Friday, 8 March 2013


"In his book Prolokratie [Democratically into Bankruptcy], Christian Ortner proposes a politically incorrect thesis: a large proportion of the [typical western] population are borderline cretins. They have particular trouble understanding... that one cannot just go on spending more money than one takes in. So they are incapable of making sensible decisions at elections. I fear that the result of the latest Italian election provides support for this idea."
Peter Michael Lingens in Austrian news magazine Profil

This principle flies in the face of democracy. According to this summary the electorate aren't qualified to elect representatives, much less do direct democracy. Yet the Swiss have run direct democracy quite successfully for 150plus years. Maybe there is something about the intelligence of the Swiss or the quality of their culture that allows this? But I doubt it. I suspect that involving people in democracy is a process of educating each other through debate, utilising the leadership and expertise of those with more knowledge. However, representative democracy doesn't do this to the same extent as the debate is delegated to the professional politicians, leaving the majority of the electorate none the wiser. Furthermore, the politicians must pander to the whims of the uneducated to retain their position, compounding errors.

(Taking the economic arguments in the above quote: it is clear that personal debt should be repaid but is the same true for countries? There is an argument that national debt can be continuously rolled over into new debt for the simple reason that countries don't die but people do: it's hard to be repaid what you lend if your debtor is dead. Not so if they keep on living.)

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