[ExI] Effectiveness of democracy as a result of selection bias

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 1 21:39:52 UTC 2009

--- On Tue, 6/30/09, Jeff Davis <jrd1415 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2009, 7:51 PM
> On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 9:46 PM,
> Rafal
> Smigrodzki<rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > ..., I really dislike the idea of random jerks
> usurping the right
> > to control my life as they collectively see fit. ...
> Indeed, this seems the problem.  Everybody gets to
> vote, and the
> losers have to suck it up.
> I agree with Rafal here.
> If a culture is nearly homogeneous, and the choices are
> only slightly
> differing shades of "the" dominant cultural theme, it's far
> easier for
> the losers to deal with the result, because their "loss" is
> likely
> quite small, and so, tolerable  In a diverse culture,
> however,
> particularly one where value differences are stark/polar,
> the
> "minority" group, ie the losers, are more likely to feel
> like enslaved
> victims.  This is a bad deal.  Unjust, unstable,
> and dangerous.  The
> world over we see post-imperial nation states with highly
> distinct
> sub-groups literally at war with one another.  Nation
> states generally
> "control" this by the time-tested application of an even
> greater level
> of violence.  This is neither right nor rational (is
> that redundant?).
> As if that weren't bad enough, political elites use
> cultural diversity
> as a political resource.  They cynically pit one group
> against another
> in order to achieve their own personal political
> advancement, with
> little real concern for the voters.
> With cultural diversity, democracy gets corrupted by the
> elite,
> becoming, for the voting masses, a form of
> self-betrayal.  I have at
> long last taken "democracy" down from its pedestal, and out
> of its
> shrine (I store the lawn mower there now) and put it over
> by the
> corner of the garage next to the rest of the junk waiting
> to be taken
> to the dump.  Occasionally I look at it and wonder if
> I should throw
> it out, fix it, or turn it in for a new model.  As I
> now live 6 mo in
> Canada and 6 mo in Baja, I guess you could say I've chosen
> the last.

Just one small point: I find the comments ironic.  Democracy works best when people basically think alike.  Well, yes, but that probably goes for any group.  If we all think alike, then there might be less disagreements.*  But will we all be better off?  I doubt it.



*  Of course, there's some evidence that the more closely people are in ideology, the more they will fight against each other.  See, for instance, _The Origins of Alliances_ by Stephen M. Walt.  Walt details how states that are closer together in ideology often are in the fiercest opposition.  One need only think of the rift between the Soviets and the Red Chinese, though Walt's case data are from the Middle East.


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