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andreyf · 2010-02-27 · Original thread
This is not a new phenomenon: JFK even wrote a book about it, titled "Profiles in Courage": The book profiles senators who crossed party lines and/or defied the public opinion of their constituents to do what they felt was right and suffered severe criticism and losses in popularity because of their actions. [1]

So sometimes the right thing to do is the unpopular thing. But that's not new. While democracy is great at preventing certain abuses of power which clearly hurt the populace at large. Hence, it is also good at preventing violent uprising. So while it comes up with good solutions to some problems, the democratic process we have doesn't come up with the right solution to every problem, terrorism being a good example. This notion is much older than JFK, of course. One purpose of the Bill of Rights was explicitly anti-democratic: put in a general way, it prohibits the majority from oppressing inherent rights of minorities.

In theory, it is the role of the courts to strike down such laws as unconstitutional. In practice, this doesn't seem to happen very quickly, Japanese internment serving as one historical comparison [2]. But the sky has not fallen, former transgressions were greater, and like them, this too, shall pass.

What is novel about the current political climate in the US, as far as I can tell, is the extent of the influence money has in politics, and the magnitude of such money being spent. The best chronicle of this I've read is "So Much Damned Money" [3]. This is a problem worth fretting over.




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