Do Poll-Driven Policies Lead to Better Outcomes?

The whole point of democracy is that there is such a thing as collective wisdom. The hope is that if you consult with enough people regarding a commonly held problem, then the common solution would get to the heart of the problem.

After all, this is the kind of experience everybody else lives out. If they live it out and they experience it on a day to day basis, then who better else to consult with than these people?

Well, there's a lot of things that work great in theory, but it doesn't really translate well when it comes to real life. Democracy is one of those.

Because let's face it, the French Revolution was an example of democracy. Majority wins. Did it have a happy ending? Not quite.

They started out with all sorts of amazing ideas regarding equality and improving the world, and they wanted to abolish dictatorship. Where did they end up? They ended up with Napoleon.

That's right. They ended up with another dictatorship. They ended up with authoritarianism.

And this is why poll-driven policies, and I'm talking about democratic-type policies based on majority rule, is problematic. Because, for the life of me, I have yet to come across a group of wolves mixed with sheep who would not vote to eat the sheep.

Democratic Right to Speak

In the western world, there has always been a suspicion against populism. This is nothing new. In fact, if you look at ancient literature from ancient Greece and Rome, there is a huge amount of written materials that criticize populism.

There is this fear about populism because, for the longest time, politicians who seem to have a golden tongue and are able to inflame the animal passions of the rank and file citizenry often use this popularity as some sort of political club to crush their opponents. In other words, they are using democracy to unwind itself.

It's Numbers Game, it's always numbers game

It all boils down to numbers. And that's why poll-driven policies usually don't lead to better outcomes. They lead to populism. Populism is great for cheap political gain for the short-term. The problem is populism only ends up destroying future potential for the sake of quick gains in the here and now. As you can tell from any reading of history that this is a high price to pay.

And populism can be very corrosive. Sure, it's emotionally fulfilling. People have always been looking for some sort of political messiah for a long time. But at the end of the day, they have to save themselves.

They have to come up with the solution. They have to roll up their sleeves and put in the hard work because the easy answers simply fall flat.

Whenever a populist leader like Hugo Chavez or Juan Peron come up with a populist solution, the end results are nothing to write home about. In fact, in the case of Cuba and Venezuela, they can be quite nightmarish.