In Response to: Paths to Fairer Voting

It was long believed that single-member voting districts were best since with proportional representation a myriad of parties and groups would have to negotiate coalition governments, the pattern in Europe, especially France and Italy, which certainly did not lead to what anyone would call democracy. Democracy itself, the idea that people should make political decisions indirectly by electing representatives, is a very flawed process. Direct democracy would be better but is impossible except in a small city state, none of which would in fact today be small enough. The problem is simply that with any political system, indirect democracy, aristocracy, oligarchy, etc. no form of democracy can really work. The French reactionary and anti-Dreyfusard, Charles Maurras, a hundred years ago said that when you abolish aristocracy you don't get democracy, you get oligarchy. Is this not exactly what we get in America: Whether ruled by Democrats or Republicans, we are really ruled by Wall Street, the military-industrial complex, and the prejudices of the average American redneck. A real choice is between an intelligent aristocrat like Pericles or a nitwit plutocrat like Donald Trump.

Norman Ravitch *62
Savannah, Ga.