Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Democracy ‘Has a Hidden Failure Mode, We’ve Landed in It, and We Probably Won’t Be Able to Vote Ourselves Out of It’

with 2 comments

The great Charlie Stross, elaborating on his sense that we are living in the aftermath of an alien invasion:

Overall, the nature of the problem seems to be that our representative democratic institutions have been captured by meta-institutions that implement the iron law of oligarchy by systematically reducing the risk of change. They have done so by converging on a common set of policies that do not serve the public interest, but minimize the risk of the parties losing the corporate funding they require in order to achieve re-election. And in so doing, they have broken the “peaceful succession when enough people get pissed off” mechanism that prevents revolutions…

So the future isn’t a boot stamping on a human face, forever. It’s a person in a beige business outfit advocating beige policies that nobody wants (but nobody can quite articulate a coherent alternative to) with a false mandate obtained by performing rituals of representative democracy that offer as much actual choice as a Stalinist one-party state. And resistance is futile, because if you succeed in overthrowing the beige dictatorship, you will become that which you opposed.

Via MeFi.

2 Responses

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  1. Time to break open Vilfredo Pareto’s The Rise and Fall of Elites.

    Peter Y Paik

    February 8, 2013 at 10:24 am

    • Or just Chris Hayes’s book of practically the same name.

      gerrycanavan

      February 8, 2013 at 11:11 am


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