Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 | 2:01 a.m.
Regarding Bill Miller’s letter, “Direct democracy empowers people”:
Mr. Miller’s ideas about democracy are very nice. And we certainly have the technology to pull them off. Unfortunately, they have only one minor flaw: Democracy simply doesn’t work. It didn’t work for the ancient Greeks. It didn’t work for the Romans. There is an old saying about democracies: A democracy is six wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.
Throughout history, the outside life span of a democracy has been about 300 years. Our Founding Fathers knew this. It is why they tried to create a republic. Originally, only landowners could vote.
There is a simple truth: You can not let people vote who have no skin in the game. They will vote themselves all kinds of benefits with no regard to how it is going to be paid. Eventually the Ponzi scheme collapses. And the poor suffer the most.
It all comes down to that overused word: greed. We are all greedy. It is why capitalism works and socialism fails. Socialism has no mechanism to harness our basic self-interest. And what could possibly be greedier than believing you have the right to other people’s money without giving anything in return?
Even the British band Ten Years After had that figured out when they sang, “Tax the rich, feed the poor till there are no rich no more.”