After pointing out that democracy does not work — Professor Steve Hochstadt called for more of it — so, let's talk about heads being up a blind ass

© 2019 Peter Free


08 April 2019



"Nasty Pete is at it — again"


Y'all know how much I like to seize an example — lifted from the chaos that surrounds us — which nicely represents the human stupidity that is drowning us all.


Below is another such.



History professor Steve Hochstadt was addressing his perspective on "The Weakness of Democracy"


He said that:



A recent study shows that gradual autocratization has weakened democracies, in places as diverse as Hungary, Turkey and India.


By extending government control of media, restricting free association, and weakening official bodies which oversee elections, modern autocrats can undermine democracy without a sudden coup. The authors argue . . . that the world has been undergoing a third wave of autocratization covering 47 countries over the last 25 years, after the first two waves in the 1930s and in the 1960s and 1970s.


This is the context for the current failures of democracy in the United States (Trump) and Great Britain (Brexit).


What can explain these failures?


Corruption and voter suppression certainly play a role, at least in the US, but probably not a decisive one.


Voters were overwhelmingly free to choose. Why did so many make such bad choices?


I believe that conservative politicians in both countries used carefully chosen political tactics to appeal to widespread voter dissatisfaction.


Those tactics are fundamentally dishonest, in that they promised outcomes that were impossible (Brexit) or were not actually going to be pursued (better health care than Obamacare).


White voters made uncomfortable by the increasingly equal treatment of women and minorities were persuaded that it was possible and desirable to return to white male supremacy.


Voters made poor choices, even by their own professed desires.


Across the world, democracy is under attack from within.


[W]e need to fight against autocratization, at home and abroad.


© 2019 Steve Hochstadt, The Weakness of Democracy, History News Network (26 March 2019) (extracts)



Hochstadt's implied gist is that voters are ignorant and easily mislead


Evidently, "conservatives" manipulate them into voting against their own interests.


The cure for this, according to Professor Hochstadt?


Still more democracy of the stupid.



The moral? — How Professor Hochstadt's prescription (for more of the same) is going to work beats me


Premise — the world is massively filled with emotion-spewing fools.


It is difficult to see how a genuine democracy — necessarily built on a mandatory substrate of nitwits — is going to generate favorable conditions for the emergence of non-foolishness. Stupidity makes a poor platform from which to reliably sprout foresightful intelligence.


My historian's guess is that, in the long run, China's experiment with technocrat-directed capitalistic chaos is going to win out. The allegedly democratic rest of us are simply too air-headed, and too poorly self-controlled, to generate a societally attractive, non-totalitarian opposition.


And, contrary to Hochstadt, this is not conservatives' fault.


A Burkean-styled cautionary might even point out that the human rabble's shortcomings are exactly why an excess of democracy should be avoided.


All in all, I take Professor Hofstadt's circularly reasoned blurb as a fitting example of a supposedly educated head inadvertently being up a blind ass.


When critical reasoning is absent, where does hope cavort?