not why I laugh.

        I laugh because Artie’s right. Everything they are is collapsing. Everything they hold dear is being crushed as individualization becomes more and more ubiquitous.

        And today. Well today is simply amazing–they divide and divide everyone into ever smaller specific grievance groups never hearing Ayn Rand waiting there at the end as a member of the smallest minority–the individual.

      6. The good Rev. returns to share his hatred of the peasants.

        1. I can’t tell who has more fear, Rev or the peasants.

    2. The “experts” are a self selecting and increasingly hereditary ruling class.

  3. In the past, I was one of those people who voted out of a sense of duty, as the article puts it, taught by a high school civics teacher. I regarded non-voters as ignorant rubes more interested in the latest celebrity gossip than informing themselves about current issues and their own government’s policies.

    Something broke inside me over the last few election cycles, however. I witnessed libertarians consistently excluded from debates and sometimes even news reports, while at the same time, the two big parties’ candidates got worse.

    Voting has become a game similar to the stupid theoretical game that asks questions like would you rather have your teeth broken by being curb stomped or be made to sit on a hot barbecue grill. The major parties cough up “top” candidates like a cat expelling hairballs and then people are expected to vote for one of the two choices of vomitus.

    1. Ya, the article was noticeably silent regarding corruption, and the disdain, if not alienation this has with the republic. I mean if voting is the only measure of a democracy, then Venezuela and China are on par with with the US if not in degree, then kind. It is fairly obvious to the man on the street that an oligarchy is in play for either. And you expect them to champion this?

      And like China, the US has developed fairly effective bulwarks at the rabble exercising political power. The rise of Trump, whether you agree with his policies or not, was an a giant raised middle finger to the political establishment. This should be praised, at least on some level, as the reemergence of democracy writ large. Instead it is reviled as strongman politics on par with a certain unelected chancellor. Oh, how terrible democracy is when it selects the wrong answer instead of being a manifestation of the concerns of the electorate (at least those who were upset or brainwashed enough to even be bothered to vote).

      My own take is that after how many centuries at this, some have gotten pretty good at gaming the system. It is largely a structural problem in which the world awaits another Magna Carter and another Constitution to lead us into the 21st century.

      1. Aaron Carter > Magna Carter imo

        1. June Carter > Aaron Carter

          1. Jussie Carter > Smollett Carter

            1. Billy Carter > Jimmy Carter

              1. Gary Carter > Mike Piazza

  4. Summary:
    “The proles don’t know their place”

    1. Thanks. I was hoping someone would provide the tl;dr version.

    2. Exactly. WHY COME YOU NO VOTE HILARY AND INTERESTS?

      She’s Chapman in drag.

    3. He lost me at “Franklin Roosevelt in the 20th” and went full ‘tard with “I am a teacher.”

      Disregard this well-written, high brow bullshit.

      1. The “Franklin Roosevelt in the 20th” got me too, but when I reread it I realized his point was more on the line of “we could have gone full on fascist or communist” but instead we got FDR’s benign fascism, which in some ways was preferable to Hoover’s management state with its self righteous Quaker overtones and was most certainly preferable to Hughey Long’s “every man’s a king populism” which was the closest any place America has ever come to Chavez-style Bolivarism..

        1. When your measure gives credit to FDR for not being full-bore fascist or communist, your measuring stick needs to be replaced in my view.

        2. One thing often left out of the FDR discussions is that according to some numbers crunchers, even HE wouldn’t have ever been elected in his 1st election without the new immigrant vote. Which is to say America might have avoided any of that BS, and actually remained more true to the original ideals of small government, if we didn’t have such a rush of new people during that era.

          Native born Americans saw the bad voting habits of immigrants back then too, and mentioned it. FDR overwhelmingly won their support. We’re having a repeat. We MAY be able to fix the bad habits of those currently here, but not if we’re expected to keep the flood gates open perpetually this time. Last time immigration chilled out, and that let things work themselves out a bit.

          1. Actually, one thing that people don’t seem to now today is that In 1932 it was FDR who was running against Hoover’s big government and excessive spending.

    4. Evidently not, unless they vote for the “preferred candidate.”

    5. “The proles are getting uppity, and need to be reminded who’s boss.”

  5. The Amish make a good point. You can call yourself whatever you want but if you’re immersed in modern technology that’s who you are.

    1. The Amish use more modern tools than Cavemen.

      The Amish are hypocritical fools.

      They are also slaves to religion.

      Their ways are dying out as their populations are dwindling away.

      1. The Amish population is booming.

        https://goo.gl/167mVW

        Religious fundamentalists have babies. The future belongs to those who show up for it.

        1. I blame the missionary position.

        2. Maybe I should go find myself a nice Amish girl…

          On a broader note though, conservatives are actually growing their population, and liberals are not… Studies show political leanings seem to have some genetic predisposition to them, so aside from immigrants, we will likely become more conservative over time.

          1. Hence the need to import foreign big government voters.

            It’s a twofer. It also depresses native birth rates with decreased financial security.

          2. Better odds with the Jehovah’s Witnesses

            Most Jehovah’s Witnesses ? roughly two-thirds (65%) ? are women, while only 35% are men.
            https://goo.gl/gijre2

            1. Well, I’ll have to keep that in mind! Funny thing is actually my moms side of the family is Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’ve been to “church” there a million times when I was a kid. I do have the in too since my family has been part of that church for a long ass time! They are a bit strict for my tastes though… Although I guess all the good hardcore churches that turn out wives that are marriage material are a bit on the strict side.

              1. “They are a bit strict for my tastes though”

                Strict but waiting to break free with you!

                1. If you read the article, Witnesses have a large amount of churn.

            2. I did read it actually, and saw that. That is an idea… Go to church just to snag a wife and corrupt her JUST A LITTLE BIT! LOL

              They’re fine with drinking in moderation at least, which is better than some protestant churches. So could be worse I guess.

  6. People do a pretty good job when they have skin in the game. They do a lousy job when trying to make decisions for others.

    There are always cheaters. Sometimes they are just thieves, out for themselves with little pretense, maybe in disguise as con artists. The worst sort of cheaters are politicians, with the moral delusion that they know what is best for everybody else.

    Society deals with cheaters using accountability after the fact, which also serves as a deterrence. Structurally, family and peer pressure try to guide people to do the right thing, and community helps when bad luck makes cheating look like a good choice.

    Politics arose as soon as the first thug realized that most people have too much to do in ordinary life to fend off cheaters; as long as he promised to deal with cheaters for them, they would feed him. Unfortunately, politicians like their lazy lives, and when people resist their power, they designate resistance as cheating. Thus governments.

    1. Eventually technology increased wealth enough that people no longer had their hands full just surviving, and along came democracy and republics and other forms of government which turned politics into a community game instead of being hereditary or depending on who could amass the most soldiers.

      Democracy is just decentralization of power. The problem is that politicians still run things, and in many ways they are worse than kings, because the only skin they have in the game is losing elections.

      The only way this will ever change is to continue the decentralization by removing government’s monopoly. Governments are territorial monopolies. This made sense when farming was life. It makes little sense today, when almost nothing government does is defined by territory. Regulating food safety? Social security and health insurance?

      1. “a community game instead of being hereditary or depending on who could amass the most soldiers.”

        It’s still that, in a sense. Just think of elections as war games, and it all becomes clear.

        1. Not in any manner that even 500 year old politicians would recognize.

          1. In fact, it’s always that we simply delude ourselves to believe otherwise. Note the size and strength of the United States military and ask yourself how great the world would be doing today if we were not playing world police.

            The USSR would have never fallen, Hitler might have won, China would likely take over India, etc. etc.

          2. No, I mean that elections are internal war games between factions within a country. That’s why functioning democracies don’t have revolutions: If you can’t win a free election, you’re going to lose a revolution.

      2. The obvious answer is to take all these things out of government control. If you want beef inspected by Tom Swift Meats, Inc, then look for their stamp of approval. If you want your pension handled by Kaiser Security, then send them part of your paycheck while working, and retire when you’ve got as much pension built up as you want.

        Politicians are apoplectic at such ideas, because they are as lazy and greedy as politicians have always been. There are two ways to get more power: keep other politicians at bay, and increase the pool of power. Decreasing government control of society is the exact wrong direction. Not only does it decrease the pool of power available, it makes it more likely that people will remove their shrinking share of that power.

        1. The only answer I see is the continued technological expansion into areas uncontrolled by politicians. The printing press was a huge sea change, followed by steam engines, telegraph, telephone, cars, radio, TV, and the internet. I don’t know what future tech will be or how it will continue this trend, but I do think it is unstoppable.

          Politicians won’t roll over and play dead, but they won’t win either. They do their darnedest to keep society static, but kings couldn’t stop the printing press, Soviets couldn’t stop faxes, the Chinese can’t stop the internet, drug warriors can’s stop drugs, and I don’t see why future politicians would be any better at stopping future tech.

          Eventually politicians will be relegated to such a small corner of society that secular government will have no more control of life than religious government does now. It will be a suggestion, a moral hint, nothing more.

          1. OR politicians will wield these new technologies to have more control than ever, making 1984 look like childs play.

    2. “People do a pretty good job when they have skin in the game. ”

      BINGO!! Hence non-taxpayers should not be voting.

      1. Who doesn’t pay taxes?

        1. About half the population pays no federal income tax. Hence they give no fucks about what the rates are other than to shout that they should be higher.

        2. About 50% of the adult population (by net tax numbers). And the majority of those under 25, especially college students. And anyone unemployed.

          1. Don’t forget third-graders. Or the way liberals have made all Americans fund school lunches for third-graders. Those little bastards pay no taxes — not even sales taxes — yet they get to eat!

            This infuriates right-wingers, but so far they have been too impotent to do anything about it.

            Other than whine a lot.

          2. Don’t forget third-graders. Or the way liberals have made all Americans fund school lunches for third-graders. Those little bastards pay no taxes — not even sales taxes — yet they get to eat!

            This infuriates right-wingers, but so far they have been too impotent to do anything about it.

            Other than whine a lot.

            1. Don’t forget third-graders.

              Two grades above Arthur L. Hicklib’s education level.

            2. Um…third graders don’t vote, so that is an irrelevant, ignorant comment, as usual.

              1. Um…third graders don’t vote

                I think they’re working on that here in California.

      2. Yup. One of the things missed is that the white male land owners only voting thing with the founders was largely because those were the people who paid almost all the taxes, since there was no income tax back when we had a good government run by sane people!

        If we only allowed net tax payers to vote, this country would get turned around in NO TIME.

      3. You’re only counting federal income taxes, right? What about what’s taken out of your check off the top? If you pay net state and local you only get to vote in state and local?

        If you really don’t want poor people to vote you’ll have to reinstate the poll tax. Good luck.

        Gradually the rich guys will manipulate the tax rates so only the nobility will get to vote. Then they can make you all into serfs.

        1. Yeah, because that’s what the founders did right?

          The slippery slope argument has its place. It is often true. But it’s not ALWAYS true.

          Historically many societies that allowed voting only allowed a certain set of people to vote, usually with criteria that limited it to something like I’m talking about. Middle class on up more or less.

          If it was 50% or so of people who were allowed to vote, that is such a large swath of the country, and MANY of those people would have grown up poor or lower middle class, that I don’t think it would be an issue. You’d just be getting the biggest blow it cases out of the election.

          This isn’t something people will accept now… But after the US has some major cataclysm or something? Maybe. It’s painfully clear to intelligent people, on both the left and the right really, that allowing so many idiots to vote has been a bad idea. On the left they hate the “redneck conservative,” who if one is being honest tend to not know a lot about shit… But happen to have clung to mostly decent ideas by dumb luck. On the right we hate on the welfare class who refuses to work, or the 50 year old burger flipper with no ambition, who also don’t know shit about shit.

          Thing is, in all cases those people probably SHOULDN’T be able to vote. Blow it cases don’t make smart decisions.

        2. States and localities can do whatever the hell they want. States rights baby!

          But bear in mind, people who don’t pay federal income tax ALSO tend to not be NET tax payers locally either. They might pay in $4K a year… But get $7K a year spent on services they use, especially if counting socialized costs like roads, schools, etc.

  7. I cannot speak for others, but as for the United States, most people chose between “bad” and “worse”, with sufficient numbers of such people supporting the winner over the loser. Thus the problem lies not in who the electorate voted for per se, but in the lack of a positive choice in a system that limits the candidates for the most important elected office to a total of two. This is a flaw in the American political system, and it shows.

    1. Stein and Johnson have a sad.

    2. Electoral politics are about coalitions, meaning you don’t get everything you want.

    3. The Constitution outlines a LIMITED Government so people CAN choose for themselves and most things. When we get back to that “system” we will be cured once again as we were after the Revolution.

  8. Reason would like to import millions of voters who don’t care about America. Not sure how that’s supposed to help.

    1. Our magic dirt will make them abandon their statist ways!

      1. Well the closed border crowd seems to think that “magic dirt” in America turns native-born citizens into liberty-loving patriots. Why can’t it work for foreigners?

        1. ^ Thinks people care about their homeland ? the place where they and their family and friends have to live ? because of “magic dirt”.

          1. Please read what I wrote carefully. Do you think that “caring for America” necessarily means “pro-liberty”?

            1. It means “anti-left.”

              1. I happen to think that libertarian ideas are what’s best for America. But I also think that there are plenty of patriots, who care for America just as much as the next person, who have different ideas on what’s best for America. The problem is that their ideas are flawed, not that they aren’t sufficiently patriotic enough.

                And quite frankly it’s offensive to start questioning people’s patriotism just because they don’t subscribe to a narrow set of ideals.

                1. When people champion ideas that are explicitly anti-American, lament “Americans” and American history at every turn, and place foreigners (as the “other” is superior to the familiar) on a pedestal – questions as to their patriotism are quite reasonable.

                  And nobody gives a damn about what you deem “offensive”

                  1. What is “anti-American”? Socialism? Have you heard of this thing called “Social Security” that’s been around for quite some time now?

                    I can think of only very few positions that are truly “anti-American”, as in, not wanting the nation of America to exist at all.

                    The problem here is that you have deliberately conflated “non-right-wing” with “anti-American”.

                    1. “What is “anti-American”? Socialism? Have you heard of this thing called “Social Security” that’s been around for quite some time now?”

                      Yes Social Security is anti-American, unconstitutional, and immoral.

                      Next question.

                    2. Yes Social Security is anti-American, unconstitutional, and immoral.

                      Next question

                      Are you enjoying life as a vanquished, irrelevant, disaffected, extremist right-wing loser?

                      Spoiler: It’s only going to get worse for guys like you as America continues to progress.

                    3. If it continues to progress in your direction it gets worse for everyone. Go huff some more cow farts.

                    4. “It’s only going to get worse for guys like you as America continues to progress.”

                      Trump has turned many things around. Another 6 years and we may yet save the country from the slide into Venezuelan socialism (that you so love).

                    5. Trump has turned many things around. Another 6 years and we may yet save the country from the slide into Venezuelan socialism (that you so love).

                      Knowing that guys like you will live the rest of your lives complying with your betters’ preferences might be the best part of winning America’s culture war.

                      Carry on, clingers.

                    6. Yes. when it goes broke after we paid into for 50 years with no return

                    7. Yes Social Security is anti-American, unconstitutional, and immoral.

                      Immoral? Sure, one can make a case for that.
                      Unconstitutional? Possibly.
                      Anti-American? Dude it’s been in America for 80+ years.

                      Not everything that is good is American, and not everything that is bad is anti-American.

                  2. lament “Americans” and American history at every turn

                    You mean, like pointing out that the mythologized history taught in most schools doesn’t do justice to what actually occurred in America’s past?

                    1. No fuckwit, that isn’t what he means.

                    2. Intruder alert!!! Intruder alert!!! Fire red klaxons right and blue photon cannons left!

                      A model 37,666 Tulpanator Robot Anthropoid Cyborg from the stupid has arrived HERE, to exterminate ALL rational discourse, with grade-school insults!!! Batten the hatches, and clutch DESPERATELY, to the hope that the model 3,666 Tulpanator Robot Anthropoid Cyborg will find some grade-school site to retreat to, and leave the rest of us the Hell alone, to have adult conversations!

                    3. You mean, like pointing out that the mythologized history taught in most schools

                      Yes, the left-wing version of history taught in most schools is mythological.

                  3. and place foreigners (as the “other” is superior to the familiar) on a pedestal

                    Who does this? This sounds like a strawman. That isn’t what I argue. What I argue is, foreigners are human beings, just like Americans are human beings. Some humans are good people, some are bad, but most are just ordinary people. To divide up the world into “good Americans” and “evil foreigners” doesn’t do justice to the individual nature of the members of either group of people.

                    1. “Who does this? This sounds like a strawman. That isn’t what I argue”

                      Ahahahahahhahahaha

                      All you do all day long is argue against strawmen!

                      You have literally no self awareness whatsoever.

                    2. Says the grade-school-level vapid-headed brainless “commenter” who makes no comments, only insults…

                2. It’s only offensive because you know it’s true.

                3. And quite frankly it’s offensive to start questioning people’s patriotism just because they don’t subscribe to a narrow set of ideals.

                  Their ideals are totalitarian, and therefore anti-patriotic.

                  1. Their ideals are totalitarian, and therefore anti-patriotic.

                    Because all brown people are Venezuelan socialists. Got it!

                    1. Because all brown people are Venezuelan socialists. Got it!

                      Shitlib chemjeff cries about strawmen while harvesting a bushelful of his own.

                    2. chemjeff radical individualist|2.17.19 @ 4:51PM|#
                      Because all brown people are Venezuelan socialists. Got it!

                      When faced with inconvenient facts, racebaiterjeff race baits.

                      It still doesn’t change the facts.

                      PEW Research on Hispanic Americans, breakdowns by immigration and foreign birth
                      https://goo.gl/WBi1BV
                      Hispanics Lean Democratic over 3 to 1
                      https://goo.gl/hxSJHi
                      Hispanics Want Bigger Government Providing More Services over 3 to 1

                      The trend is the same across immigrants generally.
                      Import Not Americans, Become Not America

                4. I happen to think that libertarian ideas are what’s best for America.

                  No, Jeff, you don’t.

                  The things you support, the ones you open your mouth and argue for, are uniformly statist.

                  1. Hey you’re right Azathoth. I’m the one advocating for building huge walls, creating a huge regulatory state to watch over every employer to make sure they aren’t hiring the ‘wrong’ people, creating a police state to hunt down and throw into cages people who haven’t done anything wrong, and coercing tax money out of every American in order to pay for all of that. Why if I didn’t advocate for any of that, I wouldn’t be a statist at all!

                    1. You also forgot, stealing people’s land through eminent domain, subverting checks and balances and seizing, essentially, absolute power through corruption of the national emergencies act, imposing unfair taxes via tarrifs. None of those things are statist in the least. Naw

                    2. Lets see here –

                      1. Stealing peoples land
                      Right – Eminent domain for EASEMENT on 5-FEET or less of property to protect from Invasion
                      Left – Eminent domain on 1.6 -Million acres through some National Monument Bill or Millions more through some “save the bees” bill.

                      2. Subverting check & balances
                      Bill Clinton steals Social Security to balance the Budget
                      Obama steals the election campaigning funds.

                      3. Absolute presidential power
                      Right – To stop an Invasion
                      Left – To forefoot federal immigration law

                      4. Unfair Taxes / Tarrifs
                      Right – U.S. Citizen TAX CUT and Foreigner Tarrif
                      Left – 90% Tax on Citizens and Subsidize Foreign Trade.

                      And you D-Team Cheerleaders can look/support all of that while pretending that the “Right” is the wrong team through some needle in the haystack.

                    3. Hey you’re right Azathoth.

                      Yes, I am.

                      I’m the one advocating for building huge walls,

                      No.

                      creating a huge regulatory state to watch over every employer to make sure they aren’t hiring the ‘wrong’ people, creating a police state to hunt down and throw into cages people who haven’t done anything wrong, and coercing tax money out of every American in order to pay for all of that.

                      You’re the First Little Piggy, creating giants out of straw and then patting yourself on the back as you tear them to bits.

                      Because no one on here is advocating anything like that.

                      A libertarian, or one who espouses those ideals would stop for a second, admit that they’re arguing disingenuously, and then try to answer the arguments that are actually being made.

                      con’t

                    4. con’t

                      But you don’t DO that.

                      Instead, every argument you ARE passionate about, that you will argue without creating strawmen, undermines liberty.

                      You argue FOR treating people who are actively hostile to liberty as if they support it.

                      You argue FOR policies that remove liberty from people who don’t think the way you do.

                      You argue FOR statism while insisting that liberty needs the limits you and yours seek to place upon it.

                      The reason I do not support the free movement of peoples that you love so dearly is because it is not and cannot be a right–because it requires the infringement on the rights of others. The only way you and yours have answered that claim is by denying that the others have that right at all– and denying property rights is antithetical to liberty.

                      If you are going to respond, respond to THAT. Don’t strawman in your asinine ‘brown’ people idiocies. Don’t talk about police states or regulatory states that exist only in the minds of people who just want people like me to shut the hell up and accept what their ‘betters’ tell them to do.

                      Answer what I’ve said–not what you’ve decided to pretend that I said.

                    5. The reason I do not support the free movement of peoples that you love so dearly is because it is not and cannot be a right–because it requires the infringement on the rights of others.

                      No it doesn’t. As I have explained countless times, I’ll do it one more time:

                      Suppose Alice and Bob have adjacent parcels of property, and Alice invites Bob onto her property. Now, there just so happens to be an international border separating their two parcels of property. The moment that Bob sets foot onto Alice’s property – without permission from the state, by the way – whose rights have been violated? Answer: no one’s. Demanding that Bob must first get permission from Alice’s government before accepting an invitation to travel to Alice’s property IS the violation of rights.

                    6. Now you are going to say “but what about public property? The people collectively own public property, and if Bob walks onto public property in Alice’s country, without permission from Alice’s government, doesn’t that mean Bob has trespassed against all of the citizens in Alice’s country?” The answer is that the people do NOT collectively own public property. Public property is owned by the government, which then gives permission to individuals to use that property. A *justly constituted* government is one that protects liberties, not infringes upon them. So a justly constituted government, which hopefully is Alice’s government, will permit all people to use public property as an exercise of their own liberty. If the people do not want certain individuals using public property, then the people should demand that the public property be privatized. But the people demanding that the government restrict the use of public property for no good reason is just tyranny of the majority.

                    7. You argue FOR treating people who are actively hostile to liberty as if they support it.

                      You argue FOR policies that remove liberty from people who don’t think the way you do.

                      You argue FOR statism while insisting that liberty needs the limits you and yours seek to place upon it.

                      Actually, I argue for treating people like people. Some are good, some are bad, but most are just ordinary people. The swarthy brown hordes are mostly just ordinary people, not “actively hostile to liberty”. I don’t argue for removing liberty from anyone. I argue FOR your liberty to associate with one of those dirty brown people if you so choose to do so. You could at least be a little grateful for that.

                    8. Because no one on here is advocating anything like that.

                      Wait, so you don’t advocate for mandatory e-Verify, mandatory national ID’s, stiff fines for employers who hire undocumented workers, throwing innocent migrants in cages for the ‘crime’ of lacking permission from the state? Huh. Then congratulations we do agree on something!

                      OH WAIT, you do support all those things, but just try to gaslight your way into pretending that those are pro-liberty positions. Ha!

                    9. You really can’t respond without creating a mountain of straw, can you?

                      Despite your ‘Bob and Alice’ routine everything you said can be summed up thusly–

                      The only way you and yours have answered that claim is by denying that the others have that right at all– and denying property rights is antithetical to liberty.

                      Does it bother you to be so predictable?

                      See, Jeff, the people DO own the country–I get the bill every time I get paid. That’s what ownership means, you have to pay for the upkeep.

                      *****
                      See this? We can argue this. This is something that people are of two minds about.

                      Then there’s this–

                      A *justly constituted* government is one that protects (the) liberties, of it’s citizens wherever they might be in the world and of lawful residents, of tourists, and of all legal visitors to it’s territories. A *justly constituted* government also extends it’s liberties and protections to those caught illegally or caught committing crimes–i.e. due process– within it’s borders.

                      A *justly constituted* government is under no obligation to extend it’s liberties, protections and rights to those who are NOT citizens and are not within it’s borders.

                      A government that attempted such would be imperialistic.

                      You and yours like to leave off the specifics of that–making the US side open-ended, so that you can accuse the US of being responsible for all the ills in the world. It’s not.

                    10. con’t

                      If the people do not want certain individuals using public property, then the people should demand that the public property be privatized. But the people demanding that the government restrict the use of public property for no good reason is just tyranny of the majority.

                      This one has parts, Jeff.

                      1. The people HAVE been arguing that public property be privatized. Did you miss those armed standoffs? Did you miss the cheering when Trump got rid of some national parkland?

                      2. It’s ‘no good reason’ to you, Jeff. And the people who think like you. It’s not to the people who think that we need secure borders.

                      3. Tyranny of the majority? You’re demanding that the rest of the world, literally, has the right to come here at their wont. That they can just move in no matter what any citizen says. You’re ADVOCATING tyranny of the majority, Jeff.

                    11. con’t

                      You couldn’t resist, could you?

                      Actually, I argue for treating people like people.

                      Really? Then why do you spend so much time sorting them into racial boxes? Or referring to the various races, ethnicities and cultures from South and Central America as ‘brown people’?

                      They’re people, Jeff, just people. Stop assigning your groupings to them.

                      And I don’t argue for e-Verify, national ID, fines, caging innocents or any of that.

                      I DO argue against maintaining a captive underclass with no recourse to the law, whose rights are abused as a matter of course….and you argue FOR it.

                    12. When it comes to People’s Criminal Behavior, Lazy Liabilities, and Treasonous actions;

                      The D-Team cheerleader becomes the most compassionate, empathetic, dismissive people on the planet.

                      When it comes to People’s Responsibility, Justice, and Asset/Value to society;

                      The D-Team cheerleader become the most hateful, jealous, tyrannical, unhinged people on the planet.

                    13. Azathoth with a brutal takedown of jeff. Cheers.

                    14. How ’bout this Jeff:

                      Are WHITE Europeans in favor of bigger government than Americans? Anti gun? Pro socialism in relative terms?

                      The obvious answer is YES. I don’t think I’ve ever met a European who wasn’t extremely anti gun, although I know they exist. ON AVERAGE they are very much against all the ideals America is founded on. If we had 30 million Europeans move here tomorrow, THAT would turn the country more socialistic.

                      NOW, every other country on earth, the ones with the beloved brown people, are JUST THE SAME as Europeans, or worse. This is just a fact. The best argument you can make is that in time we can convert them to more American opinions… But that DOES NOT happen overnight.

                      So AT BEST you can argue we should meter ALL immigration into the country to prevent too many people coming in at once, if you value freedom anyway. IIRC there are 80 million people in the USA that were born abroad or are the kids of those that were. And people wonder why America has gone more left… There’s your answer! White Europeans included in the problem column too!

                5. “I happen to think that libertarian ideas are what’s best for America.”
                  +
                  “I want more people with less libertarian ideas in America.”
                  =
                  “I hate America”

                  It’s always those who hate America who object to questioning people’s patriotism.

        2. We already have too many statists. Why open the door to millions more?

          1. Why open the door to millions more?

            You mean like natural-born citizens who vote for Bernie Sanders?

            Do you think that being born in America makes one immune from statism? Perhaps it’s the “magic dirt” of America that gives people born here an immunity to statism? (ha!)

            Why are immigrants held to a higher standard than natural-born citizens?

            1. “Why are immigrants held to a higher standard than natural-born citizens?”

              Are you actually this fucking stupid?

              1. This is the most dense-headed non-comment I have ever read… In the last 3 seconds! But they ALL come from Tulpoopy!

              2. Are you?

            2. You mean like natural-born citizens who vote for Bernie Sanders?

              Do you think that being born in America makes one immune from statism? Perhaps it’s the “magic dirt” of America that gives people born here an immunity to statism? (ha!)

              That’s exactly my point. We’re barely keeping ahead of the AOC-ists now. Why let in crowds of people who are much more likely than not to vote her way?

              1. So you want to hold immigrants to an ideological standard that you don’t hold natural-born citizens to, because you want to use immigration policy as a proxy for fighting against socialism. Is that your position?

                1. I want the country to move away from socialism, not toward it.

                  One way to fail in that effort is to let in tons of reliably Leftist voters.

                2. “use immigration policy as a proxy for fighting against socialism”

                  Yes. That is a very good use of immigration policy. I mean, look at the record of socialism….hundreds of millions of corpses tell a story, to say nothing of Venezuela etc.

                  In the past people came to America to become Americans. Many today come to change America into whatever statist shithole they left.

                  1. “In the past people came to America to become Americans. Many today come to change America into whatever statist shithole they left.”

                    Bullshit.

                    1. Bullshit.

                      Haven’t been in a majority immigrant community lately, have you?

                    2. “Haven’t been in a majority immigrant community lately, have you?”

                      Nope. But I can’t imagine they could be any worse than the idiot progressives where I live, who happen to be predominately “white natives”.

                    3. Nope. But I can’t imagine they could be any worse than the idiot progressives where I live

                      You’d be wrong.

                    4. “You’d be wrong.”

                      That’s convincing.

                  2. Yes. That is a very good use of immigration policy.

                    I see. So the individual lives of the immigrants themselves don’t really matter to you. All that matters to you is who these immigrants might vote for. Is that about right?

                  3. Self-fulfilling prophecy? Trumpistas hate brown-skinned people, so brown-skinned people do not want to vote Republican. Who wants to vote for people that hate them? Trumpista-style xenophobia is driving brown-skinned folks to vote socialist… Which is used to stir up more hatred of brown-skinned people…

                    1. “Self-fulfilling prophecy? Trumpistas hate brown-skinned people, so brown-skinned people do not want to vote Republican. Who wants to vote for people that hate them? Trumpista-style xenophobia is driving brown-skinned folks to vote socialist… Which is used to stir up more hatred of brown-skinned people…”

                      I’m afraid they don’t even realize they are in a recursive cycle of stupid……

                3. Newsflash: immigrants (at least the ones who want to vote) are already held to a higher standard than natural born citizens. There’s a test they must pass to gain citizenship. Those who are born as citizens never take such a test.

                  Theoretically, the natural born folks learned the stuff on the test in school, but in reality a sizeable percentage don’t know it.

                  Have you never seen those “man on the street” videos? Ordinary folks can’t even tell you what the three branches of government are. They don’t know the difference between the senate and the House of Representatives. Hell, there have even been POTUS’s who didn’t know how many states there are.

                  You bet your ass naturalized citizens, on average, know more than the native born.

                  1. “I want the country to move away from socialism, not toward it.”

                    Maybe so, but you what you really want is your TOP-MAN to fix it all under the heel of his boot.

                    1. Maybe so, but you what you really want is your TOP-MAN to fix it all under the heel of his boot.

                      I do?

                    2. Because you want TOP MEN to decide who can come here and who can’t.

                    3. Because you want TOP MEN to decide who can come here and who can’t.

                      No, because I want to vote for representatives who hold similar values to vote for the things I support.

                      I choose my representation–not ‘top men’.

                      Hell, Jeff, Trump is a direct refutation of the TOP MAN mantra–because the TOP MEN, dem, rep, media, academia, et al screeeched to high heaven against him for the duration of his campaign to this day.

                      Or did you miss that?

                      YOU –and yours– are demanding that we accede to the demands of the TOP MEN.

                    4. Oh, I get it now!
                      So when people complain about TOP MEN dictating people’s choices for them, what they are really complaining about are liberal TOP MEN. Conservative TOP MEN are totes different.

                    5. Here, let me help–

                      So when people complain about TOP MEN dictating people’s choices for them, what they are really complaining about are their opponents TOP MEN. Their own TOP MEN are totes different.

                      That’s the general stance of your cohorts.

                      What I mean is that I prefer my elected representatives to REPRESENT, not rule. Ignoring the will of the voters is RULING.

                      Is that so hard to grasp?

                    6. So I will bpcut of my ideal to spite my face? Again, another proof that democracy is ina tailspin as a form of government.

                    7. Because you want TOP MEN to decide who can come here and who can’t.

                      I want my fellow voters to decide who can come here and who can’t. And I’d like the voters to vote in the way that I think is best for the country. And I think it’s best for the country to get some sort of control over how many people come here, what skill and educational levels they have, and what countries they’re from.

                    8. I want my fellow voters to decide who can come here and who can’t.

                      So there’s going to be a national referendum on every immigration application? No? Oh, so what this really means, in practice, is that you want the voters to empower a bureaucracy of TOP MEN to decide who can come here and who can’t, and *hopefully* (from your POV) those TOP MEN decide in accordance with the will of the voters, but in actuality, like with all other exercises of government power, those TOP MEN end up serving their own agendas.

                      And I’d like the voters to vote in the way that I think is best for the country. And I think it’s best for the country to get some sort of control over how many people come here, what skill and educational levels they have, and what countries they’re from.

                      And if the voters vote otherwise? Then you’re kinda screwed.

                      The solution to this is to not put this type of power in the hands of voters in the first place. Like with most every other issue. You alone are in the best position to decide what’s best for your life. Not the voters, not TOP MEN.

                    9. And if the voters vote otherwise? Then you’re kinda screwed.

                      Of course.

                      The solution to this is to not put this type of power in the hands of voters in the first place. Like with most every other issue. You alone are in the best position to decide what’s best for your life. Not the voters, not TOP MEN.

                      That would be nice, but I don’t want to live on a desert island or in an armed compound. We have something that is on the whole pretty darn good here (in the U.S.), and I’d like to keep it that way. It depends on having enough people here who still value individual rights over Big Brother security, and respect the public-private divide that was worked out 200 years ago.

                    10. Oh, so what this really means, in practice, is that you want the voters to empower a bureaucracy of TOP MEN to decide who can come here and who can’t, and *hopefully* (from your POV) those TOP MEN decide in accordance with the will of the voters,

                      Yes, this is called ‘representative democracy’. We use a form of this in the US.

                      but in actuality, like with all other exercises of government power, those TOP MEN end up serving their own agendas.

                      Strawman.

                      And if the voters vote otherwise? Then you’re kinda screwed.

                      Again, representative democracy.

                      The solution to this is to not put this type of power in the hands of voters in the first place. Like with most every other issue. You alone are in the best position to decide what’s best for your life. Not the voters, not TOP MEN.

                      So we should allow people on the border to take matters into their own hands? Or everyone? Is that what you want? Have you HEARD the people who actually own property on the border? Or do you have stock in coffins?

                  2. You bet your ass naturalized citizens, on average, know more than the native born.

                    Especially in America’s left-behind, can’t-keep-up Democratic urban enclaves.

                4. I don’t think so. The problem seems to be that immigrants tend to carry w them the ideas of the countries they’re leaving, which are bad. If they better understood causes & effects, they wouldn’t import w them the ideas causing the problems they’re trying to get away from, but they don’t. Same may well go for migration between states in the USA.

                  1. “I don’t think so. The problem seems to be that immigrants tend to carry w them the ideas of the countries they’re leaving, which are bad. If they better understood causes & effects, they wouldn’t import w them the ideas causing the problems they’re trying to get away from, but they don’t. Same may well go for migration between states in the USA.”

                    Bullshit. A more rational, albeit still speculative, argument is they are here because they’ve seen firsthand how those ideals completely ruined their lives. Why the fuck would they want to do that again? Ever met a Venezuelan refugee? Didn’t think so. It’s a braindead assumption to think it’s contagious like the flu.

                    1. If the Trump Republicans were smart, which they most assuredly are NOT. They would realize that people that are fleeing ruin from socialist countries, if anything, have the potential to be their biggest allies as they bear first-hand witness to the horrors inflicted by socialist policies. Why they demonize them is a colossal failure on their part and beyond the pale of stupid. It’s like you don’t even want to win…..

                    2. Almost every act of the Trump Presidency has demonstrated that Trump is the same “business socialist” (aka “pro-business Democrat”, also Rockefeller Republican) that he has been ever since the 1970s when he first began to promote himself. Now he dons the cloak of nationalism with his anti-immigrant and anti-free trade talk.

                      I’m stuck here; I’m trying to come up with something to describe someone who is a “Nationalist” and a “Socialist”…Help me out here people!

                      What would you call someone who is a Nationalist aand a Socialist?

                    3. What would you call someone who is a Nationalist aand a Socialist?

                      Bernie Sanders?

                    4. So the definition of Socialist is Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Free Trade?

                      There’s a new definition for the leftists mythical-contrary-dictionary. I see here in that same dictionary that the human sex organ is the butt-hole; funny how everything looks backwards in that dictionary.

                    5. They’re fleeing the results, but they don’t know the causes, therefore are likely to replicate them because they’re a commonplace, “common sense”, where they come from.

            3. Natural-born citizens who vote for Socialism should be indicted for Treason.

              1. Jeff: You’re dealing in theoretically possible nonsense… Everybody else is dealing in objective reality.

                Immigrants vote left FAR MORE OFTEN than Americans. Just deal with it asshole. MAYBE their kids will be converted. Maybe. But it won’t matter, because if we let in too many at once the first generation will turn us into a socialist nation… How is this so hard to understand given that EVERY poll ever done shows they vote far to the left of the native born???

                You can argue all you want that they may come around, but the foreign born ones simply do not.

                And if you REALLY want somebody to say it, YES America WOULD be better off if we could deport native born people that were in favor of socialism… The problem is that isn’t how nations typically operate, like ever, historically… And we’d never find any countries to take half the morons. But we would objectively be better off if we could unload them. So there ya go!

            4. “Why are immigrants held to a higher standard than natural-born citizens?”

              Because they’re US citizens.

              US sovereignty does not extend to the entire world, in either rights or responsibilities.

              “muh anarchy”

        3. Not so much the “magic dirt” but the “magic mantra” and the magic gesture one must perform if a certain colored cloth is put up in the air.

    2. “who don’t care about America” is pretty rich, since America is where they want to be.

      I don’t see very many people struggling to get to Venezuela or North Korea or even China.

      Perhaps you have forgotten that “land of opportunity” bit. Perhaps you don’t see the opportunity and just want to keep what is yours and are afraid of competition and free markets and free minds.

      Perhaps you are a slaver and ought to just fuck off.

      1. If they cared about America they would obey the law and immigrate legally.

        1. Maybe they care about their own family first and foremost, just like virtually every other person on the planet.

          1. That’s exactly why we shouldn’t import voters whose personal and family concerns aren’t the same as the concerns of people who care about America because America is our homeland.

            1. So you only want citizens who are such big super-patriots that they put the interests of the state ahead of their own family’s interests?

              1. You don’t know the difference between citizens and immigrants?

                1. Fuck off Tulpa.

                  1. I like how much it obviously stings you when I point out how stupid you are.

                    1. “I like how much it obviously stings you when I point out how stupid you are.”

                      Except you don’t. All you can do is fling an occasional turd and think you made a point, declare victory and fuck off.

                    2. Says Tulpoopy,who doesn’t even KNOW how to say ANYTHING other than insults…

              2. @chemjeff
                There is a VAST difference between –
                1. Ensuring Liberty, Justice and Freedom as a family interest …. and ….
                2. Robbing, Excusing and Mandating others into Slavery as a family interest.

                YES! Many people DO actually insist that Justice be served even as a consequence to their own family unit. That moral/ethical stance is probably one of the biggest dividing factors between left/right voter tendencies.

                Will said policy platform encourage Individual Freedom and Justice or some brand of Forced Slavery and Totalitarian ‘ism/ist’ based on some sort of selfish self-interest.

          2. “Maybe they care about their own family first and foremost, just like virtually every other person on the planet.”

            But when Americans do it, it’s totally totally Evil Racist Klan Nazism.

          3. hehe. Look what we have here, a right wing argument for securing borders

          4. And their toddlery children would be having grandchildren by the time the parents were awarded citizenship going the legal route.

            Look, if I were stuck in a seven-hour backup of a traffic jam, you bet your ass I’d try and get out of there and find a much faster way to my destination, even if I had to break a couple of traffic laws.

            I’m all for greater border security – big new wall or no big new wall – as long as that comes with reforms to the legal “path to citizenship” so that it’s faster and more efficient. Keep the safeguards in place so that we don’t naturalize those who wish to corrupt our free society, but the path from application to swearing-in should only take 2-3 years tops instead of 25+ years.

            1. I’m for securing the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

              Legalizing a statist invasion of the US does the opposite.

              “but the path from application to swearing-in should only take 2-3 years”

              The magic dirt only takes 2-3 years to work.

        2. Yeah, except for the fact that under current law it is impossible for the to “immigrate legally”.

          1. them to “immigrate legally”.

    3. AmericaLast voters empower the Deep State Globalists.

    4. Reason would like to import millions of voters who don’t care about America.

      Certainly not about “libertarianism”.

  9. Democracy has a number of inherent flaws, which doesn’t remotely challenge the Churchillian thesis that it’s the worst system except for all the other systems. It can be pretty darned bad, and still clear that hurdle without breaking a sweat.

    One of the bigger flaws is that the process of running the elections is typically handled by the government itself. It doesn’t require a genius to see the conflict of interest here, and exploit it. And as the government goes about the process of rendering democracy less of a threat to its independence from the opinions of the masses, it renders democracy less effective at being the least worst system of governance; This sort of compromised ‘democracy’ starts to take on the character of less democratic forms of government.

    But even when democracy is fully functional, (As is not the case in America anymore.) it’s really weak in the case of issues where the benefits of a policy are concentrated, and the costs/harms diffuse. Or the benefits are immediate, and the costs delayed. Or a policy benefits a large number of people in a very wasteful way, (Say, $2-3 cost for every $1 of benefit.) but thanks to ‘progressive’ taxation, only a tiny fraction as many people are paying for it.

    There are lots of failure modes for even working democracy. And you can see pretty much all of them at work in the US.

    1. “issues where the benefits of a policy are concentrated, and the costs/harms diffuse. Or the benefits are immediate, and the costs delayed.”

      Exactly. People without skin in the game, who might feel the negative impact of their policies, will make horrible choices. Hence only taxpayers should vote. Maybe a minimum of $1000 in fed income tax paid.

  10. This is a concise, informative summary of what the more sober “globalists” (for lack of a better term) think is going on–but it’s wrong. Nobody (other than on the fringes) has rejected the notion of expertise. The problem is that very many of the so-called experts have been revealed as pushing a political agenda that’s fairly unmoored from serious statecraft or science. That may a somewhat unfair assessment in the sense of being too broadly applied, but it’s not in any way unreasonable, given the behavior of notable universities and big tech companies in suppressing viewpoints opposed to “the narrative”. American voters didn’t suddenly decide to go back to the 19th century, they developed the well-founded impression that their political class is so enamored of their cocktail parties in Davos that they don’t care about–if not actively hate–the rest of the population. Likewise the Brexit voters.

    Eisenhower once said “farming looks mighty easy when the farm is 3,000 miles away and your plow is a pencil.” If you want experts to come back into good repute, they need to stop looking so much like pencil-pushers who don’t understand that their books–good as they are–don’t fully capture real life.

    1. What, you don’t trust “experts” who parachute in to fix a local problem?

    2. they developed the well-founded impression that their political class is so enamored of their cocktail parties in Davos that they don’t care about–if not actively hate–the rest of the population.

      Oh please. This is just wallowing in victimhood. “Waa waa those nasty elites hate me!” In reality, people just have different opinions on the correct course of action on any particular issue. Instead of whining about how much they supposedly hate you, why not counter their ideas with ideas of your own. But, you know, make sure the ideas are grounded in facts and reality, and not cherry-picked statistics and anecdotal evidence alone.

      1. “y not counter their ideas with ideas of your own. But, you know, make sure the ideas are grounded in facts and reality, and not cherry-picked statistics and anecdotal evidence alone.”

        Your shrill protests aside, this is exactly what people have been doing.

        Re: Facts and reality vs cherry-picked statistics and anecdotal evidence…
        Hilarious. Progressives will always proclaim, with fanatical blind faith, that they are the arbiters of what constitutes the latter and defines the former.
        A says their argument consists of “facts and reality” while B’s arguments are nothing but “cherry-picked statistics and anecdotal evidence” – meanwhile, B claims that A is wrong because B’s arguments are the ones based in “facts and reality” while A’s are just “cherry-picked statistics and anecdotal evidence”.
        Obviously, chemjeff, being a zealot, is certain that he is on the side of righteousness, with facts and reality to back him up, while those who disagree with him are guilty of cherry-picking stats and misusing anecdotal evidence – something chemjeff, the righteous, would never do.
        The only objective arbiter of these things is logical consistency and demonstration, but progressives can’t allow that – while they are consistent, their arguments and stated beliefs are anything but. Proof is in pathology, and the psychotic struggles to stay on topic.

        1. Oh look. A lengthy response devoid of facts and reality, and instead just insults.

          If my facts are wrong, then demonstrate it. Instead most of what I see are responses like yours – insults.

          I never said I’m the arbiter of what constitutes truth. I never said I’m a perfect person. I’m a human being just like everyone else. I’m not perfect and I’m not omniscient. But the way to advance a point of view is to construct logical arguments grounded in facts and evidence. Insulting me, while it may feel good for you, doesn’t do any of that. But congratulations you have successfully virtue-signaled your membership in your tribe. Congrats!

          1. Virtue-signaling is an exclusively progressive pass time.

          2. “If my facts are wrong, then demonstrate it. ”

            Ok fuckapottamus, highlight the facts in this steaming pile of stupid.

            “Oh please. This is just wallowing in victimhood. “Waa waa those nasty elites hate me!” In reality, people just have different opinions on the correct course of action on any particular issue. Instead of whining about how much they supposedly hate you, why not counter their ideas with ideas of your own. But, you know, make sure the ideas are grounded in facts and reality, and not cherry-picked statistics and anecdotal evidence alone”

            Go ahead. Be persuasive.

            1. I’ll do it for him. Tulpa -> Steaming pile of shit. That wasn’t very hard.

            2. Ok fuckapottamus, highlight the facts in this steaming pile of stupid.

              I lol’d

          3. “If my facts are wrong, then demonstrate it. Instead most of what I see are responses like yours – insults.”

            racebaiterjeff complains about people engaging in ad hominem.

            Hilarious.

            The Left always projects their hatreds and crimes on the Right.
            Every accusation from a Leftist is a confession.

            1. “Every accusation from a Leftist is a confession.”

              Damn. That’s a really good line.
              I’m definitely appropriating it

      2. “In reality, people just have different opinions on the correct course of action on any particular issue.”

        The self selecting and increasingly hereditary Deep State believes they have the right to rule the peasants for the Greater Good.

        1. “The self selecting and increasingly hereditary Deep State believes they have the right to rule the peasants for the Greater Good.”

          Absolutely this. Why are so many of the top ten wealthiest counties in the U.S. in the greater D.C. area? It’s not because of all of the wealth that is generated there for the rest of the nation. Get into a decent Ivy college and find a government sinecure when you graduate and you’ll find yourself a GS12 making over $100K per year within 20 years whether or not you add anything to the National wealth. It’s a cozy gig and they are milking the tax cattle to the best of their ability to sustain it.

          1. Last I checked, they still had to be elected. $100k after 20 years is actually quite pathetic these days.

            1. GS employees are not elected, and 91 percent of the US population makes less than $100k per year. All of that plus the benefits that go along with Federal employment and I think we’ve got the right to appoint out that the permanent bureaucracy just might be a strain on our nation.

              1. Ah, the bureaucrats. Agreed. The first rule of bureaucracy being what it is and all….

          2. Besides term limits for non-military federal employees, they should be spread across the country instead of concentrated into an Imperial Metropolis.

      3. I’ll bet you can smell their victimhood, say, from a WalMart

        1. It smells like sweatpants and cheetos.

          1. “I hate Americans”

    3. It’s not that I’ve rejected the notion of expertise?I’ve rejected the intrusion of self-styled experts into more and more areas of my life.

      Let’s say I need surgery. I trust an expert (a surgeon) to perform it. I don’t go ask a cab driver to perform an appendectomy. But if the surgeon then feels entitled to start dictating what I can do and say, or even think, then he can fuck right off. Outside of surgery, his opinion doesn’t hold any more importance to me than the cab driver’s. He can make decisions about his own life and I’ll thank him to leave me alone to make decisions about mine.

    4. “This is a concise, informative summary of what the more sober “globalists” (for lack of a better term) think is going on–but it’s wrong. ”

      I once would have found it odd to find an article lauding anti democratic rule of the Deep State at Reason.

    5. >The problem is that very many of the so-called experts have been revealed as pushing a political agenda that’s fairly unmoored from serious statecraft or science.

      Exactly. One need not look further than our conduct of the post Korea wars. The “expert consensus” generally exemplified by McCain and his allies never correctly aligned the goals of a war with the tactics necessary to acheive those goals.

      Are many of our experts great? Yes, most people have good doctors that are trustworthy. The problem is that becoming a prestigious healthcare policy maker has nothing in common with being a good healthcare provider, or even knowing the needs of that community. Becoming a policy maker is more about sophistry and rhetoric rather than results.

  11. To qualify as a democracy, however, rule must in some way be founded on the expressed and regularly re-expressed will of the people via the ballot box.

    Except that that is not true. Athens had SORTITION – not elections. Similar to the way we select for jury duty. It was Sparta that had elections and Athens rejected those as leading to oligarchy.

    I for one can easily interpret what is happening now in ‘democracies’ is the populist rejection of elites who spent the last 40 years or so using ‘elections’ to build absolutely corrupt entrenched oligarchies that serve only their interests. Combine that with the modern development of mass communications, a wholesale society, and the scientific knowledge of how much of a herd animal we actually are. Well it doesn’t surprise me that elites are a bit worried that they are gonna be on the receiving end of what they have been dishing out for a long while.

    Do I think there’s a danger that that reaction will simply turn into looking for the charismatic sociopath on a white horse and eliminating even the electoral means of constraining autocrats and tyrants? Yes. But I don’t conflate that with the just desserts that so-called elites have coming to them.

    1. I do think that some country (it won’t be the US – we are too far gone and unfixable via peaceful means) needs to incorporate sortition more directly into its governance. Maybe it is some randomly selected ‘citizen’s assembly’ that serves some veto role over the agenda of elected legislatures. Or something similar that serves to force transparency and eliminate corruption/cronyism on the regulatory/executive side.

      Sortition has the great value of being random and so is a great antidote to the tendency we all have of trying to make the future into something more predictable – something that will benefit us personally and screw the other guy.

      1. Ya, I could foresee some country coming up with their own secret recipe of how to structure government and policy (maybe not in the tradition of less government, but effective government) where it suddenly costs 10% less to deal with them in comparison to other industrialized (or soon to be industrialized) nations.

        That is a mind-boggling advantage.

        I could also foresee other countries attempting to justify their bloat, almost to the point of waging war against the rapscallion (if they weren’t so broke).

        While a lot of lip service is given to technology saving us from the clutches intrusive government, I can see an argument to be made for better social technology which reduces corruption and overhead (and sortition could certainly play a role in that).

        It wouldn’t even be revenge as much as desertion as people leave Maggie’s Farm.

        1. Desertion is how I think it would work too.

      2. This is…
        well said, jfree.

        The theory is sound – it’s the execution, and the power required to acquire the power necessary to depower oneself, that is difficult.

      3. I want to add a volunteer ballot box. Every voter can volunteer when they vote; each elected position also selects one volunteer at random who has identical legislative authority as the elected winner.

        Should they be in the same chamber, or should they be a separate chamber? A separate chamber has veto power just like the other two, but I don’t like isolating them. I like the idea of elected snobs having to get along with volunteer proles.

        I also want the top three vote winners to all be elected, in addition to the volunteer. All would proxy the votes they received instead of the traditional “1”. Volunteers would proxy all non-top-3 votes, not the number of volunteers. It would slow down counting yeas and nays, but we got computers nowadays, and maybe legislatures need to slow down a bit.

        1. Interesting idea. I like the idea of elected folks being held accountable by the proles also. So a quasi-sortition scheme? There might still be the problem that the elected-side is susceptible to corruption and influence. Not sure the volunteer side could reign that in unless, by volunteering and serving, they prevent themselves from running for election in the future. Not sure I understand your last paragraph…..

      4. I can’t argue with any of that. I fully agree that sortitions (thanks for a new word) is the best chance of leading to a much less corruptible form of representative government. I also thought for a moment, as I was reading, that was where the author was going, but she didn’t. I was not aware that it had been previously tried in Ancient Greece….i guess I thought they had some sort of Timocracy..or at least around the time of Plato. I’m curious to read more as I had previously thought this was the one form of government that hadn’t been tried yet. I also agree with you that implementing such a system in this country isn’t possible until the dust settles from the current system. I think a lot could be gained, possibly, in breaking up the current oligarchic state by prohibiting the formation of political parties, or at least reigning their powers…..i.e. eliminating special powers(laws) for primary elections, national debates and the like. Let them organize and choose someone to represent their ideas outside the rule of law (thunderdome, for example).

        1. I also think implementing some sort of ranked-voting system would go very far to breaking up the oligarchy. I’m just sure how many ranks a person should be able to assign. Seems that ranking two candidates would go a long way to eliminating the “lesser of two evil” paradox.

        2. Athens did not have a universal pool from which sortition draws. Because the pool excluded slaves, freed slaves, women, and resident foreigners – and the ‘randomness’ was actually by tribe – it meant that Athenian govt could perpetually stomp all over those excluded groups and the status quo power of the tribal/kin groups couldn’t be challenged.

          Likewise in Jim Crow South, jury pools were selected from registered voter lists from which blacks were systematically excluded. So for blacks there could never be a fair trial or ability to seek redress thru the judicial branch.

          These aren’t weaknesses of sortition per se. They were attempts to eliminate the potential of sortition to protect individual/minority/powerless rights. The criticism of sortition that has passed down is that random people don’t have the necessary knowledge to run the city/state/world. Plato never read Hayek. Maybe the solution is to limit the scope of their power to what they do know – and in exercising that power to limit the power of those who don’t know what they don’t know but think they do know.

          1. “Maybe the solution is to limit the scope of their power to what they do know – and in exercising that power to limit the power of those who don’t know what they don’t know but think they do know.”

            In other words, be like Socrates. Haha…that didn’t work out too well for him (or did it?). Thanks for the interesting info.

          2. The criticism of sortition that has passed down is that random people don’t have the necessary knowledge to run the city/state/world.

            There is probably some truth to this, as the practice hasn’t had time to grow (with committees, think tanks, etc.) alongside with government to get its bearings. But as you are probably aware, random chance seems to have better results beyond what ever criteria denotes expertise- fact of the matter is no person has that type of skill and isn’t the purpose of demarchy anyway (if you want a Confucianist government, say so, and avoid this pretense of power for the people).

            Longterm however, I think this becomes an asset as exemplified by Aristotle’s dictum To Rule and Be Ruled.

            Anyone could be king. Anyone could be a subject. This puts far more focus on separation of powers and shared responsibility. I think it also promotes regression toward the mean in politics, and avoids much of the extremism found today.

            1. I agree. Random selection and the law of large numbers means that such an assembly would bring far more diffuse knowledge to bear than an assembly composed mainly of elected lawyers and career bureaucrats.

              We currently attempt to tap into that when we conduct polls or focus groups. But those random selections are completely subordinate to whomever pulls them together rather than self-organizing and self-directed. And they are mostly used to manipulate the rest of us (what phrases and buzzwords work to make the herd cower or salivate) – rather than that group taking its turn ‘running point’ to protect itself and, in doing so openly, protecting everyone else as well.

              I also think it could restore ‘civil society’ (or what deToqueville marvelled at ‘civic associations’). He even hinted at what made those possible:

              Juries invest each citizen with a magisterial office; they make all men feel that they have duties toward society and that they take a share in its government. By making men pay attention to things other than their own affairs, they combat the individual selfishness which is like a rust in society.

              Voting doesn’t remotely do that – which is why imo AJ Nock could write that ‘the state’ grows at the expense of what he called ‘social power’ (not at the expense of the individual).

              1. Can’t agree more. Treating the election process as sampling from a population (or a subsample of population with e.g. correct age, lack of felony convictions or similar) and applying the rules of representative statics will more accurately reflect the will of the people, in my opinion. The math has even already been done. In those therms the system we have no has got to be the absolute worst. It demands bias, and favors people that are at the tails of the distribution, using pre-election polling to influence the electorate (non-blinding).

                1. I was hoping to see something like this emerge from the Arab Spring or any other similar country going through a complete transformative phase….but nothing that I know of occurred.

      5. Maybe it is some randomly selected ‘citizen’s assembly’ that serves some veto role over the agenda of elected legislatures

        Call it the Citizen’s Senate. Have it be 4 randomly selected registered voters from each state, with a term of 1 week, with multiples for every legislative session.

        Population is irrelevent. Random selection means no way to fix it

        They can vote aye or nay or ‘incomprehensible'(which functions as a ‘nay’ but allows a bill to be re-written so it can be understood.

        They can be overridden by a 2/3 majority of Congress ONLY if the president rejects their vote. And after that vote the President can STILL veto.

    2. Athens had partition and we have the Mueller witch hunt.

    3. Athens had partition and we have the Mueller witch hunt.

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  14. The key is not democracy but freedom. Because democracy alone quickly erodes freedom. But with freedom, a society can become more democratic – e.g. women’s suffrage and black civil rights. This fetishization of ‘democracy’ is one-world, George Soros propaganda. Their goal is to manipulate the ignorant masses into voting them into power. And then take away our freedom. This push to give immigrants voting rights is an example – enabling demagogues like AOC to enact socialist but ‘democratic’ rule (often consisting of demonizing libertarians). Europe is another example, centralizing control in ‘democratic’ Brussels. The UK should pursue Brexit, but also must proclaim liberty like their younger brother did 250 years ago. Then, dissolve NATO and establish NAFO – freedom alliance.

    1. Democracy with a people who believe in freedom. They are the exceptions in the world.

      I have similarly wanted a United Nations of the Free World, where shithole countries are not welcome. All the dirtbags band together, but the nominally free nations don’t.

  15. Democracy’s margin of less-badness over other forms of government shrinks as governments become larger and more intrusive. At some point, it disappears.

    In any case, what the US has now is a thin, showy froth of democracy over a dictatorial bureaucratic oligarchy.

    1. Democracy Theater

      We voted in Trump to Drain The Swamp.
      Instead, we watch The Swamp drains the Trump administration.

      Things will really get exciting when it’s made clear that it’s impossible to Drain The Swamp through the electoral process.

      It’s pretty clear already.

      If voting doesn’t work, what now?

      1. Rely/Lobby/Enforce by the Supreme Court the U.S. Constitution which also allows a Convention of States as another option.

        But all the above will be “voted” out if citizens keep believing the very little/limited “Democracy” in the U.S. to vote for a spokesperson of the people means anything more than that.

      2. “Things will really get exciting when it’s made clear that it’s impossible to Drain The Swamp through the electoral process.
        It’s pretty clear already.
        If voting doesn’t work, what now?”

        Indeed, that is THE question.
        The course we’re on leads to dissolution and subservience. We’ve been on this path for a century, but for the first time masses are starting to realize it and speak out.
        There may be but one option other than complete capitulation. The hope that this can be avoided is strong, yet becoming harder to sustain.
        To paraphrase Patrick Henry,
        Give me liberty or give me blood.

        1. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants.
          – Thomas Jefferson

  16. Attention my fellow Koch / Reason libertarians!

    Now more than ever we must support Jussie Smollett. It seems the local police are re-victimizing him by making the absurd suggestion that he masterminded his own attack. This is a classic case of what my professors told me is called VICTIM BLAMING.

    The fact is, this country is a violent and oppressive place for black and brown bodies, and things have gotten exponentially worse since Drumpf’s election. There is no reason to doubt any detail of Mr. Smollett’s account. The simplest, most likely explanation is that the cops are racists who are framing him. Like what happened to OJ Simpson.

    #IBelieveJussie

    1. OpenBordersLibrarian

      Please join me and others in donating money to help Jussie

      We Stand With Jussie

      https://www.gofundme.com/westandwithjussie

      1. Holy shit, that’s a real gofundme campaign!

      2. Holy shit, that’s a real gofundme campaign!

      3. He just wanted to start a conversation.

        Why do you people hate conversations?

      4. I’ll see what I can do. No promises though ? this Drumpf economy makes charitable contributions extremely difficult.

    2. The limit of bullshit as you approach the Ultimate Progressive Narrarative is infinity.

    3. #JusticeForJussie #GoodAndHard

    4. I don’t know who Jesse Smollet is, but the idea that someone would mastermind a crime against themselves is not necessarily absurd. It often happens in cases of arson, where someone wants to collect insurance money on a property they no longer want.

      In other cases, it’s done to win sympathy and support from other people. They can go from being a nobody to someone who is well-known and supported (though pitied) by large groups of people.

      Don’t know if this applies to this Justy Smollett person, but it’s possible.

      1. Keep in mind, according to police sources, he was willing to testify against two guys detained for the assault…until he learned they were the guys he allegedly hired.

        Meaning…he was willing and ready to let TWO INNOCENT MEN go to jail for this nonsense.

  17. Decline?

    Our democracy consists of one vote every four years for one of two cable bundles representing all possible issues.

    How do we decline from that?

    1. No midterms for you!!

    2. And people tend to vote for whichever cable bundle promises them free HBO, amirite?

  18. “Rather, democracy’s chief achievement is that it makes it possible to peaceably throw the old rascals out.”

    Yeah, you don’t get what you want from democracy. You get what you want by shopping online.

    This statement got one of democracy’s two most important achievements, but there are two:

    1) The opportunity to throw the bums out periodically.

    2) Separation of powers.

    The separation of powers–to declare war, set naturalization rules, tax, ratify treaties, etc.–is also fundamental to a free society. Just like the government can’t ignore individual property rights or religious rights without society suffering the negative consequences of doing so, when powers aren’t separated along lines that respect democracy’s proper purview, there are severe negative consequences.

    1. Some things that are being advertised as anti-democratic these days, say the Yellow Vest movement in France, the triumph of anti-immigrant parties in Italy and Germany, Brexit, etc., may be better described as the kinds of negative consequences societies experience when democracy’s proper purview isn’t respected. Weren’t anti-immigration moves like Brexit and Merkel’s defeat about the EU turning a deaf ear to average people’s concerns about immigration and asylum?

      The Yellow Jacket movement is largely a reaction to unpopular taxes and environmental polices.

      Let’s make sure we don’t confuse the symptoms with the disease. Populism is a symptom. It’s a negative consequence of the real disease, which is leaders who ignore the desires of their people on issues like taxation, war, naturalization policy, treaty ratification, etc. It wasn’t the populists that failed democracy–it’s the elitists like Merkel, Macron, the EU, and Obama that were the disease. Populism is a reaction to what that bunch inflicted on their own people over the people’s objections and against their wishes. The cure is for our leaders to respect democracy’s proper purview.

      1. What kind of populism loses the popular vote?

        1. Populism is about opposition to elites.

          Let’s not play word games. “Populism” isn’t about whatever is popular. Sometimes the elites are popular, and those who are denouncing them in a losing effort are still populists.

          1. My bad. I did misunderstand it.

            1. The word is used by all kinds of different people to mean all kinds of things–many of them who work as journalists and don’t know what they’re talking about.

              Somehow thinking that asylum seekers flooding into your country in an uncontrolled way may not be such a great thing is called “extreme right wing”, and if they don’t feel justified calling people that, for whatever reason, they go with “populist” as a code word for whatever it is they hate.

              Meanwhile, I want to get rid of Medicaid, food stamps, public schools, and rent subsidies, but I’m not “extreme right wing” because I also want massive amounts of legal immigration? It’s amazing what they’ll let us get away with when you’re in favor of legal immigration.

      2. “It wasn’t the populists that failed democracy–it’s the elitists like Merkel, Macron, the EU, and Obama that were the disease. ”

        During the Vietnam war it was largely leftists that were anti-elite populists. They embraced populism wholeheartedly and reined in the CIA (Church commission).

        My, how times have changed.

  19. Brexit is a counter example. Voters wanted to get away from an unelected governing body.

    1. A lot of people are confusing the symptoms and the disease.

      I think there are two main sources of the confusion–and both of them are coming from the left in the West. Elitists both imagine that the people are behind whatever they’re doing and they imagine that their job is to inflict their will on the unwilling.

      In American parlance, the true purpose of progressives is to force people to make sacrifices for what they see as the common good, and, at the same time, they imagine that the sacrifices they’re inflicting on the unwilling are both popular and in everyone’s best interests.

      The believe that the American people want to be forced to sacrifice their standard of living to fight climate change and that the American people will be much better off for having done so. In their minds, anyone who opposes them, then, must be against democracy. Hence, the incredulous reaction to Trump being elected.

      It must have been collusion with the Russians! It was Comey’s fault at the FBI! It was fake news! It was . . . something. It was the stupidity of the Trump voters in flyover country! The only thing it couldn’t have been was an accurate reflection of what a sizable portion of the American people wanted–because we represent what the people want. We’re democracy! And if Trump and his supporters are against us, then they’re the ones who are anti-democracy.

      1. In American parlance, the true purpose of progressives is to force people to make sacrifices for what they see as the common good, and, at the same time, they imagine that the sacrifices they’re inflicting on the unwilling are both popular and in everyone’s best interests.

        Yeah. The story the progs have been telling themselves since at least the ’70s is that they are continually dragging the center-right American masses into the morally correct position. They’re all modern-day abolitionists.

        1. Let’s face it, liberals were correct about Vietnam, the draft, civil rights (well, some libs), and gay rights. But they think that having been right on some issues makes them right on everything. They over-play their hands with forced busing, affirmative action, Title IX, etc., and can’t see that they are in the wrong by using force to restrict the rights of the people in order to assuage their collective guilt. And they ignore their biggest mistakes – Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, progressive taxes, regulations, speech limitations, global warming, fracking, etc.

          1. First the left only came to those issues late. Progressives helped start Vietnam, were bad on civil rights until it became politically attractive to be for it and the same in regards to gay rights.

            1. Absolutely right.

              No one hated honest liberals like the New Left. It wasn’t the right that started the Vietnam War or doubled down in 1968. That was Kennedy and Johnson–both reformist, pro-civil rights Democrats. When the riots happened in Chicago during the 1968 convention, that was a Democrat convention! That was a Democrat who ran Chicago–the honest liberals–beating the shit out of the anti-Vietnam War, New Left.

              The idea that the Democrats were somehow against the Vietnam War and it was the Republicans who they were fighting against gets it all wrong. The Democrats believed that democracy needed to be spread at the point of a gun, and they were willing to let drafted American kids (especially minorities) die by the tens of thousands to do it–not to mention wipe out untold numbers of Vietnamese civilians.

              The left never fully abandoned their enthusiasm for liberating the world or Detroit at the point of a gun. Republicans were so horrified by the experience in Vietnam, they formulated and, more or less, lived by the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine to try to avoid that from happening again.

              1. “Isserman (2001) reports that the New Left “came to use the word ‘liberal’ as a political epithet”.[44] Historian Richard Ellis (1998) says that the SDS’s search for their own identity “increasingly meant rejecting, even demonizing, liberalism.”[45] As Wolfe (2010) notes, “no one hated liberals more than leftists”.[46]”

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N…..ted_States

              2. Um…..

                “November 1, 1955 ? President Eisenhower deploys the Military Assistance Advisory Group to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. This marks the official beginning of American involvement in the war as recognized by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.”

                Each succeeding Administration increased our involvement, but Ike started the ball rolling. Kennedy probably made the largest strategic change, and Johnson increased the number of soldiers the most. But it was also the Dems (McCarthy, anyone) who were more seriously against the war. Nixon may have had a ‘secret plan to end the war’ but that proved to be campaign rhetoric as he expanded into Cambodia.

                Don’t get me wrong, I hate the Dems for many, many things, but some of them were definitely out front against Vietnam.

                1. Weren’t we talking about the anti-Vietnam War movement? That wasn’t about what was going on in 1955.

                  The Republicans didn’t even really begin to emerge from isolationism until Goldwater said that communism was such a threat that we had to put isolationism aside.

                  Regardless, the protest movement that some progressives may claim to have opposed wasn’t about standing against the Eisenhower.

                  1. P.S. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

                2. BigT|2.17.19 @ 5:58PM|#
                  “Um…..
                  “November 1, 1955 ? President Eisenhower deploys the Military Assistance Advisory Group to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. This marks the official beginning of American involvement in the war as recognized by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.””

                  Um….
                  You should do a bit more research:

                  “July 26, 1950 – United States military involvement in Vietnam begins as President Harry Truman authorizes $15 million in military aid to the French.
                  American military advisors will accompany the flow of U.S. tanks, planes, artillery and other supplies to Vietnam. Over the next four years, the U.S. will spend $3 Billion on the French war and by 1954 will provide 80 percent of all war supplies used by the French. ”
                  http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/
                  vietnam/index-1945.html

                  Searching “Truman Viet Nam” or some such gets thousands of hits; this is not buried information.

                  1. Sending money and sending people are different things. If sending money is considered starting an involvement then we are involved in hundreds of countries all the time.

                    The other thing the Eisenhower administration did is to prevent the Vietnamese elections in 1956:

                    “Eisenhower had inherited Harry Truman’s folly of supporting French colonialism as vital to containing communism in Vietnam. But that commitment ended in 1954, when Ho Chi Minh’s forces shattered French power at Dien Bien Phu and peacemakers in Geneva outlined their blueprint for peace: an independent, self-ruled Vietnam. The “Geneva Accords” divided the country temporarily into northern and southern zones — not separate nations — to be reunited through general elections in 1956.

                    Ike could have had a clean break from past mistakes. But he blew it. After publicly endorsing the Accords, he proceeded to trash them, swayed by reports that Ho Chi Minh — Vietnam’s popular revolutionary hero but also a communist — would easily win the 1956 elections.

                    Ike took a fatal turn, setting America on course for disaster. His administration forged the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), committing the United States to protect a South Vietnam that was not even supposed to exist. Ike boosted Ngo Dinh Diem into power, backed his refusal to hold the 1956 elections and then pumped massive aid into building a new nation around him.”

                    https://tinyurl.com/y3d6pkjb

                    1. “No one hated honest liberals like the New Left. It wasn’t the right that started the Vietnam War or doubled down in 1968. That was Kennedy and Johnson–both reformist, pro-civil rights Democrats. When the riots happened in Chicago during the 1968 convention, that was a Democrat convention! That was a Democrat who ran Chicago–the honest liberals–beating the shit out of the anti-Vietnam War, New Left.

                      The idea that the Democrats were somehow against the Vietnam War and it was the Republicans who they were fighting against gets it all wrong.”

                      —-Ken Shultz

                      I guess this is what you’re arguing against by saying that the Vietnam War was all about Eisenhower? Am I supposed to believe that Anti-Vietnam War movement that sprang up between the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 and exploded in 1968 really started in 1955 as a protest movement against Eisenhower?!

                      That’s wrong. The Anti-Vietnam War movement was not about opposition to Eisenhower.

                    2. I don’t know where you’re getting your context, although I’m seeing misinformation from some standard quarters . . .

                      “The USS Maddox, a U.S. destroyer, was conducting a DESOTO patrol in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin on August 19, 1954, when it reported being attacked by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats from the 135th Torpedo Squadron”

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G…..Resolution

                      Um . . .no. The first incident in the Gulf of Tonkin incident did not happen on August 19, 1954. The USS Maddox was supposedly fired on by three torpedo boats on August 2, 1964.

                      If we went to war with Iran tomorrow, it would be incorrect to state that the Iran War started in 1953, when the CIA helped orchestrate the overthrow of the Iranian government. And if an anti-Iranian War movement developed when we went to war with Iran tomorrow, the chances that it would center on criticism of Eisenhower rather than Trump are ridiculous.

                    3. Johnson was the focal point of the anti-Vietnam War movement we’re talking about, from 1964 to 1969, and the anti-Vietnam War movement hated the Democrats who were running the war. If you don’t understand this, go read up on the Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRC1WYa7-7k

                      Giving the Democrats credit for being right about the Vietnam War–and claiming that as their righteous justification–is bizarre given the fact that it was the Democrats who initiated and expanded the Vietnam War–all of it over the objections the anti-Vietnam War protest movement. This is like blaming Carter for the invasion of Iraq and crediting the Republicans for opposing it. That isn’t what happened.

                    4. The anti-Vietnam war movement, at least to the extent the New Left was concerned, was opposition to fighting against Communists.
                      The New Left was out-and-out Marxism.
                      They were protesting waging war against their fellow travelers.

                3. The secret plan to end the war was to try to win it

          2. I think there’s something to the suggestion that the progressives base their righteousness on the success of the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement.

            They aren’t looking for much justification beyond that.

            It’s much like abolitionism being used to justify the horrors of British colonialism in Africa. All of those horrors were justified under the pretense that they were stamping out the slave trade at its source.

            Apocalypse Now is one of the greatest films in American history for that reason–adapting “Heart of Darkness” to make Vietnam about the same kind of righteous justification making people use “unsound methods”. That was the moral of the story in abolitionism. I guess it’s politically correct to justify killing hundreds of thousands of your fellow Americans and burn the South to the ground with the justification of abolitionism. We can see the horrors of British Imperialism in Africa more clearly. We went to Vietnam and Iraq with the same kind of justification. The horror!

            1. That’s a good way to put it – their righteousness traces to civil rights, the anti-war movement, women’s rights, and gay rights. But their smug self-righteousness is what is driving them down the wrong road for the past 30 years.

      2. Shorter: the true purpose of progressives is to force people

        You can never read 1984 Part 3, Chapter 3 enough. O’Brien explains the Modern Left.
        http://www.george-orwell.org/1984/19.html

        Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?

        But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

      3. ” the American people want to be forced to sacrifice their standard of living to fight climate change ”

        It will be interesting how they expect to enforce their will on the rest of the world. Somehow, I doubt people in the rest of the world would be too thrilled to be relegated to permanent poverty by the Western Left to fight global warming.

  20. More bad economic news.

    U.S. Student Debt in ‘Serious Delinquency’ Tops $166 Billion

    The Obama economy was the best this country has ever had. But, as Paul Krugman predicted, Drumpf ruined it. Now young people who worked so hard for their valuable degrees find themselves unemployed or under-employed. (Except when they’re working two jobs just to survive.)

    #DrumpfRecession
    #UnbanPalinsButtplug

    1. We should greatly expand the number of seats in Congress so that all those unemployed students could run for office. Each state should have 200 to 300 senators apiece and the Supreme Court should have 5001 justices. And we need to amend the constitution ro make anyone older than 22 ineligible to run.

    2. The supply of Social Justice Internal Police exceeds current demand.

      The Dems will fix that up next time they get into the White House.

    3. (Except when they’re working two jobs just to survive.)

      That’s called “hyper-employed”.

  21. Finally some good news.

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg Expected to Return to Supreme Court Bench Tuesday

    I told you she was fine. Speculation to the contrary was always based on sexism; the patriarchy hates strong women and looks for ways to tear them down. We witnessed the same thing when the media obsessed over Hillary Clinton’s minor fainting incident.

    #LibertariansForRBG
    #StillWithHer

    1. What’s the over/under on the top of her head finally being lower than her shoulders?

      1. Above her shoulders is the over, and lower than her shoulders is the under…

    2. Her son Norman said she was resting comfortably in the fruit cellar.

    3. If she actually manages to stay alive until 2020 and Trump is not somehow re-elected, her crowning achievement to half the country will be her death.

      1. The biggest question isn’t her physical health, which apparently is pretty good for her age, but her neurological health, give the way she was regularly spotted dozing off even before this.

        Ironic that the news is full of talk about attempts to 25th amendment Trump back in 2017, when the real problem is that we don’t have an equivalent of the 25th amendment for the judiciary, and really need it.

        1. “Ironic that the news is full of talk about attempts to 25th amendment Trump back in 2017,…”

          And pathetic.
          That was an attempted coup cloaked in whatever fig-leaf they could find. Every one of them should be in the slammer.

        2. She’ll stay on the SCOTUS as long as she can breathe at least until 2021. She’ll just vote the way she’s told to or maybe abstain from everything.

  22. It’s extremely simple: as long as different people contribute different amounts to the common pot, but have the same voting power, this type of democracy cannot last as people are being pitted against each other. Social cohesion can temper that temporarily, but the system cannot last for the long term. In post Cold War USA, that social cohesion and common sense of purpose is falling apart, so short of a new major war, the system is likely to degenerate and implode within a few generations.

    1. When half the people suffer no negative effects of their votes, what do you expect?

  23. The author’s thesis appears to be that the advantage of democracy is the public can throw the bums out, but the biggest threat is they actually might do it.

    1. Hence Progressivism – the rule of a permanent apparatchik class.

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  26. A far more satisfying, and far more accurate, description of democracy is ‘two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner.
    There are infinite situations that neither call for nor would be amenable to democracy.
    Churchill’s rallying cry only applies (if at all) within constraints on what matters are and what matters are not suitable for democratic decision making. That has been entirely elided from the discussion, thanks in no small part to Churchill’s trite little sound bite.
    As noted above, what matters is freedom. Can I say no to a democratically decided outcome?

    1. One supposes it depends on how much of a “Gentleman’s Club” you belong to.

    2. The author ignores the Bill of Rights as the counterbalance to democracy, and the ultimate purpose of government – to protect the rights of the individual.

      1. The mistake is to take democracy as a system. As part of a system, such as established by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, it may have merits.
        But taken as ‘the system’ it cannot provide freedom, nor sustain it.
        Spooner is worth reading in this regard.

        1. ^+1 (or more)
          A lynch mob is democracy in action!

  27. I stopped at FDR, ”noble exemplar.”
    Why is this writer being published in a libertarian magazine?

    1. The man did know how to rock a cigarette holder.

      1. Liar. Smokers are worse than nazis. What you meant to say is he did know how to rock a wheel chair which was forbidden to say at the time.

    2. I stopped 3/4 in. I couldn’t take it.

      She’s probably cool with FDR and Mackenzie King in Canada rounding up Japanese, Italians, Germans and Ukrainians during the war. How about the racism of the Democrat party throughout the 20th century? Woodrow Wilson?

      Does she actually believe Bush/Obama were “good” for democracy?

      I read a lot of word salad spin about the ‘death of democracy’ in the last three years and have yet to read one that impresses me.

    3. “I stopped at FDR, ”noble exemplar.””

      Words too big for ya huh?

      1. Nice to be able to stop by on the H&R comment section for the first time in years, simply to say,
        “Fuck off, Tulpa!”

        1. Welcome back!

        2. Nice to be able to stop by on the H&R comment section for the first time in years

          And nothing of value was lost.

          1. OMG! Look who’s back!

          2. Are you a lawyer yet, or are you still an amateur thief?

    4. What libertarian magazine are you referring to?

    5. Why is this writer being published in a libertarian magazine?

      Tenure?

      Lomasky’s Reason contributions date back to 1981.

    6. That is an interesting way to spell upper class dilettante.

  28. I didn’t RTFA, but I like Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s view: The advantage of democracies is that they have very large “selectorates” (as compared to those of non-democracies), and therefore power-seekers need to build correspondingly large coalitions, which in turn causes power-seekers to come up with schemes that spread goodies more broadly than among, say, the ruler’s family and a bunch of generals.

  29. This article has it all. Cherry picking, smugness, and arrogance.

    First off, there’s nothing “whimsical” about Italy or Italian politics. What Salvini is doing is well within the law and has backing of the people. She likes the word so much she used it twice. Pompous choice of words.

    Know what? Absent in Italy is the insane PC crack down on citizens like we see in the UK. They arrest people for fricken Twitter comments!

    Know what else? It was the EU that tried to over turn a LEGAL election result all because people like this author didn’t like the outcome. Know where else they tried this ‘democratic’ bull? In the UK with Brexit. Know where else? With the attempted soft coup of Trump through the Mueller investigation. Not a single word about that. But it’s the people who voted the problem?

    Is this woman for real?

    She wants to preserve what exactly? The progressive left has controlled Western governance for over 100 years. Now that people had enough they don’t like it. Boo-hoo-hoo.

    I see totalitarians alright and it ain’t the ‘whimsical’ Salvini.

    Or the emergence of Bernier in Canada who I may very well vote for.

    It’s….well, go look in the mirror.

    1. Re Bernier. He’s not a racist or populist or against immigrants or ‘democracy’ or anything. But the media spin is already painting him as basically ‘alt-right’. They’re gonna smear him with unsubstantiated bull shit.

      People like this professor need to stop listening to the voices in their heads and FOR ONCE astutely observe what’s going on.

      I speak three languages, own a business, far too well-read for my own good (which is why I spot bull shit in a second flat), hold liberal views on certain subjects and conservative ones on others. I was a swing voter in Canada but now find myself firmly outside the liberal camp (the side that screams populists are killing muh democracy!) because they’re, well, Ms. Lomasky, are a bunch of illiberal lunatics. I don’t agree with the identity politics, I don’t agree with the fear-mongering gibberish on climate change and I sure as hell don’t agree with infanticide.

      Maybe we’re a little more principled than you care to admit or think.

      Really get pissed over here. Somebody hand me a water bottle!

      1. Don’t hold back, dude, tell us how you really feel !!

        1. So, if Bernier loses, whoever that is, it’s because of lefty smear tactics and smug, arrogant, people who cherry pick which details about him to report such as the one that wrote this article? Man, that really sucks. If I could, I’d hand you a bottle, but it’d be stronger sauce than water. Might be time to get the boys ready, eh?

        2. Hold me back!

      2. You nailed it Rufus. This might be the most offensively stupid thing reason has ever published

        1. It’s about time you show up.

    2. Loren is an old dude with a great big bushy beard.

      I can never tell if this sort of complaining in the commentariat is due to piss poor reading comprehension, or purposeful misreading so that one can start ranting about the things they want to rant about.

      1. My money’s on reading comprehension.

      2. Whatever. It’s irrelevant.

        I took it as Lauren spelled differently.

        But now that I think of it, I knew a Loren back in college.

      3. It’s not purposeful misreading. It’s purposeful nonreading.

        I just read the headline and then head straight for the comments.

  30. Mr. Lomasky has been good overall, but he worships & reviles all the wrong people. Hard for me to fathom how he can be so generally good, yet write stuff that can be made fun of as “globaloney”, “cackservative”, & “cackliberal”.

  31. And perhaps some heroism is to be seen, after all, in the pattern of democracies in times of crisis bringing to the fore noble exemplars, such as Washington in the 18th century, Lincoln in the 19th, Franklin Roosevelt in the 20th?yes, and Winston Churchill up from the wilderness just in time to save Britain.

    The fact that this guy thinks FDR is a hero tells me all I need to know.

    FDR was not a hero. He was a Socialist tyrant who set in place many of the horrible budget schemes that we still have after 86 years.

    The Nazis were National Socialists who harmed their nations and FDR was a Socialist who hurt the USA.

    As to Churchill, he multiple failures under his belt because he was an unimaginative Crown stooge. Neville Chamberlain was a disaster with selling out Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland to Hitler. Then he was not a good military leader to engage the Germans in Norway or Western Europe.

    Churchill was lucky that he some capable admirals to save his ass and the USA to ultimately save England. The English people were so grateful that they kicked him out of power in less than a year after WWII ended.

    England moved toward Garbage Island that it has become.

    1. “…Churchill was lucky that he some capable admirals to save his ass and the USA to ultimately save England. The English people were so grateful that they kicked him out of power in less than a year after WWII ended.
      England moved toward Garbage Island that it has become.”

      In a recent book, the (Brit) author’s father visits Germany in the early ’50s, and has dinner at a place where he has a nice cut of steak, still rationed in England. ‘Natch, he blames the US for ‘remaking’ Germany and not helping the Brits.
      First, the US did not ‘remake’ Germany, and in fact, the Brits got far more US aid:
      (in millions)
      United Kingdom 3,189.8
      France 2,713.6
      Italy 1,508.8
      Germany (West) 1,390.6
      (there’s more)
      https://www.marshallfoundation.org/library
      /wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2014/05/
      Marshall_Plan_1947-1997_A_German_View.pdf

      The problem is the Brits simply voted themselves into poverty when the elected Labor and got the free shit which always costs more than if you buy it.

  32. ” In American history, the 1948 defeat of Dewey by Truman has become a classic, in no small measure because of the Chicago Tribune’s embarrassingly premature headline choice (“Dewey Defeats Truman”). Churchill’s own defeat three years earlier was of a similar order. One established party more or less surprisingly supplants another, and business goes on. ”

    So after 16 years of Democratic administration the election of a Democrat is “one party supplanting another.”

    Just one of many logic failures. This article is really a sad commentary on the state of academics these days.

  33. There is more than one way to vote in our constitutional Republic. Many understand Jury Nullification is a vote to deny powers to enforce unjust laws.
    Unfortunately, few understand that for 70 % of the population, withholding monetary support is also a legal means of voting against big government. American workers understood this until after World War II, when the State deliberately suppressed their vote. Up until WWII, only 9% of workers filed tax returns. That 9% roughly corresponds to the number of federal workers and others whose “incomes” were federally connected Then universal withholding (without actually changing the law to make it universal) was instituted and enforced without legal justification. Societal pressure and public show trials were enough to subvert the rule of law.
    Then in 2003 a libertarian named Pete Hendrickson demonstrated that universal withholding can be defeated by filing educated returns. After 15 years of remarkable success, the libertarian/conservative establishment refuses to recognize his accomplishment. Hundreds of thousands of complete refunds of federal and state withholdings, including payroll taxes, have been processed. Usually quickly, sometimes after an argument, but still processed. Pete could use a little help, guys. See http://www.losthorizons.com

    1. “…Then in 2003 a libertarian named Pete Hendrickson demonstrated that universal withholding can be defeated by filing educated returns.
      […]
      Pete could use a little help, guys.”

      So could anyone stupid enough to follow his lead.

  34. One quote attributed to the ruthless Ghengis Khan.

    “Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard.”

    Dictators and monarchs still need to maintain power and cannot do it alone. Modern day autocrats like Putin and Erdogon have sham elections, judges and parliaments. They still can claim support from the people. We saw what happened in Egypt and Gaza where elections led to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Let alone Venezuela. So elections are not in a broad sense what we think of as an ideal.

    There may be no ideal solution which is where libertarians come into it. Government will always be flawed and strive for more power and control. Therefore it is the responsibility of the rest of us to limit the powers invested in the government.

    Libertarians have a sound philosophy although little voting power. There are gaps in it. Yet the politicians need to deal with it because they hold the reigns of power and what it can be. They know that even if it is Samizdata it cuts to the core.

    Always focus on the individual.

  35. Problem with democracy #1: Elections
    Although by definition we must have elections in a democracy, their very existence guarantees distortions that can deny any higher goals, especially in a representative government. Given human nature, we are much more likely to get officials (and direct plebiscite decisions) that are good at getting elected, but not necessarily good at governing. And if modern science and technology have had any effect, they have industrialized the election process. Voters are now much more intrigued by the campaign show than they are by actual government decision making. If anything, that decision making now looks more histrionic–just like our campaigns.

    What to do? Longer but single terms could help discourage the constant campaigning, and distorted focus, of our current reps.

    1. Longer but single terms

      I’ve thought the same thing myself. It’s not like politicians don’t already server a long time. A single long term with elections staggered like the Senate has now.

  36. Stopped reading after the author used Brexit as an example of democracy in decline. So the people choose not to be members of an authoritarian collective and that’s proof that democracy is in danger?

  37. Stopped reading after the author used Brexit as an example of democracy in decline. So the people choose not to be members of an authoritarian collective and that’s proof that democracy is in danger?

  38. Stopped reading after the author used Brexit as an example of democracy in decline. So the people choose not to be members of an authoritarian collective and that’s proof that democracy is in danger?

  39. Stopped reading after the author used Brexit as an example of democracy in decline. So the people choose not to be members of an authoritarian collective and that’s proof that democracy is in danger?

    1. Yeah, I can understand being a little freaked out about Trump and democracy, but you’re not going to see a purer expression of democracy than Britain doubling down on being a sovereign democracy vs becoming a province of Brussels.

    2. The idea of brexit is not wrong.

      The process is turning out more difficult than the voters thought. Each one has differing competing interests in the outcome. So majority rules then you get down to the details and there is no majority.

      The critique is that there is no way for a voter or anyone to know all that may occur so a referendum is as much use as a spot news poll.

      So a vote may turn out for better or worse. That is what I get from the article.

      The biggest gap in consequentialism is who gets to decide.

    3. Brexit IS an example of democracy in decline. Not the vote for it, but the subsequent heel dragging.

      1. That’s my take.

        The arrogance of not accepting a result is far more threatening than people voting for populists.

        Of course, I wonder if these articles would come out if Sanders were elected. In Sweden, they’re pushing pensioners if they dare criticize Islam.

        But let’s worry about ‘deplorables’. I for one welcome the decimation of left-wing parties in Europe.

    4. John Oliver just DESTROYED Brexit. It has to be bad

      1. I’ve noticed a trend among editorialists, most sadly, for me, with the sportswriter Bill Simmons.

        The character arcs of John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver are almost identical.
        They begin as comedians making humorous observations about pop culture, then media and politics. At first, they simply point out humor and stupidity, without much regard to the source. Here, they remain limited to observation and mockery. But as they become successful, and gain popularity, they begin recognizing that they are influential. Once they’ve recognized their influence, they believe they’re important. Then begins the transition toward wielding that importance as, to borrow an Instagram phrase, influencers. The jokes become less observational, which requires a somewhat unbiased perspective, and more advocacy. And as their content becomes more advocacy, their jokes become less funny – until eventually they’re left as nothing more than surrogates with a particular style of propaganda rather than humor.
        Sad clowns, they become.

  40. Problem with democracy #2: Money.
    Not money in politics, but politics in money. A potential fatal flaw of democracy, recognized for centuries, is the temptation for people to vote themselves material benefits. Of course, there might be some noble people who would claim to resist this temptation, but then busy themselves voting material benefits for others. Once democracy intrudes too far into commerce and finance, that society is likely to lose both. Of course, fans of such intrusion seem ignorant that people get to vote just as much if not more often via their monetary decisions as they do with ballots.

    What to do? Anything and everything that keeps these realms separate. Or let people vote on policy and spending separately. In Colorado last fall, voters overwhelmingly selected Democrats for state and local offices. But those same voters also overwhelmingly rejected spending proposals.

    1. “Problem with democracy #2: Money.
      Not money in politics, but politics in money. ”

      That’s catchy. I like that.

  41. A final thought, that at least some people here already appreciate: what matters is not only the type of government, but also the amount of government. Being ruled by an eccentric but distant dictator may be preferable to an eager local council, even if the share your basic values.

  42. So… basically the internet has allowed the unwashed masses to self-organize and discard the self-serving lectures of the upperclass, gatekeepers, and technocrats. I can’t think of a healthier place for democracy to be.

    1. Pretty much

    2. They no longer have a captive medium.

      Which is why they go after social media and force them to brand anyone they disagree with as ‘alt-right’.

      It’s not that hard to see.

  43. Democracy is fine up to the point where we vote on whose business we’re going to be sticking our noses into and how far we’re going to be sticking it. You can democratically elect socialists or communists or fascists but then there’s the end of your democracy.

  44. I know this is a popular idea hereabouts, that votes don’t matter, but doesn’t that mean at least some moderation has to be present? In reasonable numbers? If not, seems to me that the crazies get more say.

    Not great, but better than the alternative. And classical liberalism and free markets are the way to go. Isn’t what most of us agree?

    1. I personally believe that the 2016 election provided the best evidence of the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in establishing the electoral college.

      Given that it took the huge majority that HRC received in CA to bring her vote totals to a plurality I can only say that no matter how much I dislike Donald Trump, the Idea that the states of the USA should become a dependency of California is utterly distasteful to me.

      My opinion of the result in ’16 is “the bad news is that Trump won the election, the good news is that Hillary Clinton lost”.

  45. This McCabe book tour is quite illuminating on what the Deep State thought about the electorate making a mistake. I am hoping that tonight he goes on to explain how the cabal decided to launch the Russia Investigation.

    1. Just keep that vermin talking for everyone to hear him.

    2. Underwhelming “interview”.

  46. My Churchillian inclinations have, however, recently taken a buffeting. In 2016, the electorate of Churchill’s own country defied pollsters and enlightened opinion to endorse withdrawal from the European Union. In the same year, the Philippines brought to the presidency Rodrigo Duterte, a strongman who, to the general approval of the citizenry, has superintended the slaughter of thousands of individuals alleged to have some connection to traffic in drugs.

    The Philippines are a separate nation, because residents there withdrew from the United States of America. Why shouldn’t the UK withdraw from the European Union?

  47. ” And then there was a certain U.S. 2016 election.”
    i.e.,
    “Orange Hitler Bad!”

    It’s telling that Maduro and Venezuela go unmentioned in the litany of democracies gone to totalitarianism.

    Instead, but for Turkey, it’s only people who challenge the Rule of the Apparatchiks.

    Reason is Deep State Globalism.

  48. The various forms of government only exist and have different results in an environment of corruption.

    Eliminate corruption and every rational person will come to the same conclusion, truth.

    Lies are a prerequisite for corruption.

    Empower everyone with the human right to record our memories wherever we are and corruption will be eradicated.

    Then it won’t matter what fucking form of governance we have.

    1. “…Empower everyone with the human right to record our memories wherever we are and corruption will be eradicated.
      Then it won’t matter what fucking form of governance we have.”

      Whatever you’ve taken, I don’t want any of it.

      1. Yes, accepting the truth as demonstrated by the evidence of logic and science can be a tough pill to swallow, especially for someone like you.

        Unfortunately accepting truth can’t be forced down an idiots throat.

        1. Rob Misek|2.18.19 @ 6:20AM|#
          “Yes, accepting the truth as demonstrated by the evidence of logic and science can be a tough pill to swallow, especially for someone like you.”

          When you ever do what you claim, let me know. Until then, you’re one more bigoted ignoramus with delusions.
          Fuck off, asshole, or the JOOZE will get you.

          1. Please don’t get him started on the jews…

  49. 11 year old arrested for not saying the pledge

    An 11-year-old Lawton Chiles Middle Academy student was arrested Feb. 4 and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence following a confrontation with school officials and a law enforcement officer.
    The incident happened after his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and his refusal to stand after ordered by the substitute teacher.

    1. Cops suck

    2. Why are we calling the police on these children? Wtf

    3. This is super appropriate. Lawton Chiles Middle Academy is named for the late Florida governor Lawton Chiles.

      The Lawton Chiles administration was marked by extraordinary self righteousness, so much so that the press claimed the number of children that parents dragged out to pro-spending on teachers demonstrations as evidence that Lawton Chiles “loved children”.

      If their is anything that characterizes today’s helicopter parents it is their proving their love by getting the police involved.

      1. Incidentally, Lawton Chiles was also one of the last Democratic politicians that didn’t hate working-class white people.

  50. Almost every act of the Trump Presidency has demonstrated that Trump is the same “business socialist” (aka “pro-business Democrat”, also Rockefeller Republican) that he has been ever since the 1970s when he first began to promote himself. Now he dons the cloak of nationalism with his anti-immigrant and anti-free trade talk.

    I’m stuck here; I’m trying to come up with something to describe someone who is a “Nationalist” and a “Socialist”…Help me out here people!

    What would you call someone who is a Nationalist aand a Socialist?

    1. Bernie Sanders

      1. Actually, I’m pretty sure the Bern thinks of himself as an Internationalist, though not a Globalist.

        1. He spouted protectionist policies when he was running.

          1. Yes, but his protectionist policies were different.

            Geez, goddammit, how many times do I have to tell you?

            Left wing Democrat wants “fair” labor practices for American workers. Good; altruistically trying to improve the lot of downtrodden masses.

            Trump Republican wants “fair” labor practices for American workers. Bad; just using ‘workers” for cheap pandering purposes.

            See the difference? Geez, how dumb do you have to be to not see the difference?

    2. Why do people keep conflating anti illegal immigration for anti-immigration?

      He’s made that distinction repeatedly and yet….They did the same thing to Bush. He specifically said he harboured no ill-will to Muslims but radial Islam but people still claimed he was racist against all Muslims.

      Now those same people love him because Orange Man Bad.

      1. radical

      2. “Radial Islam” as opposed to circumferential or tangential Islam

      3. Why do people keep conflating anti illegal immigration for anti-immigration?

        Is this a multiple choice question?

        A. Dishonesty
        B. Stupidity
        C. Both

  51. Um…the nazzi regime in Germany advocated what hitler called national socialism. This was called fascism.

    1. Actually, no. It was called Nazism. Hitler rejected the fascism label because he thought Mussolini was a pussy, which was why he treated him as his bitch

      Mussolini rejected Socialism because he thought socialists were pussies.

      Is the lesson here that no matter how badass you think you are there is someone out there who thinks you’re a pussy.

      Except maybe for the Japs and the Israelis. 🙂

      1. The closest thing we have to either or those is a crony capitalism which some may call corporatism. That’s been going on since our founding and Trump is no exception nor anything special in that regard. Corporatism is not socialism but slightly resembles facism.

        1. “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini.

          1. And Mussolini was a socialist as was his father.

            1. Through and through

    2. “Um…the nazzi regime in Germany advocated what hitler called national socialism. This was called fascism.”

      Well, as you mentioned, it was also called “socialism” and among others, a very good book titled “Wages of Destruction” (Adam Tooze) makes for good reading, especially if read in tandem with “The Russian Revolution (Richard Pipes).
      Comparing elapsed times, the ‘socialization’ of the means of production were only slightly more accelerated in the USSR than it was in Germany 20 years later. Hitler wasn’t stupid enough to try to collectivize ag, but the entire ag economic segment was under total government control. Any concepts of individual freedoms are largely notional.
      In short (as I think Tooze makes clear Nazism was “National” socialism; the USSR attempted to be the progenitor of “International”” socialism.
      If you prefer to use the term “left” to indicate those who are more than willing to use the power and coercion of the state to enforce *their* view, both were indeed “left”.
      If you have another definition, let’s hear it.

      1. So, how long before Trump delivers the “socialism”? He’s already working on the nationalism part.

        So, the wall, Nationalism and Socialism combined: done

        Family leave at the federal level, Socialism with a strong hint of Nationalism (get those mothers reproducing): such a dumb idea that even the Democrats won’t go for it.

        See, here’s the problem, the only countries in the world that have “successful” welfare states are countries that have homogeneous populations or have been organized so as to decentralize the administration of the welfare state.

        1. Add to that Trumps reluctance to even touch the third (and fourth?) rail(s), Social Security and Medicare.

          Not surprising, given his dependence on geezers and Tea Partiers (“keep you hands of my Medicare).

          1. Who is going to touch those rails?

            1. Exactly!

          2. “Not surprising, given his dependence on geezers and Tea Partiers (“keep you hands of my Medicare).”

            Yeah, that’s been Trump’s stump speech, well for, uh, never.
            Seek help: TDS can be fatal (and I often hope it is).

        2. Kreel Sarloo|2.17.19 @ 10:41PM|#
          “So, how long before Trump delivers the “socialism”? He’s already working on the nationalism part.”

          Along about the time you form a coherent thought; a LOOONG time.

          1. Geez, wowee, you sure told me dindya?

            1. IOW, wasn’t your response so full of sound rational arguments?

              1. Every bit as “rational” as:
                “So, how long before Trump delivers the “socialism”? He’s already working on the nationalism part.”
                Seek help; you need it.

      2. Fascist – The Socialization (Uniformity) of race/religion
        Socialist – The Socialization (Uniformity) of wealth/economy

        Both require authoritarian FORCE to disconnect personal action from its natural reward/consequences.

        And is why the U.S. Constitution was deemed the SUPREME Authoritarian (Not a person) guaranteeing inalienable rights. When society dismisses the Constitution; there is 0-Path to Individual Freedom.

        1. … and 0-Path to Human Justice since “Socialized Uniformity” thwarts Individual Justice.

    1. “Philosophers.” Of course.

  52. 51% will always fond ways to spend the money of the 49%. The US is different in that the constitution supposedly protects us against 51% voting to take away the rights of the 49%.

    But only if we follow the constitution which has no concept of social justice. Which is as is should be because social justice is a disguise for tyranny.

    1. What is it that you’re afraid of, society, Justice or the combination of the two?

      1. “Social justice” is merely pandering to group interests. It’s pure identity politics. Just remember that you do not matter if you do not belong to an approved tribe. You personal situation is irrelevant. I’m sure that’s why you bend over for it, but in the end it won’t matter. You’ll just be eaten a little later.

        1. Some examples of social justice warriors:

          -crusaders
          -nazis
          -KKK
          -al Qaeda

          1. In fact, social justice warriors are integral to totalitarian systems.
            There is no more effective weapon for attaining and maintaining power than the combination of severe discipline, moral righteousness, and ruthless violence – all molded into a body of men devoted to their particular ethos.

  53. Democracy is not in decline. It is under siege by left wing ideologues who refuse to accept that Clinton lost in 2016 and have been battling to pin any kind of crime on him for the last 3 years in an anti democratic attempt to declare him illegitimate and remove him fro office.
    When you have people in the FBI who plan to evoke the 25th without even having met or talked directly to Trump, then you know that this is an attempted coup.
    Rosenstein and McCabe should be executed for treason.

    1. That’s not entirely fair, while the media has been biased, Trump fires anyone he can including the FBI who try to talk reason with him.

      It’s hard to believe, but that’s what his supporters like about him. Is that democracy in action? So much for democracy.

      1. Holding the FBI accountable to the voters? The horror.

        1. It doesn’t take much of Misek’s comment before it’s obvious you’re dealing with a Hihn-level ignoramus.

          1. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I never respond to your posts except when you try to foul one of mine. You are a foul smell.

            Fuck off.

            How do I scrape dog shit like you off my shoe?

        2. You’ll be the first to whine when the shoe’s on the other foot.

          Karma’s a bitch.

      2. Are you for real?

        1. You can discern that for yourself if you’re capable.

          Hint, the best reality we’re capable of perceiving is demonstrated with the thorough application of logic and science.

          1. /looks at comments made earlier.

            Lol.

  54. You say: “the beggar-thy-neighbor impulse takes precedence even over one’s own bottom line.”

    This is the very definition of ENVY: the desire to inflict pain on others with no gain, or actual injury, to oneself. And this is the endpoint of democracy.

  55. Mr. Lomasky,
    Like every other jejune thinker, you presume a false dichotomy: democracy or tyranny.
    The option that will save this former republic seems never to have entered your skull:
    SORTITION
    Let me enlighten you: http://www.chineseimperium.com…..tition.pdf

  56. One of the things about Brexit was that it was less than looking for economic advantage than it was reclaiming sovereignty from a largely unaccountable bureaucratic superstate.

    Please don’t tout the rule of experts to people who largely agree with Hayek on economic philosophy. A healthy scepticism about the capability and motivations of self touting experts and credentialed intellectuals is baked into the cake.

  57. Democracy is not in decline. It is under siege by left wing ideologues who refuse to accept that Clinton lost in 2016 and have been battling to pin any kind of crime on Trump for the last 3 years in an anti democratic attempt to declare him illegitimate and remove him from office.
    When you have people in the FBI who plan to evoke the 25th without even having met or talked directly to Trump, then you know that this is an attempted coup.
    Rosenstein and McCabe should be executed for treason.

  58. The author identifies as a Churchillian democrat because the famous backhanded compliment sounds about right.

    Of course, the author’s (and Churchill’s) definition of “democracy” is different from that held by Madison, Hamilton, et al, who shuddered at the prospect of democracy, and rejected it outright because “such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” They opted instead for “A republic, … a government in which the scheme of representation takes place. … The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.”

    That almost everybody in the US confuses the Constitutional republic with democracy not only represents a radical departure from the political thinking of the Madison, Hamilton, et al, but also a tragic failure in education (or brilliant success depending upon point of view.)

    1. The confusion of the Constitutional republic with democracy muddles political thinking. As a result, sore losers whine about the electoral college, disproportional representation in the Senate, the power of the courts, requirements for super-majorities to effect amendments to the Constitution, etc. as being contrary to democracy. Indoctrinated to believe that democracy is a good end, in and of itself, they correctly identify characteristics of the Constitutional republic that were explicitly designed to thwart democratic excesses. Holding democracy as an ideal type of government, they argue that such characteristics are defects. The losers, advocating a more ideal democracy, “erroneously suppose that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

      Churchill had a very broad definition of “democracy” that even allowed for a hereditary monarch.

      With that definition, the accuracy of Churchill’s quip is precisely why I am an anarchist.

  59. “Why do individuals bother to vote? Why do they direct so much of their consciousness to political matters?”

    For the same reason other people watch competitive sports, especially professional sports, and most especially professional wrestling.

    Sports fans just love sports even though they lack the talent to play at the competitive level. They read the sports section and websites religiously; they can know every player’s resume’, team statistics, strengths and weaknesses, history of the sport, etc., etc. Why the interest since they are never going to play or coach at the competitive level? It’s mostly because they are amused by sports. Their opinions on the sport are well-informed but imperfect.

    Other people are not so enthusiastic about sports. They may know how their local teams are doing and maybe get more interested during the playoffs. They don’t find sports to be as amusing as sports fans, but many will watch their team in the playoffs and watch the Super Bowl.

    Some people have a sports fan’s interest in politics. Others not so much: they only bother to find out who is playing in the Super Bowl of politics. The non-fan of politics has some ill-informed opinion that determines his vote: like the sports fan he may have the same team loyalties that his father had, or maybe she like how handsome the quarterback is, or maybe he likes the public demeanor of the coach, or maybe he wants to root for the team most likely to win.

    1. The fact that elections are actually decided by non-fans of politics really makes them more like professional wrestling.

      1. Why does John Adams get little love?

        And Calvin Coolidge.

  60. Argh. Obviously a bright chap, who has a lot of the small bits right… But somehow shows he completely misses most of the major points. They just fly right over his head. He assumes, without reason, that many of his arbitrary positions are objectively better for some reason… Pretty typical of smug progs, globalists, elitists, and dogmatic libertarians nowadays. There is sooo much I could complain about in this piece.

    He bags on nations taking on strong policies he thinks are harsh, democratically… Why? Is there something inherently wrong with having strong opinions? Basically all those eastern European states are simply not shy about speaking their minds about a lot of issues that don’t jive with modern sissy PC narratives… Nobody is advocating for genocide or anything, so why are they inherently evil, especially since they clearly represent the majority of the country on those things.

    Why is the EU inherently good? The USA fought a war to come into existence because we were being ruled by unelected people in a far away land… Which is EXACTLY what the EU is. Why should nations NOT be able to set their own policies? What is so great about a Frenchman or a Pole or a German being able to force an Italian or a Greek or a Britain to do something that most of the country is against? That’s not very democratic, now is it? Their values differ on many things, and they should be free to differ, not forced to comply with the lowest common denominator value.

    1. The EU is rotten to the core. Not just as a matter of principle, but as a matter of practice. Everything it does is basically bullshit. If people deserve anything it is the right to self determination. The UK was smart to get out, even if their economy suffers slightly in the short term, they can make it up with better policies than they’ll ever get out of the EU in the long term if they so choose. British FREEDOM to choose their own path is worth more than ANY amount of money though.

      Why is mass immigration inherently good? Is there something moral about a country being forced to destroy itself via mass immigration? Because that IS the outcome with current trends for ALL of Europe in just a few decades. And the US, Canada, and Australia too. Basically every white country, because no other group on earth has been insane enough to allow enough immigration to supplant their native peoples with immigrants.

      Why is it not moral for France to decide to remain French? Or the UK? DNA studies have shown that the majority of the DNA in modern Brits can be traced back directly more than 10,000 years in Britain. Why should they hand over their land to foreigners? Historically people have fought and died to hold onto what was theirs, not handed it over to ingrates on a silver platter. And if they want to do that, shouldn’t they be able to choose exactly WHO they want to let in, vs all or nothing?

    2. In virtually EVERY country in the western world polls show the majority of the population is AGAINST increased immigration, because they can see their culture being destroyed before their very eyes… Yet the political class REFUSES to do something as simple as alter immigration to a level where the NATIVES won’t be outnumbered by immigrants within a generation or two. It’s NUTS. You can babble all you want about the US being a nation of immigrants, the way it is spun is mostly BS, but I’ll concede it for now. But that argument has NO sway in GERMANY. Germany has been inhabited by the same peoples for several thousand years as per genetic studies. So why should thousands of years of habitation be ignored and swept away, against the will of most of the people, just because some shitty virtue signaling utopian politicians demand it?

      Why do you speak of industrialized countries giving charity to poor countries as a good thing? It is more likely we’ve actually hobbled them finding proper equilibrium in their economies with these handouts. They have mostly built up systems where they cannot even support themselves without foreign aid now. This kind of welfare never ends well.

    3. Finally, voting… Republic, good. Constitution, good. Democracy… Only if it’s done right.

      The founders all rightly hated democracy, hence only put in a little bit of it, and with a LOT of caveats. They limited who could vote to white male land owners. What this REALLY meant in their time was men who were more educated than most, and were the ones paying most of the taxes.

      This was a FEATURE not a BUG. Universal suffrage is a large part of, if not most of, the reason why modern democracies have failed. The truth is the unwashed masses are NOT deserving of the vote. Deny it all you want, but it’s true. They simply aren’t smart or educated enough to know shit from shinola, and why should morons like that have an equal say to intelligent people who actually know things about history, civics, economics, etc.

      The opinions of the uneducated should be CONSIDERED, but they should be able to vote. It was expected that the voting classes would consider the good of those people in their voting, and for the most part they did, knowing that if they didn’t they could always have a riot on their hands. It worked FINE in the USA.

      Now I don’t mean to say it should be 2% voting, or even 10%. But probably something from the middle-middle class on up, so perhaps half-ish, give or take. Imagine the difference in the discourse if 85 IQ janitors votes weren’t trying to be appealed to.

    4. The level of the conversation would almost certainly be higher. It wouldn’t be purely high brow mind you, but it would be better.

      As for the other bit of the founders rules, being men… Personally I’m also of the mind that the majority of females are simply never going to be good for a society that wants limited government. Their voting patterns are clear, and it stems from their biology. They are more caring and altruistic than men, and less analytical and more emotional. Science backs it up. Deny it if you want, but it is true. Female voting will turn any society farther to the left, every time. Men accepted this reality back in the day, and didn’t let them vote. As with the uneducated, voting class men were expected to take women’s opinions into consideration. Maybe it’s mean… But if you want a limited government, it may be the only way to keep one. Men are bad enough, and once you throw women into the mix, it inevitably gets worse.

      At the end of the day he decries all this stuff as being awful, because enlightened, progressive, globalist ideals are somehow the only good ones… Let us consider an alternative: WHAT IF most people prefer a stable and functional society to one in chaos, with endless infighting with new immigrants, that looks after their own people before giving money away to foreigners, and wants to decide their own fate instead of having it dictated to them by a supernational entity?

    5. Provided you’re not starting wars, killing people, etc what is so WRONG about any of this? NOTHING.

      It is pure pants shitting from PC pussies. They all thought we were heading towards a borderless utopia… The problem is most people have realized it would really be a borderless dystopia, that ended their country and peoples existence… And they decided they didn’t want that. And the globalists simply can’t deal with the fact that their utopian idea has failed miserably on several fronts, and accept that some parts of globalism need to be tossed aside. There ARE good parts that should be kept, but not all. But they refuse to kick the bad ideas and keep the good.

      Nations comprised of somewhat similar peoples (race, cultural norms, language, religion, etc) are the historical norm FOR A REASON. Because it removes several of the most common reasons for war. You can certainly have some immigration, and a bit of non homogeneity in the mix, but if it gets to a certain point it is destabilizing. Most of the western world is at or near that point.

      People need to accept that NON AGGRESSIVE nationalism is a perfectly OKAY thing.

      We’ll see who wins I guess, because globalist vs nationalist is the REAL fight of the 21st century.

      1. “It was expected that the voting classes would consider the good of those people in their voting, and for the most part they did, knowing that if they didn’t they could always have a riot on their hands.”

        This is a point that’s extremely significant, and almost entirely overlooked.
        In the beginning, there is little physical separation between the governors and the governed. They live and act in close proximity, thus the threat of violence is very real. Because the governed can “reach out and touch” the governors, the governors have an explicit interest in the contentment of the governed. After all, if the governed grew too dissatisfied, they would cease consenting to be governed. They could effect change through violence, just as the governors could.
        As societies succeed, the distance between governed and govenor grows. The governors put distance between themselves and the governed. Not only do they physically segregate, but the governors add security (in the forms of fortifications, personnel, and law) explicitly for themselves rather than the governed. The governors have less concern for the well being of the governed because they cease fearing the governed.

        1. The history of the Roman Republic, the model for our founding fathers, is a rather amusing demonstration of this. The governors would indulge themselves or insult the governed, up to a point at which the governed would riot/rebel and the governors would be forced to step back. On and on this cycle and Rome grew prosperous. Too prosperous, because eventually the governors separated themselves, unbalancing society. By the begging of the 1st century BC, this instability produced the chaos and violence of the Gracchi, Marius v Sulla, and the Social War. Caesar was a chance for rebalance and last grasp at stability, but Rome was too far gone and the Republic was buried by the battle between Octavian and Antony…

          I reccomend reading Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy.
          A lot to learn there

        2. Yup, this is actually very true.

          I do still think that even in the modern world if we didn’t have universal suffrage, which IMO is the only way we could ever have a functional and limited government, that the voting classes would do fairly right by regular people. So long as it’s not JUST the top 1 or 2 percent voting anyway.

          If it was a reasonable bar of some sort, say history/civics test, or that plus being a net tax payer… But something that might get anywhere from 25-50% or even a little more voting, I think they wouldn’t try to completely screw regular people over… Because at the end of the day they’d mostly more or less fall into the “regular people” category themselves. They’d just be the smarter half of regular people, and excluding the dumbest half, who largely don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground in terms of politics or economics.

          IIRC during the early days of the USA it was typically about 10-20% of the population, AKA 20-40% of men who were able to vote. Double that by allowing competent women and a few more percent of men to vote, and things would be fine. Guys who read books and make $100K a year aren’t going to want to completely screw carpenters over like some Caesar or Clinton might!

        3. “In the beginning, there is little physical separation between the governors and the governed. They live and act in close proximity, thus the threat of violence is very real.”

          The Imperial Metropolis must be disbanded.

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  62. Like so many of Reason’s recent articles, this one reminds me why, following the revolution, the first thing the revolutionaries do is hang the intellectuals.

    1. Oooh! I call dibs on Shitma!

  63. The leftist warped idea of “U.S. Democracy” needs to Decline. The ONLY democracy in the U.S. is electing a “representative” for the people BOUND by their “sworn oath” – Oath to what?

    — The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
    — The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    Those are SUPREME LAWS – They over-ride the “vote” to a 66% margin in the ACTUAL legitimate U.S. System. Somehow beliefs in “warped” Democracy have violated those laws without the proper vote (66% margin and State Ratification) on them.

  64. As long as we continue streaming in massive amounts of third world unskilled immigrants, democracy will start to decline MUCH more precipitously.

    Leaked Photos Show U.S. Border Facility Overwhelmed by Migrants

    Hundreds of migrant families arrive at remote border crossings, overwhelming U.S. agents

  65. Our Democracy is in trouble because we spend too much time emoting about facts… and too little critically analyzing facts. Social media, talk radio, and the rise of “news analysis” encourages everyone to pick a side and root…..rather than look for compromise. Everything becomes a bumper sticker…and the echo chambers enforce uniformity. How can you compromise with individuals….who you personally do not know….only engage on the most superficial level….and who you are conditioned to believe are EVIL? We have so much more information that we did 30 years ago….but how much of it is abjectly worthless….or sitting undigested (like this article)….or simply destructive to civil discourse. The perfectly executed eye-gouge is high currency today…along with ideological purity. The debate about the wall is absurd…the lack of debate about spending is absurd….discourse about the health insurance market is disingenuous…we are frozen with banking regulations that are dated….we can’t get beyond personality and rooting for our team. We forget that the whole American experiment was about compromise. Politics is the art of compromise. We use to learn this about politics, business, international affairs, and heck marriage. Finding how each side could get something was valued. Now we eye-gouge as the car heads off the cliff…

    1. “Our Democracy”??? — The U.S. isn’t a Democracy! It has a SUPREME Law (inalienable rights) that thwart “representative” spokespersons election democracy (who coincidentally SWORE AN OATH) to uphold the SUPREME Law.

      When the left(mostly)/right stop trying to commit acts of Treason by lobbying for a Democratic Revolution (i.e. Destruction of the SUPREME Law) then and only then can the country “compromise” on the details.

      1. “Our Democracy” is exactly what determined Justice in the Salem Witch Hunt Trials.
        “Our Democracy” is exactly a “mob” vote authoritarian government.

        The U.S. citizenry needs to get over this idea implanted by leftist propaganda that the U.S. is a Democracy. Its a Republic and for DARN good reason!

    2. There are some things one can compromise on… And other things one cannot.

      All the reasonable compromises with the left happened decades ago. At this point damn near everything they’re demanding is beyond reason. Sometimes people have to be MEN instead of spineless little girls, and actually put their foot down and say NO to screaming children… Which is basically what the left is in the USA today.

  66. Does anyone else see the IRONY in a supposed “Libertarian” publication (reason.com) publishing “articles” from a Professor of a public University?

    The University of Virginia has the two HIGHEST PAID PUBLIC EMPLOYEES IN THE STATE, paying close to $6.5 million yearly…for just those two employees.

    7 of the TOP 20 HIGHEST PAID PUBLIC EMPLOYEES work at the University of Virginia.

    11 of the TOP 20 HIGHEST PAID PUBLIC EMPLOYEES work at PUBLIC Universities in Virginia.

    For all Virginia university divisions, state appropriations accounted for $154.4 million of a $2.6 billion budget.

    NOTHING SAYS “LIBERTARIAN” LIKE EXTREMELY HIGH-PAID PUBLIC EMPLOYEES, SUCKING & DRAINING FROM PUBLIC COFFERS.

    JUST MORE “free market” PROPAGANDIST B.S. from the idiots at reason.com.

    1. In 15 years, the sticker price for tuition and fees in Virginia has risen from between 150 percent to as high as 344 percent at the state’s four-year public institutions.

      Similarly, University EMPLOYEE wages have vastly outpaced the private sector.

      A Virginian earning the median hourly wage in 2016 would have to work 438 hours, almost 11 weeks, to afford ONE YEAR OF TUITION.

      THE NEO-“LIBERTARIAN” PARTY AND PLATFORM HAVE BECOME SOAPBOXES FOR THE INHERITED/ENTITLEMENT CREATED ELITE.

    2. “‘Does anyone else see the IRONY in a supposed “Libertarian” publication (reason.com) publishing “articles” from a Professor of a public University?”

      Cathedral gonna Cathedral
      #MoldbugWasRight

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