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Forum Post: New study shows people are not smart enough for democracy.

Posted 11 years ago on Sept. 28, 2012, 12:02 p.m. EST by thoreau42 (595)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Damning new science against everyone's favorite religion.




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[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 11 years ago

"The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it."

Who's assumption? By what criteria is the best political candidate and best policy idea being determined for everyone? This is a false premise. The democratic process relies upon the desires of majority rule regardless of what is best.

People vote for what they want, not for what is best.

They may try to argue that what they want is what is best but that's as far as any intellectual involvement goes. Voter ID laws are just one example of how certain people argue for what they want as being what is best. It's no different now than it has ever been.

"Those who contend for a simple democracy, or a pure republic, actuated by the sense of the majority, and operating within narrow limits, assume or suppose a case which is altogether fictitious. They found their reasoning on the idea, that the people composing the Society, enjoy not only an equality of political rights; but that they have all precisely the same interests, and the same feelings in every respect. Were this in reality the case, their reasoning would be conclusive. The interest of the majority would be that of the minority also; the decisions could only turn on mere opinion concerning the good of the whole, of which the major voice would be the safest criterion; and within a small sphere, this voice could be most easily collected, and the public affairs most accurately managed."

"We know however that no Society ever did or can consist of so homogeneous a mass of Citizens. In the savage State indeed, an approach is made towards it; but in that State little or no Government is necessary. In all civilized Societies, distinctions are various and unavoidable. A distinction of property results from that very protection which a free Government gives to unequal faculties of acquiring it. There will be rich and poor; creditors and debtors; a landed interest, a monied interest, a mercantile interest, a manufacturing interest. These classes may again be subdivided according to the different productions of different situations & soils, & according to different branches of commerce, and of manufactures. In addition to these natural distinctions, artificial ones will be founded, on accidental differences in political, religious or other opinions, or an attachment to the persons of leading individuals. However erroneous or ridiculous these grounds of dissention and faction, may appear to the enlightened Statesman, or the benevolent philosopher, the bulk of mankind who are neither Statesmen nor Philosophers, will continue to view them in a different light."

"Divide et impera, the reprobated axiom of tyranny, is under certain qualifications, the only policy, by which a republic can be administered on just principles."

A few selected thoughts of James Madison from a letter written to Thomas Jefferson dated October 24, 1787


If people were smart enough for democracy, there wouldn't be democracy. Everything would be determined by a consensus of reason, not by a majority of opinion. It is because the majority isn't smart enough for a rule of law based upon a consensus of reason that democracy exists.

[-] 0 points by yobstreet (-575) 11 years ago

Well, to start... I think there are common misconceptions regarding the definition of democracy. If we, for example, examine the word demographics, we find that "demo" itself holds entirely different meaning - democracy is not the judgement of the "common people" as we assume, but rather the judgement of the "different people" - demo implies there are separate entities, separate peoples, perhaps in separate locations or of distinct difference, that may be possessed of a self-interest that is dissimilar.

If we were of one people, or relatively homogenous, there would be no competing interests of separate bodies of people, and issues would take on a wholly different construct. I was twenty years old, living with a German couple, when I can came to this realization - in Germany, where the population at that time was relatively homogenous, there were no "issues," rather there were "themes"; their concern was not who by consensus is favored but only whether the adoption of a particular theme was good or bad. They don't vote left to right; they don't "issue" left to right, but only up or down. One might conclude, that this imparts some lesser compassion but this is not the case amongst a homogenous people.

There is another word that coexists with democracy and that is aristocracy. Aristocracy is the rule of the elites. If we were to adopt Chomsky's stance, that the intent of the Fathers was not to establish democracy but aristocracy, then we must make this mindful substitution when attempting to decipher their words. Having read some tens of thousands of pages, I do not believe this to be the case; I believe they were firmly committed to Aristotelian principle; the intent through Jefferson's "education" was to ensure its survival, or to dis-empower those who did not share their commitment.

It is not a question of intelligence, it is a question of ideals. And it arises for a reason.

To suggest that we are incapable of democracy is to empower those who, often rather selfishly, do not share our commitment to the ideal of pluralistic society.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 11 years ago

So then the answer is better education right? Is that your point?

Free college! break up the media conglomerates. Disallow false political commercials. There are many steps we must take to improve the intelligence of the populace.

But certainly democracy is the solution. Ignorance is no reason to end democracy. In fact mandatory voting for all eligible citizens.

[-] 2 points by TruthRightsFreedom (259) 11 years ago

The dumbing down worked. Instincts will prevail if fear is conquered. Prepare for Article V of the US Constitution.


The article proves America will need to prepare.


They don't have to understand all of the trivia of modern politics. All they have to understand is Constitutional Intent.

[-] 1 points by Krypton (73) 11 years ago

It's been said that this was the reasoning behind the formation of the Electoral College. It's supposed to be a safeguard against a possible coalition of idiots, comprising a majority of an electorate, putting in power an idiot President out of blatant ignorance/self-interest. How that failed to stop Bush Jr. lends credence to those wishing for its abolishment.

The founding fathers were deathly afraid of mob rule.

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1269) from Milwaukee, WI 11 years ago

The US is probably too big to be a true democracy but our representative government is failing us. I don't have a solution.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

I thought you were moving to Somalia, to avoid all that democratic messiness? Better get a move on. It's filling up fast.

Galts gulch awaits you.

I'm so glad you're blissful though......


[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Interesting article - and so incompetents advance because of their ego while - those with skill and true value languish because of their humility and honest desire to do well in whatever they attempt.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

That's about the size of it.

I'm sure there's exceptions, but by and large that's been my experience too.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Crazy isn't it.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Crazy isn't it.

[-] 0 points by thoreau42 (595) 11 years ago

Did you read the article? It made some interesting points.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

Want me try and look all the stuff on the problems of conse(R)vative thought?

In a quick scan, I didn't see one mention on the affects of FLAKESnews.

That makes me wonder which corporation/think tank/front group, might have sponsored the "research".


[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

You should read the rebuttal................:)

It's quite zen for a spider.


[-] 1 points by thoreau42 (595) 11 years ago

I'm trolling? It's amazing how you can dismiss something without having even read it. What's that called? Socrates referred to it as "ignorance".

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 11 years ago

You have to understand his world view. He's fighting for this web site, to protect it from the right. That means anybody who disagrees with him. So anybody who disagrees with him is automatically a troll. Even though his behavior is generally more troll-like than the actual trolls.

[-] 1 points by thoreau42 (595) 11 years ago

So he's kinda like those fundamentalist religious people, only he's a fundamentalist forum poster? I see...

[-] 2 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 11 years ago

That's my take on it exactly. The next time that you see him post the word "Repelicans", re-read the post and replace that word with a word like "blacks" or "infidels", and note how it looks.


[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 11 years ago

Ahhh. I C.

I'm running around the house getting ready to go out for a while. It didn't register...............:)

You're correct........why bother?


[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

The McDonalds drive through was almost in the street this morning.

This nation is not on the right track by any means.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 11 years ago

When the entire nation is going to rehire the same two companies that have done nothing but fucked them over the last 40 years...AGAIN....its hard to argue.