Monday, September 10, 2012

Cartoon of the Day: American Politics



86 Comments:

At 9/10/2012 11:36 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Voters are the most responsible for the horrendous political class. Voters find it convenient to blame politicians for their own poor choices.

Why should politicians take responsibility when voters refuse to? After all, politicians are mere reflections of voters.

No politician is going to say this either. After all, how many votes are you going to get by saying to people "Take responsibility for your own failures."

 
At 9/10/2012 11:41 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Agree with Ken.

We all need to take responsibility for our own decisions, votes, and lives, not just vote for our favorite entitlements.

Carrie

 
At 9/10/2012 11:48 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

ken-

there is blame for both sides. sure, the voters are making the choices, but only from a poorly structured list.

out founding fathers warned direly about the dangers of political parties. now we see why.

team red and team blue pile the money into elections. there are very few actual independent choices that manage to get heard.

even if they get elected, they wind up totally marginalized until they cozy up to one of the big gangs. at best, they can be a noisy gadfly, but even that is rare. if you want to be on a committee doing anyhting useful, you need to suck up to a party.

worse, with each party having closed primaries, they both get hijacked by their extremist wings. over and over you wind up with the choice between the big government tax and spend fascist and the bible bashing social reactionary. (or the option of throwing your vote away)

while certainly not a panacea for this ill, i think requiring open primaries for all parties would be a good start. at least you could get some more balanced candidates instead of the party line toeing machine politicians we mostly get now.

without committing the even greater evil of interfering with free association, i don't think we can really do much about the existence of political parties, but we can at least crack open the primaries and see if we can get some candidates that are more representative of the society.

 
At 9/10/2012 12:05 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

open primaries, citizen-initiated referenda and re-call elections.

the two political parties have hijacked the political process and now the elected are more loyal to their party leaders than to the electorate.

 
At 9/10/2012 12:33 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

open primaries, citizen-initiated referenda and re-call elections.

I understand your first two points, Larry, but I am a tad confused as what you mean by "recall elections." Do you mean making it easier for recalls to happen?

Also, I'd like your opinion. I was discussing with some friends last night this very topic. I proposed mandatory term limits for all elected offices (from President down to dog catcher). The idea is to prevent career politicians.

Thoughts?

 
At 9/10/2012 12:43 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " Do you mean making it easier for recalls to happen?"

yes.. easier to recall...

mandatory terms...

I understand the logic but I think if someone is elected or electable then that person should serve and it we had recall ability, we could dump them anytime they lost our trust.

 
At 9/10/2012 12:51 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I understand the logic but I think if someone is elected or electable then that person should serve and it we had recall ability, we could dump them anytime they lost our trust.

I can see that. I would counter, however, and say that some folks, once they are in, they are hard to remove. I mean, look at Ted Kennedy. He killed a girl (albeit accidently), but kept being reelected. Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush arguably committed high treason with Iran-Contra and they were reelected.

I understand the "trust" thing. I just wonder if voters sometimes can become blind and just vote a straight party ticket. I think term limits may help here.

I also wonder if we shouldn't go back to the old ways when the VP was the runner up in the political race as opposed to being selected by the candidate himself. I wonder what would have happened if McCain was VP now under an Obama presidency. Just a thought.

 
At 9/10/2012 1:00 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: hard to remove

if they are elected then that's the essence of our Democracy.

people judged Kennedy and accepted his flaws... and preferred him over the challengers.

We should be more concerned with the process for getting rid of people who have violated the trust of those who elected them and we should be concerned with our process for giving challengers equal footing to truly challenge embedded incumbents - i.e. open primaries.

my 2 cents... though I am always trying to keep my views open on this...and I do enjoy trading views.

 
At 9/10/2012 1:02 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I do really like your idea on open primaries.

If I may change the topic some (to be frank, this is an area where I can be swayed either way. I have no firmly entrenched position), I wonder if primaries are needed at all. It just seems like an awful waste of time. Why not just vote on everyone all at once? Whoever gets the most votes, wins.

 
At 9/10/2012 1:17 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Why not just vote on everyone all at once? Whoever gets the most votes, wins."

such a system has some real issues.

it will mean that often, the one elected does not have a mandate from a majority which is in many ways antithetical to notions of the consent of the governed.

there are a number of ways to try and get around this without using a primary, the best of which, to my mind, is called first past the post.

you have an all in election. if someone wins more than 50% of the popular vote, then they win. if no one gets 50%, then the top 2 candidates have a run off. in many functional ways, it's not that different from an open primary system.

i wonder why we still bother with the electoral college. what do we gain by its perpetuation apart from making large numbers of people feel disenfranchised every presidential election? (by being republican in califrnia or a democrat in texas etc)

it has severely distortionary effects on our presidential politics. the same swing states wield disproportionate clout and issues like sugar tariffs, ethanol, cuba, etc get far too much focus.

 
At 9/10/2012 1:23 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

i have some severe doubts about refferndums and recalls.

i lived in california for 15 years. referendum based politics did far more damage than good.

the politicians just punt on anyhting hard, put it to direct democracy, then say walk away from the results.

people vote for free stuff, bonds others will pay for, and no funding measures.

it's a recipe for fiscal disaster.

worse, it hamstrings the state as referendum spending gets mandated and yo cannot cut it when income drops leaving only schools, parks, and fire/police on the block every downturn.

it's to fractious and short sighted to ever make hard choices.

recalls are mostly just a circus.

you elect a guy, he serves his term. if he/she is breaking the law, then impeach, but changing you mind part way through is not a reason to pull someone out. look at the zoo in wisconsin. it's just a dirty political tactic and makes every leader into a poll obsessed pork shoveler instead of being principled and makes any kind of long term "eat your veggies" planning far more difficult.

 
At 9/10/2012 1:35 PM, Blogger Ken said...

morgan,

the voters are making the choices, but only from a poorly structured list.

That list is determined by the voters. At any time, anyone can start petitioning for whatever redress they want and make a list of their own. That "poorly structured list" is the one that appeals to the most voters, which is why they those topics form the list in the first place.

out founding fathers warned direly about the dangers of political parties. now we see why.

That first amendment sure is a pesky thing, giving people the right to peaceable assembly. I don't find political parties at all dangerous. They are formed from the citizenry and gain power only by gathering votes from citizens. What I find so obnoxious is that the republicans and democrats are the groups Americans have chosen to express their political preferences. The terribleness of both of the major political parties is directly attributed to the terribleness of Americans' political preferences.

i think requiring open primaries for all parties would be a good start

I disagree with this statement completely. The ability to determine who to keep out is at least as important as with whom to associate in terms of the constitutional right. Government interference with free association is a terrible idea. What's the point of free association if the government gets to say those not a part of your organization to have an equal say in how you spend your money, what messaging you're going to have, and who will lead your organization. I bet Pepsi would love to be able to determine who sits on Coke's board. I also bet Germans would love to vote in US elections.

The blame for the mess we are in is 100% the fault of the voter and Americans' political preferences. For every problem identified, nearly everyone I talk to starts by first saying what the government should do. Americans want political intervention.

 
At 9/10/2012 2:00 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ken-

"At any time, anyone can start petitioning for whatever redress they want and make a list of their own. That "poorly structured list" is the one that appeals to the most voters, which is why they those topics form the list in the first place."

this is not really true. it's like being in prison. you are technically free not to join a gang, but failure to do so leaves your terrible vulnerable to and ineffective against those that have. i hear what you are saying, but this is a not a simple, uniderctional issue.

"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."

g. washington.

i think george hit the nail on the head here. i am all for free association and as i said previously, banning political parties would be the greater evil, but that does not make political parties a good, just the preferred arm of a hobson's choice.

like prison gangs, they dominate the drive for resources and once established at the top of the ecosystem are nearly impossible to replace. there is too much money and patronage.

even when principled folks manage to get elected, they wind up marginalized and ineffective. this slants voter choice. there's a real chicken and egg issue here.

you have strange notions of free association. running for office is not the same as starting a chess club. if suffrage is to be universal, then let us make it universal. how else may we prevent out politics from being hijacked in perpetuity by these 2 cabals?

lots of things are different when you run for office.

i get the argument about people needing to be allowed to congregate with whom the choose for such legal purposes are they desire, but elections are different. they are run with public money. you should not get to use public money and keep out the public.

why ought i pay for a primary from which i am excluded?

 
At 9/10/2012 2:09 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Morganovich,

"..over and over you wind up with the choice between the big government tax and spend fascist and the bible bashing social reactionary. "

I disagree with that. Sometimes it's true, but I can think of numerous cases where it isn't true. Or maybe we have different definitions of "bible bashing social reactionary." One example, the 2006 gubernatorial race between maybe the worst Governor in hitory, Democrat Jennifer Granholm, and Republican Dick DeVos, a successful businessman who preached the free-market. The voters had a clear choice and still went with the wretched Granholm because she offered something-for-nothing.

Agree with Ken on this, the voters want a free lunch even though it poisons them in the long run.

 
At 9/10/2012 2:23 PM, Blogger Ken said...

morgan,

why ought i pay for a primary from which i am excluded?

Because primaries are for private political groups. You are confusing the general election with primaries. The general election is to decide who holds office. Primaries are only to decide what person a party is going to back financially.

They are fundamentally different and serve different purposes.

And as I tried to hint at, I don't think you really believe what you're saying. US policy affects many countries more than their own or at least as much. Since the US finances Europe's military (allowing European to divert more resources into "social" programs), US elections directly impact Europe in the same way as your prison gang analogy. Do you really want Europeans involved in elections, primary or otherwise? If not, why not? US policies directly impact foreigners the same way republican primaries impact non-republicans.

 
At 9/10/2012 2:27 PM, Blogger Ken said...

morgan,

even when principled folks manage to get elected

I think most politicians are principled. I think W was principled. I think Obama is principled. I think Pelosi is principled. I think Romney is principled. These people simply rely on other principles than me. I won't call someone else unprincipled because they don't share my values.

Study after study shows that money follows votes, not the other way around.

 
At 9/10/2012 2:28 PM, Blogger Ken said...

morgan,

However, I do agree that political parties should not be getting public funding.

 
At 9/10/2012 2:28 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: primaries - I never really thought too much about why they exist....

I'd go along with simple elections that require more than 50% to win.

re: recalls - and referenda...

I'd choose them over the money-infested political process or at least as a counter balance to it.

I take elections over single politicians or worse party politics which now infest our process.

I do not agree with much of the Tea Party but I like the way they have become involved in the primary process...especially when they choose some wacko who then loses in the main election.

:-)

 
At 9/10/2012 2:30 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " I won't call someone else unprincipled because they don't share my values. "

agree.

 
At 9/10/2012 2:32 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ken-

no, i do not think i am.

if you want to have a truly PRIVATE primary and use only private funds and private resources, well, that is your right to free association.

but if you use government employees, government resources (like polling places, free post office service for ballots, etc), and government money, well, then i am paying and you cannot justly exclude me.

freedom of association does not include freedom to take my money to do so.

if parties want to be treated as private groups, then let them be funded ONLY as private groups and not avail themselves of public resources, tax breaks, etc.

then they can do as they like.

i do not see where you are going with the european argument. why does getting free stuff enfranchise you? i do not see the logic there. getting free stuff is nothing like paying in.

 
At 9/10/2012 2:42 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ken-

"
I think most politicians are principled. I think W was principled. I think Obama is principled. I think Pelosi is principled. I think Romney is principled. These people simply rely on other principles than me. I won't call someone else unprincipled because they don't share my values. "

here, i must disagree with you.

i know pelosi personally. she is NOT principled. she is a nasty machine politician, and a thorough hypocrite who preaches populism and uses her position to fill her own pockets and those of her husband.

BO is not principled either, or at least not an adherent to many principles i find valid. (like the rule of law) at one point, i might have called bush jr principled, but he sold out too many of the ones he espoused when the financial crisis hit.

the jury is out on mittens. i'm not sure there.

perhaps i ought to have used a different term than principled.

perhaps i ought to have said "committed to government based upon the rights of the individual".

but i think we are starting to get away from the main point here. if you abandon your own views for the party support you need to get elected, that strikes me as unprincipled. (unless we're going to call machievelli principled)

"Study after study shows that money follows votes, not the other way around."

can you show me some of these studies. i have some real doubts about that. i sure see political parties flooding close elections with money when the results might matter to to balance of power in congress.

paul-

i did not say "in every case". there are sometimes good choices. but more often than not, not really. who was the last presidential candidate you were actually excited to vote for who had even the remotest chance of winning?

 
At 9/10/2012 2:54 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Sometimes, I don't vote.

If I don;t like either candidate, I'll just take a ballot, walk into the booth, count to 10, shout "democracy!" then run to my car.

 
At 9/10/2012 2:59 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Jon, have you ever got into the voting booth and realized that although you knew the folks in one context, that you had no idea about the folks in some lesser known contests?

 
At 9/10/2012 2:59 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Sometimes, I don't vote.

If I don;t like either candidate, I'll just take a ballot, walk into the booth, count to 10, shout "democracy!" then run to my car."

how's that working out for you?

 
At 9/10/2012 3:03 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"I think most politicians are principled."

I'd have to agree with Morganovich on this one....having been involved in media for a couple decades (two jobs being in state caps) I can count the people (of both parties) that didn't disgust me on 2 fingers.

I know it's anecdotal, but in this case, anecdotal is better than purely guessing.

Funny thing, after having drinks and playing dominos with a governor from some southern islands in the Bahamas... those guys may be over-regulating, semi-banana republic-types, but I found him to be the most honest of all I'd met!

 
At 9/10/2012 3:14 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Jon, have you ever got into the voting booth and realized that although you knew the folks in one context, that you had no idea about the folks in some lesser known contests?

Oh sure. Happens all the time, especially my first election when I moved to NH.

how's that working out for you?

Great! The looks I get from the staff at the nursing home where the balloting is are fantastic.

90% of what I do in public is designed to elicit a reaction out of people, so I can then laugh at them.

 
At 9/10/2012 3:19 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"I won't call someone else unprincipled because they don't share my values. "

nor will i.

i reserve such a descriptor for folks who deliberately say one thing and do another, who make contradictory promises to different groups, who sell their votes and positions for campaign cash, who submit to party doctrine for personal benefit instead of belief, who knowingly lie about opponents, and folks who seem to hold no beliefs of their own (apart from their right to govern) but rather rely upon focus groups and polls to tell them what to think. i suppose you could argue that that last one would be a principled belief in direct democracy, but i suspect that is rarely the case.

there is an argument that having the goal of a politician be to stay in office is effective and just as it means serving his constituents in the same way that a company stays in business only by making customers happy, but i think this is a dangerously flawed analogy.

customers can shop at amazon or not as they choose. if 70% of the voter vote to get free goodies from the other 30%, that is not voluntary. it will win lots of vote though. 70% is far more of the vote than most politicians get. but would we really feel good about such nepotism?

 
At 9/10/2012 3:21 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

jon-

i suggest guerrilla puppet theater.

always a crowd pleaser.

 
At 9/10/2012 5:32 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"there is blame for both sides. sure, the voters are making the choices, but only from a poorly structured list"...

Well morganovich I do believe you have a point but aren't the voters actually responsible for the lists too?

Ignoring the processes that make up the lists as mundane and boring as they might be is still in a sense casting for vote for the paltry results of the processes, right?

 
At 9/10/2012 5:56 PM, Blogger Paul said...

morganovich,

"who was the last presidential candidate you were actually excited to vote for who had even the remotest chance of winning?"

True enough at the presidential level, but the future GOP bench is deep.

Take a look at the current matchup. Romney is not exactly inspiring, but he was a highly successful businessman with a storied reputation for turning around failing enterprises. Obama was a community organizer parasite with a disastrous record in the Oval Office. This shouldn't even be close, but I think John Hinderaker is on to something when he says, "With over 100 million Americans receiving federal welfare benefits, millions more going on Social Security disability, and many millions on top of that living on entitlement programs–not to mention enormous numbers of public employees–we may have gotten to the point where the government economy is more important, in the short term, than the real economy. My father, the least cynical of men, used to quote a political philosopher to the effect that democracy will work until people figure out they can vote themselves money."



 
At 9/10/2012 9:08 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon:

"I understand the "trust" thing. I just wonder if voters sometimes can become blind and just vote a straight party ticket. I think term limits may help here"

My brother-in-law, as did his father before him, votes a straight Democrat ticket.

It must be nice not to have to think. Despite that, he complains constantly about those he has helped elect. Go figure.

The trouble with term limits, and I am in favor of them, is that they would seem to dis-incentivise those who really might do a good job. Political office becomes a temporary sabbatical - a chance to make good business connections and advance one's career.

Scoundrels need not impress voters during their last term.

Actually there seems to be no way to safely give someone the power to act in your interest unless they can lose your business to a competitor at any time.

 
At 9/10/2012 9:14 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I understand the logic but I think if someone is elected or electable then that person should serve and it we had recall ability, we could dump them anytime they lost our trust."

Recall is almost always available as a remedy. It's a process similar to electing someone. Just ask Gray Davis and Scott Walker about the recall process. It's no longer possible to ask Richard Nixon, so I didn't mention him.

 
At 9/10/2012 9:18 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon

"also wonder if we shouldn't go back to the old ways when the VP was the runner up in the political race as opposed to being selected by the candidate himself. I wonder what would have happened if McCain was VP now under an Obama presidency. Just a thought."

That would certainly help balance the power of political parties, wouldn't it? It would also seem like a good idea to go back to the old way of electing Senators to help balance state/federal power as the Founders intended..

 
At 9/10/2012 9:22 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich:

[Wisconson] "it's just a dirty political tactic and makes every leader into a poll obsessed pork shoveler instead of being principled and makes any kind of long term "eat your veggies" planning far more difficult."

That was just the children rebelling against being told by Walker to "Eat your veggies."

 
At 9/10/2012 9:34 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

It would also seem like a good idea to go back to the old way of electing Senators to help balance state/federal power as the Founders intended..

You mean having the state's legislatures elect them?

 
At 9/10/2012 10:14 PM, Blogger Ken said...


morgan,

who was the last presidential candidate you were actually excited to vote for who had even the remotest chance of winning?

Why do you take this as evidence of how misrepresented voters are by politicians, rather than the far more true fact that you are an extremist politically when compared to the rest of Americans? I am not excited about any candidate. Ron Paul is the closest I can think of, but I can't say he made me excited about politics or the office of the president. However, I also recognize that I am a political extremist.

The average American wants social security, medicare, medicaid, the minimum wage, closed boarders, legalized abortion, an FDA, a DHS, a huge military, etc. If you picked a random voter, chances are, he would support all of these. I don't support any of them. In fact, I support eliminating at least 70% of the federal government.

At the same time, I don't try to kid myself about how the average American isn't properly represented by politicians. I properly recognize what a political outlier I am. Reading much of what you've written over the years here and at the Cafe, you sound like as much of an extremist as me.

 
At 9/11/2012 1:37 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"90% of what I do in public is designed to elicit a reaction out of people, so I can then laugh at them. "

I *knew* that was you in the "victory dance" video.

 
At 9/11/2012 1:40 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You mean having the state's legislatures elect them?"

Yes. They originally represented the states, not the people at large. There is already another legislative body that does that.

 
At 9/11/2012 8:19 AM, Blogger Moe said...

Don't the costs involved in running a campaighn these days automatically eliminate a good portion of the potential candidates?

 
At 9/11/2012 8:22 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

IF the Koch boys like you, you are golden! Otherwise, you better hope there are a lot of ordinary schmucks willing to donate .....


 
At 9/11/2012 8:40 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Voters are persuaded by the public intellectuals that fill the airways and pretend to be neutral parties when they depend on the state for their jobs and lifestyle. That said, I agree with Ken. They are to blame and they deserve what they get. Fortunately, their bad judgment still allows some of us to make a good living without siding with the evil statists.

 
At 9/11/2012 9:50 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"IF the Koch boys like you, you are golden! Otherwise, you better hope there are a lot of ordinary schmucks willing to donate"...

Quit wetting your panties over the Koch brothers larry g, its at best unmanly and unseemly...

 
At 9/11/2012 10:09 AM, Blogger Moe said...

Yes, Larry G, don't be concerned when billionaires start sniffing around our politicians - they have no hidden agenda - just looking for places to invest some cash.

 
At 9/11/2012 10:10 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

Moe.. still trying to dry out my panties!

:-)

 
At 9/11/2012 10:38 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"
Why do you take this as evidence of how misrepresented voters are by politicians, rather than the far more true fact that you are an extremist politically when compared to the rest of Americans?"

because nearly everyone i know feels the same way regardless of political view.

there are an enormous number of americans who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal or at least fairly centrist on most. they never feel like they have anyone worth voting for.

in fact, i think "wow, look at these terrible choices" seems to be the single most common complaint about the american presidential election.

i think this is a far more common complaint that you suspect.

r paul has never had any shot at winning. my question was about a candidate that actually might be able to become president.

 
At 9/11/2012 10:41 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

paul-

i think the quote you may be referencing is this one from de toqueville (which is a favorite of mine)

A democracy cannot survive as a permanent form of government. It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority (who vote) will vote for those candidates promising the greatest benefits from the public purse, with the result that a democracy will always collapse from loose fiscal policies, always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world's greatest democratic nations has been 200 years.

Each has been through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith.
From faith to great courage.
From courage to liberty.
From liberty to abundance.
From abundance to complacency.
From complacency to selfishness.
From selfishness to apathy.
From apathy to dependency.
And from dependency back again into bondage.

if the cycle he posits is true, i really do not like the look s of where we currently sit.

 
At 9/11/2012 10:44 AM, Blogger juandos said...

" just looking for places to invest some cash"...

Yeah moe just ask George Soros...

Or moe you could ask Obama's favorite capitalist, Warren Buffett...

 
At 9/11/2012 10:48 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury"

then we have Maggie Thatcher:

" "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money [to spend]."

I'm not going to say we don't have some folks who like govt handouts but when virtually 1/2 the country supports a party that claims we need to cut spending and lower taxes, cut entitlements, etc - we certainly don't have the whole country waiting for govt handouts.

I question the actual intent of the GOP to actually produce a balanced budget without tax revenues somewhat equivalent to what we had under Reagan and Clinton - at least until we buy down the 16 trillion debt but to my original point,

it feel like there is a battle going on between those who are concerned about fiscal solvency and those who are unconcerned and so far it's more like 50-50 than 80-20...etc

 
At 9/11/2012 10:55 AM, Blogger Moe said...

Jaundos - sorry I failed to confirm your bias.

Candidates are just not that important anymore – anyone with half an ounce of sense can figure this one out based upon who we have had to select from the past few elections . Hell, one party is still trying to “humanize” their candidate…while the other is out trying to put lipstick on a pig and “hope” (it’s their turn now)that the publics always short memories will fail us yet again.

 
At 9/11/2012 11:11 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I was in a board meeting last night and we were discussing surveying our students (this is the board of my Alma mater) on what career events they like and what they don't. Well, someone brought up a brilliant point. With surveys, you only get the opinion of those who respond. Then, based on those responses, you change your program. Well, the problem is, then, you are gearing your program towards what a group wants as opposed to what is best for the community as a whole.

This got me to thinking. A democratic election is basically a survey writ large. Because of that, we end up getting national policies that are damaging to the group as a whole, but beneficial to a small group of voters.

I wonder if this is a fundamental flaw of any survey based system.

By the way, I am not making an argument against democracy. Just pointing out a (potential) flaw.

 
At 9/11/2012 11:20 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

JM, Public Choice Theory. 'Nuff said.

 
At 9/11/2012 11:21 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

Jon - if someone can't get themselves to the polls, I'm not sure I want to find out what they want.

The purpose of representative government is to get your views represented and that's up to you.

the idea of what is "best" for a group - that the folks who don't participate know what is really "best" ....????

besides - if you stop 100 people or 1000 on the street and ask them what they think about things that are in the public eye - most folks have opinions... some very strong.

but in a representative govt - what is "best" is determined by those who show up to vote for what is "best" for them.

those who don't show up ???

 
At 9/11/2012 11:36 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

morgan's post from de Toqueville:

"The average age of the world's greatest democratic nations has been 200 years.

Each has been through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith.
From faith to great courage.
From courage to liberty.
From liberty to abundance.
From abundance to complacency.
From complacency to selfishness.
From selfishness to apathy.
From apathy to dependency.
And from dependency back again into bondage."


Looks like we might be in the at the final throes as entitlements supasseses 50% of U.S. household.

Interesting that de Toqueville came to study the progressive prisons in the U.S.

morgan, thank you very much.

 
At 9/11/2012 11:39 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"This got me to thinking. A democratic election is basically a survey writ large. Because of that, we end up getting national policies that are damaging to the group as a whole, but beneficial to a small group of voters."

this is greatly exacerbated by an electoral college. swing states get showered with goodies and sure things get ignored.

have you read caplan's "the myth of the rational voter"?

very much worth it.

the fact is that democracies do not make very good decisions, particularly fiscal ones. there are an enormous number of flaws in the model and the process.

it may be the least bad system of which we know, but it's still really, really bad and deeply shortsighted and irresponsible.

it's a strong argument for small government. liberty comes from rights, not democracy. we need to give rights irrevocable primacy precisely to keep democracy in check and the individual safe from the tyranny of the majority. it's the only way i can see to avoid the downward spiral de toqueville so presciently posited.

this requires a strong and diligent court as guardian of rights. alas, that went out the window in the 30's and a great deal of damage has been done as a result.

talking about what americans want is irrelevant to notions of justice. who doesn't want something for nothing? poll "who wants free beer?" and you'll always get lots of takers.

it is precisely this fact that a good constitution must defend against if it is to maintain the liberty of the individual. democracy is simply to effective a method for a majority to pick the pocket of a minority to allow to run unfettered.

imagine voting on who pays for dinner. imagine the same 3 guys always voting that you pay. would that seem like a just system? would it seem fair? what if you could not stop having these dinners, even if you wanted to?

 
At 9/11/2012 11:44 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"it feel like there is a battle going on between those who are concerned about fiscal solvency and those who are unconcerned and so far it's more like 50-50 than 80-20...etc"

That's rich coming from an Obama voter.

 
At 9/11/2012 11:56 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Morganovich,

"..this requires a strong and diligent court as guardian of rights. alas, that went out the window in the 30's and a great deal of damage has been done as a result"


This is right-on. As Jefferson put it, "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."

FDR smashed this system that would have kept in check the government breakdown toqueville outlined.

 
At 9/11/2012 12:06 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" there are an enormous number of flaws in the model and the process."

let's get some context

name the best 3 systems.

or is the thinking here that any representative govt is subject to the same flaws and there are no really good ones?

I'm on board with the identified flaws but where I part company is that I'm looking for better - not condemnation of any/all.

The American system is (perhaps wrongly) considered somethin akin to a gold standard of Democracy.

According to folks in CD - better than all those "socialist" countries ....that have Universal Health care.

So how about listing out a few countries that do it better than the US to prove that this is simply not a rant against any/all elected governance?

sometimes I get the impression that those in the minority will never be satisfied until the whole thing blows up.

:-)

 
At 9/11/2012 12:09 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"name the best 3 systems."

Only need to name one: the one we had before the progressives(people you vote for) destroyed it.

 
At 9/11/2012 12:16 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " Only need to name one: the one we had before the progressives(people you vote for) destroyed it. "

ha ha ha

you're living in the past boy and you're non-responsive to the issue.

so I'll make it even easier for you.

name the systems in the world that are better than the US - RIGHT NOW!

here's your chance to prove that you're not just all hate and venom and actually have some semblance of an objective view.



 
At 9/11/2012 12:31 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Larry-

Does it have to be a country, or can it be a semi-sovereign state, like one of the 50 States or a territory?

 
At 9/11/2012 1:47 PM, Blogger Paul said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/11/2012 1:49 PM, Blogger Paul said...

you're living in the past boy and you're non-responsive to the issue."

I answered your moronic question. There was once a system that worked fabulously until bottom feeders like you destroyed it.

"...and actually have some semblance of an objective view."

Oh yeah, "objective" like Larry the Liberal. Nobody here buys your bullshit.

 
At 9/11/2012 2:00 PM, Blogger Ken said...

morgan,

because nearly everyone i know feels the same way regardless of political view.

Seriously? Pauline Kael was pretty shocked that Nixon won in 1972, despite knowing only one person who voted for him. Living in an out of touch bubble is no way to go through life.

 
At 9/11/2012 4:52 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Jon - ANY place that we think is better than the US.

My view is that as bad as we are (and I agree we're pretty bad) that we're still better than most of the world.

Paul is going back to FDR. I doubt that Paul was alive when FDR was doing his thing. How is he so sure things were better before FDR?

but I digress... better places that the US.... let's list them.

 
At 9/11/2012 5:25 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I have to agree with you, Larry. As much as I complain about things that our government does/doesn't do, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

 
At 9/11/2012 5:27 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Hey Jon.. maybe I should ask for a list of WORST Places, eh?

:-)

Surely... there must be some countries in the world that look like this country did before Franklin Roosevelt did his thing....

you'd think those countries COULD be on the short list of "better" countries, eh?

 
At 9/11/2012 5:37 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

What I am thinking, Larry, is maybe the question is being wrongly focused. Those of us who grew up here or have strong roots here have a strong "hometown bias." We all love our country and wouldn't want to go anywhere else unless out of duress.

Maybe, instead of comparing countries, let's compare states? There is somewhat less cultural differences between states as there are countries. Movement among them is easier then moving between countries. There are less barriers (like language).

What do you think?

 
At 9/11/2012 5:41 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: comparing states. I'm game but I think the critics have issues with the way the US is operated, i.e. the Country we had before Roosevelt.

I think it has more to do with the size and scope of the Fed Govt and it's expansion into areas like EPA and OSHA , Central Bank, etc that is at issue but maybe not.

 
At 9/11/2012 6:18 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

have a strong "hometown bias."

As the Russian saying goes "every frog thinks his swamp is the best".

We all love our country and wouldn't want to go anywhere else unless out of duress.

Yet, people have for centuries left their countries to come here - and at a time when that mean never seeing their homeland (to which they were at least as tied) and stepping out into the great unknown (without the internet, it was pretty hard to get a read on the New World for a Soviet refuge or a 19th century Italian). Since they could wander, humans have wandered around the world looking for better opportunity and I don't expect human nature to change.

 
At 9/11/2012 6:24 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

This nonsense about "best country" and "worst country" is pure crap.

People will make decisions to move or to stay by the opportunities available to them individually. It just so happens that the United States was the most free country which resulted in the most opportunity all around. That is no longer the case. As government grows, the bureaucracies feed off the population like leeches. And that's only going to get worse because the United States is very large and very powerful. It'll do it because it can.

Be warned.

 
At 9/11/2012 6:29 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

it only makes good sense though if you think this country has gone in to the toilet that there are better alternatives.

I think context is important or else it just becomes an anti-govt rant.

If we want better. If we think there is better. then we need to show it.

 
At 9/11/2012 7:06 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Candidates are just not that important anymore – anyone with half an ounce of sense can figure this one out based upon who we have had to select from the past few elections . Hell, one party is still trying to “humanize” their candidate"...

Absolute rubbish!

What planet do you live moe?

 
At 9/11/2012 7:16 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

The thing you can't seem to wrap your mind around, Larry, is that nobody needs to prove anything to you. They will just pick up and go or not come here without telling you a thing.

 
At 9/11/2012 7:17 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I wonder if this is a fundamental flaw of any survey based system"...

Nope!

jm this country was set up as a participatory democracy...

Obviously a vote could be considered a survey...

 
At 9/11/2012 7:19 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Methinks, I'm not asking for proof.

I'm asking for something more than just anti-govt ranting....

some objective justification for a view.

just hammering on the US over and over in a world where the US is among the best just seems unproductive and it goes nowhere in an elected governance.

the folks who do this marginalize themselves and put themselves into a permanent minority.

 
At 9/11/2012 7:39 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Larry, you just don't get it, do you?

Every decision is highly individual. People aren't going to waste time explaining anything to anybody. They're just going to act.

Pay attention. I already told you in my previous post. If that spells "anti-government rant" to you, then you probably won't understand any explanation.

The only thing I know for sure is that when the brain drain starts, it'll happen in ways that politicians won't have predicted.

 
At 9/11/2012 7:43 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Larry, you just don't get it, do you?"

sure we do.

you fail to make the case to convince voters that changes need to be made or else we fail.

so you just rant that we are doomed no matter what.

but I'm still not clear where all the brains will go if other countries are socialist as hell, more broke than us and themselves doomed to fail before we do...

it's nutty.

 
At 9/11/2012 7:55 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

you fail to make the case to convince voters that changes need to be made or else we fail.

LOL! Voters don't care. They want candy to rain from heavaen. They don't care how this happens.

so you just rant that we are doomed no matter what.

I am not doomed. I am very far from doomed and I no longer care what happens to everyone else. There isn't enough time or energy in the world to waste on the self-defeating behaviours of strangers.

but I'm still not clear where all the brains will go

You are not required to be clear. Only they need to be clear.

 
At 9/11/2012 8:04 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" LOL! Voters don't care. They want candy to rain from heavaen. They don't care how this happens."

sure looks like a tight election to me and about 1/2 of them seem to be upset about govt spending and debt.

I agree more with Morg and Jon that our system does not produce real choices - that the two parties are more loyal to their respective parties than to voters.

but as bad as it is - most everyone seems to believe that it's worse in Europe and Asia... so perhaps your attitude of every man(women) for themselves is the appropriate strategy, eh?

I don't think the islands like St Kitts are much better.

Most of them have horrendous cost of living - usually no local resources to produce electricity or fuel and everything connected to electricity/fuel is also ungodly expensive.

http://www.xpatulator.com/cost-of-living-review/Saint-Kitts-and-Nevis-Basseterre_167.cfm

The only way it "works" to flee to another country is if you have wealth to take with you, right?

 
At 9/11/2012 8:27 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Of course they're upset, Lar. They're upset and they still want unlimited healthcare for pennies, Social Security in retirement, hip replacements on medicare and subsidies for their businesses.

Do you see anyone with signs saying they're willing to give up all those freebies in exchange for a lower national debt? Me neither.

Have you ever heard of revealed preferences? You have to stop looking at what people say and look at what they do and what they do is mostly vote for candidates who promise them stuff stolen from someone else.

that the two parties are more loyal to their respective parties than to voters.

I agree with Judge Napolitano: there is one political party with two wings. It's not right against left. Its them against us. The right and left wing of the government party pretty much have exactly the same incentives - to consolidate power in their paws so they can sell it to rich cronies. What good is power if you can't monetize it, eh? Marriage made in heaven.


but as bad as it is - most everyone seems to believe that it's worse in Europe and Asia.

A.) Most people don't interest me.
b.) There is another dimension you aren't seeing and I'm not showing to you.

so perhaps your attitude of every man(women) for themselves is the appropriate strategy, eh?

Is there any other way to make decisions? Sure, we cooperate with our fellow human beings, but we each make the decision that is best for us.

I don't think the islands like St Kitts are much better.

Then don't move there.


Most of them have horrendous cost of living - usually no local resources to produce electricity or fuel and everything connected to electricity/fuel is also ungodly expensive.

Who cares? Only the most productive will leave and those people will save far more in taxes that will no longer be extorted from them by the government mafia than they will spend on electricity - and staff and security besides.

The only way it "works" to flee to another country is if you have wealth to take with you, right?

Or if you're incredibly good at making a lot of money.

 
At 9/11/2012 10:11 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Each has been through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith.
From faith to great courage.
From courage to liberty.
From liberty to abundance.
From abundance to complacency.
From complacency to selfishness.
From selfishness to apathy.
From apathy to dependency.
And from dependency back again into bondage.

if the cycle he posits is true, i really do not like the look s of where we currently sit.


Perhaps not for the nation. But from a personal perspective, you may never get as good an opportunity to become as rich as easily.

 
At 9/13/2012 4:10 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon M:

"This got me to thinking. A democratic election is basically a survey writ large. Because of that, we end up getting national policies that are damaging to the group as a whole, but beneficial to a small group of voters.

I wonder if this is a fundamental flaw of any survey based system.
"

Bingo!

 
At 9/13/2012 4:18 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"imagine voting on who pays for dinner. imagine the same 3 guys always voting that you pay. would that seem like a just system? would it seem fair? what if you could not stop having these dinners, even if you wanted to?"

And only one restaurant!

That's exactly why all dinners should be voluntary, and there should be competition in restaurants.

 
At 9/13/2012 4:32 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Methinks

"Do you see anyone with signs saying they're willing to give up all those freebies in exchange for a lower national debt? Me neither. "

Over here! Look over here at my sign!

 
At 9/13/2012 4:39 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Paul is going back to FDR. I doubt that Paul was alive when FDR was doing his thing. How is he so sure things were better before FDR?"

Unlike you, Larry, Paul - and most other people who comment on blogs - can and do read. AND they understand what they read. So what others understand of history is based on what people who DID live in earlier times wrote about those times. It's a pretty good way to become informed about the past. Try it sometime.

 
At 9/13/2012 4:43 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Methinks: "Larry, you just don't get it, do you?"

Larry and mouse in pocket: "sure we do."

"you fail to make the case to convince voters that changes need to be made or else we fail.
"

QED

 

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