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The Age of Extremes: 1914-1991. EHobsbawm (1995) (p. 579)

August 10, 2013

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“The democratic predicament was more acute now, both because public opinion, monitored by polls, magnified by the omnipresent media, was now constantly inescapable, and because public authorities had to take far more decision to which public opinion was no sort of guide. Often they might have to be decisions which might well be opposed by the majority of the electorate, each voter disliking their prospective effect on his or her private affairs, though perhaps believing them to be desirable in the general interest. Thus at the end of the century politicians in some democratic countries had come to the conclusion that any proposal to raise taxes for any purpose meant electoral suicide. Elections therefore became contests in fiscal perjury. At the same time voters and parliaments were constantly faced with decisions on matters about which non-experts – that is to say, the vast majority both of the electors and the elected – had no qualifications to express an opinion, for instance the future of the nuclear industry.”

[op. cit., p. 579]

Manuel J. Matos‘s insight:

The reading of the present by someone in the past is remarckable …

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