Sunday, December 24, 2017
Long Live the Electoral College
I favor the Electoral College. Direct democracy was a failure in Athens; it is a failure in the US. The American people are easily manipulated by special interests and hardcore, tyrannical socialists like Bernie Sanders.
American politics has become a debate between two self-interested, elite interest groups: the Democratic Party, including academics; professional interests like psychologists, schoolteachers, and lawyers; and some investment banks; and the Republican Party, including economic special interests like pharmaceutical companies, natural resource interests, agribusiness, and some investment banks.
Direct democracy represents one or the other of the corrupt special interest constellations, so it has failed. Big government is incompatible with direct democracy. The delusion of direct democracy is one of the principle methods that the Democrats use to manipulate the public into imagining that the Democrats' corrupt special interests somehow represent the public,
The public has done much worse since the establishment of the current presidential primary system and the ending of the republican principle by the 16th, 17th, and 18th Amendments.
The founders saw the need for a republican form of government, one that combines majority and aristocratic rule. Overt aristocratic rule by the Senate lead to the best American statesmanship, a point that De Tocqueville explicitly observes in Democracy in America.
American workers fared much better before the Progressive era than they do today. There was more freedom; wages increased every year; savings rates were at 30%. The use of eminent domain to steal private property was comparatively rare. There was more income equality (less income inequality) under the republican system than under the Progressive and post-New Deal systems.
One of the safeguards the founders put in place was to limit the power of urban areas. Urban areas are prone to totalitarian, extremist impulses, and we witness that today with Mayor de Blasio's Red Guard-like lynching of history and his eagerness to smash statutes of Christopher Columbus and Theodore Roosevelt.
The states signed on to a Constitution (a) that was limited to delegated powers and (b) that weighted voting power to limit the authority of the totalitarian-tending masses in urban areas. One of the ways it did this was the Electoral College.
The principle of delegated powers was overthrown by authoritarian, urban elites (in the person of Hamilton and the party of the Federalists) almost as soon as the Constitution was passed; the principle in the Declaration that government exists by the consent of the governed was overturned in the Civil War; the republican principle was overturned by the Progressives in the 16th, 17th, 18th Amendments. All of these centralizing policies were mistakes, but only the 18th Amendment, Prohibition, was repealed.
The people of rural America would be fools to favor ending the Electoral College.