All deductions having been made, democracy has done less harm, and more good, than any other form of government …

— The Lessons of History P. 79

All deductions having been made, democracy has done less harm, and more good, than any other form of government. It gave to human existence a zest and camaraderie that outweighed its pitfalls and defects. It gave to thought and science and enterprise the freedom essential to other operation and growth. It broke down the walls of privilege and class, and in each generation it raised up ability from every rank and place. Under its stimulus Athens and Rome became the most creative cities in history, and America in two centuries has provided abundance for an unprecedentedly large proportion of its population. Democracy has now dedicated itself resolutely to the spread and lengthening of education, and to the maintenance of public health. If equality of educational opportunity can be established, democracy will be real and justified. For this is the vital truth beneath its catchwords: that though men cannot be equal, their access to education and opportunity can be made more nearly equal. The rights of man are not rights to office and power, but the rights of entry into every avenue that may nourish and test a man’s fitness for office and power. A right is not a gift of God or nature but a privilege which it is good for the group that the individual should have.”

Democracy is the most difficult of all forms of government, since it requires the widest spread of intelligence, and we forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves sovereign …

— The Lessons of History P. 78

Democracy is the most difficult of all forms of government, since it requires the widest spread of intelligence, and we forgot to make ourselves intelligent when we made ourselves sovereign. Education has spread, but intelligence is perpetually retarded by the fertility of the simple. A cynic remarked that ‘you mustn’t enthrone ignorance just because there is so much of it.’ However, ignorance is not long enthroned, for it lends itself to manipulation by the forces that mold public opinion. It may be true, as Lincoln supposed, that ‘you can’t fool all the people all the time,’ but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.”

Americans know how it works, too. A politician plays to the masses to get votes. But he plays to the Establishment to get money …

— Bill Bonner Diary 9/1/2016

Americans know how it works, too. A politician plays to the masses to get votes. But he plays to the Establishment to get money.

Their pockets full of nearly-free money provided by the Fed, rich and powerful insiders line up behind Ms. Clinton.

That’s because they know she is someone they can work with. She is an honest politician: When she is bought, she stays bought.”

“The problem with democracy,” we explained to a friend yesterday, as she looked at her watch and hoped her phone would ring, “is a matter of scale” …

– Bill Bonner Diary May 12, 2016

The problem with democracy,” we explained to a friend yesterday, as she looked at her watch and hoped her phone would ring, “is a matter of scale.”

“We see the New England town meeting as a model,” we explained. “It’s a democracy that seems to work plausibly well. Everybody knows everybody else. They are all families, friends, coworkers.

“So, everybody knows the important details – for example, that the mayor is a scalawag and that you have to stay off the streets when Ms. Jones gets behind the wheel.

“In a small town, you can know real things… and vote on things that concern you all. You can do central planning, too… You almost have to. Where to put the town dump. When to schedule the next town fair. How much to charge for parking in the town’s lot.

“Everybody has to do central planning. When you get up in the morning, you have to plan your day. When you have a business or a family, you have to make decisions… you have to decide what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it.

“On a small scale, central planning is necessary and effective. And democracy is not bad, either. It helps build the consensus you need to set goals and get everyone behind them.

“But even then, you still get a lot of bullying and bumbling. There are always some jackasses who want to tell everyone else what to do. But in a small community, most people learn to get along with one another.

“In a big community, on the other hand, central planning and democracy are completely different things. People elect leaders they’ve never met… based on slogans and brand advertising. Nobody really knows what they will do, or why.

“And then, the leaders get away – literally – with murder. But people think it’s okay because they think it is just a big version of the town meeting. It’s not. Large-scale democracy is something entirely different. On a large scale, central planning and democracy don’t work.”

More people are going to want money paid out for a lot longer… from an account that has no money in it. No amount of financial smoke and mirrors will prevent the system from collapsing under its own weight

Palm Beach Letter April 2016

There are no real assets in the Social Security trust fund.

Now, add a couple of more problems to the mix. Social Security has had two problems from the start.

The first is retirement age. When the government designed the program in 1935, it set the retirement age at 65. At that time, the average life expectancy of a newborn was just 59 years. Most people wouldn’t live long enough to collect benefits.

But the framers of Social Security didn’t address the possibility that life expectancies would increase. Today, life expectancy in the United States is 79.9 years.

The second major problem is demographics. When Social Security began, there were 41.9 workers for every retiree. It isn’t too difficult to fund a program where more than 40 workers support a single retiree.

But now, in 2015, there are just 2.8 workers supporting every person collecting Social Security benefits.

By 2030, the ratio will be 2:1.

There you have it. Zero dollars in the trust fund, higher life expectancies, and a big wave of people claiming more benefits.

Takeaway: More people are going to want money paid out for a lot longer… from an account that has no money in it.

No amount of financial smoke and mirrors will prevent the system from collapsing under its own weight.”

The main problem in any democracy is that crowd pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage and whup up their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy – then go back to the office and sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece

Hunter S. Thompson

The main problem in any democracy,” wrote Hunter S. Thompson in a lucid moment, “is that crowd pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage and whup up their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy – then go back to the office and sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.”