Political Elections and "the Will of the People"

By:  Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
10/14/2011
       
Political Elections and "the Will of the People"

By now, no supporter of Ron Paul’s will find himself surprised by the glaring inconsistencies, outright distortions, and, frankly, boldfaced lies to which Republican-friendly media figures will descend in their efforts to marginalize his presidential candidacy. Still, so unabashed is their illogic, so overt the dishonesty, it is nevertheless difficult not to be amazed, even mesmerized, by the audaciousness with which Paul’s critics subject him to one injustice after the other. 

For as ugly as it is, though, this phenomenon is not without its value. That is, it supplies us with a classic textbook illustration of what many of us have always known: it is indeed politicians and their cohorts in the media, and not voters, who select candidates.

Joseph A. Schumpeter was a conservative theorist who was also among the most distinguished and erudite of social scientists of the first half of the twentieth century. In his Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, he debunks what he characterizes as “the classical doctrine of democracy.” According to this doctrine, it is “the people itself” that settle “issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out its will.” In reality, though, “the will of the people is the product and not the motive power of the political process.” [Emphasis added.]

By now, no supporter of Ron Paul’s will find himself surprised by the glaring inconsistencies, outright distortions, and, frankly, boldfaced lies to which Republican-friendly media figures will descend in their efforts to marginalize his presidential candidacy. Still, so unabashed is their illogic, so overt the dishonesty, it is nevertheless difficult not to be amazed, even mesmerized, by the audaciousness with which Paul’s critics subject him to one injustice after the other. 

For as ugly as it is, though, this phenomenon is not without its value. That is, it supplies us with a classic textbook illustration of what many of us have always known: it is indeed politicians and their cohorts in the media, and not voters, who select candidates.

Joseph A. Schumpeter was a conservative theorist who was also among the most distinguished and erudite of social scientists of the first half of the twentieth century. In his Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, he debunks what he characterizes as “the classical doctrine of democracy.” According to this doctrine, it is “the people itself” that settle “issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out its will.” In reality, though, “the will of the people is the product and not the motive power of the political process.” [Emphasis added.]

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Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. (photo)

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