Why we have a Bill of Rights.

Kevin D. Williamson summarizes a Libertarian author’s critique of the American electoral process in Twisting Libertarianism:

Professor Caplan, author of The Myth of the Rational Voter, is a trenchant critic of electoral decision-making. Voters, he argues, suffer from specific, predictable biases — anti-market bias, anti-foreign bias, make-work bias, and pessimistic bias — that causes them to hold, and act on, untrue beliefs about the way the world works. Being an economist, Professor Caplan focuses on what voters believe about economics vs. what professional economists believe. He characterizes the typical American voter as a moderate national socialist who strongly supports state intervention in many areas, and remarks, “Given public opinion, the policies of First World democracies are surprisingly libertarian.”

Professor Caplan’s views on the defects of democracy, which are in some ways very radical but in many ways very familiar. The belief that voters will often choose bad policies, support inhumane values, or do violence to national principles is hardly new — it is, for instance, why we have a Bill of Rights.

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