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If you think of democracy as being majoritarian, the U.S. Bill of Rights is explicitly designed to be anti-democratic. Just read the language: “Congress shall make no law.” “Shall not be infringed.” “Shall not be violated.” “Nor shall be compelled.” “Shall be preserved.” “Shall not be required.”

These are rights that individuals — not societies or governments — possess. Even if a majority of the population wants to infringe them through the democratic process, that’s not permitted under the BoR. (You could also say that these rights are natural rights that predated and were merely recognized by the BoR, but that’s not necessary to make my point.)

We’ve already recognized that some aspects of life, including free speech, torture, and so on are too important to be left to the democratic process. We’ve explicitly blocked, or at least tried to block, the democratic process from interfering with those rights. That’s because the democratic process is imperfect: it’s subject to the day’s political whims and foibles.

Given that we already have a fine example of one anti-democratic mechanism at work, it’s hardly ridiculous to contemplate others. This is supposedly HN, not Status Quo Anti-Innovation Political Curmudgeonly News. Right?




I'm not sure where I ever argued for "pure democracy". I've got a ragged copy of the Federalist Papers sitting on my bookshelf and I re-read #10 a few times a year.

What I'm worried about is the anti-American, anti-democratic bullshit that is starting to pour out of Silicon Valley.

I think there is plenty of room within the existing framework to deal with the issues that we're facing. It may take a lot of work and may have to involve some serious restructuring of things like the House of Representative and the Senate, but I feel like it is worth it. What IS important is that we decide to do it together, with a plurality of voices, and not by building some sort of fucking space ship to hide away in like where everyone in SV seems to be heading.

The people who set up this system of government were true supporters of the Enlightenment. They were willing to compromise and willing to admit that "freedom ain't free", to put it in a common parlance. They had love in their hearts and the proof is that they were willing to listen and willing to compromise.

I don't see a lot of that these days. I see a lot of hate, misunderstanding, and self-absorbtion.


Sorry, just saw this response now. There's plenty of bullshit that's pouring out of Silicon Valley, sure, but it's generated by marketing departments or startup CEOs hoping to be the next billion-dollar-Instagram.

I honestly don't know what you mean by "anti-American, anti-democratic bullshit." If anything, it's the Washington congresscritters and assorted legions of hive-minded bureaucrats who are pushing anti-American and anti-Enlightenment regulations on us out here. I lived for a decade in Washington, D.C. before moving to SF and the peninsula, and can assure you that congresscritters and hive-minded bureaucrats and don't have "love in their hearts."

To respond more directly to your point about compromise, at some point people will recognize that the system is broken and suffers structural barriers that mean it is exceedingly unlikely to be fixed. So political compromise inside a broken system becomes not only difficult, but in the end futile. Some folks like the seasteaders are at that point already.


>If you think of democracy as being majoritarian, the U.S. Bill of Rights is explicitly designed to be anti-democratic.

Yes, and look how well that turned out!

(Spoilers: Not very well. The USA has thrived when it has been more democratic and stagnated when less. We are currently in a 40-year period of less and less democracy. Strangely enough, stagnation and crisis have become more and more common during this time.)


You could just as well argue:

"Look how well the expansion of FedGov worked. Spoilers: Not very well. The USA has thrived when it has been more free and stagnated under more government. We are currently in a 40-year period of more and more government. Strangely enough, stagnation and crisis have become more and more common during this time."


That's, er, the point of constituational democracy. It's not 100% pure democracy.


Yep (though it's a constitutional republic, not a constitutional democracy). My point is that discussions about moving the slider even more away from 100% pure democracy should be within the realm of reasonable discourse.




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