In response to an FT article by Janan Ganesh on 16th November 2015, entitled 'Insecurity may change the state and those that run it'
"Leviathan was always the wrong metaphor. The state is not a monster with its own mind. It is, at least in a democracy, the expression of our tastes and concerns. We literally get the government we deserve"
You are right that we get the government we deserve, but wrong about the ‘monster’ not having its own ‘mind’. It most certainly does, as does any system - through the adherence to that system and the formation of ‘culture’ I.E. the largely unconscious and unchallenged beliefs about ‘how we do things around here’.
Based on his understanding of this, Thomas Jefferson originally wanted the US to write a new constitution every 20 years – so that every generation would participate in, and make a conscious choice on ‘how we want to do things around here’. Despite the apparent impracticability of that idea – the principle of each person making a free and conscious choice is the root of democracy.
Regrettably, as Jefferson also clearly understood, the nature of politics attracts people who like power and ‘control’. You could say it was easy for him to see this, having just overthrown a foreign ruling elite wedded to power over their colonies – and yet this awareness was not shared by the majority of his peers. It didn’t take long for the ‘system’ to build it’s own momentum. Fast forward a couple of centuries and the ‘land of the free’ now has a Congress with an approval rating of 13%. It may be what the citizens of the US deserve, but it is most certainly not what they want.
Power, and decision making, when delegated to any political ‘system’, invariably leads to the system taking ever more. Further, the system tends not to give up power without a fight. E.G. women did not get the vote because of parliament, they got the vote despite parliament.
So when you say – “Politics might become too important to leave to professional politicians", I agree, but I would go much further and say, despite any appearance to the contrary – it always has been.