Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Argument against Democracy

Palmerston writes in 1854

"Can it be expected that men who murder their children to get £9 to be spent on Drink will not sell their vote for whatever they can get for it?"

I mean, how did that work? Was it like the Dingo Bounty?



JH said...

You can't fault his logic.

Is it essential to the idea of democracy that votes not be bought and sold? I can see that coercion is inimical to the idea. But surely how voters exercises choice is up to them. Is "I like the way he looks" any better than "He gave me $50 to vote for him"?

And aren't votes bought and sold en masse to some extent, at least since governments discovered the joys of extensive revenue raising.

Chris said...

Well, physical coercion may be inimical; Palmerston was prepared to live with economic coercion. When Irish tenants were so ungrateful as to vote against Sir Roger Palmer's candidates (no secret ballot then, of course) and were evicted, Pam said "I think a true Englishman hates doing a thing in secret or in the dark... For men who are charged with the high and important duty of choosing the best men to represent the country in parliament to go sneaking to the ballot-box, and, poking in a bit of paper, looking round to see that no one could read it, is a course which is unworthy of the character of straightforward and honest Englishmen."

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