Precondition for a meaningful democracy

Democracy is never a smart system of government, but it’s not always a meaningless formality.  The elite always rule, but if there are two rival elites, the populace can be asked to choose between them.  If there is one elite, meaning they are all agreed on wanting policy X, the populace may vote in a referendum for not X (~X), but the one elite will be in charge of implementing it, and one can be sure that they will do so in a way that makes ~X indistinguishable from X.  If even this formal obedience is too wounding to their pride, they can keep repeating the vote until they get the answer they want.  We have all noticed that Leftist victories are definitive while Rightist victories are never more than provisional.

See details.

Again, nobody’s saying that giving the masses a real choice is in general a good idea.  Just that you’re also really screwed with rule by an evil elite.

3 Responses

  1. I would rather the two elites drew for the short straw. This way they avoid a corrupted, by nefarious influence, populous.

  2. The elite always rule

    Slippery. Different forms of government can affect which particular, individual people are in the elite, and it can therefore affect which individual characteristics are rare and which are common among the elite. Democracy, for example, makes the ability to manipulate the mob an important skill for members of the elite to possess.

    but if there are two rival elites

    There are always “two elites.” People divide up into tribes spontaneously and fight. Always and everywhere. Democracy means that one of the tools rival factions of the elite can deploy in their internecine fights is appeal to the mob. Mostly, elites in democracies don’t like to do this (since it has the effect of granting power to the mob), and they tend to look very dimly upon elite members who appeal to the mob. Like Trump.

  3. […] British are getting a lesson in the futility of democracy in the absence of rival […]

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