Tuesday, June 29, 2010

South Carolina, Case Study for Democracy's Failure

I've always been clear about my lack of faith in the power of democracy to create desirable government. Whether it's celebrating political apathy and the benefit it brings or explaining the less than honorable reasons why I or the millions of other people voted, I'm clearly not a fan. Recently, my home state of South Carolina presented us with a real world example of the main problem with democracy.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Alvin Greene Wins South Carolina Primary

In case you didn't figure it out, the problem with democracy is the voters.


  1. Democracy is the worst political system in the world, except for all the others. (Churchill, paraphrased).

  2. Well technically I would say a republic has been the best ever tried. I'm not sure if its the best possible.

  3. For 40 years I have believed that Democracy is based on the premise that the ignorant (or at best the ill informed) majority has the right to determine how we all should live. Examples of this faulty reasoning are many and include Nixon’s 2nd term election, Bush’s (#93) 2nd term, Prohibition/repeal of Prohibition, Marion Barry (crack user/DC Mayor) –the list goes on. This is only another example of the uninformed (by choice) electing the unqualified.
    I am not a racist, nor do I know the voting demographics regarding the selection of Mr. Greene. However, my suspicions are that he was selected by the black population of SC. This is not unusual. We all lean toward picking candidates that we can relate to (under the assumption they can relate to our needs); blacks pick blacks, Jews pick Jews, Muslims pick Muslims (and sects within) WASPS pick WASPS, etc. when all other data is equal. The lack of any meaningful knowledge (due to the inherent laziness of the average voter to seek out information, and to rely solely on the pabulum provided by the American press with their 30 second sound bites) leaves only this familiarity to pick from. Of course there is also the “backlash” against any incumbent which is somewhat deserved based on inaction as opposed to actions taken with the devisisim shown by both parties. .
    Call me an elitist but I have always believed that although everyone has the right to vote, this should be accompanied with a series of simple “position” questions for each candidate/proposition that should be included in the ballots to qualify the answers. Everyone has the right to vote, only the informed have the right for their vote to count.
    As to alternatives to Democracy I offer the following:
    Monarchy has the advantage of raising offspring to inherit the responsibilities of governing – if we just could get past the inbreeding thing. Better a monarch than a lawyer.
    Communism is truly the most democratic of political philosophies where everyone’s needs/desires “go up the chain’, but alas corruption invades all.
    Elitism supported by ballots inclusive of qualifying questions is the best that I have come up with to insure the best chance of getting qualified people in positions of power.
    The ignorant majority should not have the right to dictate to the informed minority

  4. This is where the difference between democracy and a republic becomes so important. Democracy is mob rule. Representative republics constrained by a Constitution are much more effective.

    Interesting idea about have a poll test, but it would definitely discriminate against the poor and uneducated (which may not be a bad thing ). You are an elitist, but there are benefits to that.

    As for your comments on race, we have to be a little care. Anytime someone starts off a sentence with "I'm not a racist but", usually means they are about to say something racially charged. Especially when we all have some racist tendencies. It's clear races tend to vote for themselves, but this politician won by a huge margin.

    I'm currently working through another option to our current federal republicanism, look for it in the future!

  5. The voters could not have known Greene was black. He didn't campaign whatsoever. No signs, no website, no appearances. His picture didn't appear anywhere, especially not the ballot. Some have conjectured that they could have assumed he was black because "Greene" is a common African American name. I think that's a stretch.

    They voted for him because his name came first on the ballot. It's shocking, yes, but remember that no Democrat has a snowball's chance in hell of beating Jim DeMint. Voters weren't following the Senate primary candidates because they had lost before they started. Haven't you randomly picked someone on a ballot for a race you didn't research? I sure have.

    It's shocking, it's hilarious. I agree that the biggest problem with democracy is the voters (and let's face it, especially SC voters). Churchill also said, "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." But is this race evidence of that? Perhaps not.

  6. George Bynum5:36 PM

    I believe a representative democracy would be fine if we went back to historical voting criteria where only landowners could vote.

  7. You might be right George, but I wonder what the founding fathers would think about that. Also, it might just create another house bubble :)


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.