There are two striking facts about representative democracy. The first is that unlike every other aspect of life we don’t require people to demonstrate competence before being granted the privilege of voting. We do require people to pass tests in order to be permitted to drive, to perform surgery, to wire up one’s house, and even to take care of one’s taxes. But voting, perhaps the single most important thing we ever do aside from becoming parents, is ability-free. The second striking thing about our system of governance is that unlike most other aspects of life there’s no continuous improvement. Today a cheap wristwatch is accurate to a few seconds a year whereas one hundred years ago the most expensive and complex wristwatch in the world was accurate to a few minutes per month. Our aircraft, automobiles, entertainment systems, and practically everything else we encounter in our everyday lives is always being improved. People are useless drivers? OK, here come the anti-lock brakes, the airbags, the collision avoidance systems… People are useless at democracy? OK, we will….. do nothing.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.