Richard Shenkman’s article below, about a paper by Shawn Rosenberg, discusses a perspective on people and politics that does not comport with Jefferson’s views. A few related questions follow, where we compare our political institutions with a clam:
- Do we still have a democracy? Fully functioning clam inside the shell.
- Do we have remnants of a democracy? Shell partly empty, clam not functioning well.
- Do we have only an appearance of democracy? Shell remains, clam on leave of absence, or dead.
- Does even an appearance of democracy survive? Shell crushed underfoot.
- Do we have an immature, or perhaps a mature authoritiarian system in place? Clam returns as a creature hungry to consume our liberty.
If we were to take a poll on these possibilities, how would responses distribute themselves across all five questions? How would elite responses differ from non-elite responses? Would respondents even care about the questions, or their responses?
Human brains aren’t built for self-rule, says Shawn Rosenberg. That’s more evident than ever.