20 October 2016

My opinion of democracy...

... is for the most part the same as Winston Churchill's: it is the worst system possible, with the exception of all other systems.   In other ways, it runs closer to Chesterton, who believed that Democracy was not about putting votes in a box, but more of a sense that the most important things in life are best left to the people themselves.  Chesterton's sense of democracy, I am afraid, has been eroded away, thinner than a piece of paper, and the ballot box is all we are left with.  Could it get any worse?

As a matter of fact, yes.  I have on my desk a new book entitled "Against Democracy"  It is written by an academic- naturally- who sees the flaws in democracy as surely as I do- I may even be able to point out a few flaws he does not see- and comes to a solution: it is time to set democracy itself aside, and epistocracy, the rule of the knowledgeable.

I have spent my entire adult life among the learned, am myself in some ways counted among the learned, and my reaction to this is very simple: for the love of God, no.

I do not know how anyone could possibly look at the way the learned run their own institutions and think this should be applied to the entire world.  Universities are filled with politicking, backstabbing, whisper campaigns and so much more- all the very worst impulses of humanity- magnified, and not diminished, because the people who so indulge are smarter than average.  I work at an institution filled with apologists for the bloodiest system ever created- socialism- who yearn and ache to give it one more try.  Not Stalin's thirty to forty million, not Mao's sixty to one hundred million, not Pol Pot's two million, and not even- dare I say it? Hitler's dead (for I see no reason why the leader of the National German Socialist's party should be excluded from this little group)- nor all those dead in other failed attempts can convince them otherwise.  Instead they claim it is the other systems which are bloody, to distract from the massacres done in the name of socialism, the great murders of the people in the name of the people and for the people, for the betterment of the people.  I can't remember the name of the socialist who wrote that all these dead would have been worth it if they had managed to create a true socialist state.  Frankly I don't wish to remember: anyone who can praise that much bloodshed does not deserve to be remembered.  For myself, I can't help but think that a good system of ruling would have been a trifle less bloody.

On a more whimsical note, I am wondering what, exactly, constitutes the knowledgeable and who decides?  is it a BA? A Master's? In what field? Are some fields more relevant than others?  Do degrees from some colleges and universities count more than from others?  Should a PhD be a requirement? Who decides which fields are relevant?  Ask any professor, and they believe their field is relevant, more so than any other.  The spectre of Dunning Kreuger looms large here: in order to judge whether or not one is an expert in any given field, one must in fact be an expert in that given field.  However, those who are not experts are often inclined to believe that they are, because they don't know enough to know that they aren't.  No one in any one field is fit to judge the usefulness or uselessness of any other field, but that is exactly what would have to happen for this system.  I don't know if the comic potential outweighs the tragic, or if it is the other way around.  Would this be a comedy of tragic proportions, or a tragedy of Comic ones? 

Elitism is one of the most dangerous  impulses in humanity, and that is writ here in large.  I can do better than you, I know better than you what is best for you.  I know professors are just itching to break free from their universities and apply their rules over the world as a whole, but that would be a bad thing for the rest of us. The most useful thing about universities is that they are asylums for these people: a place to lock them up and leave them to do whatever nonsense suits their fancy, and where they harm no one and kill nothing but their own time, while the rest of us go about our daily lives in reality.  Let's leave them there.  All of us, including them, especially them, are better off that way.

1 comment:

Julian Barkin said...

Your answer to who's an expert: those who bend the most to the world, the flesh, and the devil in intellectual ways.