Posts tagged libertarianism
[Note – this was a Draft in my Drafts folder… it is not unalloyed genius, but it would move us 3/5ths of the way to a more beautiful society if implemented… it was originally penned in 2004 and is presented unexpurgated]
To my way of thinking, the "conservative" ending of "neoconservative" is a malapropism which must be corrected if history is to provide a guide as to the reasons behind destruction that these ideologues are intent on wreaking. The inclusion of the "neo-cons" under the Conservative rubric reinforces the misconception that these vultures have anything to do with the Burkean tradition.
The fact that the overwhelming mass of neo-conservatives are ideological "migrants" from the Far Left should be the first sign. That they have shown no signs of discarding the far-left's demands for widespread upheaval as a means of procuring ideological ends, marks them definitively as anything but conservative. They are marxist-radical in everything but name – and they chose the "neo-conservative" name themselves, in an application of Leo Strauss' "noble lie" approach. If they simply called themselves "radical marxians" they would not get a job – not even in academia.
A Modest Proposal
I have long been an advocate for the complete abolition of political parties (more accurately, the establishment of a system which would effectively kill off political organisation within a country) on precisely this basis – that economic power seeks to influence political decision-making, and does so successfully in a "democratic" political system. And of course it seeks to influence political decision-making in ways that are not aligned with the majority of the electorate. (I say this as an ARDENT supporter of market forces in all goods and input markets).
The system I advocate is a return to the Athenian system of selection of officeholders by sortition (i.e., by lot), whereby government is formed by selecting adults at random from the population and giving them portfolio responsibilities for a period of two years. These officeholders are barred from receiving any side payments, as are their immediate families, for a period of five years after the individual leaves office. One individual is selected as "Head of State" and serves for a period of one year.
The upshot of this is to completely undo the political party system; the "legislature" would effectively become a body made up entirely of independents (and more to the point, of "last term" independents). Lots of gridlock – which limits the amount of damage that political institution can do to the economy.
In my cynical view, parties exist for their own ends, and serve as the rationing mechanism for "candidature". As such, members of the political class are "successful" primarily as a result of displaying service to the party machine, not to the political system (and certainly in no way as a result of their perceived benefit to the electorate). The upshot of this, is that politicians tend to be highly conformist to the ideologies of the major parties rather than advocates of social progress.
It is virtually impossible (under the current system) to win a seat without the backing of a political party. Under my proposed system it is impossible for a political party to determine who holds a seat. It is also impossible for a party to control the behaviour of incumbents (via threats of disendorsement, for example).
So political parties disappear. So does most corruption, since most corruption is performed "efficiently" under the current system, whereby capital buys an entire party by simply buying a share in its leadership structure (through political donations).
Furthermore, most political donation is performed in order to fund re-election: under my proposed system there is no amount of spending that could influence the outcome of the next election. The incumbent simply goes back into the raffle machine.
There are several additional benefits to "randomocracy" as I call it. The only argument against it is the high level of "turnover" amongst the leadership (why that is a bad thing is beyond me), plus the (spurious, in my judgement) assertion that those who rise to positions of political power are somehow "specialists" and to ration them out of the system would result in a sub-par outcome.
I believe that randomocracy aligns perfectly with Rawls; if you can guarantee that ON AVERAGE you legislature reflects the values of the median (and average) voter, you're halfway to a better society.