The Political Predicament We Are In


I am an optimist by nature. I am used to having things go well.  If they’re not quite right, I try to imagine how they can get straightened out.  I’m also a realist.  As long as things are moving in the right direction, I am satisfied with the status quo.
Although my optimism is natural and intuitive, I find an intellectual justification for it in, for example, the work of Matt Ridley: “The Rational Optimist: how prosperity evolves.”  He makes a persuasive argument that not only has the humane race made huge strides in recent times but that this progress is intrinsic to evolved human nature and is likely to continue indefinitely.
The British historian, Andrew Roberts, has a cogent essay in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, “1776: Would You Like to Reconsider?”, expressing consternation about the horrible choice we have for president this year between vulgarity and corruption.

Mr. Roberts admonishes Republicans to:

  • Somehow find party leaders and candidates who confront people like Mr. Trump seriously from the start and do not coddle him in the vain hope that he’ll collapse.
  • Avoid having debates controlled by TV channels who want the GOP to split and the Democrats to win.
  • Avoid talking down America, even in an election year, which is likely to be misinterpreted abroad.
  • Drastically raise the percentages of support that guarantee a candidate a place in the debate in order to avoid too many candidates and moronically low standards of debate.
  • Figure out how to exclude candidates who have neither held public office nor held any previous significant (appointed) public position.
  • The Republican Party machine should have the last say on who is or is not a Republican and who can therefore stand under the Republican banner.

Of course, Mr. Robert’s suggestions are impractical because they are not sufficiently democratic! But he is pointing to a huge problem which must be addressed:  Right now democracy, as a political system, is on trial and is “losing out to the ideas of totalitarian state directed corporatism that seems to be delivering much higher growth and much better leaders.”
Question. Can democracy be saved with democratic methods?

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