Appropriate Quote

January 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments

Democracy, an ideal which is simple to excess, was vainly applied to a society which was complex to the point of craziness.

G. K Chesterton, in an essay “On Industrialism”, speaking about American government in the early twentieth century.

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  1. Goodness! Apparently it’s been even longer than I thought since we had a working democracy in America. And here I naively thought this was a phenomenon of the past 30 years…

    • I’m wondering if there was ever a truly working democracy in the USA:

      The average white male didn’t even get to vote until 1824.
      Non-white men didn’t get to vote until 1870 (Fifteenth Amendment).
      Women didn’t get to vote until 1920 (Nineteenth Amendment).
      Even so, these rights were curtailed by local laws until the 1960’s. (Voting Rights Act, etc)

      The US Constitution, as originally penned, was designed to be a system to allow coalitions of wealthy white landowners in various regions of the nation to divvy up control of the Federal Government. It did not provide for the safeguarding of the representative rights of the Average Joe — these were added piecemeal over the years, but in a rather slapdash way that still allowed the wealthy to game the system in their favor. The result is a “winner-take-all” system that quashes nascient political movements, unlike a parliamentary system, in which a new movement can join established coalitions as it grows in stature and recognition.

      The Constitution has some great ideas (balance of powers), but it is in need of some serious re-engineering, IMHO.


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