In India, Narendra Modi uses Twitter as much as Trump does to lambast those who are plotting his downfall, from foreign powers to the Indian ‘deep state’. Meanwhile, Modi’s opponents circulate ever-wilder conspiracy theories about him: his election victories were achieved by ballot-rigging; he is a Pakistani secret agent; he is a Jew.No one with the slightest knowledge of India could have written it. Nor could anyone with even a modicum of knowledge of International Politics. Modi has never tweeted about anyone 'plotting his downfall'. The thing is impossible. He has a majority and is loved by his party. India's 'deep state' is 100 % behind him because he is a Nationalist. Foreign powers may be able to inflict some harm on India, but this would only help Modi as the Pakistanis have discovered after the Pulwama attack.
Modi has plenty of opponents. Ballot rigging- or tampering with Electronic Voting machines- is always alleged. But no one has ever said he is either Jewish or Pakistani. It would be like saying Trump is a Jamaican lady in the pay of the Canadians.
Who on earth could have written the nonsense given above? The answer is that it is a Professor of Political Science at Cambridge who is increasingly quoted as an authority by our own, yet more cretinous, Professors.
His name is David Runciman and he is at least 4 types of posh. What's more he writes engagingly- probably because he is engaged in some more pleasurable activity while tossing off his chatty screeds- but is there anything at all of worth in his recent 'How Democracy Fails?'
Fuck would I know? I'm at least 4 types of stooopid and post this shite on my blog while binge watching Netflix and eating cold pizza and cursing myself for not stocking up on Zopiclone or whatever other soporific it is which permits Old Etonians to sleep walk through, not just Politics, but- in Runciman's case- Political Science.
Consider the following wholly oneiric passage invoking an endless tedium from which one is unable to awake.
Our political imaginations are stuck with outdated images of what democratic failure looks like. We are trapped in the landscape of the twentieth century. We reach back to the 1930s or to the 1970s for pictures of what happens when democracy falls apart: tanks in the streets; tin-pot dictators barking out messages of national unity, violence and repression in tow.Fuck is this shite? Our political imaginations are not stuck in that manner at all. We watch House of Cards and...fuck if I can remember the names of all those other Netflix or Amazon or Sky Atlantic series I have to binge watch so as to get paisa vasool, value for money, on my TV license. It's not that I'm a typical kanjoos Desi, but I grudge every penny I have to fork out to those elitist clowns at the Beeb.
Democracy fails in the same way and for the same reasons that Markets, or other Social Choice Mechanisms fail. The thing has had a canonical mathematical representation since before Runciman was out of short pants. Maybe, like his Dad, he didn't get the memo that Evolutionary theory says only the fitness landscape matters. Hysteresis is delusive. Everything is ergodic because capacitance diversity was dammed up long ago.
Knightian Uncertainty means Regret minimization is rational. The Hannan consistent strategy for Democracy to thrive involves specifying Democracy to fail under exigent circumstances. Absent the possibility of its failure, Democracy would feature Moral Hazard and adverse selection. Indeed, any fucker who describes himself as a 'Political Scientist' and who bleats about Democracy is Glasman level fucked in the head, or Runciman level somnambulistically, superficially charming, but more and more gratingly sententious in the manner of that Major Weaver, in Graham Greene's ghastliest story, who is 'Proof Positive' that 'without the body's aid, the spirit in seven days decays into whispered nonsense.'
Trump’s presidency has drawn widespread comparison with tyrannies of the past. We have been warned not to be complacent in thinking it couldn’t happen again. But what of the other danger: that while we are looking out for the familiar signs of failure, our democracies are going wrong in ways with which we are unfamiliar? This strikes me as the greater threat. I do not think there is much chance that we are going back to the 1930s. We are not at a second pre-dawn of fascism, violence and world war. Our societies are too different – too affluent, too elderly, too networked – and our collective historical knowledge of what went wrong then is too entrenched.Trump's presidency has drawn widespread comparison with my toilet bowl after I've had the squirts. But Trump can no more become a receptacle for my faecal matter than he can become a tyrant. Runciman, who teaches very very stupid people a wholly worthless subject feels he has to spell this out in his nice shiny new book.
This is typical elitist behaviour. Why does Runciman not put a clear health warning on the cover of this tome explaining that it should not be eaten or used as a suppository? Does he think everybody went to Eton? What about young people wot went to Comprehensive Schools? Does Runciman not understand that many of them may suffer rectal injury or indigestion because he has callously failed to instruct them on the proper usage of his book?
Perhaps I overestimate the importance of a British Public School education. Still the fact is, Pico Iyer shits books out of his arse. There is no evidence whatsoever that he places them there- which is why my Dad- who was junior to his Dad- dissuaded me from sending my own self-published screeds to Pico 'for favour of review- or cramming them up your rectum you fucking class & caste traitor. Iyers should be as fat as fuck and groove to Thyagararja not Leonard fucking Cohen. Also they should say 'Aiyayo & mind it kindly. Mind it kindly. Aiyayo.'
When democracy ends, we are likely to be surprised by the form it takes.Nonsense. You would be too stupid to notice. How, then, could you be surprised?
We may not even notice that it is happening because we are looking in the wrong places.Do you read over your own shite, you stupid tosser?
Contemporary political science has little to say about new ways that democracy might fail because it is preoccupied with a different question: how democracy gets going in the first place.So 'contemporary political science' is useless. A Doctorate in it is worth shit. Imagine an actual Medical Doctor who can't do anything when a patient's life support system starts to fail coz the fucker is preoccupied with a different question: viz. how Life gets going in the first place.
This is understandable.Only because the discipline is adversely selective. It recruits cretins to teach cretins as part of a Credentialist Ponzi Scheme.
During the period that democracy has spread around the world the process has often been two steps forward, one step back.Nonsense! The pretence of Democracy has alternated with other sorts of pretence. What matters is whether or not Democracy is a focal solution to an actual coordination problem. If it is, then it pays for itself. If it isn't, shitheads like Runciman can puzzle over the scandal- or somnambulistically pretend to while whacking off- but everybody else moves on, their faith unshaken.
Democracy might get tentatively established in parts of Africa or Latin America or Asia and then a coup or military takeover would snuff it out, before someone tried again.Wherever there is a coordination game, there you shall also have discoordination games so as to 'money pump' hedging and income effects. No economist or philosopher has said so in as many words- but all the ingredients were ready to hand by the time Runciman was ten years old.
The relevant configuration space can be described in terms of threat points and Shapley values. But everybody always knew this. Game theory was playing catch up is all.
The fact is, to parse GoT or HoC or any other block buster series, stoopid peeps like me model the thing in some such way. Runciman isn't stupid. He is pretending to be so as to dash off a book at the lowest possible tariff of cognitive effort.
This has happened in places from Chile to South Korea to Kenya.Chile, yes. But Allende was a nutter. It was a case of '68 and all that. South Korea faced an existential threat. It needed a dictator who'd get corrupt cunts to invest in export industries and who'd send a lot of highly effective troops to Vietnam.
Kenya is a different story- one I know well. Runciman evidently doesn't. Why does he say there was a 'coup or military takeover' in Kenya? There was nothing of the sort. This guy is writing in his sleep.
One of the central puzzles of political science is what causes democracy to stick. It is fundamentally a question of trust: people with something to lose from the results of an election have to believe it is worth persevering until the next time.Sheer imbecility! People with something to lose hedge their bets. Either there is a mechanism which gets them into the 'core' of the game or they run away or get run over. An idiographic Game theory- or simply expert knowledge- navigates these streams and finds arbitrage opportunities. Only 'political scientists' need to stand around looking puzzled as to how their thumb came to be up their arse.
Trust does not matter. Nash equilibria do. Sure, there can be 'public signals' permitting better correlated equilibria but these can't arise from Poli Sci's 'cheap talk'. You actually have to see an Election Commission which is tamper proof kicking ass and taking names. The pay off is that political parties spend less money on goons for booth capturing and compete in other ways. I recall a wealthy NRI from a minority community taking the trouble to look me up when a guy I was distantly related to by marriage was appointed E.C. The NRI wanted the straight dope. Was the fucker on the level? I explained why, as E.C, he'd have to be because that was the solution of a bipartisan coordination problem. The NRI nodded and smiled and spoke of my intellectual brilliance while cattily letting slip telling little details till I got the message and became morose. His hereditary village Munim had told him everything and more than everything I could tell him. Thus, the fucker, could father his Munim's views on me for the benefit of his investors. Like a fool, I'd spilled the beans- putting into English what had been told him in Gujerati- without getting paid in anything save Single Malt.
Still, the joke was on him. The guy didn't foresee 9/11 or Godhra. But, thanks to Modi, he came out a winner. Oh. I suppose that makes me the loser and him the winner. Fuck!
The rich need to trust that the poor won’t take their money.The super rich now hold assets elsewhere. It is only their liabilities which the poor get to divide.
The soldiers need to trust that the civilians won’t take their guns.Nonsense! They shoot civilians who try to take their guns. They need to trust their pensions will be paid.
Often, that trust breaks down.Why would it break down? The answer is if a shithead is elected. Shitheads can cause anything to breakdown- which is why Mom stopped asking me to fix the V.C.R.
Then democracy falls apart. As a result, political scientists tend to think of democratic failure in terms of what they call ‘backsliding’.Which shows political scientists are as stupid as shit. They don't get that when a thing fails- whether it is the Soviet Union, or Chile in the early Seventies- it is because a shithead did something really stupid. What follows is not 'backsliding' but shit hitting the fan coz a shithead fucked up.
A democracy reverts back to the point before lasting confidence in its institutions could be established.This has happened- never.
This is why we look for earlier examples of democratic failure to illuminate what might go wrong in the present.
No you do that because you are stupid and belong to a stupid discipline.