“Day By Day,” the conservative comic with oversexualized female characters, provides one of the more inane reactions to Terry Jones, the pastor who, for a brief time, threatened to burn a pile of Korans on September 11th. Maybe Jones shouldn’t burn the Koran, but where do these “politicians” get off telling him what to do? Last time I checked, they work for us!
Haha, sure. This is an accurate statement of very basic democratic theory. But more precisely, the relationship between the citizen, and his elected representative, isn’t just one of employment. It’s one of delegation. Citizens delegate the responsibility and duty to, with input from the “cleint,” honestly and aggressively represent the peoples’ best interests. This relationship implies a knowledge gap. It’s implausible that any and every citizen will acquire subject matter expertise in international relations, science, defense policy, etc., but the representative acquires that knowledge and uses it to vindicate the citizens’ policy preferences. Like identified cleaning products, they work hard so we don’t have to.
Consequentially, in a functioning republic, sometimes the representative’s expertise, and responsibility to his client, will suggest a conclusion contrary to the client’s policy preference. When that happens, it’s not always an indication that “elitism” is at work. Sometimes — but, I stress, not always — the politicians just might know better. Specialization works, and makes a democratic republic inherently superior to a true democracy.