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April 09, 2014

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Hoover

"democracy ... can be anti-egalitarian insofar as it causes politicians to heed the noisy but minor complaints of the privileged"

Well democracy can be anti-egalitarian, but the reality is that democracy is a story of the less-privileged gaining a series of rights they never had before.

Let's get some perspective here. Our forefathers lived in an undemocratic age in which they worked at least ten hours a day, would be beaten up for complaining, watched the local aristocracy store up food while their own tummies rumbled, and if they were the wrong religion, risked ostracism or even death.

Democracy correlates to a long progression of equal rights. There's very little I or you cannot do or say nowadays that the nobs are allowed to.

From Arse To Elbow

Complaining that democracy may have its flaws is a bit like Rob Lowe complaining that being handsome is not all it's cracked up to be.

theOnlySanePersonOnPlanetEarth

"However, democracy - at least in the sense of heeding the voice of the people - can be anti-egalitarian insofar as it causes politicians to heed the noisy but minor complaints of the privileged whilst ignoring the bigger but silent plight of the genuinely worst-off."

Marxists have tended to redefine democracy and not equate it to bourgeois democracy. This solves the riddle.

scism

Chris - i love your stuff but i have to challenge one key point here. Clearly you meant to link to Parks and Rec and misclicked.....twice :P Havent seen Cali, but from the clip you showed (which i did enjoy, although found it a bit unrealistic) i think RLs character is almost the opposite to his P+R one - he certainly has range :)

chris

@FATE, Hoover - I should have linked to this paper, which gives evidence that bourgeois democracy serves the interests of the elite:
http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/dipdpaper
/2013-04.htm
@ scism - I dunno why, but I never got on with P&R

Hoover

Chris, thanks for that.

To cloud the issue a little...

Is it not possible that the government is working for the 1% and that the rest of us benefit too? The "all ships rise on a rising tide" theory.

Is it not also possible that the indignados and occupiers are complaining simply because they're not experiencing as many of the benefits as wall street is? I note that many of the City occupiers went back to comfortable homes at night, leaving their tents vacant.

I draw your attention again to reality: that our forefathers lived in considerably worse conditions than we do. The improvement of those conditions correlates to the increase in democracy. I don't think this can be batted away by the paper you refer to.

chris

@ Hoover. I'm not batting the fact away at all, though it could be that increased democracy and better living conditions are due not merely to democracy causing the latter but to the rising power of previously oppressed groups (industrial workers, then women) causing both.
The question leftists should ask is rather: can democracy be improved or tweaked so as to lessen the trade-off I've described? The left's wishful thinking stops it facing this problem.

Hoover

"increased democracy and better living conditions are due not merely to democracy causing the latter but to the rising power of previously oppressed groups (industrial workers, then women) causing both."

Or even to capitalism tout court.

I'm continually fascinated the graph of British incomes included in Greg Clark's 'Farewell to Alms'.

There's a copy here: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_GuvqAqJmGHc/S6oVj7CuGiI/AAAAAAAAAbA/hcVlvnJFC4Q/s400/clarkgraph.png

I'm still unsure what it means. That the industrial revolution caused an explosion of real incomes? Or that nascent social movements gained some of the rewards that were to be had during the nineteenth century?

Morten

The dumb blonde myth is ... well just a myth.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2014/04/brains-beauty.jpg

Beatuiful people are, it seems, also perceived as smarter (not dumber). And the effect is STRONGER for women.

theOnlySanePersonOnPlanetEarth

"Is it not possible that the government is working for the 1% and that the rest of us benefit too?"

This idea has been around for as long as there have been exploitative relationships, going back to slavery. Every class of exploiters and their servile lackeys repackages this idea for the present. Smith's hidden hand, Trickle down neo liberal economics. It is inevitable that the 1% will come to repackage this idea also.

Hoover, of course, presents no such package, just unproven assertions, such as "I note that many of the City occupiers went back to comfortable homes at night". We will have to wait to respond to the worked out, intelligent theory. But thanks for giving us the heads up Hoover.

Thornton Hall

For an example of how this works in practice, witness the last 50 years of nutrition guidance by experts telling us we can't eat what we might choose. Turns out telling people to avoid sat fat and cholesterol caused the obesity epidemic by increasing carb consumption, dietary fat has nothing to do with blood levels, and eggs are good for you--especially the yolk!

Magpie

Rob Lowe,

I can relate, I truly can... :-)

TBMeow

I've followed Rob Lowe for years. Read his interviews and watched his talkshow appearances of which there are many for decades now. I've seen him dance around, avoid answering, try to joke off, and many many more efforts when the interviewer asks the inevitable "beautiful" question. I can recite a lot of them. And he has tried to be humble, change the subject or joke it off most often. Not to mention the times he's taken out of context which happens to so many in the public eye. Shame on the journalists. So when he tries to address the question as he ages in numbers anyway with some seriousness it becomes national news! I was sitting in Southcenter Mall south of Seattle and there's the big screen news board with headlines, weather, etc. Suddenly there was this huge screen photo of Rob Lowe with a selected quote pulled out of this interview about hardship of being beautiful. I had already read it and knew it was taken out of context. He's been around for a long time and I believe he was "beautiful" for all that time. So why was there not a comment like this out in the national press before if this is routine how he tries to explain his looks? And even just saying thank-you when asked can be taken wrong in today's media.
The journalism of all this concerns me more than what was said or the point trying to be made. ^..^

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