Sep 8, 2009

Is Representative Democracy Doomed?

Sometimes I forget that most people are not as interested in and informed on political issues as I am. I imagine people who blog and read news on the web are generally better informed, regardless of political affiliation, than those who do not. It makes me feel a bit elitist. Then I read an article like this and confirm that most people do not care about the specifics or care to educate themselves about the specifics of political happenings. I was going to go into a liberal-like rant about how the masses are ignuhnt, but there is far more to it. We elect representatives who reflect generally our values and hope those individuals will do their best to uphold those values and our interests. And then we just live our lives and do not get involved until our government does something egregious (see: Townhalls, Summer 2009*). When the Federal government ran only a few well-defined areas (interstate and international commerce, national defense, foreign policy etc.), that sort of attitude towards political representation would suffice. But as the Fed has gotten more and more involved in practically every aspect of our lives, the specifics have become far more important. That the public does not understand what the "public option" means, when it would in essence mean the Federal government running one-sixth of the economy as well as controlling intimate medical decisions by deciding what to fund and what not to fund, then we have reached some terrible threshold. The government is involving itself in an area in which it has little if no authority to do so. The public is not even aware of the mechanics of the entire proposal. To return to balance, the Fed needs to tone down its involvement in private affairs, or the public needs to become quickly more educated on a wider variety of topics. Or else we are doomed to be run by elite technocrats who decide how to live our lives for us. Sorry to go all Glenn Beck on you, but I see no other way.

*I think the townhalls were as much an extension of the tea party movement than anything. While it is rare for those on the Right to get too exorcised about anything, enough to eschew their normal adult responsiblities and protest at least (the Left typically having fewer adult responsibilities), and while the protests are large (and far larger than the anti-war protests that were so publicized the last 6 years), they still represent a minority of people.

1 comment:

Paul said...

That is a good question...It depends on the participation of the citizenryy...Take democracy for granted and it can disappear...