Julian Sanchez has the germ of a solid argument here. But only the germ. It is in fact true that the observed stupidity of the American people in, say, refusing to vote for cheaper and less discriminatory health insurance for themselves presents a problem for liberals. Basically, if people can’t engage in effective collective action to get themselves systems that benefit everyone, then why believe in collective action as a philosophy? If the American people really are too dumb to do anything for themselves, why try to do anything for them? Why not get a job on Wall Street, rob the taxpayer blind for a few years, and retire at 40 with a cool billion in a Cayman Islands account? Or whatever it is that Republicans do? Doesn’t the failure of collective action at the political level show that people, or Americans at least, are incapable of acting collectively and are best served by a system that ruthlessly screws over the less gifted and wealthy, while affording great opportunities for those of us who had the wisdom to be born into upper-middle-class families and attend Ivy League schools?
Sanchez thinks his own position is consistent because he’s “never been all that big on the intrinsic virtues of democracy” and thus thinks nobody is harmed when corporations get the ability to mislead us all with their expert demagoguery and obfuscation, at budgets of $100 million a buy. We’re so stupid we’d be getting conned by somebody regardless, so why not corporations? I’m with him on the skepticism about the intrinsic value of democracy. But the thing is that the type of regime I think might be better than democracy is a wise nationalist-fascist regime on the Chinese model, run by a political class interested in national greatness and not beholden to a particular class, sector or province. The corporatist model, on the other hand, is doomed to cronyism and collapse, because the bosses will sell out the nation for those Cayman Islands accounts every time. Because I don’t really care about the welfare of the individual and am only interested in national greatness, my position that corporations should be barred from political activity of any kind is more consistent than his.
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