Democracy in action.

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. – H.L. Mencken

Creatures of the state will generally argue that in these complex times it is necessary to have a strong centralized authority to control and regulate the activities of the general population. In reality however, the more complex things are the less equipped a central authority is to deal with it as it is too remote from where the action is. Smaller autonomous jurisdictions close to the local populations will always have a better feel for the needs of the local population, and as to whether any action is needed at all.

The following is a great example of just why government decisions need to be as far as possible decentralized to the smallest possible level.

From Ben and Bawbs Blog.

Here in Fly-Over country, we have long been on the receiving end of endless mandates and edicts spewed forth by the “elites” on both coasts regarding how to run things out here. These dictates usually come from big city weenies whose feet have never left pavement (let alone stepped in cow shit) in their lives, who think meat is “produced” under plastic in the back of supermarkets, and who have never, ever had the occasion to “pee behind a tree”.

For instance, I believe it was a female senator from New Yawk State who proposed Federal budget savings (an admirable goal if you know what the heck you’re doing) by firing all the cattle guards in the Western United States. The only problem is that cattle guards are not “guards” per se, but rather a device consisting of steel rails that is implanted in the roadbed. Livestock are not able to cross over these cattle guards. Thus, vehicles can travel roads freely without stopping to open and shut gates at every fenceline.

These edicts, arbitrarily produced with absolutely no input from the regions affected, usually prove to be utterly unrealistic, totally unworkable, and downright asinine. Not that that is, in governmental logic, any reason to rescind any previous fiasco nor to stop spewing forth more. Read the rest here.

This is a classic example of an elected idiot thinking that being a member of the ruling elite, confers some sort of infallible wisdom.

Central government always pushes for a one size fits all solution, ignoring the fact that different regions have differing economic situations, cultural values, aspirations and so on. This combined with their unacknowledged ignorance, conceit, arrogance, and delusions of relevance, conspires to inflict bad results on most occasions.


The story above has proved to be apocryphal, which is unfortunate as it has spoilt a rather promising thread. As some of the comments indicate, there is plenty of stupidity to go around in government so its a pity this happened.

26 thoughts on “Democracy in action.

  1. I saw that, she seemed to think it involved bestiality. It was Miami Democratic Sen. Larcenia Bullard who is the Vice-Chair of the Agricultural Committee and a former teacher. Report here.

    Is it possible that confusion as to the meaning of the term ‘midwife’ is the reason behind legislation forcing birthing to be done in hospitals.

  2. What are all those unemployed cattle guards going to do? Won’t this just add more to the dole, or whatever it’s called these days?
    And how’s that for discrimination? Nobody is complaining about animal wifery! Where’s the justice?

  3. I once heard of someone who wrote to her local newspaper complaining that shooting at clay pigeons ought to be banned because of cruelty to animals.

  4. Jim – I’m curious as to why you chose that particular title and quote to start the post with. It sets the tone for an argument against democracy, then you go on to argue against centralisation of government.

    Do you support democracy or not? You talk about an ‘elected idiot’, and it’s true there are many of them, but in a democracy they can easily be unelected. There are also many idiots in a dictatorship, and they are more dangerous and harder to remove.

    As far as decentralisation goes, your points are valid and I tend to agree. The only trouble is, and I know this because I have has some experience working both for and with local governments, while they have a greater feel for local issues, they are often sorely lacking in talent. Many local government staffers are just there because they lack the competence to get a job in the private sector. More talented political types will be drawn to state or federal governments because that’s where the power is. Of course, if you give councils more power that may change, but would you take the risk?

  5. Even if local government officials are a little dim I’d take the risk with devolution of power. However that’s because I think democracy has a reasonable chance of working if done right. Democracy has been and can be a good form of government if kept mostly small and regional. It is our associated institutions and structures that are in most need of reform.

    Growing up on the farm we never used the term “cattle guard”. We refered to them as a “cattle grid”. I’m not sure how one senator could abolish them all on her lonesome. And whilst I have stepped in cow shit I’m not convinced that it is a meaningful qualification for the job of senator. There is possibly another side to this story.

  6. Good points papachango.

    In the cross post on RWL I used the title, “Well; she got the votes,” and went for the Will Rogers quote: I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.

    I am not a great fan of the concept we have now of virtually unlimited democracy where 50% + 1 can inflict anything on the 50% – 1; perhaps more like Menkens, Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. I tend towards the concept of a strictly constitutionally limited government that can only operate in the areas of defense, protection of rights and little else and do not see that being met by the current system.

    Generally in a democracy incumbency is difficult to toss with the exception of those in marginal seats unless there is a massive movement against the government.

    There is a need to limit local authorities as well, but a bad local authority causes damage only to a limited area as opposed to a bad national or state government. More efficient local governments will attract more growth and industry, thus creating competition in these areas and they are more likely to be run more as businesses rather than as the fiefdoms some appear to be at present.

  7. Jim, you’re supposed to be a miner, not a smart guy or an intellectual! Please stop confusing us with sophisticated arguments! I was going to make those points! Now I’ll need to think up some more. Darn it all!!!

  8. Perhaps the next central government edict could involve the distribution of improved bullshit detectors. I didn’t really need to check Snopes to figure out that this story was bogus, but it’s nice to get confirmation. The number of hoaxes that have been repeated on this blog is a bit ridiculous.

  9. I believe the expression PWNED is appropriate 😉

    Still, it doesn’t change the thrust of Jim’s arguments…

  10. Central government always pushes for a one size fits all solution, ignoring the fact that different regions have differing economic situations, cultural values, aspirations and so on.

    And nations, tribes. Tribes, in the dictionary, is not a racial one, not a scientific one, did people think it meant something to people 4000 years ago? Their science, their beliefs? Those who have to belong to science’s priesthood of the last 100 years, they should know men embrace tribal like Ethiopians embrace Jewry in the airlift, that men embrace culture not race, that science was never a part of this, and that universities that took over monasteries and tried to control Catholic thinking for secular thinking, just remember what the drunk Martin Luther learnt… don’t do it, dawg.

  11. Hey I’m like Jonah Goldberg on Jon Stewart’s show, it’s gonna be edited to approval and I’m still gonna put my hand up and ask if I was sufficient a pussy enough for your mainstream. But here I am, in all my assholeness, yes I’m drunk, I wouldn’t bother posting if I was Nicole Kidman in BMX Bandits. Unless I was the hot guy she wanted to go, not the dude in the graveyard, she wanted a BMX Bandit. Hey Nicole! I was always a BMX Bandit….

  12. Chris V – I only meant to imply the story smelt fishy. You went all out and crushed it.

  13. OK; it looks like I stuffed up on the example, but Larcenia Bullard thankfully saves the day for me, thanks for reminding me Mick.

    Rich’s legislation would target only those who derived or helped others derive ‘’sexual gratification” from an animal, specifying that conventional dog-judging contests and animal-husbandry practices are permissible.

    That last provision tripped up Miami Democratic Sen. Larcenia Bullard.

    ”People are taking these animals as their husbands? What’s husbandry?” she asked. Some senators stifled their laughter as Sen. Charlie Dean, an Inverness Republican, explained that husbandry is raising and caring for animals. Bullard didn’t get it.

    ”So that maybe was the reason the lady was so upset about that monkey?” Bullard asked, referring to a Connecticut case where a woman’s suburban chimpanzee went mad and was shot.

    This one is not apocryphal.

    While the original story was a bit of a crock, there is still relevance in the issue of representatives with knowledge so limited and egos so large that they simply do not understand how ignorant of the subject matter they are yet still get to have a vote on it. The least these people could do is either inform themselves, or abstain from voting. If we must have laws, let them be enacted out of common sense and consensus, not self righteousness.

  14. A similar situation happened in congress earlier this year – a congresswoman well into a debate admitted she didn’t know what ‘animal husbandry’ was.

    Just guessing but it would have to be her.

    She is quite possibly the stupidest person who ever walked the halls of Congress.

    She’s Thor’s hammer of intellect.

  15. I remember reading some time back about a West Australian electorate which voted for a dead member of Parliament, unaware that his death had caused the by-election! But how would that be possible? You vote for names, and the electoral office would print the voting slip with the new names on it. Is there a story we’re not being told here?

  16. I actually had a substantive point to make in pointing out this story was a fraud. I know nothing about the specifics of the people who write that blog, but you have a lot of work to do to convince me that rural citizens in the United States have anything but a cozy relationship with Big Government. My impression is that the relationship mostly consists of the transfer of immense quantities of subsidy dollars. If this were not so, you would think the writers of that blog would have examples of central government edicts which affected them personally, rather than apocryphal stories. Most of the travesties of Big Government I can think of (the drug war, eminent domain etc) fall disproportionately on city dwellers.

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