People often say that people are too stupid to govern. This is unfortunate since we’re all people. Monarchs, presidents, softball coaches, popes, senators, chairwomen, judges, county commissioners, fire chiefs, bureaucrats, generals, school board members, sheriffs and (by law) corporations are all people, and are thus too stupid to govern.
If people are too stupid to govern, then we can’t have a government; or if we do have a government, it will be stupid.
Supposedly, people are too dumb to rule, but not too dumb to pick political representatives who rule on their behalf. But if representatives are supposed to represent the voters, and the voters are blockheads who can’t govern, then their representatives should also be blockheads who lack a knack for politics; otherwise, those politicians don’t truly represent their half-wit constituents.
Perhaps some people aren’t political morons, and are thus cerebrally equipped for office. In a pick-a-leader democracy these not-too-stupid people must solicit votes from the square-dancing herd of idiots. The United States features a let-some-politician-make-your-decisions-for-you democracy wherein candidates gain support by telling voters how they would govern and which policies they’d enact. So apparently, voters are wise enough to decide which policies should be enacted and who should implement them, but they aren’t bright enough to ditch the interceding political gatekeeper and directly craft and apply those policies.
Democracy used to mean “the people rule” but nowadays most people think “democracy” means Republicans and Democrats run for office and whoever gets the most votes represents the voters who voted for them as well as the voters who voted against them.
People usually refer to democracy as “direct democracy,” which is like referring to eating as “direct eating”: Either you’re doing it or you aren’t. Similarly, “representative democracy” is like “representative eating”: Unfulfilling. These days, so long as somebody somewhere is voting on something, the entire system is called a “democracy.”
Ordinary mortals are told that matters of government are beyond their ken, and so their ability to rule should be confined to council positions at the Moose Lodge. And while it’s true that half of the world’s population is below average, there’s no way to tell if all the slack-jawed mouth-breathers are too ignorant to rule without letting them try.
To be sure, direct democracy has its fair share of petty squabbles that make it move slower than turtle feet crawling through a warp-and-weft of stubborn impatience as people fuss and fight and embarrass themselves by saying things that are false, racist, sexist, classist, ageist, nationalist, and outright asinine, which makes them much like people in Congress, the White House and every governmental agency.
We’re told that government should be entrusted to political professionals, such as the Pentagon officials who lost $2.3 trillion of public money, or Clinton and Obama’s financial gurus who enabled the economic meltdown, or the folks who neglected the levees in New Orleans and then directed FEMA’s graceful response to Katrina, or the many members of Congress who deny human contributions to climate change, or the diplomats whose juvenile shenanigans were exposed by Wikileaks or the architects of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” who said the war would last a few weeks and pay for itself. If one needs evidence of mediocrity in high places, examine the Republican presidential primary, which Fidel Castro called a “competition of idiocy and ignorance.”
Aristotle, a careful scholar of politics who is considered one of the most genius geniuses in history, said the collective wisdom of the nitwit masses is superior to the wisdom of the wisest lawgiver.
There was a time when regular people could only enter the palace if they wore a floppy felt cap with dangly brass bells, waved a bauble and played the fool. Monarchs said the rabble was too bird-brained to reign, and then they were overthrown by rich white guys who formed parliament and then those rich white guys said that anybody who wasn’t a rich white guy was too daft to rule.
But after centuries of struggle, the imbeciles have been enfranchised. These bonehead magpies have proved that the tyranny of the majority is much less dangerous than the tyranny of a minority. Indeed, history shows that there’s much less reason to fear the mob than to fear the elites. If the numbskull crowd of dim-bulb dullards can disempower their dingbat leaders, there might still be hope for the planet.
When people say that people are too stupid to govern, perhaps they only speak for themselves.Share