Saturday, August 28, 2004


I wrote some sour things on democracy the other day; and while I stand by them, I probably should clarify my position. I'm not saying that another form of government is superior to democracy. Democracy does provide more restraint upon governmental abuses of power than any other system: certainly the Bush administration, bad as it is, would be far worse if the Republicans didn't have to worry about elections. And other forms of government depend even more than democracy does upon the willingness of elites to act responsibly, a willingness with history shows can't be relied upon. The depressing conclusion seems to be that no form of government (except, perhaps, for direct democracy, which isn't workable for polities the size of modern states) can provide meaningful "self-rule," whatever that is; nor can any form of government be relied upon to choose the most capable leaders, or to act in the best interests of the governed. It's enough to make one a libertarian.

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