Democracy and the Internet

At least one historian has noted that democracy is inherently inflationary.  The phenomenon of inflation is not restricted to money and finance.  Too much of anything reduces the value of that thing, and others with it.  Political inflation, or extreme democracy, degrades the political system, as well as the economy it is tempted to inflate for its own short-term advantage.  Inflated, or mass, production lowers standards of production and produces inferior goods.  Mass culture degrades thought and feeling to their lowest common denominator.  And contemporary culture is, more than anything, the creation of the modern system of mass communications sustained by the democratic distribution of the personal computer, and the internet by which the computer is connected to the world.

Bad money, as the saying goes, drives out good.  Bad money means cheap money—money in too great quantities.  The classical-liberal maxim is that, in the marketplace of ideas, good ideas will prevail in the end over bad ones.  But liberals have never claimed that inflation of the supply of ideas could operate to the same effect as inflation in the money supply does.  Indeed, the contrary is true: Liberalism has always encouraged what it calls the free exchange of ideas as an unqualified good, on the assumption that the more widespread the exchange and the more numerous the...

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