Tuesday, May 09, 2006

By Popular Demand

Politics has a math of its own. Whereas a scientifically minded person might see things this way: One person who says 2+2=5 is an idiot; two people who think 2+2=5 are two idiots; and a million people who think 2+2=5 are a whole lot of idiots—political math works differently. Let’s work backwards: if a million people think 2+2=5, then they are not a million idiots, but a “constituency.” If they are growing in number, they are also a “movement.” And, if you were not only the first person to proclaim 2+2=5, but you were the first to persuade others, then you, my friend, are not an idiot, but a visionary.
And that's just the first paragraph.

Jonah Goldberg has written
another great G-File. It's long - and it's good.

Populism is one of those stange political forces that everyone acknowledges but then try to ignore. Politicians don't like telling people they are wrong - it costs them votes.

Goldberg's article particularly piques my interest because of a new movement to eliminate the electoral college, which I consider patently wrongheaded. The topic may sound familiar to you -
Jamo has written about it before. This movement claims that the electoral college does not reflect the "will of the people."

That it fails to represent or honor the law is immaterial. As Goldberg writes,
[Populism] does not pretend to privilege objective truth or the best arguments or even justice—if by justice you mean an objective system of judgment which might rule against “the people.” For populists, “justice” is defined by the giant baby getting its bottle.
The electoral college was not created on a whim. Rather, it is the last defense against mobocracy. It is an arbiter of sectional and regional interests, balancing regional needs and popular whimsy.

It would be nice if those so eager to change or bypass the Constitution understood it first. But popular movements often depend on ignorance - as Huey P. Long proved.


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