https://www.politico.com/magaz...cracy-228045?cid=apn

Everything was unfolding as it usually does. The academics who gathered in Lisbon this summer for the International Society of Political Psychologists’ annual meeting had been politely listening for four days, nodding along as their peers took to the podium and delivered papers on everything from the explosion in conspiracy theories to the rise of authoritarianism.

Then, the mood changed. As one of the lions of the profession, 68-year-old Shawn Rosenberg, began delivering his paper, people in the crowd of about a hundred started shifting in their seats. They loudly whispered objections to their friends. Three women seated next to me near the back row grew so loud and heated I had difficulty hearing for a moment what Rosenberg was saying.

What caused the stir? Rosenberg, a professor at UC Irvine, was challenging a core assumption about America and the West. His theory? Democracy is devouring itself—his phrase — and it won’t last.

As much as President Donald Trump’s liberal critics might want to lay America’s ills at his door, Rosenberg says the president is not the cause of democracy’s fall—even if Trump’s successful anti-immigrant populist campaign may have been a symptom of democracy’s decline.

We’re to blame, said Rosenberg. As in “we the people.”

Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy. As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists.

His prediction? “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail.”

***

The last half of the 20th century was the golden age of democracy. In 1945, according to one survey, there were just 12 democracies in the entire world. By the end of the century there were 87. But then came the great reversal: In the second decade of the 21st century, the shift to democracy rather suddenly and ominously stopped—and reversed.

Right-wing populist politicians have taken power or threatened to in Poland, Hungary, France, Britain, Italy, Brazil and the United States. As Rosenberg notes, “by some metrics, the right wing populist share of the popular vote in Europe overall has more than tripled from 4% in 1998 to approximately 13% in 2018.” In Germany, the right-wing populist vote increased even after the end of the Great Recession and after an influx of immigrants entering the country subsided.

A brief three decades after some had heralded the “end of history” it’s possible that it’s democracy that’s nearing the end. And it’s not just populist rabble-rousers who are saying this. So is one of the establishment’s pioneer social scientists, who’s daring to actually predict the end of democracy as we know it.

Rosenberg, who earned degrees at Yale, Oxford and Harvard, may be the social scientist for our time if events play out as he suggests they will. His theory is that over the next few decades, the number of large Western-style democracies around the globe will continue to shrink, and those that remain will become shells of themselves. Taking democracy’s place, Rosenberg says, will be right-wing populist governments that offer voters simple answers to complicated questions.

And therein lies the core of his argument: Democracy is hard work and requires a lot from those who participate in it. It requires people to respect those with different views from theirs and people who don’t look like them. It asks citizens to be able to sift through large amounts of information and process the good from the bad, the true from the false. It requires thoughtfulness, discipline and logic.

Unfortunately, evolution did not favor the exercise of these qualities in the context of a modern mass democracy. Citing reams of psychological research, findings that by now have become more or less familiar, Rosenberg makes his case that human beings don’t think straight. Biases of various kinds skew our brains at the most fundamental level. For example, racism is easily triggered unconsciously in whites by a picture of a black man wearing a hoodie. We discount evidence when it doesn’t square up with our goals while we embrace information that confirms our biases. Sometimes hearing we’re wrong makes us double down. And so on and so forth.

Our brains, says Rosenberg, are proving fatal to modern democracy. Humans just aren’t built for it.

People have been saying for two millennia that democracy is unworkable, going back to Plato. The Founding Fathers were sufficiently worried that they left only one half of one branch of the federal government in the hands of the people. And yet for two centuries democracy in America more or less proceeded apace without blowing itself up.

So why is Rosenberg, who made his name back in the 1980s with a study that disturbingly showed that many voters select candidates on the basis of their looks, predicting the end of democracy now?

He has concluded that the reason for right-wing populists’ recent success is that “elites” are losing control of the institutions that have traditionally saved people from their most undemocratic impulses. When people are left to make political decisions on their own they drift toward the simple solutions right-wing populists worldwide offer: a deadly mix of xenophobia, racism and authoritarianism.

The elites, as Rosenberg defines them, are the people holding power at the top of the economic, political and intellectual pyramid who have “the motivation to support democratic culture and institutions and the power to do so effectively.” In their roles as senators, journalists, professors, judges and government administrators, to name a few, the elites have traditionally held sway over public discourse and U.S. institutions—and have in that role helped the populace understand the importance democratic values. But today that is changing. Thanks to social media and new technologies, anyone with access to the Internet can publish a blog and garner attention for their cause—even if it’s rooted in conspiracy and is based on a false claim, like the lie that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring from the basement of a Washington D.C. pizza parlor, which ended in a shooting.

While the elites formerly might have successfully squashed conspiracy theories and called out populists for their inconsistencies, today fewer and fewer citizens take the elites seriously. Now that people get their news from social media rather than from established newspapers or the old three TV news networks (ABC, CBS and NBC), fake news proliferates. It’s surmised that 10 million people saw on Facebook the false claim that Pope Francis came out in favor of Trump’s election in 2016. Living in a news bubble of their own making many undoubtedly believed it. (This was the most-shared news story on Facebook in the three months leading up to the 2016 election, researchers report.)

The irony is that more democracy—ushered in by social media and the Internet, where information flows more freely than ever before—is what has unmoored our politics, and is leading us towards authoritarianism. Rosenberg argues that the elites have traditionally prevented society from becoming a totally unfettered democracy; their “oligarchic ‘democratic’ authority” or “democratic control” has until now kept the authoritarian impulses of the populace in check.

Compared with the harsh demands made by democracy, which requires a tolerance for compromise and diversity, right-wing populism is like cotton candy. Whereas democracy requires us to accept the fact that we have to share our country with people who think and look differently than we do, right-wing populism offers a quick sugar high. Forget political correctness. You can feel exactly the way you really want about people who belong to other tribes.

Right-wing populists don’t have to make much sense. They can simultaneously blame immigrants for taking jobs away from Americans while claiming that these same people are lazy layabouts sponging off welfare. All the populist followers care is that they now have an enemy to blame for their feelings of ennui.

And unlike democracy, which makes many demands, the populists make just one. They insist that people be loyal. Loyalty entails surrendering to the populist nationalist vision. But this is less a burden than an advantage. It’s easier to pledge allegiance to an authoritarian leader than to do the hard work of thinking for yourself demanded by democracy.

“In sum, the majority of Americans are generally unable to understand or value democratic culture, institutions, practices or citizenship in the manner required,” Rosenberg has concluded. “To the degree to which they are required to do so, they will interpret what is demanded of them in distorting and inadequate ways. As a result they will interact and communicate in ways that undermine the functioning of democratic institutions and the meaning of democratic practices and values.”

I should clarify that the loud whispers in the crowd in Lisbon weren’t a response to Rosenberg’s pessimism. This was after all a meeting of political psychologists—a group who focus on flaws in voters’ thinking and the violation of democratic norms. At the conference Ariel Malka reported evidence that conservatives are increasingly open to authoritarianism. Brian Shaffer related statistics showing that since Trump’s election teachers have noted a rise in bullying. Andreas Zick observed that racist crimes shot up dramatically in Germany after a million immigrants were allowed in.

What stirred the crowd was that Rosenberg has gone beyond pessimism into outright defeatism. What riled the crowd was that he’s seemingly embraced a kind of reverence for elitism no longer fashionable in the academy. When challenged on this front, he quickly insisted he didn’t mean to exempt himself from the claim that people suffer from cognitive and emotional limitations. He conceded that the psychological research shows everybody’s irrational, professors included! But it was unclear that he convinced the members of the audience he really meant it. And they apparently found this discomforting.

There were less discomforting moments in Lisbon. The convention gave an award to George Marcus, one of the founders of the discipline, who has dedicated his career to the optimistic theory that human beings by nature readjust their ideas to match the world as it is and not as they’d like it to be—just as democracy requires.

But this isn’t a moment for optimism, is it? What is happening around the world shows that the far-right is on the march. And when it comes to the U.S., the problem might be larger than one man. Liberals have been praying for the end of the Trump presidency, but if Rosenberg is right, democracy will remain under threat no matter who is in power.

Support Democracy.

Original Post

It might surprise everyone here, but the founders didn't want a pure democracy; they established a republic based on respect for individual rights. The founders knew from history that democracies usually perished because the majority will eventually rob and tyrannize the minority which will cause the minority to revolt. Luckily, most rebellions in our country happen at the ballot box, but some would "reform" our voting laws such that the only recourse next time might be an armed revolt.

https://www.ranker.com/list/fo...otes/melissa-sartore

 

Jack Hammer posted:
Gives reason to why Obumer purchased tons of ammo and a complete
inventory of necessary warfare equipment.
 
He was told his plan would bring on a war against his socialist coup. 
Hilda goat was to be the scapegoat, 

Obama didn't purchase 'tons of ammo', but don't let pesky facts get in the way of your conspiracy theory narrative.

Stanky posted:

It might surprise everyone here, but the founders didn't want a pure democracy; they established a republic based on respect for individual rights. The founders knew from history that democracies usually perished because the majority will eventually rob and tyrannize the minority which will cause the minority to revolt. Luckily, most rebellions in our country happen at the ballot box, but some would "reform" our voting laws such that the only recourse next time might be an armed revolt.

https://www.ranker.com/list/fo...otes/melissa-sartore

 

Currently, the republican party is "reforming" voting laws.  But what about when the minority( ie the the powers that be) rob, divide, and tyrannize the rest of us?

Naio posted:
Stanky posted:

It might surprise everyone here, but the founders didn't want a pure democracy; they established a republic based on respect for individual rights. The founders knew from history that democracies usually perished because the majority will eventually rob and tyrannize the minority which will cause the minority to revolt. Luckily, most rebellions in our country happen at the ballot box, but some would "reform" our voting laws such that the only recourse next time might be an armed revolt.

https://www.ranker.com/list/fo...otes/melissa-sartore

 

Currently, the republican party is "reforming" voting laws.  But what about when the minority( ie the the powers that be) rob, divide, and tyrannize the rest of us?

I think that it is Dems who want the Electoral College to be scrapped. Presently rural flyover states have a little say (Really not that much!) in electing presidents that they wouldn't have if the popular vote were used. The folks who crafted the Constitution didn't want low population farm states to feel they were subservient to states with large cities.

Stanky posted:
Naio posted:
Stanky posted:

It might surprise everyone here, but the founders didn't want a pure democracy; they established a republic based on respect for individual rights. The founders knew from history that democracies usually perished because the majority will eventually rob and tyrannize the minority which will cause the minority to revolt. Luckily, most rebellions in our country happen at the ballot box, but some would "reform" our voting laws such that the only recourse next time might be an armed revolt.

https://www.ranker.com/list/fo...otes/melissa-sartore

 

Currently, the republican party is "reforming" voting laws.  But what about when the minority( ie the the powers that be) rob, divide, and tyrannize the rest of us?

I think that it is Dems who want the Electoral College to be scrapped. Presently rural flyover states have a little say (Really not that much!) in electing presidents that they wouldn't have if the popular vote were used. The folks who crafted the Constitution didn't want low population farm states to feel they were subservient to states with large cities.

Not true. But I think you know this already.

Naio posted:
Stanky posted:
Naio posted:
Stanky posted:

It might surprise everyone here, but the founders didn't want a pure democracy; they established a republic based on respect for individual rights. The founders knew from history that democracies usually perished because the majority will eventually rob and tyrannize the minority which will cause the minority to revolt. Luckily, most rebellions in our country happen at the ballot box, but some would "reform" our voting laws such that the only recourse next time might be an armed revolt.

https://www.ranker.com/list/fo...otes/melissa-sartore

 

Currently, the republican party is "reforming" voting laws.  But what about when the minority( ie the the powers that be) rob, divide, and tyrannize the rest of us?

I think that it is Dems who want the Electoral College to be scrapped. Presently rural flyover states have a little say (Really not that much!) in electing presidents that they wouldn't have if the popular vote were used. The folks who crafted the Constitution didn't want low population farm states to feel they were subservient to states with large cities.

Not true. But I think you know this already.

You might try reading history over listening to the voices in your head:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...es_Electoral_College

Stanky posted:
Naio posted:
Stanky posted:
Naio posted:
Stanky posted:

It might surprise everyone here, but the founders didn't want a pure democracy; they established a republic based on respect for individual rights. The founders knew from history that democracies usually perished because the majority will eventually rob and tyrannize the minority which will cause the minority to revolt. Luckily, most rebellions in our country happen at the ballot box, but some would "reform" our voting laws such that the only recourse next time might be an armed revolt.

https://www.ranker.com/list/fo...otes/melissa-sartore

 

Currently, the republican party is "reforming" voting laws.  But what about when the minority( ie the the powers that be) rob, divide, and tyrannize the rest of us?

I think that it is Dems who want the Electoral College to be scrapped. Presently rural flyover states have a little say (Really not that much!) in electing presidents that they wouldn't have if the popular vote were used. The folks who crafted the Constitution didn't want low population farm states to feel they were subservient to states with large cities.

Not true. But I think you know this already.

You might try reading history over listening to the voices in your head:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...es_Electoral_College

Based on the wikipedia link, where do you get this from?: The folks who crafted the Constitution didn't want low population farm states to feel they were subservient to states with large cities.

Some delegates, including James Wilson and James Madison, preferred popular election of the executive. Madison acknowledged that while a popular vote would be ideal, it would be difficult to get consensus on the proposal given the prevalence of slavery in the South."

There's an elephant in the room...

 
The Federalist Papers : No. 68

 

The Mode of Electing the President
From the New York Packet.
Friday, March 14, 1788.

HAMILTON

To the People of the State of New York:

THE mode of appointment of the Chief Magistrate of the United States is almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which has escaped without severe censure, or which has received the slightest mark of approbation from its opponents. The most plausible of these, who has appeared in print, has even deigned to admit that the election of the President is pretty well guarded.1 I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent. It unites in an eminent degree all the advantages, the union of which was to be wished for.

It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.

It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief. The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of ONE who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes. And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment. And they have excluded from eligibility to this trust, all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office. No senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States, can be of the numbers of the electors. Thus without corrupting the body of the people, the immediate agents in the election will at least enter upon the task free from any sinister bias. Their transient existence, and their detached situation, already taken notice of, afford a satisfactory prospect of their continuing so, to the conclusion of it. The business of corruption, when it is to embrace so considerable a number of men, requires time as well as means. Nor would it be found easy suddenly to embark them, dispersed as they would be over thirteen States, in any combinations founded upon motives, which though they could not properly be denominated corrupt, might yet be of a nature to mislead them from their duty.

Another and no less important desideratum was, that the Executive should be independent for his continuance in office on all but the people themselves. He might otherwise be tempted to sacrifice his duty to his complaisance for those whose favor was necessary to the duration of his official consequence. This advantage will also be secured, by making his re-election to depend on a special body of representatives, deputed by the society for the single purpose of making the important choice.

All these advantages will happily combine in the plan devised by the convention; which is, that the people of each State shall choose a number of persons as electors, equal to the number of senators and representatives of such State in the national government, who shall assemble within the State, and vote for some fit person as President. Their votes, thus given, are to be transmitted to the seat of the national government, and the person who may happen to have a majority of the whole number of votes will be the President. But as a majority of the votes might not always happen to centre in one man, and as it might be unsafe to permit less than a majority to be conclusive, it is provided that, in such a contingency, the House of Representatives shall select out of the candidates who shall have the five highest number of votes, the man who in their opinion may be best qualified for the office.

The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue. And this will be thought no inconsiderable recommendation of the Constitution, by those who are able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration. Though we cannot acquiesce in the political heresy of the poet who says: "For forms of government let fools contest That which is best administered is best,'' yet we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.

The Vice-President is to be chosen in the same manner with the President; with this difference, that the Senate is to do, in respect to the former, what is to be done by the House of Representatives, in respect to the latter.

The appointment of an extraordinary person, as Vice-President, has been objected to as superfluous, if not mischievous. It has been alleged, that it would have been preferable to have authorized the Senate to elect out of their own body an officer answering that description. But two considerations seem to justify the ideas of the convention in this respect. One is, that to secure at all times the possibility of a definite resolution of the body, it is necessary that the President should have only a casting vote. And to take the senator of any State from his seat as senator, to place him in that of President of the Senate, would be to exchange, in regard to the State from which he came, a constant for a contingent vote. The other consideration is, that as the Vice-President may occasionally become a substitute for the President, in the supreme executive magistracy, all the reasons which recommend the mode of election prescribed for the one, apply with great if not with equal force to the manner of appointing the other. It is remarkable that in this, as in most other instances, the objection which is made would lie against the constitution of this State. We have a Lieutenant-Governor, chosen by the people at large, who presides in the Senate, and is the constitutional substitute for the Governor, in casualties similar to those which would authorize the Vice-President to exercise the authorities and discharge the duties of the President.

PUBLIUS.

1 Vide FEDERAL FARMER.

 

Naio posted:
Stanky posted:
Naio posted:
Stanky posted:
Naio posted:
Stanky posted:

It might surprise everyone here, but the founders didn't want a pure democracy; they established a republic based on respect for individual rights. The founders knew from history that democracies usually perished because the majority will eventually rob and tyrannize the minority which will cause the minority to revolt. Luckily, most rebellions in our country happen at the ballot box, but some would "reform" our voting laws such that the only recourse next time might be an armed revolt.

https://www.ranker.com/list/fo...otes/melissa-sartore

 

Currently, the republican party is "reforming" voting laws.  But what about when the minority( ie the the powers that be) rob, divide, and tyrannize the rest of us?

I think that it is Dems who want the Electoral College to be scrapped. Presently rural flyover states have a little say (Really not that much!) in electing presidents that they wouldn't have if the popular vote were used. The folks who crafted the Constitution didn't want low population farm states to feel they were subservient to states with large cities.

Not true. But I think you know this already.

You might try reading history over listening to the voices in your head:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...es_Electoral_College

Based on the wikipedia link, where do you get this from?: The folks who crafted the Constitution didn't want low population farm states to feel they were subservient to states with large cities.

Some delegates, including James Wilson and James Madison, preferred popular election of the executive. Madison acknowledged that while a popular vote would be ideal, it would be difficult to get consensus on the proposal given the prevalence of slavery in the South."

There's an elephant in the room...

Only picking out what you wanted to see are you. Yes some delegates wanted direct election of the president, but the compromise vote was the electoral college:

"The Convention approved the Committee's Electoral College proposal, with minor modifications, on September 6, 1787.[19] Delegates from states with smaller populations or limited land area such as Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland generally favored the Electoral College with some consideration for states.[20]"

James Madison alluded to the fact that the constitutional compromises were created to allay the fears of the people so factions would not form:

https://billofrightsinstitute....ralist-papers-no-10/

"

Federalist Papers: No. 10 – Full Text
The Union as a Sa***uard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection

To the People of the State of New York:

AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a wellconstructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true. It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes; and, particularly, for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements, and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other. These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community."

At the time of the constitutional convention, history shows that there was a good bit of arguing over the structure of the government:

https://www.history.com/news/h...fects-politics-today

"The principle of protecting small states through equal representation in the Senate carries over into the electoral college, which elects the president, since the number of electoral votes designated to each state is based on a state’s combined number of representatives in the House and Senate."

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