It’s always good to see reasoned debate in our nation’s broadsheets. And then there’s articles like this one, by political scientist John Keane.
Our world is more complex than a novel, but Seeing should open our eyes to the rise of organised opposition to democracy in the early years of the 21st century.
Who are these new opponents? We don’t have to look far. Some opposition comes from crackpot intellectuals. In a recently published, best-selling book, The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies, which has a dust jacket featuring voters as a flock of sheep, the American economist Bryan Caplan writes that democracies are usually bad for most people. Why? “Voters are worse than ignorant,” he says, “they are irrational – and vote accordingly.”
More worrying is…
Apparently, the rationality of voters is so well-established as to not need defending (better hide those donkey voting studies).
I think there are useful arguments to be made against Caplan, but ‘crackpot intellectual’ isn’t among them.