Saturday, May 28, 2011

Delusional Democracy

Elitist blogpost of the month: does it make sense to have direct or indirect democracy when the people are so frickin' clueless?  Or does a fact-free/knowledge-free environment not really matter that much?

The prod today is a post at Steve Greene's blog: Americans radically over-estimate the percentage of gays and lesbians in society, with the plurality thinking the number is around one quarter.  Now, maybe this is good, because this misperception might cause people to realize it is not wise to discriminate against 25% of the people except that the survey also showed that this perception did not correlate with more or less tolerance. 

Steve links this misperception to the usual one--that Americans think lots more money is being spent on foreign aid than actually is the case. 

Good thing we have Fox News and its equivalents to provide us with good information about the situations around us.  Oh, and that internet thing is great since everything on it is true.  I am afraid that confirmation bias is everywhere. 

So much bad information.  Isn't democracy based on the idea that if the people have enough information and enough reason, the competition and debate among them will lead to the best outcomes?  Maybe not.  Of course, the old saw is still correct--democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.

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