Is democracy going out of fashion?

Is democracy going out of fashion? by Dan Hannan.

For the first time since at least the 1930s, serious commentators in Western countries are arguing against democracy. …

Britain’s high-brow Prospect magazine: “There are stupid, ignorant people in every country, but their blameless stupidity mostly doesn’t matter because they are not asked to take historically momentous and irrevocable decisions of state.

“It is necessary to say that people are deluded and that the task of leadership is to un-delude them,” writes James Traub in Foreign Policy.

Dan Hannan destroys Emma Reynolds in the Brexit debate, June 2016

These comments are prompted by Britain’s recent decision to leave the EU and, frankly, they are at the politer end of the spectrum. In the two months since the referendum, Remain supporters have filled social media with denunciations of the elderly bigots who, in their fantasies, comprised the bulk of the Leave vote. Some demand that the franchise be linked to intelligence tests; others that referendums be abandoned.

Underlining all these complaints is the same sentiment: We know best. As Jason Brennan of Georgetown University puts it:

“Most voters are ignorant of both basic political facts and the background social scientific theories needed to evaluate the facts. They process what little information they have in highly biased and irrational ways. They decided largely on whim.”

The global elite is making a naked bid for power, at the expense of the rest of us. It is a reversal of progress; it is on the wrong side of history. This will become a bigger and bigger theme, and maybe even reality, unless it is nipped in the bud. But by whom? If the media refuse to publish anyone who defends democracy, hardly anyone will know it is being defended. As always it seems, the problem involves a biased media.

Many of these elitists also blame the financial crisis on voters who, too cretinous to grasp their true interests, kept voting for tax cuts and spending rises until the money ran out.

Hardly. It is due to poor banking policy followed since the 1930s, designed to enrich governments, banks, and the big end of town by encouraging profligate manufacture of money for some (aka Keynesiansim). In 2007 the world merely ran out of worthy borrowers and unencumbered collateral, so the bubble was pricked.

When the credit crunch hit, Jose Manuel Barroso, at that time the unelected head of the European Commission, had no doubt as to who was responsible: “Governments are not always right. … Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong.”

For sheer brazenness, this is up there with the Jewish man who tells a shop assistant, “I want a book on chutzpah, and you’re paying.” The euro was not chosen democratically. It was dreamed up by unelected officials like Mr. Barroso and foisted on the people.

Democracy is about accountability, the necessary feedback from the governed to the governors. The elite of global parasites, and those who would join that class, want to tax us and order us around without accountability. More stuff for them, with less effort and no complaints from the serfs.

Government is not a craft, like watchmaking or eye surgery, that rewards expertise and experience. Government is a series of decisions about how to arbitrate clashing interests.

Human nature being what it is, the people in power will, consciously or unconsciously, conflate the national interest with their own. …

The happiest and freest nations in the world all have robust democratic traditions.