Quote of the week

The Z Man says we’re now in a post-democracy world:

[T]he ruling elite conspires with and manipulates local elected officials into gaming the public, foiling them into being looted by the global elite. We think our elections are about arbitrating disputes between the ruling class over public policy. In reality they are festivals to keep the public busy so they don’t revolt against their leaders. The Greeks can have as many elections as they like, the results will not change. The turd sandwich is what they get. The English can vote Tory or Labour. The results will be the same.

If there is any doubt about this just look at American politics. The GOP ran against ObamaCare in 2010 and won a huge majority in the House. They spent the next two years trying to enfeeble the Tea Party movement, rather than halt ObamaCare. They won big again in 2014, capturing the Senate and a bigger majority in the House. So far they have managed to pass more of Obama’s agenda in six months than Reid and Pelosi did in six years.

Which, if nothing else, suggests that the Republican Party at the very top is indistinguishable from the Democratic Party at the very top: they evidently get their orders from the same place. This is called “bipartisanism,” which presumably sounds nicer than “collusion.”

In the authoritarian age, violent revolt was the check on the skimming class. The ruling families could only loot so much of the people’s wealth before they ran into dangerous resistance. In the democratic age, the ballot box forced the skimming class to compete for the public’s affection. Get on the wrong side of the voters and you ability to skim was diminished. In the global age, what will be the check on the skimming class?

There won’t be. The need to buy campaign ads — hell, the need to buy voters — will guarantee that politicians will kneel to the plutocrats for the foreseeable future.



  1. McGehee »

    8 June 2015 · 11:30 am

    As always, the answer to getting money out of politics is not the usual red tape that raises the barriers to entry and ends up making politics more expensive (and lucrative) than ever.

    The answer is to lower the stakes. Only the power and wealth of winning elections currently attracts people to devote the resources to do so. Make government less powerful and the allure goes away.

    Of course, to effect that kind of change one must first … win elections.

    Which is why those who say they have to compromise everything they claimed to stand for so they can get re-elected, should always be the first against the wall.

  2. Francis W. Porretto »

    8 June 2015 · 2:12 pm

    The ugly reality is that no one who accepts elective or appointive office can be trusted ab initio. Now that the last Constitutional barriers to total state power have fallen, my first-approximation assessment of any such individual is that he’s a liar and a thief. Almost all such persons confirm that assessment within a year of entering the public eye.

  3. McGehee »

    9 June 2015 · 11:30 am

    Now that the last Constitutional barriers to total state power have fallen

    The fundamental error of certain political thinkers has been that there can be such a thing as “the end of history.” Even American history has seen terrible lapses in the constitutional order. It’s a mistake to assume yesteryear’s errors were simply easier to fix than ours, merely because theirs were, and ours are not yet.

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