12 November 2009

Today's LRC

A fine piece today by one Ron Holland at LewRockwell.com explaining the greater extent of freedom in Switzerland than in the USA as a result of Switzerland's direct democracy mechanism that acts as an additional check on the government.

There is an ethical problem with direct democracy as there indeed is with any form of coercive government, but I did always think that as a matter of practicality it has to on balance produce a more libertarian outcome than rule by representationist elites. I am glad to discover I am not alone in thinking so.

However this most recent referendum initiative to prohibit the building of minarets is pushing for what is clearly an illiberal measure.

As a side note I quote a worried paragraph from a different article this one by Lew Rockwell:
"It gets even worse. While most Europeans and Americans think it was a good thing for the Soviet Union to disintegrate, people in India, Indonesia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Russia, and Egypt mostly think it was a bad thing. Yes, you read that right: millions freed from socialist slavery: bad thing."
At least on this point Lew should rest easy, people around the world are nostalgic for the USSR as a lost counterbalance to the USA, not for its economic system.

As for the Russians and Ukrainians, the orgy of plunder in the 1990s made the stagnation of the 1980s in many ways look like a golden age in comparison, but it did not turn the affected into Socialists. It turned them into disillusioned cynics. For a long time to come few in that part of the world are going to be wooed by any ambitious ideology, the least of all Socialism.

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