Letter to Editor - George Monbiot

Monbiot points out the shortcomings of representational democracy. This letter takes a look at how that is playing out today.

The Editor
The Guardian Weekly

27 October, 2016

Dear Editor:

George Monbiot observes weaknesses in representational democracy (“lies, fearmongering and fables”, 14-20 Oct 2016). These have been evident in numerous situations across the years in the US and other places he points out.

But Monbiot never much digs into what the situation is today in which people “end up voting against their (own) interests”. He gets close when he acknowledges (“Democracy for Realists”, Achen and Bartels) that gaining political knowledge generally serves not to challenge people’s own opinions, but to better rationalize them.

What are the dominant fears and fables of people today? It is the level of fundamental, millennially time framed, change implied by climate change. There is such a strong consumerist mentality today, along with an intuitive understanding of the necessity of fossil fuels in the historical processes that created it, that people accept that less for them and more for the multi-billionaires is still better than a society not dominated by exploitation. A less individualistic and more community oriented understanding could seriously challenge that backward looking fable.

Richard Keller
13 Endeavour St.
Wellington 6022


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