Power to the People’s Proxies

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Democracy does not decentralize power to the people, Eric Falkenstein finds — it does the opposite:

As the Occupy movement showed, unorganized mass movements get nothing done, so successful parties are those that channel public legitimacy into a small set of essential rights too important to be outside state dominion. Go to a school board meeting and watch how insiders anticipate idiotic comments from the rabble, and so control the outcome to make such meetings basically Potemkin village town halls. Eventually the organization-committed people take over the organization and the mission-committed people become frustrated and leave (see a description of the recently created regulator CFPB’s quick descent into solipsism). They set up national plans for health care, education, energy, etc., and slander choice and variety as a ‘race to the bottom.’ Thus, teachers unions and Medicare/Medicaid focus on preventing choices that might take away from centralized power, competition from other providers and exit by consumers is outlawed.


  1. Chris C. says:

    This is Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

  2. Bruce says:

    Find one bureaucrat who would like to do what you want. He’s a nice guy; it would give him a budget increase. Visit your congressman’s office and ask them to send him an attaboy letter for his file. Look up your state pols, call five on relevant committees, and ask them to send him attaboy letters for his personnel file. This will almost certainly work, even for charmless loners, as long as no one else cares about the issue. Trust me, I’m one, and it worked for me. If other people care about the issue, it will still have some force. Can you convince five other people to do this? Your congressman will see you as a political force if you do. You might still lose, but the other side will feel it.

    No, of course making noise at a public meeting won’t work. Norman Rockwell was a fine painter, but damn.

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