The Function of Universal-Suffrage Democratic Elections
October 11, 2012 § 19 Comments
I realize that although the point I am trying to make is simple, it is at the same time extraordinarily counterintuitive to the modern mind. So I’ll attempt in this post to make a single, simple – though counterintuitive – point.
The conventional way of thinking about elections is that it is the means by which the free and equal citizens of the polity have their say in how we are governed. That conventional way of thinking is wrong.
In fact, during our national elections the polity presents to us a very narrow range of choices, all of which are conventional liberal choices within the governing liberal consensus. The function of the election is to get as many people as possible to make an act of personal allegiance to – a vote for – that governing liberal consensus. In so doing, and by turning it into a dramatic battle of supposed opposites, the liberal polity makes other philosophies of governance unthinkable.
Notice that what I am providing here is my own assessment of the factual situation: of how things actually work, as opposed to how they are generally thought to work. I am not making any particular suggestions as to what you ought to do or not do about it. Suggesting that the conclusions you would draw if I happen to be right are unthinkable to you is not an objection to my assessment of the factual state of affairs. I’m either right about this or I’m not right about it, and the test of whether I am right about it is to observe our political process, including the mathematical realities which are inherent to it, and see if it in fact functions the way I say it functions.
What you choose to do with that information is up to you, and I don’t at this point pretend to be offering advice on that question.