But mostly, and mostly interesting to me, A is interested in trying to balance different power blocks within a city, or rather - since I don't think he has much useful advice to offer, other than "think about it" - he observes various different efforts. In the end, shorn of detail but retaining the bit that interests me, it comes down to trying to balance one-man-one-vote, and one-dollar-one-vote.
Nowadays we fetishise democracy and find it hard to believe that anything other than OMOV makes sense or can be justified, whilst living in a system that we know doesn't actually operate this way except on the crudest and most superficial level. People tend to denounce ODOV7 as an obvious evil, though without any obvious thought; and things done without thought are not always good. A, who is generally in favour of compromise and avoiding extremes, advocates a compromise between the systems; and I think that's about right4.
CIP is unhappy about me suggesting [giving] power to the rich. He doesn't use the G-word but I think it is implied. My reply on reflection is incomplete, because what I forgot to say there is that this is about recognising where power lies; not about shuffling it around, still less about "giving" it to people or entities. Having a political theory that doesn't match reality leads to much unproductive discourse.
From the quotable Constitution of Liberty (via Twatter):
Closely connected with this is the usual attitude of the conservative to democracy. I have made it clear earlier that I do not regard majority rule as an end but merely as a means, or perhaps even as the least evil of those forms of government from which we have to choose. But I believe that the conservatives deceive themselves when they blame the evils of our time on democracy. The chief evil is unlimited government, and nobody is qualified to wield unlimited power. The powers which modern democracy possesses would be even more intolerable in the hands of some small elite.
It is not democracy but unlimited government that is objectionable, and I do not see why the people should not learn to limit the scope of majority rule as well as that of any other form of government. At any rate, the advantages of democracy as a method of peaceful change and of political education seem to be so great compared with those of any other system that I can have no sympathy with the antidemocratic strain of conservatism. It is not who governs but what government is entitled to do that seems to me the essential problem.
1. For H, they are democracy, aristocracy and monarchy; being rule by all, some or one. A has these, plus their "bad" (or "perverted") versions for a total of six, where the difference is whether they are run for the common good, or the good of only a few. This is a typically A-type attempt at classification that probably means little in the real world.
2. The wiki article is poor.
3. As does the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
4. Foes of inequality will be delighted to know that he regards inequality as a source of division and revolution, and therefore wishes to minimise it. They may be less pleased that he doesn't regard it as bad in and of itself.
5. I was skimming by the time I got to book 7.
6. I now realise it's the bloke on the left in this picture. See-also here.
7. As should be clear from the preceding, and from the update, one-dollar-one-vote isn't a replacement for OMOV, but is to be understood as alongside it.
* Men spake from God being moved by the Holy Ghost / Every man in his own language.
* My Problem With the Wall by DON BOUDREAUX