This right here: “In short, don’t just follow the rules in the most literal way possible, grabbing every advantage they don’t explicitly forbid; govern in good faith, fulfilling to the best of your abilities the duties you have been entrusted with.”

Unfortunately much of the populace is more interested in being saved by a god-like leader than actively engaging in democratic dialogue. Campaigns are no longer about substantive debate, but the creation of a new mythology.

The Weekly Sift

If we can’t make our republican system of government work, eventually the people will clamor for a leader who can sweep it all away. Many of them already do.


In the 2013 post “ Countdown to Augustus ” I laid out a long-term problem that I come back to every year or so:

[R]epublics don’t work just by rules, the dos and don’t explicitly spelled out in their constitutions. They also need norms, things that are technically within the rules — or at least within the powers that the rules establish — but “just aren’t done” and arouse public anger when anyone gets close to doing them. But for that public anger, you can often get an advantage by skirting the norms. And when it looks like you might get away with it, the other side has a powerful motivation to cut some other corner to keep you in check.

… As Congress becomes increasingly dysfunctional…

View original post 2,190 more words

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