Some people wonder at my support for initiative and referendum. They don’t place much trust in their neighbors to run their lives. They fear what de Tocqueville called “the tyranny of the majority.”
And hey: I don’t trust fellow voters to run my life, either. But I trust voters to let me be free to run my own life more a lot more than I trust politicians.
Voters will choose less government more often than their representatives will.
And less government, in today’s context, means better government.
This was most notably demonstrated in late September. The U.S. House of Representatives voted on the Bush administration’s proposed bailout of the mortgage industry, the biggest takeover of private property in world history.
To politicians, it made a whole heckuva a lot of sense. To Americans who wrote and phoned Congress, the bailout appeared just as it was: a quickie, panic “fix” that merely lined the pockets of a sector of the investor population.
It was a subsidy, socializing risk while letting profit remain private.
Enough Americans notified enough of their reps to convince them to take a stand, defeating the bailout. The letters came in, ten to one against the bill.
Of course, the next week Congress voted in the bailout, adding injury, in the form of a bigger price tag, to the insult of ignoring constituents.
Once again, politicians ignored the people. That’s never good government.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.