I have wanted to write a series on power in democracies ever since my How to win votes post from June 2016. Being elected is not enough (or necessary) to have real power. Policy need to be implemented. There can be opposition from civil servants and judges appointed by previous regimes1. The press can selectively report on what politicians are (not) doing.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found the time yet to write down my general ideas on power, as I have been too busy with my book on banking. But right now, the Trump administration is exposing the hidden assumptions many commentators have about democracy. This makes the Trump regime a great case study for anyone interested in real world politics, rather than the fantasy version2 many people desperately want to believe in.
If you’re bored with the (very annoying and unoriginal) “Waaah, Trump is a meanie” fluff you can read everywhere, here are some interesting articles:
On leadership and politics:
This is why authoritarian leaders use the Big Lie (by Xavier Marquez)
On institutions and the “deep state”:
Egypt’s failed revolution (by Peter Hessler)
Hail to the Pencil Pusher (by Mike Konczal)
On life in non-democratic countries:
Everyday authoritarianism is boring and tolerable (by Tom Pepinsky)
On censorship and ideas:
What exactly does Mexico export to the US? (by J. W. Mason)
Origins of political correctness, Lugenpresse found in panics (by Brett Stevens)
On Political Correctness (by William Deresiewicz)
What is global history now? (by Jeremy Adelman)
A Hard Future for a Soft Science (by Bradford Tuckfield)
On big data and statistics:
Do You Trust Big Data? Try Googling the Holocaust (by Cathy O’Neil)
Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds (by Elizabeth Kolbert)
Dopamine Puppets (by Scott Adams)
A Miscellany of Foundations and First Principles for the Study of Sociology (by “Dissenting Sociologist”)
On ethnic conflict:
The Lost World of West Philadelphia (by Devin Helton)
On monetary policy and central bank independence:
Why conservatives should fear a Trump Federal Reserve (by Peter Conti-Brown)
Last update: March 30, 2017
- I use the term ‘regime’ without implying a negative connotation.
- The regime preferred by mainstream pundits appears to be “liberal democracy”.
- VERY good article on the original thinkers banned from Twitter. I briefly touched on this internet culture in a previous post.
- This essay contains some thought-provoking ideas. Unfortunately, it is way too long for most readers. In spite of its length, no concrete examples are given of the abstract “managerial class”. I guess this class encompasses politicians, judges, lawyers, professors and teachers, journalists, pundits, etc. To get the gist of the article without reading it entirely, start at the section ‘The Failure of Managerialism?’.