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There’s nothing unique about dictatorships masquerading as democracies. When elections were held in North Korea in 1962, the reigning Workers’ Party won by a 100% vote. Even in its less menacing forms, this kind of nouveau riche democracy — where everyone participates, as an act of national braggadocio (“Hey, look at us!”), and everyone agrees — is the antithesis of democracy. Dictators know they have to feign popular support to maintain any sense of legitimacy. However, their mistake is in overachieving; they fail by succeeding too much. They think the greater the number of votes supporting them, the more conclusive the evidence of democracy and therefore of their legitimacy. But the truth is just the opposite.
Voter neglect is a sign of democratic health. Not caring about politics doesn’t mean the system is broken; usually, it indicates things are just fine.
A key ingredient in democracy is imperfection. Real existing democracies don’t (and can’t) produce the sort of unanimity that dictatorships can achieve through force and intimidation. As a result, huge victories can dispel a ruler’s legitimacy more than a narrow defeat ever could. The only thing worse than losing a rigged election is winning one.
Some advice for dictators: Try losing. It will do wonders for your image.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?