Democracy, like all things, is good only in moderation, Eric Falkenstein says — it is a means and not an end:
Taken to an extreme it is highly dysfunctional, as decisions are not helped by making them mass plebiscites or town hall meetings. Go to a school board meeting and watch how quickly thoughtful discussions get sidetracked. Philip Howard’s Rule of Nobody outlines an interesting consequence to increasing public participation in big decisions. As the number of stakeholders grows each interest group seeks its own group’s ends without moderation, they are single-issue advocates nobly advancing their righteous cause (e.g., Native Americans, aquifers, unions), and so veto action unless they are basically paid-off. The result is that usually nothing happens, and so the days when we could build the interstate highway system, the Hoover Dam, or the Empire State Building in only a year, are over. Small ‘d’ democratic control of property leads to stasis, why government spending today is mainly on transfer payments and studies, not roads and bridges.