Is Elitism the Answer?
By Arnold Kling
if you underestimate the benefits of immigration, or the evidence in favor of the theory of evolution, what happens to you? In all probability, the same thing that would have happened to you if you knew the whole truth.
In a sense, then, there is a method to the average voter’s madness. Even when his views are completely wrong, he gets the psychological benefit of emotionally appealing political beliefs at a bargain price. No wonder he buys in bulk.
However, his proposed solutions troubles me. He seems to want to insulate elites from democracy. Perhaps as an economist, he thinks that this would mean that people like him would be in charge of economic policy. But there are elite views of global warming or happiness research that I find rather problematic.
My preferred solution is to strengthen non-political institutions, such as private charities, private corporations, and private schools. My hope is that a strong civil society will resist government encroachment.
I also think that it would be helpful to downplay elections. We should not get so worked up over them. We should not feast on media coverage of them. We should be thankful that we have elections, because the alternative is incumbents with unchecked power. But the real contest is not between Democrat and Republican. It is between civil society and the political class.