September 11, 2007
H.L. Mencken once wrote, "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance." Many economists make the point that if the voting public is as uninformed as it appears, there is merit to the idea that half the voters will believe one side of a public-policy debate and the other half the other side, leaving a deciding margin with the very small minority of well-informed voters. While too severe in his expression, my view is that Mencken is closer to the truth and the time has long passed for America to correct this problem by upgrading required performance of the electorate.