When Democracy Runs Wild

09 November 2017

Do we have too much democratic politics in this country? This isn't one of those debates about whether the will of the masses needs to be constrained by elite or technocratic pressures. Rather, what are the consequences of living in a society in which your every action has a political connotation?

A new article by philosopher Robert Talisse in Aeon Magazine argues that, in the above sense, there is such a thing as too much democracy. In fact, Talisse comes up with a clever case for the position that democracy is a value that shouldn't be pursued too directly or aggressively.

Take a look: https://aeon.co/ideas/democracy-is-like-fun-you-cant-set-your-mind-to-having-it

Comments (3)

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Friday, November 10, 2017 -- 10:43 AM

I was going to re-visit the

I was going to re-visit the March, 2015 post that drew quite a lot of comment back then. I found no portal for additional comment, so figured I might do so here. All of John's concerns were valid, two years and what, eight months ago. At that time, many of us did not believe in what became the Trump phenomenon. Couldn't happen here. No way. No how. But alas, this is America. Now that we have what we have, perhaps an epiphany will emerge, and, if we are prudent, or lucky, or both, the Trump era will pass with minimal damage. As Ridley has written, it is better to be a rational optimist than an unfocused pessimist. Rough roads build character, what?

MJA's picture


Monday, November 13, 2017 -- 8:36 AM

Hi Harold,

Hi Harold,

My conundrum with Democracy is the thought that by electing others to rule over us do we not elect to give away and lose our own self control. Do we really need to be governed? Without rules and rulers would you, we, I, tip into complete chaos? I don't think I would. And if you think that government will keep us from total chaos, then what of all the wars, and self-destruction, including the demise of our own planet, nuclear armaments, and the governed bullets of any size has Government including democracy done for you? Have we been saved from ourselves by electing others to save us or rather have we elected others in the faith that we will be saved?

In gods and governments I have no faith.
Put that on a dollar bill!


Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Monday, November 13, 2017 -- 12:14 PM

Well, Michael, I imagine you

Well, Michael, I imagine you have read some of my comments on anarchy (in response to one or more PT posts on that topic). The trouble with representative democracy is that it is not particularly representative, We are doomed to vote for those whose expressed views most closely resemble what we think government should look like and whom we hope will look out for our interests. Sometimes this works. Sometimes not so much. The greater worry with no government has been aptly demonstrated through the ages of man. You and I might not subscribe to the chaos of anarchy. Millions of us might not. Therein lies the trouble: there are more millions whose idea of freedom is to subjugate us pacifists to their whim and absolute advantage. The better motto (which may have been attributed to Ben F.)was the one which was inscribed on perhaps the earliest US penny: Mind Your Own Business (Google it, if you are interested).

Finally, then, it comes down to whether or not the fittest survive. Those fittest ones will need guns, good intentions notwithstanding. And we all well know where that goes, Hmmmmmm? Peace, HGN.