Can a political elite hold itself accountable? Left to its own devices, absent a virtuous citizenry, a political elite is able to exploit a conflict of interest in both wielding the authority of government and using that power even to constrain the elite itself. Unfortunately, even where an electorate is virtuous, the dispersed condition of the popular sovereign is an impediment to galvanizing enough popular will to act as a counter-power to that of a political elite, which is relatively concentrated and well-informed. In early 2017, the problem was on full display in the E.U. state of France, with little the federal government could do given the amount of governmental sovereignty still residing at the state level. So the question is whether an electorate can galvanize enough power to counter that of a political elite.
François Fillon in trouble for corruption amid an ensconced political elite. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)
The full essay is at “François Fillon.”
In 2016, there were three very worthy candidates for the highly coveted Politician of the Year Award. In May, I gave the prize to Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected president of the Philippines, because he assured voters that none of his mistresses were on the public payroll. Gee, what a swell guy! In July, I […]
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