Thursday, February 11, 2021

On Governmental legitimacy

Here is a nifty summation of the subject from the late and very lamented Counting Cats in Zanzibar.  This is from 5 years ago but is newly fresh once again:

In this sense, the old Marxist Tony Benn had it about right when he raised the matter of the democratic deficit in the [European Union] during the European Parliamentary Elections Bill of the 5 questions that should be asked of anyone who sought to wield power.
  • What power do you have?
  • Where did you get it?
  • In whose interests do you exercise it?
  • To whom are you accountable?
  • How can we get rid of you?
Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.
The fact of the matter is that despite the appearance of democracy in the form of the European Parliament, power within the EU does not reside with anyone who was directly elected by the people and consequently the people cannot “Throw the bums out”

 With a plurality (and very close to a majority) of Americans thinking that the last election was (ahem) fishy, we can replace the term "EU" with "Congress".  And that ignores the 95% reelection rate that the House of Representatives has enjoyed for decades.


Old NFO said...

Good one, and on the money (our money)...

Eric Wilner said...

"power within the EU does not reside with anyone who was directly elected by the people"
I noticed that back in California; all the policy decisions were made by unelected metagovernmental agencies, and elected bodies were expected to follow the policies handed to them.
And, the past few years, it's become apparent that the one and only elected executive official of the U.S. of A. is expected to obey the unelected permanent executive branch; attempting to be the head, and not a figurehead, is "unpresidential."
So, yeah. Sometimes old Marxists will ask the right questions.

Jess said...

We have the power; as long as exercising the power doesn't require closing a social media account, refusing to watch alphabet networks, and not watching professional sports.

Beans said...

Not to mention, we can change out the appointed leadership of the various bureaucratic agencies, but we can't fire the non-appointed bureaucracy.

A bureaucracy that has ruled us for at least Woodrow Wilson's reign of terror.

A great example is the State Department. How long have we known that the rank and file of the SD don't work for the American People? Well, gee, didja know that McCarthy's original basis for 'Communist Takeover' was the Government's own internal investigations into the State Department? Lo and Behold, the investigation discovered many a senior and middle level diplo and worker was on the payroll of the CCP and the CCCP.

Glen Filthie said...

Well that’s just it, isn’t it? Up here in Canada we’ve reached the point where we can’t and won’t take our govt seriously. Being good people, we don’t have problems with common sense laws. But the stuff coming out of our rulers these days is just flat out lunacy. I no longer care what they legislate, unless they can enforce it on me... forget it. I no longer take part in fictions or narratives, I no longer bow down to privileged social justice warriors and I won’t be lectured by neoliberal twits. In fact, if they want a fight I will damn we’ll give them one. We can’t run a family, never mind a country with the warped priorities and ethics they expect us to live by now...

Ed Bonderenka said...

They are poking the bear.
If you silence the people, they will express themselves otherwise.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Borepatch, the EU would seem to epitomize the very nature of an anti-democracy, where the lawmakers are so far removed from the people living under the laws, it is if the live under an aristocracy which makes laws they cannot influence. Sort of the thing the spent a very long time getting away from.

Rick C said...

"the lawmakers are so far removed from the people living under the laws, it is if the live under an aristocracy which makes laws they cannot influence."

One of Jack Chalker's series, Rings of the Master, contained a rule that the government must periodically spend time living with the people. (It didn't work as well as it was intended to.)