Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The nadir of the cycle?

Over at The Last Ditch, a British 'cousin' ponders things that have been on my mind as well:
It has been said that:
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing.
Could a reform of our democracy prevent that collapse? My own preference would be rather to scale down the state and prevent its re-expansion by an entrenched constitution permanently limiting its scope. We could then safely continue with 'one man, one vote' as, while it's a terrible way to choose a master, it's a perfectly adequate way to choose a servant. But whether you favour my approach, Moggsy's suggested electoral handicapping or some pipe dream of your own, how can any reform ever be achieved when the state payroll vote is now decisive?

Unless a truly charismatic leader emerges to explain patiently, relentlessly and - most of all - convincingly that we can't keep spending more than we earn, our model seems doomed to collapse. Every state's credit has a limit and its cheques will eventually bounce so that its dependents starve. Yes, a small state might then be built on the impoverished ruins of the old, but at what terrible human cost?
Indeed.   I'll say it again: one critical reform is to provide the franchise only to those who: a) pass a basic civics exam, demonstrating understanding of the fundamentals of responsible governance, and b) who are not on public assistance.  Any recreation "on the impoverished ruins of the old" that fails to incorporate such, will only guarantee a repeat of the cycle noted at the beginning...

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