You ask, “Is democracy obsolete?” Well, consider:

We agree that climate change is an existential threat. Do you understand the science of climate change? We agree that we must take radical steps — but what steps? Economists recommend a revenue-neutral escalating carbon tax; do you know what that is? Do you know how it would be implemented? Do you know how great or weak its effects might be?

Other experts say that we need more nuclear power plants. Do you understand how nuclear power plants work? Do you understand the safety issues? Are you familiar with the technical details of the Three Mile Island accident, the Fukushima accident, or the Chernobyl accident? Can you explain the differences between them?

What do you know about rad waste disposal? Have you seen the technical reports on the Yucca Mountain waste repository? Do you understand the issues relating to its efficacy?

Do you know what small modular reactors are? Do you understand the role they might play in replacing coal? Speaking of coal, do you have a firm grasp of the health effects of coal-burning power plants? Are you familiar with the problems of intermittency with solar and wind power, and how we can partly ameliorate these problems with HVDC lines and big batteries?

I could go on and on with questions like these; they are not directed specifically at you, but rather at any reader. How can any citizen become informed enough to grasp the complex issues that we must decide and form justifiable opinions?

Is it not true that most of us build our opinions to conform to those of the tribe with which we identify?

If that is the case, then you have your answer to the question “Is democracy obsolete?”

Master of Science, Physics, 1975. Computer Game Designer. Interactive Storytelling. www.erasmatazz.com

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