It’s Oligarchy, No Question

A friend posted this:

This is not a struggle between Left and Right.  It’s a struggle to decide whether we’re to live in a Democracy or an Oligarchy.  Which do you choose?

For most of us, it’s oligarchy.  No question.

If you don’t believe me, perform this simple exercise:

Picture in your mind’s eye an extended family — father, mother, grandparents, cousins, second-cousins twice removed, great-uncles, a whole passel of kids — all wearing MAGA hats.  They’re currently traveling to the 2020 voting booths in a caravan of rusted-out pickup trucks. They have a total of 47 teeth between them all and average two guns apiece, mostly on racks in the back window but a few in holsters.

Now, ask yourself this, and be honest:  Do you really truly want them to arrive in time to cast their vote?

If you answered “No”, congratulations.  You’re an Oligarchist.

If on the other hand you answered “Yes” — if you’ve ever been a passenger in such a convoy and believe I’ve done them an injustice: Would you give me a ride to the polls in November? Or would you pretend to, and just drop me off in the back woods somewhere with nothing but a knife?

You too might be an Oligarchist.

There’s nothing miraculously perfect about any decision just because it’s made by one person more than fifty percent of the population.  There’s no special virtue about it, particularly when you consider that how the questions are asked will drastically impact the results.  This was explained to us by none other than Sir Humphrey Appleby; I’ll paraphrase:

Imagine a lovely pollster asking you the following questions; you don’t want to look foolish, so you answer carefully:

  1. Are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?
  2. Are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?
  3. Do you think there’s a lack of discipline in our schools?
  4. Do you think young people would welcome authority and leadership in their lives?
  5. Would you be in favor of introducing compulsory national service programs?

Obviously, once you’ve answered “Yes” to the first four, you’d look awfully silly saying “No” to the fifth.  But if you look at it a different way…

  1. Are you worried about the danger of war?
  2. Are you worried about the spread of guns?
  3. Do you think there’s a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?
  4. Do you think it’s wrong to force people to take up arms against their will?
  5. Would you oppose introducing compulsory national service?

Again, after answering “Yes” to the first four, it’s hard to say “No” to the fifth.

Most polls and almost all referendum questions are posed in this fashion, though it’s not usually done quite so transparently.  Even the candidates selected for your choice for public office are carefully chosen such that there’s usually one obvious right answer and one obvious wrong one.  Advertising campaigns and news stories are crafted to align you with one camp or another.

And yet, despite the apparent duality of American politics, most of us actually agree when it comes to choosing specific solutions for our social problems.  We can trace the root cause of our differences not to arguments over matters of substance but instead to the intractability of our politicians and the extreme positions held by the political parties — particularly in election years.  Why else do the Democrats press for a $15 minimum wage and the Republicans refuse to pass any wage hike at all, when most of us will agree that no increase in 20 years is a very bad thing indeed — but that doubling the wage is probably a bit much in an already depressed area?

But that’s another article.

 


TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

There’s a reason your news is biased: It’s because you want it to be.

I know this because people still read the Times despite the paywall but the number of people willing to buy even one coffee on this site is pretty small. The number that share links is even smaller. We get what we pay for, people.

If you don’t like the CoffeeLink below, you might consider PayPal instead. Slightly more bang for your buck.

Buy Me A Coffee

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