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Scientists Say People Aren't Smart Enough For Democracy To Flourish

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-voted-for-who? dept.

Politics 1276

cold fjord writes "The inability of the incompetent to recognize their own limitations is a story that has been covered before on Slashdot. But, what happens when you apply that finding to politics? From the article: 'The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies. The research shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people's ideas. If people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments...democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they "effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders."'"

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Not smart Enough? (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247587)

Can somebody explain to me what they mean by "not smart enough"?

Re:Not smart Enough? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247593)

I would, but you are not smart enough to understand.

Re:Not smart Enough? (5, Insightful)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247951)

Maybe he is.

Being able to see your limitations- step back and say "I don't understand" is a much stronger sign of intelligence than thinking you know the answer if you don't.

Re:Not smart Enough? (5, Funny)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247599)

In this case, it means "everyone else". Like when people think about their driving skill -- everyone else sucks.

Re:Not smart Enough? (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247619)

Look in the mirror. Now picture depending on 200 million of them to pick a leader. Odds are he isn't going to be someone spectacular. Also, he has a big nose.

Re:Not smart Enough? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247623)

They mean "dumb as a brick."

Or, in the more familiar, modern saying "dumb as an American."

Re:Not smart Enough? (5, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247685)

Can somebody explain to me what they mean by "not smart enough"?

'They' don't read about a subject before making a comment, and instead expect some random individual of dubious agenda to do it for them.

Re:Not smart Enough? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247809)

Or he invested minimal effort on something he's barely interested in, knowing someone else will trudge through the material and give him the answers, leveraging the innate know-it-all characteristic of your average slashdotter to get results... and likely karma.

Clever enough, if you ask me.

Re:Not smart Enough? (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247697)

A better question is, why does anybody think Santorum or Obama, let alone a 3rd world dictator, is any smarter than anybody else? Most people manage most of the rest of their lives just fine, why should politics be any different?

Re:Not smart Enough? (4, Funny)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247701)

Can somebody explain to me what they mean by "not smart enough"?

As Bill Engvall might say, "Here's your sign."

Re:Not smart Enough? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247731)

You're not an elite. You see, you watch all these political programs who have so called "experts". In reality, they are just shills for their respective parties. When you don't vote for their candidate then you're just a stupid hillybilly fuck.

Easy (4, Interesting)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247737)

"incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people"

Not sure why it took "research" to understand this. I thought everyone knew this.

Re:Not smart Enough? (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247875)

Can somebody explain to me what they mean by "not smart enough"?

In this context, it means someone who is insufficiently skilled at smelling bullshit. If a plurality of voters were competent in this regard, we would have had different leadership at the national level for pretty much all of the past 100 years. The individuals doing the voting aren't nearly as much to blame as those doing the politicking though, since they basically search FOR the weakness of the populace and use it to their advantage (the prevalence of the term "class warfare" nicely sums up how absurd the discourse is at this point), instead of searching for the best possible good and then putting that in front of the voters.

At the meta level, it's back on the voters to not even realize that this is a problem, as I suspect most will react to this article with the phrase "fuck you for telling me I'm not smart!"

Since no one actually answered (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247877)

You got 7 responses and none of them actually answer the question. They mean specifically that people cannot identify experts in the area of economics and leadership when tested. That's a pretty crippling problem, and worth discussion, even if the headline doesn't identify with enough precision the real problem(irony?).

Re:Since no one actually answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247927)

So then this explains Obama.

Re:Not smart Enough? (4, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247961)

I'll take you seriously.

The Founding Fathers did an incredible initial job. The problem is that slowly corrupting forces withered away at those freedoms.

Take a deep breath:

"Average people are not smart enough to create a Darknet on Retroshare as Govt keeps banning more and more types of information sharing. Average people are not smart enough to actively log out of their accounts while Google gives them targeted ads in their email based on what they watched on Youtube. Politicians are not smart enough to vote against a bill labeled "Protect the Children From Internet Pornographers Act" because they're either dreading the instant Ad Hominem smeared in the papers (and indexed by Google remember?), or else they are already bought and want the powers for themselves."

Why do I need to add a subject? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247597)

"Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they 'effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders.''"

I would still say that's a plus.

Re:Why do I need to add a subject? (5, Insightful)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247711)

Yeah, well intelligence isn't the measure of all things. If given the choice, I would rather live under a kind-hearted, mentally disabled dictator than under a ruthless, intelligent one.

The more intelligent someone with a cruel heart is, the worse everyone else will be off.

Re:Why do I need to add a subject? (4, Insightful)

SomeKDEUser (1243392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247911)

But why do you think that you are better at distinguishing "kind hearted" from "cruel" people than you are at spotting which one is the idiot? And why do you think that the cruel option is necessarily better? It may well be that the dictator and his nation's interests are somewhat aligned, thus making the kind idiot a worse disaster that the cruel genius...

This aside, people are in fact pretty good at spotting leaders -- much, much better than at spotting intelligence. This makes sense, after all, we have evolved in environment where intelligence was no doubt a plus, but leadership meant life or death.

Re:Why do I need to add a subject? (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247931)

I was thinking the same thing. There are a lot more problems with non-elected officials than them potentially being below average intelligence. There's the whole, turn the military on the people, be completely out of touch with what the people want, not care what the people want,..., the list goes on and on.

Re:Why do I need to add a subject? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247831)

Not true, Bush got elected, twice!!

As Winston Churchill Said (5, Insightful)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247601)

"Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (-1, Troll)

darjen (879890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247675)

It's amusing how much people enjoy posting this quote. Although it's a nice little ditty, unfortunately Winston is quite incorrect.

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247767)

Brilliant counterargument sir!

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247783)

How about this one then:

"We are now in a period where there are mediocre men everywhere. People have opinions but no knowledge, and leaders are made in the image of the masses. Democracy is only tolerable because no other system is." --Dean Acheson

But democracy isn't tolerable either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247879)

So why keep trying?

Try something else.

If it's just as bad as everything else, then we can change it again.

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (4, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247889)

I like this one from Thoreau's Civil Disobedience:

"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247843)

A benevolent monarchy is the best form of government but people are too incompetent to recognize one and continually revolt in search of "rights".

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247937)

Summary of comment: "You're wrong!"

Who is modding this garbage up?

As Anonymous Coward Said (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247699)

Churchill only said what he said because he didn't live long enough to see the rise of modern Corporatocracy, which is the new worst form of government other than the ones who came before it, including democracy!

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (4, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247759)

Exactly right. What Democracy does is not to produce brilliant governments, but to avoid brilliantly bad governments. If you look at where famines occur in the world, they always occur in places where democracy either isn't available, or isn't working. The problem is that when you get above this level to more abstract risks, like global climate change or pollution, there's no feedback loop, so democracy fares more poorly.

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (5, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247797)

He also said that the best argument against democracy is a 15-minute conversation with the average voter.

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247827)

"...No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise..."

And that's where the quote falls apart today... Democracy! The magic panacea!
Meh. I'll take a benevolent dictatorship over this democracy crap any day of the week. (The trick, of course, is defining 'benevolent.')

Re:As Winston Churchill Said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247839)

I like it when people trot this quote out on technical forums, as if experimentation and new ideas aren't necessary for advancement.

Well ... darn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247607)

I guess it's not surprising but it's still the most depressing thing I'll read today.

Way to post a story that's 2700 years old. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247609)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato%27s_Republic

Re:Way to post a story that's 2700 years old. (2)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247933)

Except this is data driven and not "philosophy" from before we as a species even defined first order logic.

I guess they aint so darn good.. (2)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247611)

@ picking dictators either.

Democracy is 51% telling the other 49% what to do. (5, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247613)

I think a properly enforced constitutional republic really does beat democracy. It has some built in safeguards for this form of idiocy, unfortunately we've more or less proven we can vote and ignore our way around the safeguards.

Re:Democracy is 51% telling the other 49% what to (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247683)

The best quote I've heard is that true democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner (usually attributed to Ben Franklin).

Re:Democracy is 51% telling the other 49% what to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247833)

Democracy is 10 men and 9 women on an island.

Re:Democracy is 51% telling the other 49% what to (1)

hugetoon (766694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247883)

Here You assume 100% participation...

If only (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247887)

It usually is one interest group getting a strategic alliance with some other interest groups, thereby getting themselves a majority of votes. Now the interest groups that each individually represent a minority opinion can have their minority opinion pushed through because they have the backing up of other groups to do so. In practice, most political decisions made, have less than 40% of actual people supporting the decision and over 50% opposing it.

Re:Democracy is 51% telling the other 49% what to (2)

ozborn (161426) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247891)

I think that problem is pretty rare, the common situation is 1% of the population buying off the majority of representatives to push through legislation and tax breaks that serve their interest. Anyways, what percentage would you be happy with? Or do you really think that some "enlightened" individuals are really going to do a better job? My money is that they will take care of themselves first.

Re:Democracy is 51% telling the other 49% what to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247903)

"I think a properly enforced constitutional republic really does beat democracy."

Do you mean a democratic constitutional republic, or a non-democratic constitutional republic?

Democracy... (0)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247621)

Preventing the good from becoming the enemy of the perfect.

Also,

It works, Bitches!

Democracy: the averagest (1)

mozumder (178398) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247631)

It's basically the averagest of all possible governments.

The problem is half the population are below average, and they actually look up to the safety and comfort of the average.

If only voting was restricted to the top 1% of intellectuals. This will scare the shit out of dumb people, but that's their problem.

Re:Democracy: the averagest (2)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247663)

Instead of that why not just give the power to the top 1% of people based on finances. ...oh wait....

Re:Democracy: the averagest (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247669)

Top 1% by IQ or by merit?

Re:Democracy: the averagest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247837)

Do you honestly believe "the top 1% of intellectuals" will make better decisions than the fraction of eligible adults who choose to vote?
That may be the weirdest religious belief I've ever read.

Re:Democracy: the averagest (3, Informative)

hugetoon (766694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247917)

Technically this is called aristocracy

Actually... (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247641)

Actually, that's just for the choice of leaders.

IMHO the real advantage functioning democracies have are in the balances and checks on those leaders' powers. Because basically you're not better off with a genius leader, if he only uses that genius just to get more power for himself and suppress any possible threats to his rule. And those balances and checks tend to be the first to go in a dictatorship.

Smart enough isn't the problem (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247643)

Alexis de Tocqueville pretty much summed up the problem with democracy: "A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it."

That is one of the reasons why the founders of the United States wisely chose a republican form of government instead of a democracy (neither to be confused with the political parties we have in the USA today).

Re:Smart enough isn't the problem (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247693)

And that's working out so well for you at the moment...

Re:Smart enough isn't the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247791)

Ouch.

It's OK, China will save us. :-|

Re:Smart enough isn't the problem (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247819)

And that's working out so well for you at the moment...

It would be working better if not for the 17th amendment, but that's only straw that's been piled up on the Camel's already broken back.

Re:Smart enough isn't the problem (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247915)

Because we haven't modified the US government system in any way, shape, or form since it was first instituted, like through, say, direct election of Senators. No, definitely wouldn't do that, it might turn out that Senators who rely on popular opinion to get elected might spend most of their time pandering to their district's interests. Certainly, we would never set things up so that could happen, that was one of the things the republican (again, not the party) Senatorial system was set up to avoid!

Try Constitutional Republic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247655)

A constitutional republic, not democracy, that's part of the problem right there, disinformation straight from scientists.

Add in there the shit we get as news from the corporate fascist owned media. Yeah we don't know what the fuck to do anymore, can't protest, can't vote, can do shit but be listed as a terrorist.

You know what's coming next you lying motherfuckers.

So you see (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247657)

Evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

democracy sux (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247659)

Representative Republics FTW!

Obvious to anyone who's been paying attention (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247661)

Of course democratic elections produce mediocre leadership. You need a study for this? Remember, W was the guy people voted for because they wanted to drink a beer with him. Obama's basically the same guy but with different marketing. More debt, more wars, more bailouts, less freedom, just like W. And now there's Romney. Another guy who represents more of the same. But hey, it's putting a different face on the same crap!

Or to put it another way! (4, Funny)

tjstork (137384) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247667)

We just want more funding for our research... why can't people see how important it is!

In related news ... (1, Funny)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247677)

People tell scientists that they are not smart enough to understand the definition of "democracy".

Riiiight.... (1)

wedontneednobadges (856106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247681)

"Democracy" is not smart enough for people to flourish

Majority rule... (3, Insightful)

tommeke100 (755660) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247689)

...don't work in mental institutions.
Sometimes the smallest softest voice carries the grand biggest solutions.

NOFX - The Idiots are taking over

Smart guys (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247691)

I wonder which of the two candidates the people who did this study will vote for.

Contact's inherent flaw (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247695)

Democracy is the majority imposing its will on the minority. It is forced obedience, and it's inherently unjust.

Re:Contact's inherent flaw (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247959)

The needs of the many outway the needs of the few, or the one.

So... (1)

InfiniteBlaze (2564509) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247707)

are they making a case for eugenics or eliminating democracy?

BassAkwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247709)

In the laboratory Democracies do better than non Democracies. That's just sitting in front of your face. The thesis of the study is clear from the conclusion, and the thesis is wrong. The thesis seems to be saying that societies thrive because of good leadership. While this can be right, many times it is not. Societies thrive because because of a thriving culture in the population. People like to think that rulers drive the populace, but the reality is the populace and the leadership drive each other. In other words the themes that the populace and leadership drive each other in determine the overall direction, its goodness or badness. People always have been mediocre or just flat stupid. In the field of competing societies it's not a measure of which society is better than the other, it's a measure of who is the least stupid to determine who comes out on top.

And the answer is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247717)

And the answer is to let the scientists make the decision for us?

No thank-you.

The root issue is that there isn't the correct moral sense to make the right choice. Today the "right" thing to do is the one that gets the most votes. Being in the majority doesn't make you right.

Jdg 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

So what is the answer? A true moral center.

2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Re:And the answer is... (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247899)

Quoting a monotheism, the ultimate case of a dictatorship, totalitarianism, authoritarianism and despotism, is really quite an ironic way to make your point.

Democracy does more than that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247733)

It does a lot more than keep less than average intelligence leaders from being elected. It also keeps leaders accountable to the people. That's because if they started stuff like the leaders are doing in Syria right now, then they'd be elected out of office for sure, if not placed in jail.

Re:Democracy does more than that! (0)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247823)

Cos, yeah, if the US president said he was going to release people who were imprisoned in a foreign country by the previous president for 10+ years at the US's behest, abused, tortured, denied fair trial, etc. and then he never followed through on his promise - yeah, democracy would set him right.

Right?

Appeal to Majority (2)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247739)

Just because the majority says something is correct/true does not mean it actually is.

Whoo I'm gettin' logic in your politics!

Re:Appeal to Majority (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247941)

Religion is a good example there.

I don't know (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247765)

Sure there are dumb people voting, but who's better at manipulating dumb people than smart people?

Sarah Palin (0)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247779)

It explains the popularity of Sarah Palin. Well, other than all the men who just wanted to see her naked perhaps.

effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247781)

effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders

uh what? lower-than-average in what?

Being smart can't help "democracy" (2)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247787)

If the politicians have an agenda filled full of self interest, yet can lie to your face with out giving away anything, then there is nothing that a voter can do to better the system. You could vote people out based on previous actions, but the incoming politicians are just as likely to have their own agenda.

Yes I am being cynical, but I see very few politicians that don't have an obvious agenda based on self interest. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, "Those that want to be in control shouldn't be allowed to".

Voters want to be lied to (2)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247803)

In every election there are candidates who tells the voters they can have their cake and eat it to: tax cuts without spending cuts.

They used to argue that the tax cuts would stimulate the economy thus producing this magic, without any reference to the boundaries and degree of this effect. That didn't work and now most politicians don't even bother trying to explain the fact that their promises don't add it.

I may disagree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247811)

I find the assumption that democracy can't flourish preposterous. The author of the article assumes that in a real democracy, our current broken non-news/news sources would still be in tact. Currently the reason people can't make good judgements is because they've been provided idiocy by faux news sources (no I'm not using faux as in fox, though that is a big one). If you give people real information, not biased (or even made up in some cases), they will make a good decision; even being at a lower IQs.

Obviously I'm not taking into account the religious factor, which would sway that argument back to the author's side (I think we've all read the article[s] about religion correlating with lower IQ and higher activity in the "fear center" of the brain...); I'm just speaking in general.

no surprise (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247817)

The very first democracy, ancient Athens, quickly turned into an Evil Empire.

Sill, "democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others". An enlightened/benevolent monarch would be great, but there's no way to ensure the enlightenment and benevolence. Look what happened when Marcus Arelius made his son the next emperor. (And a million other examples.)

History Repeating Itself (5, Insightful)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247821)

Everything old is new again I see. Monarchies, theocracies, feudalism, etc. are based on the presumption that the "commoner" is incapable of ruling her/himself and that it is the holy privilege of a select few to rule.

Bullshit.

People are more educated, more connected, more aware of society on a large scale than ever before. Now is the time to have more democracy, not less. Eliminate the electoral college system so that voters outside of Iowa, California, and Florida get to decide national elections. Have more binding referendums and propositions so that people aren't stuck voting on which guy or gal in their town looks best in a suit but on actual issues that affect their lives.

Sure, voters don't research candidates and issues as much as we'd like and it would be great to have more scientists, engineers, and doctors running for office rather than lawyers and CEO's. That's idealism. To say that people simply aren't smart enough to govern themselves is elitist, bordering on fascist. I would rather be ruled by the collective will of a population with an 8th grade average literacy rate than the singular will of a man who happened to be born into the "right" family.

Re:History Repeating Itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247913)

Doctors running for office doesn't exactly work like you think it does ... Dr. John Fleming, a current US Representative (for my district, no less), famously confused The Onion with an actual news source.

I voted for the son of a CEO, who is actually far more intelligent than Dr. Fleming can ever hope to be.

good thing the US is a REPUBLIC (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247825)

majority does not rule here, it takes 2/3 and sometimes 3/4 of a house of congress to pass a law

there have always been issues between large and small states and rich urban states and poor agricultural/industrial ones. the US government is set up to work around this

Just going to leave this here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247829)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato%27s_five_regimes

What we need.... (2)

rayvd (155635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247851)

Is a ruling group of the intelligent, progressive elites to form a ruling body that makes the correct decisions for the rest of us.

Drop this direct or representative democracy stuff.

We could call the ruling body the politburo or something?

If we're not smart enough to govern ourselves (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247853)

What makes you think that our "leaders" are smart enough to govern everybody?

Democracy works if we knew the Truth! (2)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247859)

When the media tells us only what they want us to know, and candidates and politicians lie to us, it's no wonder democracy is failing. Too much dishonesty and fraud. Just look at the elections in Russia, it's all fixed. People aren't stupid, they are just being lied to.

Re:Democracy works if we knew the Truth! (1)

elgeeko.com (2472782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247963)

Thank God we live in a Republic. Then again the charter for that Republic is constantly getting stomped on.

Missing the point about Democracy (5, Insightful)

wolfguru (913659) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247863)

People seem to miss the point about Democracy, citing it as the best form of government. The actual definition, and the reason it was selected for the fledgling nation of the United States, is that is was the "least bad" form of government. Aristotle defined 3 types, and therefore 6 variants of government. The best, and the worst, are single person rule - a good, just and benevolent ruler can accomplish the most good as he has the fewest obstacles to enacting his decisions, a dictator or tyrant can do the most harm for the same reason. The secong "best" and second "worst" are rule by a small percentage of the population, as in an aristocracy - it is less efficient, both for good or bad, in that it requires getting concensus or at least a majority of the few to agree to enact a decision. The least good, and least bad, based on the effort needed to get anything enacted or done is rule my the majority of the people through voting/acclaimation/concensus, enacted through representatives. This is the hardest to enact a good policy, but also the hardest to get a bad policy enacted as well. The founding fathers determined that a government that could do the least to run people's lives based on the effort necessary to enact the laws and policies necessary would offer the greatest protection from the actions of that government in any negative way. They also apparently hoped and trusted that people would be intelligent enough to favor good policy when they heard it. Most interesting in the aristotle-defined definition of types of government is this ; the word we selected to define our chosen form is the one he used to define government by the people at its worst - A good "public" government was in his terms, a "Polity" - a bad one was a "Democracy"

Dun dun dun! Captain Obvious, to the rescue! (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247865)

..and precisely how much of my hard-earned tax dollars went into this blindingly obvious conclusion?

Who decides who is worthy to vote? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247885)

Who decides who is worthy to vote? History is littered with attempts by a superior elite to justify limiting rule by the masses. Eventually nepotism kicks in and you get a corrupt system that can only be torn down by force. Democracy, just like trial by jury, has plenty of knuckleheads making decisions. But it's still better than the alternatives.

Let's vote Bush in again for the lulz!!!!!!111 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247895)

Mod me up if u agree :)

Democracy is still superior... (3, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247901)

...because getting bad leaders is inevitable. It's an iron law of nature that the exact people you want kept away from power gravitate towards it. And it's an iron law of nature, that if or when people get fed up with bad leaders, they get rid of them, either with huge amounts of upheaval and bloodshed (e.g. the French and Bolshevik revolutions), or peacefully (representative democracy).

Simply put, the killer feature of representative democracy, is that it's easy and painless to kick a bad leader out of power without bloodshed and violence. Our corporate overlords insist upon it -- violent revolution is bad for business.

Prerequisite for voting? (3, Interesting)

bughunter (10093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247905)

And I was just reading the other day also about the rampant illiteracy and innumeracy in today's society.

It really makes me wonder if we shouldn't establish some sort of prerequisite for voting. Say a College Diploma or 4 years of military service. Two tracks.

Heinlein took all kind of shit for proposing something similar in Starship Troopers [wikipedia.org] , even being called a fascist. At the time, I didn't really appreciate the idea fully, either. But now I can see that if you had served in WWII, anything smacking of fascism would never have been voted for in the US.

Nowadays... not so much. This kind of enfranchisement prerequisite can't have a worse effect than handing down decisions like "unlimited political contributions are free speech that may not be abridged."

Breaking news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39247939)

Slashdot article summary shows awareness of previous related Slashdot article!

It can work (1)

subanark (937286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247943)

The problem with the current system is that is grossly corrupt compared to an ideal system. Politicians lie, they use "yellow journalism," and they leverage money directly or indirectly to push their agenda. If we had a system where an unbiased entity summarized the views and the qualifications of the candidates, and any speaking the candidates did were in a purely professional manner, without trying to appeal to the emotional side of people, we would have a system that works. Unfortunately with the current expectations in place, considering that such a system would work seems impossible. Maybe in 200 years from now, people will look back at our current system and be appalled by how governments were run.

Not reliant on "best" (2)

mveloso (325617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39247955)

Democracy doesn't rely on the "best", whatever that means. Democracy, as structured in the US, is designed in a way that one individual politician doesn't have an overabundance of power.

That has tended to prevent demagogues and has led to what has become a pretty successful society, if you compare it to societies past and present. Saying people aren't smart enough for a Democracy to flourish (or, as people have pointed out, a Republic as in the US) is prima facie incorrect. Intelligence is not a prerequisite for successful government.

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