Mob Rule

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Whether you're watching the national health-care farce or Arizona's legislative circus, you can't help but wonder sometimes if democracy is doomed because the conversation takes place so far away from the facts, while the election of our lawmakers is dependent on citizens who have a very shaky grip on what, precisely, government does, as well as a very limited understanding of whom they're elected to solve our problems.

Peter Suderman has some thoughts on the process over at his Reason blog:

I share Nick Gillespie's frequent worry that politics is a rotten way to conduct our affairs, and, as I've said frequently over the last few weeks, I think it's inevitable that the more we turn our daily business over to the government, the more we find our lives politicized. But while we're in the midst of politicizing everything, I find myself in agreement with the great anti-democrat H.L. Mencken that, nevertheless, there's a great deal of amusement to be found in such riotous scenes. “I enjoy democracy immensely," he wrote. "It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down.” I imagine Mencken, scourge of both populist outbursts and the New Deal, would've frowned upon the idea of health-care reform, but would've found great pleasure in the freakish outbursts and political chaos the debate has generated.

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