Yet we let journalists vote

Nicholas Kristof picks an odd time to begin worrying about democracy’s fundamental structural illogic:

Her broader point is that we as a nation will have difficulty making crucial decisions if we don’t have an intellectual climate that fosters an informed and reasoned debate. How can we decide on embryonic stem cells if we don’t understand biology? How can we judge whether to invade Iraq if we don’t know a Sunni from a Shiite?

The idiocy of the voting public is precisely what preserves our existing system of near-universal, but strictly limited representative democracy. It ensures that the best liars are always elected and fosters fundamentally dishonest government. Kristof probably sees no problem with his own voting, although I’ll bet he has no idea how inadequate a measure GDP is or how far off the current CPI is from measuring actual price inflation.

The masses are clueless, but specific groups within them are more short-sighted and self-centered than others. That was the whole point of limiting the vote to the least clueless 10 percent or so in the first place.