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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Ice Weasel: "Our Ruling Class"

Our ruling class (with a large hat tip to Ezra Klein)

Some questions and an image from ice weasel


The above are the names of men who served the last five presidential terms in this country. Think about that for minute. The ponder the rest of the family legacies in congress and in state government. Then add in some thought about the small group of people in private industry that wield influence and create legislation. Senators sons become governors and then, senators. There's a small pool of names that seem to always be somewhere in the mix that our government is. In a nation of hundreds of millions, why is that? And perhaps more importantly, is that good for us a nation?

Representative democracy was devised in a time when getting around was difficult. In a nation that could, quite literally, take days or weeks to travel the length and breadth of representative democracy made sense. In a time when the fastest form of communication was something on horseback (and later the railroad). Electing representatives was just that. "This person speaks for me" (or speaks for "us" if you prefer) because I can't find out in a reasonable time what is going at the capitol.

But in a day of cellular communications, email and the net how much representation do I need?

The large mammal in the room I'm ignoring here is, how many people are truly able to represent themselves even in the modern age.

So leaving that aside, I'll the question again. Does representative democracy serve us or do we, the vast majority of citizens, serve it?

I'm not playing concern troll trying to score some libertarian points. Frankly, while idealistically I see some of the classic libertarians ideals as intriguing in practice it's never been more than a cover for republicans who didn't want to be called republicans. Libertarians are mostly spoiled children who only want government to protect them and no one else. A nation of rugged individuals with trade restraints. What representative democracy has given us is the concentration of civil power in a smaller and smaller group of people that have tended to be more and more disconnected to the actual people they represent. So in a time when we don't
necessarily need the mechanics of a representative government, why do we cling to it? Or is it perhaps the government itself that's clinging to it?


What's next?

- posted by Ice Weasel

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