Each Friday, LA Progressive presents a comment we editors find to be most profound, insightful, unusual, or even annoying– we then highlight the comment in an effort to bring attention to the broad range of positions taken by our readers.
This week, Joe Weinstein commented on Joe Palermo’s article, “LIBOR and Super PACs: A Heck of a Way to Run Capitalist Democracy.” impulses.
True democracy – ‘capitalist’ or otherwise – doesn’t need or use a special class of politicians, let alone politicians whose concentrated power makes them attractive and ready recipients of corruption.
As a result true democracy doesn’t need or allow highly corrupted elections (or even totally UN-corrupted elections).
Elections – especially non-deliberative but costly mass popularity-contest elections (in which no one voter has any power to determine the outcome) – serve our current republican oligarchic system as a pseudo-populist veneer, because millions of people ‘participate’ by casting votes. A typical mass election does not deliberatively decide actual public policies but rather just which few will get to decide those policies: just which few folk will be those special (and readily corruptible) oligarchs who get all the public-policy decision-making power for long terms.
Meanwhile the very point of true democracy is to share effective public-policy decision power as much as possible among many many ordinary citizens. As was demonstrated (at least to crude approximation) already in ancient Athens, this aim of democracy can be realized workably well by dividing decision responsibilities among many short-term deliberating teams of ordinary citizens.
We can massively abate corruption and have the benefits of true democracy, but that will require disenthralling ourselves of the notion that it is correct to use the term ‘democracy’ for the now-dysfunctional republican oligarchy set up by the 1787 federal constitution, or that it suffices for citizens to be mere ‘voters’ in popularity contests.