Inspired by another’s work, George F. Will recently argued ("Government’s reach undercuts democracy," Opinion, Jan. 2) that because the "sprawling regulatory state" discourages informed voting, we should reduce the reach of government "leaving decisions to markets and civil society."
May I suggest two less ideological reasons why voters feel overwhelmed? (1) The nation is big. For every eligible voter in 1787 there are now more than 200. A person’s vote automatically counts for less. (2) No one in 1787 ever heard of cars, trains, telephones, airplanes, large corporations, water and sewer systems, electric power, life insurance, big box stores, stock exchanges, or even medicine.
It is no wonder that voters may feel unequal to the task. We are now both a far larger and a more complex nation than our framers experienced or imagined.
The modern conservative trope that government is the problem betrays the first priority of the framers: how to preserve national unity in the face of rapidly diverging interests.
You want happy voters? You want better government? Just give us honest, competent candidates for public office with brains big enough for the task and a will to work.
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