Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Direct democracy: Origin of the species - From Athens via Switzerland to the Wild West"

"Direct democracy: Origin of the species - From Athens via Switzerland to the Wild West." © The Economist, Apr 20th 2011. (Special Report)

" ... Into this vacuum had stepped a private power: the railroad. ... As one reporter wrote in 1896, 'it didn’t matter whether a man was a Republican or Democrat. The Southern Pacific Railroad controlled both parties, and he either had to stay out of the game altogether or play it with the railroad.' This was the corruption that enraged California’s Progressives. Hiram Johnson was especially livid. ... Direct democracy in California is thus an aberration. It has no safeguards against Madison’s tyranny of the majority. It recognises no saucer that might cool the passions of the people. Above all, it is not a system intended to contain minority factions. Instead, it encourages special interests to wage war by ballot measure until one lobby prevails and imposes its will on all. Madison and Hamilton would have been horrified. ... " [More]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This important article explains how bad political behavior by the Southern Pacific Railroad and bad ideas by Progressives led to an unstable form of tyranny by the majority and tyranny by lobbyists government in California because it lacks the checks and balances of the type put in place by the founders of the United States. On a national level, Progressives put in place the 16th and 17th amendments to the constitution resulting in the Federal Income Tax and established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote. The latter dismantled a critical check and balance whereby States could prevent Federal government power. The result has been unchecked growth of governments both Federal and in California which have become oppressive and are both now becoming close to bankruptcy.

4/21/2011 3:04 PM  

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