He offers two definitions of the democratic method, which is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions... in the "classical" case
...which realizes the common good by making the people itself decide issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out its will
and his alternate is:
...in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote.
The classical definition is of course the one that people feel allegiance to, will go to the barricades for, and so on. The alternate, we immeadiately see, is more realistic. If I now go and look at the wiki article I get Democracy... is a form of government in which the people ... to choose governing officials to [deliberate and decide legislation]... Cornerstones of democracy include freedom of assembly, association and speech, inclusiveness and equality, citizenship, consent of the governed, voting rights, freedom from unwarranted governmental deprivation of the right to life and liberty, and minority rights. Later, in the "theory" section, there is a somewhat confused discussion. Although wiki lists some "cornerstones" we should note that although these are largely preconditions for democracy, they have no unique connection to it: it is easy to imagine an autocracy that offered most of them.
That's mostly it for this post; I could analyse further but you take the point, I'm sure; and if you want further analysis, I've pointed you to the text. This is a good point to note that I don't believe in the Will of the People; per for example this. I will confess that you an re-write the "classical" defn above to get rid of some but not all of the WOTP bits2.
Update: and Brexit
I don't want to derail this with Brexit ranting, but I think it is interesting to consider Brexit in this context. The point being that "compete for votes" very often turns into the major political parties taking opposite stances upon issues-de-jour. Which, in turn, generally means that you-the-voter have a way of choosing between those issues. Admittedly, it is crude: you get one choice to represent all the choices; but when one issue is overwhelmingly important, it works. Which is why Brexit is anomalous: both Labour and The Tories are currently in favour of make-Brexit-work; the Lib Dems offer (arch) We’re consulting on our next steps laying out our approach to the UK’s relationship with the EU.
* "Don't Look Up" and the cinema of existential risk by Matthew Yglesias; or more generally ACX.
1. We are all aware that definitions, per Popper, need to be considered in practical rather than Platonic terms to have any use.
2. I can manage by making the people itself decide issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out (their) will(s), which erases "the common good" at the expense of losing any purpose; but can't quite erase the ghost of the WOTP. I ought to confess that when young and foolish I have used the phrase myself; if you care enough to press me I will bring the two into conformance.
Pretty obviously the second definition is more realistic, but it is far from definitive. What you call the "classical definition" is pretty silly - If the people wanted just that their will be carried out they could decide all questions themselves - pure democracy.
Only the smallest human institutions can function in this fashion, so nearly every large scale human institution allocates authority to deciders. Because the human race has learned to fear despotism, functioning democracies and other institutions wall the deciders in with laws, constitutions, elections and other constraints. If these are ignored, Schumpeter's second definition is too vague to be interesting.
A big question is whether traditionally structured democracies like the US and UK can function and survive in the age of Facebook and Murdoch.
One little noticed aspect of real world democracies is their resilience, although many have noted that democracy may be declining.
What other form of government could survive Reagan, Nixon, two Bushes and Trump, or Thatcher and Gordon Brown?
CIP: that all sounds a bit easy-in-retrospect. For myself, I am sure there have been discussions here that would have been valuably clarified by the distinction between the two models. As for "If the people wanted just that their will be carried out they could decide all questions themselves" that's wrongthink; do I have to say why? No, because you realise it yourself in the next para. So your "silly" becomes silly itself.
Tom: I think Reagan and Thatcher were good for democracy, rather than bad. Thatcher was unambiguously a democrat - are you really suggesting otherwise? Even the two Bushes, ditto.
A citizen of a democracy, like the stockholder of a corporation, don't have opinions on most of the details of governing, though they may have passionate feelings about a few issues. What they want, or should want, is performance.
I think the govt / company analogy is false.
If you buy stock in a company, you are assumed to want more money, which you believe you will get by the company doing well (fundamentally; pace risk spreading, etc.). You are assumed to not care greatly exactly what the company is doing to make that money (other than that you will use that info to guess it's likely profitability). If you don't like a given company, you don't buy it; or you sell it. This is because there is a vibrant market in stocks.
Govt, by contrast, is a monopoly. You cannot, short of changing citizenship (which is difficult or impossible), choose an entirely new govt (even if you could find one you liked; however in the USA you do get something vaguely like this, in that you can change states; so a high degree of state sovereignty is desireable; see-also the cartoon discussio n in http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2021/09/whole-womans-health-v-jackson.html). So, unlike a company, you do care about influencing the details of the governing. Conversely, no-one wants to live in, say, Stalinist Russia which is high-performance at delivering Stalinism.
But this, too, is a reason for small govt: take things like education and healthcare out of govt.
Ah yes, a trip into the USA's private healthcare would be in order.
Last year my wife needed an procedure done. Outpatient, hospital. Scheduled, hospital reported insurance coverage all set... (but that's not a guarantee!) The insurance coverage wasn't set up. (pre-authorization required) So I ended up paying about $4000 for a procedure that should have been almost fully covered.
Since the hospital requires you to sign paperwork making you responsible even if they mess up, I don't have a case against the hospital. And since the insurance company requires you to sign paperwork making you responsible even if they mess up, I don't have a case against the insurance company.
If you don't sign their paperwork, f**k off and die. They have market power. You do not. They have the power. You are a worm. Less than a worm.
At least it wasn't $400,000. Then I would have the reason to spend money on lawyers. And calling the local TV station, more likely to work.
You need this experience.
"But this, too, is a reason for small govt: take things like education and healthcare out of govt."
Well, rather than simply basing this on ideology, why not explore real world examples.
explore where this has happened and how this has affected society. It's not pretty...
Govt tends to be sticky; I'm not aware of any good examples of any govt "letting go" of healthcare or education. If you know any, feel free to propose them. OTOH I can point to examples where people are prepared to pay good money for alternatives to govt provision in these areas, even when the govt-prpvided version is nominally free.
" I'm not aware of any good examples of any govt "letting go" of healthcare or education. "
well it's a recent innovation for govts to provide it.
"OTOH I can point to examples where people are prepared to pay good money for alternatives to govt provision in these areas, even when the govt-provided version is nominally free."
You're begging the question here. Why not make your point without dancing around it?
Is you point that because people pay for something that is better, that Govt provided is bad?
And what if you can't afford it?
Also, recall that most education is for children. They're not the ones paying for it.
Healthcare is partly defense against common enemies.
Even if someone can't afford to be treated for TB or some other communicable disease, you want them cured for everyone's protection.
WMC - If you want to make your case, you need to find examples of nations with superior education and healthcare where the government does not provide either. Of course, private healthcare and education can be better for a tiny elite, but that's not the question.
I suspect that you only care about the elite, but many of the rest of us have a different perspective.
> Healthcare is partly defense against common enemies.
This is true, but tells you nothing about who should provide the service.
> make your case
My view is that your comment ending "What they want, or should want, is performance" is wrong; and my case for why is above. You seemed to have avoided defending your original, and have dramatically diverted, to quote Jack Vance.
well, on the original post I largely agree, but would modify:
..in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for strategic portions of the people’s vote.
You don't try and win every seat, and at least in Australia, they really only compete over about 20-30 seats (out of 1550); mostly in New south Wales and Queensland.
sadly in these seats the politics of racism and envy work well... so we end up with awful policies like mandatory detention of refugees who arrive by boat... some have been detained for 9 years...with no hope of release.
That should be 155 seats.
Ah, Dr C, master of the hopelessly transparent smoke screen. I don't intend to be diverted by your fantasy that the performance of Stalinism is what voters want. Very many do want quality healthcare and education, and you made the claim that it can be delivered better without government. You challenged another poster to cite an example of government getting out of either one. I challenged you to cite any example of healthcare and education delivered without government to produce a high quality product. I claim you can't. It is another of those libertarian fantasies, as unreal as any unicorn.
>> Healthcare is partly defense against common enemies.
> This is true, but tells you nothing about who should provide the service.
If not government, how do you solve the "free rider" problem?
> how do you solve the "free rider" problem?
If you want a detailed plan, you will need to ask someone else. If you want handwaving: the govt would pay for stuff like TB treatment. But that doesn't tell you who provides the treatment. I doubt this is desperately important: the amount of TB is negligible.
Another thought: does the second defn of democracy provide any insight on the "paradox of voting"?
> the amount of TB is negligible.
When it isn't, that's a problem. It's relatively cheap to keep under control.
Got your chess board handy? Put one case on the first square, double that on the next square. Repeat until disaster.
Not just treatment, need screening to find who to treat. Not just TB, a list of communicable diseases. New diseases as well crop up. COVID19 vs Antonine Plague? SARS-CoV-2 disrupted things a bit. A real nasty virus could do far more.
Reality bites. Not at all like a Libertarian Ideal World.
The voters decide. This actually happens in a Town Meeting. Largest town meeting town I'm aware if is Brookline, MA, roughly 59,000 residents. San Marino is marginal, Nauru would likely work, at least on size grounds. You might hate living in such a place, where the will of the voters works, or you might decide it is the most Libertarian government possible.
Or someone sells the voters, "a competitive struggle for the people’s vote". This works in large groups. Best case is with every issue, every election is starting over, as issues are not tribal. Practical, works.
Or party tribal division of most voters and swing voters decide. First past the post allows a large minority to win. Notice that most voters are not part of the competitive struggle, but vote based on "tribal" membership.
Or the party selects districts so as to win elections with a smaller minority of votes. Tribal membership mostly assumed.
Or districts with vastly different sizes allow winning elections with an even smaller minority of votes. Like the US Senate has become. State population sizes used to be far more equal.
Or hereditary peers, and a House of Lords. Not a Lord? So sad.
Just a bloody King (or same thing with a different name). Kiss his butt! Don't like it? Off with your head!
Someplace in that progression, democracy stops being functional. I'd argue that there is still some significant democratic function to a House of Lords. Sure, most people have not the slightest voice, and will have to live with laws that impoverish them. But the King must consider the opinions of others, so there are useful limits to the King's powers.
Your opinions, rights and wishes are not considered in the House of Lords, worm.
Notice when some one says "two alternatives", usually there are far more than two alternatives.
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