Democracy and Political Ignorance

Why Smaller Government Is Smarter, Second Edition
Author: Ilya Somin
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804799350
Category: Law
Page: 312
View: 4577

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One of the biggest problems with modern democracy is that most of the public is usually ignorant of politics and government. Many people understand that their votes are unlikely to change the outcome of an election and don't see the point in learning much about politics. This creates a nation of people with little political knowledge and little ability to objectively evaluate what they do know. The second edition of Democracy and Political Ignorance fully updates its analysis to include new and vital discussions on the implications of the "Big Sort" for politics, the link between political ignorance and the disproportionate political influence of the wealthy, assessment of proposed new strategies for increasing political knowledge, and up-to-date survey data on political ignorance during recent elections. Ilya Somin mines the depths of the current state of ignorance in America and reveals it as a major problem for democracy. He weighs various options for solving this problem, provocatively arguing that political ignorance is best mitigated and its effects lessened by decentralizing and limiting government. People make better decisions when they have stronger incentives to acquire relevant information—and to use it wisely.

Democracy and Political Ignorance

Why Smaller Government Is Smarter
Author: Ilya Somin
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804789312
Category: Law
Page: 280
View: 8493

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One of the biggest problems with modern democracy is that most of the public is usually ignorant of politics and government. Often, many people understand that their votes are unlikely to change the outcome of an election and don't see the point in learning much about politics. This may be rational, but it creates a nation of people with little political knowledge and little ability to objectively evaluate what they do know. In Democracy and Political Ignorance, Ilya Somin mines the depths of ignorance in America and reveals the extent to which it is a major problem for democracy. Somin weighs various options for solving this problem, arguing that political ignorance is best mitigated and its effects lessened by decentralizing and limiting government. Somin provocatively argues that people make better decisions when they choose what to purchase in the market or which state or local government to live under, than when they vote at the ballot box, because they have stronger incentives to acquire relevant information and to use it wisely.

Democracy and Political Ignorance

Why Smaller Government Is Smarter, Second Edition
Author: Ilya Somin
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804799318
Category: Law
Page: 307
View: 8948

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One of the biggest problems with modern democracy is that most of the public is usually ignorant of politics and government. Many people understand that their votes are unlikely to change the outcome of an election and don't see the point in learning much about politics. This creates a nation of people with little political knowledge and little ability to objectively evaluate what they do know. The second edition of Democracy and Political Ignorance fully updates its analysis to include new and vital discussions on the implications of the "Big Sort" for politics, the link between political ignorance and the disproportionate political influence of the wealthy, assessment of proposed new strategies for increasing political knowledge, and up-to-date survey data on political ignorance during recent elections. Ilya Somin mines the depths of the current state of ignorance in America and reveals it as a major problem for democracy. He weighs various options for solving this problem, provocatively arguing that political ignorance is best mitigated and its effects lessened by decentralizing and limiting government. People make better decisions when they have stronger incentives to acquire relevant information—and to use it wisely.

A Conspiracy Against Obamacare

The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case
Author: R. Barnett,J. Adler,D. Bernstein,O. Kerr,D. Kopel,I. Somin
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137363738
Category: Political Science
Page: 294
View: 3114

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The Affordable Care Act debate was one of the most important and most public examinations of the Constitution in our history. At the forefront of that debate were the bloggers of the Volokh Conspiracy who, from before the law was even passed, engaged in a spirited, erudite, and accessible discussion of the legal issues involved in the case.

Against Democracy


Author: Jason Brennan
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400888395
Category: Philosophy
Page: 312
View: 6090

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Most people believe democracy is a uniquely just form of government. They believe people have the right to an equal share of political power. And they believe that political participation is good for us—it empowers us, helps us get what we want, and tends to make us smarter, more virtuous, and more caring for one another. These are some of our most cherished ideas about democracy. But Jason Brennan says they are all wrong. In this trenchant book, Brennan argues that democracy should be judged by its results—and the results are not good enough. Just as defendants have a right to a fair trial, citizens have a right to competent government. But democracy is the rule of the ignorant and the irrational, and it all too often falls short. Furthermore, no one has a fundamental right to any share of political power, and exercising political power does most of us little good. On the contrary, a wide range of social science research shows that political participation and democratic deliberation actually tend to make people worse—more irrational, biased, and mean. Given this grim picture, Brennan argues that a new system of government—epistocracy, the rule of the knowledgeable—may be better than democracy, and that it's time to experiment and find out. A challenging critique of democracy and the first sustained defense of the rule of the knowledgeable, Against Democracy is essential reading for scholars and students of politics across the disciplines. Featuring a new preface that situates the book within the current political climate and discusses other alternatives beyond epistocracy, Against Democracy is a challenging critique of democracy and the first sustained defense of the rule of the knowledgeable.

The Big Sort

Why the Clustering of Like-Minded American is Tearing Us Apart
Author: Bill Bishop
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547525192
Category: Political Science
Page: 384
View: 7208

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In 2004, journalist Bill Bishop coined the term "the big sort." Armed with startling new demographic data, he made national news in a series of articles showing how Americans have been sorting themselves into alarmingly homogeneous communities -- not by region or by state, but by city and even neighborhood. Over the past three decades, we have been choosing the neighborhood (and church and news show) compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. The result is a country that has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred that people don't know and can't understand those who live a few miles away. How this came to be, and its dire implications for our country, is the subject of this ground-breaking work. In The Big Sort, Bishop has taken his analysis to a new level. He begins with stories about how we live today and then draws on history, economics and our changing political landscape to create one of the most compelling big-picture accounts of America in recent memory.

The Conscience of the Constitution

The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty
Author: Timothy Sandefur
Publisher: Cato Institute
ISBN: 1939709040
Category: Law
Page: 242
View: 8657

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The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty documents a forgotten truth: the word “democracy” is nowhere to be found in either the Constitution or the Declaration. But it is the overemphasis of democracy by the legal community–rather than the primacy of liberty, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence–that has led to the growth of government power at the expense of individual rights. Now, more than ever, Sandefur explains, the Declaration of Independence should set the framework for interpreting our fundamental law. In the very first sentence of the Constitution, the founding fathers stated unambiguously that “liberty” is a blessing. Today, more and more Americans are realizing that their individual freedoms are being threatened by the ever-expanding scope of the government. Americans have always differed over important political issues, but some things should not be settled by majority vote. In The Conscience of the Constitution, Timothy Sandefur presents a dramatic new challenge to the status quo of constitutional law.

Denying to the Grave

Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us
Author: Sara E. Gorman,Lieber Professor and Vice-Chair for Research Department of Psychiatry College of Physicians and Surgeons Jack M Gorman, M.D.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199396604
Category:
Page: 328
View: 6748

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Why do some parents refuse to vaccinate their children? Why do some people keep guns at home, despite scientific evidence of risk to their family members? And why do people use antibiotics for illnesses they cannot possibly alleviate? When it comes to health, many people insist that science is wrong, that the evidence is incomplete, and that unidentified hazards lurk everywhere. In Denying to the Grave, Gorman and Gorman, a father-daughter team, explore the psychology of health science denial. Using several examples of such denial as test cases, they propose six key principles that may lead individuals to reject "accepted" health-related wisdom: the charismatic leader; fear of complexity; confirmation bias and the internet; fear of corporate and government conspiracies; causality and filling the ignorance gap; and the nature of risk prediction. The authors argue that the health sciences are especially vulnerable to our innate resistance to integrate new concepts with pre-existing beliefs. This psychological difficulty of incorporating new information is on the cutting edge of neuroscience research, as scientists continue to identify brain responses to new information that reveal deep-seated, innate discomfort with changing our minds. Denying to the Grave explores risk theory and how people make decisions about what is best for them and their loved ones, in an effort to better understand how people think when faced with significant health decisions. This book points the way to a new and important understanding of how science should be conveyed to the public in order to save lives with existing knowledge and technology.

Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court


Author: Damon Root
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1137474688
Category: Political Science
Page: 288
View: 5696

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Should the Supreme Court defer to the will of the majority and uphold most democratically enacted laws? Or does the Constitution empower the Supreme Court to protect a broad range of individual rights from the reach of lawmakers? In this timely and provocative book, Damon Root traces the long war over judicial activism and judicial restraint from its beginnings in the bloody age of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction to its central role in today's blockbuster legal battles over gay rights, gun control, and health care reform. It's a conflict that cuts across the political spectrum in surprising ways and makes for some unusual bedfellows. Judicial deference is not only a touchstone of the Progressive left, for example, it is also a philosophy adopted by many members of the modern right. Today's growing camp of libertarians, however, has no patience with judicial restraint and little use for majority rule. They want the courts and judges to police the other branches of government, and expect Justices to strike down any state or federal law that infringes on their bold constitutional agenda of personal and economic freedom. Overruled is the story of two competing visions, each one with its own take on what role the government and the courts should play in our society, a fundamental debate that goes to the very heart of our constitutional system.

The Grasping Hand

"Kelo v. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain
Author: Ilya Somin
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022645682X
Category: Law
Page: 384
View: 8743

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In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the city of New London, Connecticut, could condemn fifteen residential properties in order to transfer them to a new private owner. Although the Fifth Amendment only permits the taking of private property for “public use,” the Court ruled that the transfer of condemned land to private parties for “economic development” is permitted by the Constitution—even if the government cannot prove that the expected development will ever actually happen. The Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London empowered the grasping hand of the state at the expense of the invisible hand of the market. In this detailed study of one of the most controversial Supreme Court cases in modern times, Ilya Somin argues that Kelo was a grave error. Economic development and “blight” condemnations are unconstitutional under both originalist and most “living constitution” theories of legal interpretation. They also victimize the poor and the politically weak for the benefit of powerful interest groups and often destroy more economic value than they create. Kelo itself exemplifies these patterns. The residents targeted for condemnation lacked the influence needed to combat the formidable government and corporate interests arrayed against them. Moreover, the city’s poorly conceived development plan ultimately failed: the condemned land lies empty to this day, occupied only by feral cats. The Supreme Court’s unpopular ruling triggered an unprecedented political reaction, with forty-five states passing new laws intended to limit the use of eminent domain. But many of the new laws impose few or no genuine constraints on takings. The Kelo backlash led to significant progress, but not nearly as much as it may have seemed. Despite its outcome, the closely divided 5-4 ruling shattered what many believed to be a consensus that virtually any condemnation qualifies as a public use under the Fifth Amendment. It also showed that there is widespread public opposition to eminent domain abuse. With controversy over takings sure to continue, The Grasping Hand offers the first book-length analysis of Kelo by a legal scholar, alongside a broader history of the dispute over public use and eminent domain and an evaluation of options for reform.

Our Republican Constitution

Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People
Author: Randy E. Barnett
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062412302
Category: Political Science
Page: 320
View: 7824

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A concise history of the long struggle between two fundamentally opposing constitutional traditions, from one of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars—a manifesto for renewing our constitutional republic. The Constitution of the United States begins with the words: “We the People.” But from the earliest days of the American republic, there have been two competing notions of “the People,” which lead to two very different visions of the Constitution. Those who view “We the People” collectively think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group, which leads them to favor a “democratic” constitution that allows the “will of the people” to be expressed by majority rule. In contrast, those who think popular sovereignty resides in the people as individuals contend that a “republican” constitution is needed to secure the pre-existing inalienable rights of “We the People,” each and every one, against abuses by the majority. In Our Republican Constitution, renowned legal scholar Randy E. Barnett tells the fascinating story of how this debate arose shortly after the Revolution, leading to the adoption of a new and innovative “republican” constitution; and how the struggle over slavery led to its completion by a newly formed Republican Party. Yet soon thereafter, progressive academics and activists urged the courts to remake our Republican Constitution into a democratic one by ignoring key passes of its text. Eventually, the courts complied. Drawing from his deep knowledge of constitutional law and history, as well as his experience litigating on behalf of medical marijuana and against Obamacare, Barnett explains why “We the People” would greatly benefit from the renewal of our Republican Constitution, and how this can be accomplished in the courts and the political arena.

Deliberative Systems

Deliberative Democracy at the Large Scale
Author: John Parkinson,Jane Mansbridge
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139536974
Category: Political Science
Page: N.A
View: 9166

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'Deliberative democracy' is often dismissed as a set of small-scale, academic experiments. This volume seeks to demonstrate how the deliberative ideal can work as a theory of democracy on a larger scale. It provides a new way of thinking about democratic engagement across the spectrum of political action, from towns and villages to nation states, and from local networks to transnational, even global systems. Written by a team of the world's leading deliberative theorists, Deliberative Systems explains the principles of this new approach, which seeks ways of ensuring that a division of deliberative labour in a system nonetheless meets both deliberative and democratic norms. Rather than simply elaborating the theory, the contributors examine the problems of implementation in a real world of competing norms, competing institutions and competing powerful interests. This pioneering book will inspire an exciting new phase of deliberative research, both theoretical and empirical.

Democracy for Realists

Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government
Author: Christopher H. Achen,Larry M. Bartels
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400888743
Category: Political Science
Page: 408
View: 6977

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Democracy for Realists assails the romantic folk-theory at the heart of contemporary thinking about democratic politics and government, and offers a provocative alternative view grounded in the actual human nature of democratic citizens. Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels deploy a wealth of social-scientific evidence, including ingenious original analyses of topics ranging from abortion politics and budget deficits to the Great Depression and shark attacks, to show that the familiar ideal of thoughtful citizens steering the ship of state from the voting booth is fundamentally misguided. They demonstrate that voters—even those who are well informed and politically engaged—mostly choose parties and candidates on the basis of social identities and partisan loyalties, not political issues. They also show that voters adjust their policy views and even their perceptions of basic matters of fact to match those loyalties. When parties are roughly evenly matched, elections often turn on irrelevant or misleading considerations such as economic spurts or downturns beyond the incumbents' control; the outcomes are essentially random. Thus, voters do not control the course of public policy, even indirectly. Achen and Bartels argue that democratic theory needs to be founded on identity groups and political parties, not on the preferences of individual voters. Now with new analysis of the 2016 elections, Democracy for Realists provides a powerful challenge to conventional thinking, pointing the way toward a fundamentally different understanding of the realities and potential of democratic government.

The Ideological Origins of American Federalism


Author: Alison L. LaCroix
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674048867
Category: History
Page: 312
View: 5854

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Federalism is regarded as one of the signal American contributions to modern politics. Its origins are typically traced to the drafting of the Constitution, but the story began decades before the delegates met in Philadelphia. In this groundbreaking book, Alison LaCroix traces the history of American federal thought from its colonial beginnings in scattered provincial responses to British assertions of authority, to its emergence in the late eighteenth century as a normative theory of multilayered government. The core of this new federal ideology was a belief that multiple independent levels of government could legitimately exist within a single polity, and that such an arrangement was not a defect but a virtue. This belief became a foundational principle and aspiration of the American political enterprise. LaCroix thus challenges the traditional account of republican ideology as the single dominant framework for eighteenth-century American political thought. Understanding the emerging federal ideology returns constitutional thought to the central place that it occupied for the founders. Federalism was not a necessary adaptation to make an already designed system work; it was the system. Connecting the colonial, revolutionary, founding, and early national periods in one story reveals the fundamental reconfigurations of legal and political power that accompanied the formation of the United States. The emergence of American federalism should be understood as a critical ideological development of the period, and this book is essential reading for everyone interested in the American story.

How Democracy Ends


Author: David Runciman
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 1541616790
Category: Political Science
Page: 256
View: 1162

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How will democracy end? And what will replace it? A preeminent political scientist examines the past, present, and future of an endangered political philosophy Since the end of World War II, democracy's sweep across the globe seemed inexorable. Yet today, it seems radically imperiled, even in some of the world's most stable democracies. How bad could things get? In How Democracy Ends, David Runciman argues that we are trapped in outdated twentieth-century ideas of democratic failure. By fixating on coups and violence, we are focusing on the wrong threats. Our societies are too affluent, too elderly, and too networked to fall apart as they did in the past. We need new ways of thinking the unthinkable--a twenty-first-century vision of the end of democracy, and whether its collapse might allow us to move forward to something better. A provocative book by a major political philosopher, How Democracy Ends asks the most trenchant questions that underlie the disturbing patterns of our contemporary political life.

The Upside-Down Constitution


Author: Michael S. Greve
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674063228
Category: Political Science
Page: 528
View: 8593

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The Constitution’s vision of federalism in which local, state, and federal government compete to satisfy preferences of individuals has given way to a cooperative, cartelized federalism that enables interest groups to leverage power at every level for their own benefit. Greve traces this inversion and dispels much received wisdom along the way.

America's Battle for Media Democracy

The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform
Author: Victor Pickard
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107038332
Category: History
Page: 260
View: 3922

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Drawing from extensive archival research, the book uncovers the American media system's historical roots and normative foundations. It charts the rise and fall of a forgotten media-reform movement to recover alternatives and paths not taken.

A Great Power of Attorney

Understanding the Fiduciary Constitution
Author: Gary Lawson,Guy Seidman
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780700624256
Category: Law
Page: 240
View: 9825

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What kind of document is the United States Constitution and how does that characterization affect its meaning? Those questions are seemingly foundational for the entire enterprise of constitutional theory, but they are strangely under-examined. Legal scholars Gary Lawson and Guy Seidman propose that the Constitution, for purposes of interpretation, is a kind of fiduciary, or agency, instrument. The founding generation often spoke of the Constitution as a fiduciary document—or as a “great power of attorney,” in the words of founding-era legal giant James Iredell. Viewed against the background of fiduciary legal and political theory, which would have been familiar to the founding generation from both its education and its experience, the Constitution is best read as granting limited powers to the national government, as an agent, to manage some portion of the affairs of “We the People” and its “posterity.” What follows from this particular conception of the Constitution—and is of greater importance—is the question of whether, and how much and in what ways, the discretion of governmental agents in exercising those constitutionally granted powers is also limited by background norms of fiduciary obligation. Those norms, the authors remind us, include duties of loyalty, care, impartiality, and personal exercise. In the context of the Constitution, this has implications for everything from non-delegation to equal protection to so-called substantive due process, as well as for the scope of any implied powers claimed by the national government. In mapping out what these imperatives might mean—such as limited discretionary power, limited implied powers, a need to engage in fair dealing with all parties, and an obligation to serve at all times the interests of the Constitution's beneficiaries—Lawson and Seidman offer a clearer picture of the original design for a limited government.

The Righteous Mind

Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion
Author: Jonathan Haidt
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307455777
Category: Philosophy
Page: 500
View: 9376

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Presents a groundbreaking investigation into the origins of morality at the core of religion and politics, offering scholarly insight into the motivations behind cultural clashes that are polarizing America.

The People Vs. Democracy

Why Our Freedom is in Danger and how to Save it
Author: Yascha Mounk
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674976827
Category: Authoritarianism
Page: 400
View: 1208

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From India to Turkey, from Poland to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power. Two core components of liberal democracy--individual rights and the popular will--are at war, putting democracy itself at risk. In plain language, Yascha Mounk describes how we got here, where we need to go, and why there is little time left to waste.