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Democracy, Born Again

October 16, 2009

athens_oldstyletet1[1]In an interview with A.V. Club (included in the Onion), Michael Moore contends that our broken system cannot incrementally be fixed:

I don’t think you can repair or reform the existing system, and I think it’s crazy to try it. I think that it’s the 21st century. Let’s create a new economic order that fits this century. We’re smart enough to do that. Why are we having this debate between a 16th-century economic philosophy and a 19th-century economic philosophy? Capitalism vs. socialism.

Good question.

When asked what he would replace the existing system with, Moore wisely replies that we ought not “worry about that right now,” but focus instead on honoring “democratic principles” and creating an “ethical core.” An economic system that answers to the values and needs of ordinary people — now there’s a novel idea!

Between a 19th-century philosophy, a 16th-century philosophy, and an ancient Greek philosophy, I’d prefer the oldest of the three. With that said, a reinvigorated democracy would presumably continue to include aspects of capitalism and of socialism. Democracy is, after all, a form of government and not economics: you can’t substitute an apple for an orange. To my mind, the goal of the new democracy would be to subordinate economic interests to the will of the people — the reverse of the crony capitalism we have now.

Where do we even begin?

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