Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit: Elon Musk Is Not Going To Invite Izabella Kaminska To Fly To Mars (plus guys in wigs)

Mr. Musk, in a 'tell' that he may be coming under some stress, said earlier this month:
"Most likely the form of government on Mars would be a direct democracy, not representative"  
Wrong, wrong, wrong.

And this is where Ms. Kaminska risks her chance at interplanetary travel.
In a series of posts on referendum day she pointed out one of the problems with direct democracy e.g.

Here's more, from The Diplomat, June 25, 2016:

The American Founding Fathers Had it Right: Direct Democracy Is a Dead Duck
David Cameron should have heeded Alexander Hamilton’s skepticism of ‘pure democracy.’  
“When legend becomes fact, print the legend”–in the lead up to the June 23rd referendum on Great Britain’s membership in the European Union the majority of UK media appeared to have adopted the advice of a conniving reporter in the legendary Western film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: British tabloids have fed the public a steady stream of half-truths and distortions  painting the picture of an undemocratic out-of-control bureaucratic behemoth in Brussels that needs to be discarded as quickly as possible, lest it grabs the last remnants of ancient British liberty.

As a consequence, throughout the run-up to the Brexit referendum, it was impossible to have informed public debates on the costs and benefits of Britain’s membership in, or exit from, the European Union. The voices of reason were further drowned out in the echo chambers of social media platforms that only reinforced pre-existing opinions held by voters on the Brexit—destroying any chances of genuine dialogue.

Indeed, the whole spectacle of a referendum—a “device of dictators and demagogues,” in the words of Margaret Thatcher—underlined a salient point: our soundbite culture, combined with political populism, renders direct democracy in the form of a referendum entirely unsuitable as a tool for deciding complex policy issues.

This is not a new revelation. Some of the American Founding Fathers were vehemently opposed to direct democracy. They feared the consequences of an uninformed public formulating a country’s policy on a particular subject, realizing that one of the most important preconditions for direct democracy, i.e. a rational discussion of the issue where all points of view are carefully weighed, would not be possible amidst demagogy and the “tyranny of the majority,” as John Adams put it.
For example, Alexander Hamilton believed in America but not in Americans when he said in a June 1788 speech defending the ratification of the U.S. Constitution: “That a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure, deformity.”

Hamilton participated in the American Revolution, an event that left him with a deep fear of mob rule and made him question the wisdom of the masses after witnessing revolutionary excesses in New York City (including witnessing how a mob tried to lynch the headmaster of his university). As a result of his experiences, he firmly believed throughout his life that it was often necessary to leave the public in the dark during important political deliberations. Participating in the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Hamilton observed: “Had the deliberations been open while going on, the clamors of faction would have prevented any satisfactory results.”

Indeed, the issue of ratifying the U.S. Constitution was so heatedly debated that it led to a copy of it being burned during a Fourth of July parade in Albany, which resulted in bloody riots that left one dead and over a dozen wounded. One opponent to the constitution, according to Ron Chernow in his book Alexander Hamilton, went as far as to say that “rather than to adopt the Constitution I would risk a government of Jew, Turk, or infidel.” The media contributed its fair share in inflaming public opinion in the nascent American Republic. In the early 19th century, one Federalist newspaper, The Wasp, chose as its motto: “To lash rascals naked through the world,” by which it was referring to its political opponents.

Other Founding Fathers concurred with Hamilton’s skepticism. In the tenth essay of the Federalist Papers, written in defense of the U.S. Constitution, James Madison argued for representative democracy over direct democracy in order to protect the individual from what Edmund Burke called the “swinish multitude:”
Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. (…)  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government. (…)
[A] pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party.