jacob wrote: ↑
Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:50 pm
One should care in proportion to the degree on desires to live alongside other humans in a free society.
Ultimately, a people don't get the kind of government they want but the kind of government they deserve. Imposing some Rawlsian justice(*), there's more to freedom than minimizing one's tax bill. Even if justice is not a guiding principle, there's still the personal risk that one's contact with the government might include something else than just paying taxes... such as getting arrested for a traffic violation (due process?).
I get where you're coming from, but I can only agree in part. What you say is true for real democracies where people can influence outcomes - but that's just not the case, even in most western "democracies".
Example: If I don't like the planning regulation system in a town in Switzerland that I happen to live in, I have an "easy" remedy: prepare some legislation, get the requisite number of signatures from other locals, a vote happens, and it becomes law or doesn't. This is provided for by the legal framework in Switzerland, no random bureaucrat can get in the way or stop me - if I can only convince enough fellow citizens. You, the people, get the government you deserve because you have the power to set the law. And in Switzerland that goes all the way up to a constitutional level. (Some places in the US apparently have similar setups, but limited to the local levels - e.g. there's no way to force a referendum on a federal issue, even though that's probably the cleanest way to get over those arguments around guns, abortion rights, and other hot topics that people keep arguing around for years because there's no body with the sufficient legitimacy to make a lasting and final decision.)
But if I don't like the legislation in a town in the UK that I happen to live in: try as hard as I might, there's no legally guaranteed way of changing that. Maybe you can complain to your representatives, but they can ignore you. You can try to get voted in as a representative yourself, but that's a very indirect way for people to express their views on legislation - and even then doesn't actually give you much control. Even if you convince enough other people about your legislative ideas - then maybe you'll together vote the current representative out the next time round because they didn't prepare the legislation you all wanted, but that's a convoluted, slow and ultimately ineffective feedback loop, which still doesn't guarantee that the next representative will do anything. But more significantly, this indirection reduces how much people will even care - if you can't control the law in a direct and somewhat simple way, it's highly demotivating and probably is the root cause of much of the disinterest in democracy that I see in the UK (and elsewhere).
(Brexit probably isn't a great illustration of direct democracy, seeing as it wasn't legally binding and didn't create or modify any laws, didn't have a clear plan for implementation, would have been ruled an invalid referendum in most countries due to the sheer amounts of misinformation, and was worded in the most wishy washy non-specific way possible making it more of an opinion poll than referendum.)