Liberal Democracy Isn’t Nimble– Its Dead

I found this Atlantic article very disturbing, especially where Hamid claims that American liberal democracy is somehow “nimble”.

The very fact of Donald Trump’s victory is proof that American democracy was more nimble that many assumed.

This is a patently ridiculous statement–  Trump’s victory is proof that an unqualified, incompetent, compromised and very possibly unstable candidate could leverage Citizens United and the RNC rules to capture a party nomination by force.  If anything it represents the abject failure of American liberal democracy in the 21st century.  The media did not do their job, the GOP did not do its job, the system simply didn’t work as intended.  Not WAI.

This is my reveal from the election– liberal democracy is a Terrible Lie.  Liberal democracy worked in America as long as there was rough demographic parity between the two camps.  But there is nothing for Jefferson’s Noble Yeomen Farmers in the future but economic, scientific, cultural and academic pain.  The promise of liberal democracy, “that all men are created equal” is simply untrue.  Liberals have long believed that environmental disadvantages could be leveled by laws and civil welfare– conservatives believed that “attitude” and personal initiative could level environmental disadvantages– both are dead wrong.  Because its not possible to level the genes (yet).

Going forward the critical discriminator isn’t race, gender or ethnicity– its educational attainment.   This is why conservative pundits are talking about trying to impose quotas of conservative professors in universities or creating an alternative to academe.

Or if liberal democracy isnt dead, its at least gravely wounded.  Can it recover?

The greatest fear of the Founders, their bête noir, was a demogogue seizing power.  Perhaps Hamid needs a American History or American Government class.  I don’t see any other way to read Trump’s election than as a profound failure of what the Founders built.  It remains to be seen how antifragile the American representative republic is going forward– can it self repair or will it self destruct?

Because the dis-equilibriation of red/blue America is going to become more severe going forward.  If we cant put out a trash fire in our own back yard how do we sell liberal democracy to the rest of the world?

I think we cant– we begin the slow fall to a liberal supermajority or charge into another civil war.  Because there is nothing liberal democracy has to offer the side that is losing the demographic battle.

Jules Vernes was prescient.



4 thoughts on “Liberal Democracy Isn’t Nimble– Its Dead

  1. “how do we sell liberal democracy to the rest of the world?”

    Are you even serious when you ask this? Or are you just catering to the happy illusions of other Americans, as part of a domestic political argument?

    No-one on Earth is looking at America from a position of independence, going hmm, should I want my country to be a democracy.

    Well, maybe there is one exception to this: completely naive individuals, living inside countries that aren’t already firmly in the American sphere of influence.

    The rest of us – allies, enemies, neutrals – know the score. America is an empire of war and commerce. We do not at all care about the political forms adopted by the imperial heartland, because we won’t get a say, whatever they are.

    The rest of us just care about the outcomes of that process – how it affects us. The truly powerful out here might try to influence it through lobbying and money. That’s about it.


    • Hi Mitch, I’m far from convinced democracy is always the ideal system of govt anyway. Clearly not for deeply ignorant and superstition-addled prerational populations. They may well be better off with some kind of educated elite govt. Do the ignorant illiterate peasantry even know what is in their own best interest? Are they a self-aware class in the Marxist sense? Or are they just villages, tribes and clans and cults – knowing only local allegiances?

      For example the Asian model has worked extraordinarily well with modernizing technocratic govts. Of course China. But long before China, South Korea, Japan after Meiji, Taiwan, Singapore. Even European examples: Wilhelmine Germany, Britain before the mandate was extended to ever-more inclusive property classes.

      It’s often been the case that there comes a time when the masses are sufficiently educated and politically aware of their own best interests that they can be trusted with a role in govt. And in any case they are becoming so conscious that they will demand power whether the elites like it or not. And perhaps the elites are getting too corrupt and self-serving that they need to be taken down a peg.

      To me, democracy is a stage in the evolution of political consciousness. It is something that most societies will aspire to when they reach a sufficient state of political awareness and socioeconomic development. But perhaps not necessarily the ideal govt for a society that is just starting down the modernization road.

      Secularism, naturalism, rationalism are far more important, critical values than democracy for a culture that is just starting out down the road to modernity. IMHO YMMV. Democracy is mostly a bourgeois revolution.

      There are exceptions of course. India comes to mind. Maybe Hinduism just such an amazingly diverse inclusive system that it is hyper-politically sophisticated anyway. Like ancient Greece. But even India has its castes?

      And how many traditional patriarchies anywhere grants full equality to women? Traditional societies are warrior societies. Or mostly they just don’t last.


  2. […] plan was to nurture secular democracy in the wake of an assassination attempt and a failed coup?  Secular democracy doesn’t even work well in the richest country in the world.   I am going to offer a simpler and more straight forward explanation of Erdogan’s […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s