Feeds

Sudden outbreak of democracy baffles US pundits

That didn't last long

Reducing security risks from open source software

"To be told that this bill would be beyond scrutiny was more than democratic flesh and blood could bear," wrote Simon Jenkins.

Ouch! Your democracy is hurting my consensus

But even after Monday's vote, the cream of America's pundits couldn't quite face up to what had happened. For example, Thomas Friedman retreated further into his fantasy world, from which he could only radiate disbelief:

We’re all connected. As others have pointed out, you can’t save Main Street and punish Wall Street anymore than you can be in a rowboat with someone you hate and think that the leak in the bottom of the boat at his end is not going to sink you, too. The world really is flat. We’re all connected. "Decoupling" is pure fantasy.

There's a man who's a prisoner of his metaphors. Leaping from "we're all connected" (vaguely... somehow) to "you can't let banks fail" is a jump that can only be made if you think your metaphors have astounding metaphysical properties. Maybe Friedman really believes this. Who knows?

Or take David Brooks, who usually poses as the champion of the proles, except when the proles do something he doesn't approve of. He called the Congressional vote "The Revolt of the Nihilists." The dissenting Congressmen, Brooks wrote,

... showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed. They did the momentarily popular thing, and if the country slides into a deep recession, they will have the time and leisure to watch public opinion shift against them.

You could see what Brooks really objected to was the natural order of things was being upset - how dare people question "expertise"? Or leaders? People don't know what's good for them. (But of course, David does...)

And to confirm that what really peeved him was voters getting uppity, he concluded:

What we need in this situation is authority.

Actually, what we need is an open, rational, and democratic debate about a range of choices - and that's something the political and media elites united to oppose last week.

The media had done all it could to keep awkward questions off the air.

Where did the surreal $700bn figure come from? On Friday, we found out - someone at the Treasury had just made it up. The Treasury also let slip that the plan had been in a drawer for months. "Fratto insisted that the plan was not slapped together and had been drawn up as a contingency over previous months and weeks by administration officials," Rollcall reported. Oh, really?

Much else was kept off the air, particularly the key issue of whether US banks should be permitted to fail. The unspoken assumption was they couldn't - but they have before, and the financial system has continued.

The anti-democratic sentiment wasn't just confined to superstar American columnists. At the ironically-named OpenDemocracy, a British site funded by the Ford Foundation, the editor-in-chief patronized the bailout objectors by calling them "principled but mad." See how you're not permitted to both rational and disagree? (The site has argued before that people are too stupid to be trusted with democracy).

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Next page: Dumb and dumber

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.