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Repeal the ObamaCare individual mandate
Stop the NSA's warrantless spying on Americans
Refuse to reauthorize the Import-Export Bank
Stop the ObamaCare bailouts of insurance companies
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The best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter. They simply aren't rational.
The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
by Bryan Caplan
Caplan debunks the widely accepted myth of the rational voter, arguing instead that voters are rationally irrational and vote economically.
In theory, democracy is a bulwark against socially harmful policies. In practice, however, democracies frequently adopt and maintain policies that are damaging. How can this paradox be explained?
The influence of special interests and voter ignorance are two leading explanations. I offer an alternative story of how and why democracy fails. The central idea is that voters are worse than ignorant; they are, in a word, irrational—and they vote accordingly. Despite their lack of knowledge, voters are not humble agnostics; instead, they confidently embrace a long list of misconceptions.
Economic policy is the primary activity of the modern state. And if there is one thing that the public deeply misunderstands, it is economics. People do not grasp the “invisible hand” of the market, with its ability to harmonize private greed and the public interest. I call this anti-market bias. They underestimate the benefits of interaction with foreigners. I call this............
Introduction: The Paradox of Democracy
In a dictatorship, government policy is often appalling but rarely baffling. The building of the Berlin Wall sparked worldwide outcry, but few wondered, “what are the leaders of East Germany thinking?” That was obvious: they wanted to continue ruling over their subjects, who were inconsiderately fleeing en masse.
No wonder democracy is such a popular political panacea. The history of dictatorships creates a strong impression that bad policies exist because the interests of rulers and ruled diverge. A simple solution is make the rulers and the ruled identical by giving “power to the people.” If the people decide to delegate decisions to full-time politicians, so what? Those who pay the piper—or vote to pay the piper—call the tune.
This optimistic story is, however, often at odds with the facts. Democracies frequently adopt and maintain policies harmful for most people. Protectionism is a classic example. Economists across the political spectrum have pointed out its folly for centuries, but almost every democracy restricts imports. Admittedly, this is less appalling than the Berlin Wall, yet it is more baffling. In theory, democracy is a bulwark against socially harmful policies, but in practice it gives them a safe harbor.
How can this paradox be explained? One answer is that the people’s “representatives” have turned the tables on them. Elections might be a weaker deterrent to misconduct than they seem on the surface, making it more important to please special interests than......................
Private Choice as an Alternative to Democracy and Dictatorship
Undemocratic politics is not the only alternative to democratic politics. Many areas of life stand outside the realm of politics, of “collective choice.” When the law is silent, decisions are “up to the individual” or “left to the market.” If the term were not preempted, private choice could be called “the Third Way,” the alternative to both democracy and dictatorship.
For most of human history, religion was a state responsibility. The idea that government could have no established religion was inconceivable. All that has changed; now individuals decide which religion, if any, to practice. Verbal gymnastics notwithstanding, this depoliticization is undemocratic. The majority now has as little say about my religion as it would under a dictatorship; in both cases, the law ignores public opinion. Before the 1930s, similarly, many areas of U.S. economic life were undemocratically shielded from federal and state regulation. The market periodically trumped democracy, on everything from the minimum wage to the National Recovery Administration. And unless you are a democratic fundamentalist, you have to be open to the possibility that this was all for the good.
Fervent partisans of democracy often grant that democracy and the market are substitutes. As Kuttner puts it, “The democratic state remains the prime counterweight to the market.” Their complaint is that the public has less and less say over its destiny because corporations have more and more say over theirs. To “save democracy,” the people must reassert its authority.
Fair enough. Though their opponents greatly overstate the extent of privatization and deregulation, these policies take decisions out of the hands of majorities and into the hands of business owners. But the critics rarely wonder if this transfer might be desirable. They treat less reliance on democracy as automatically objectionable.
That is another symptom of democratic fundamentalism. If all that an economist had to say against a government program were, “That’s government intervention. Government is supplanting markets!” he would be pigeonholed, then marginalized, as a market fundamentalist. But when an equally simplistic cry goes up in the name of democracy, there is a sympathetic audience. It is logically possible that clear-eyed business greed makes better decisions than confused voter altruism. Why not at least compare their performance, instead of prejudging?
The complaint that we are “losing democracy” is especially weak when we bear in mind that this is not a binary choice between unlimited democracy and pure laissez-faire. Just because some democracy is beneficial or necessary, it scarcely follows that we should not have less. Consider deregulation of the television and radio spectrum. Democratic fundamentalists find the idea offensive because it ends democratic oversight. But it is hard to see the value of democracy in the entertainment industry. Premium networks like HBO demonstrate that the profit motive, uninhibited by majority preferences, is a recipe for high-quality, creative programming. Democratic fundamentalism holds back the rest of the industry.
While my analysis here has debunked the main efforts to undermine the objectivity of the economics profession, it adds little to the debate on the virtues of markets. Rather, I have tried to put weight on the other side of the scale. The optimal mix between markets and government depends not on the absolute virtues of markets, but on their virtues compared to those of government. No matter how well you think markets work, it makes sense to rely on markets more when you grow more pessimistic about democracy. If you use two car mechanics and discover that mechanic A drinks on the job, the natural response is to shift some of your business over to mechanic B, whatever your preexisting complaints about B.
The striking implication is that even economists, widely charged with market fundamentalism, should be more pro-market than they already are. What economists currently see as the optimal balance between markets and government rests upon an overestimate of the virtues of democracy. In many cases, economists should embrace the free market in spite of its defects, because it still outshines the democratic alternative.
Even among economists, market-oriented policy prescriptions are often seen as too dogmatic, too unwilling to take the flaws of the free market into account. Many prefer a more “sophisticated” position: Since we have already belabored the advantages of markets, let us not forget to emphasize the benefits of government intervention. I claim that the qualification needs qualification: Before we emphasize the benefits of government intervention, let us distinguish intervention designed by a well-intentioned economist from intervention that appeals to non-economists, and reflect that the latter predominate. You do not have to be dogmatic to take a staunchly pro-market position. You just have to notice that the “sophisticated” emphasis on the benefits of intervention mistakes theoretical possibility for empirical likelihood.
Read Article: http://www.libertarianism.org/publicatio...
In social life- "Yea, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase."
The most prosperous and glorious periods in British and American history are associated directly with revival. Material advancement, as well as the health of the people, were fruits of those times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. And so the psalmist concludes with the words: "Righteousness will go before Him, and make His footsteps a way."
When the Lord our God moves through a land in revival blessing He lays out a pathway for His people to walk in and inevitably the nation follows, for "righteousness exalts a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34). Conversely, where there is no vision the people throw off all moral restraint (Proverbs 29:18).
Revival - Pastor Robert K. Teske
Tomorrow - Part 4Q: The Why of Revival
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