Politics isn’t a pretty business.
Frédéric Bastiat called the beast it serves “that great fiction” not because it doesn’t exist — intrusive state power sure persists — but rather because what it promises cannot really happen: “everyone living at the expense of everyone else.”
What can we do? How do we counteract a game that is rigged to increase the insanity, not reduce it?
Last week I indicated one thing a minor party with that goal in mind could do: use its power of spoiling elections to change major party behavior, and thus give citizens a fighting chance to restrain governmental metastasis.
I also suggested “blackmailing” the major parties into setting up a system of voting that . . . ends the power to blackmail! I believe that system — ranked choice voting — holds many positives, not the least of which is ending strategic voting, wherein voters are tempted to “falsify” their own preferences and support candidates they might dislike. This is as corrupting to the citizenry as the Great Fiction itself.
Let’s hope a savvy minor party leverages the major parties, gaining reforms to improve the system. Regardless, we can all — independently — push two other limits on political power:
- term limits at all levels, and
- initiative and referendum rights in all the states, not just the 26 that have it now.
Initiative and referendum rights would give ordinary citizens the leverage to possibly restrain the mad rush to live at each others’ expense. With the initiative, citizens can gain term limits, which produce more competitive legislative elections and lead to fewer legislators captured by the interests loitering in the capitol.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.