Arguments for direct democracy vs. political elitism

1)Authoritiarian elitists state that we are to obey the benevolent wisdom of those who are more inelligent and enlightened than ourselves.

2) However, many fools think themselves intelligent and enlightened, and therefore how are we to discriminate between fools and enlightened leaders, if we are so foolish ourselves?

3) There are only two options: either we are to suspend criticism and obey anyone who claims to be wise.

4)Or we must as individuals discriminate between those who are wise and those who pretend to be, and follow those who we see to be wise.

5) But the only way an individual can judge who is wise is to observe what that person says and does and see if it correlates with THEIR OWN definition of wisdom.

6) Therefore they are essentially choosing to do what they themselves see as wise - they are acting freely.


Therefore the elitist proves his own stupidity, for if we follow his authoritarianism we are forced into foolish obedience to any old fool, and if we don't then we must act freely according to our own minds and therefore this denies the original authoritarianism.


Political elitists tend to see politics from an ideological standpoint, a matter of absolute principles. Funnily enough these absolute principles tend to be those held by the elitist espousing this absolutist stance. Coincidentally enough, elitists usually see themselves as part of the elite of enlightened leader - it is unusual to find one who admits to being one of the millions of foolish "second-handers".


Politics is not a matter of absolute principles, but a matter of preference. The best political decision is that which comes to the best compromise between peoples self-defined needs in a given situation. Therefore the best political system is a direct democracy, where everyone has an equal say, because then everyones needs have a force and can guarantee effecting the decision. If decision making is delegated to any smaller group, there is no reason to suppose that they would have the will or the capability of finding such an equitable compromise. The only needs that count would be those of the authority.

This is not to say that people won't make mistakes, but that it is up to us to decide what counts as a mistake - what causes us suffering. We may fail in technical terms to achieve the goals we set ourselves, but it is up to us to define these goals.

There is a place for expertise, but not in making policy. When we decide that we want to get rid of drugs, we may consult various people as to the best means, and WE must decide which to use, for an authority could decide to ignore the issue all together. If we choose an ineffective technique of solving the problem, we will simply change, because it is directly in our self defined interest to do so. But although an authority may (or may not) have a superior technical understanding of the task, they may also have interests and preferences which run contrary to it being achieved - a situation which their intelligence would make even worse.

Therefore it is not for elites to decide what is wise, because the wise decision is that which we decide will make us happy, something which they cannot even know, let alone be guaranteed to respect.

Posted By

sam sanchez
Jan 21 2007 16:50


Attached files