Ilya Somin on the Guardrails of Democracy

Ilya Somin
Show Date
August 14, 2022
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Jul 19, 2022 1:18 AM
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The National Constitution Center is one of the most important nonprofit organizations in the country. Its Executive Director, Jeffrey Rosen is fond of saying that it is the only nonprofit organization funded by Congress (don't get suspicious) for the sole and exclusive purpose of increasing awareness and understanding of our founding document, the Constitution.

The NCC recently undertook a project to understand what’s not working in our democracy, and what guardrails ought to be put in place to make it work better. They solicited suggestions from three teams: one libertarian, one conservative, and one progressive.

I was first joined by Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, to offer the libertarian perspective. Somin focuses on constitutional and property law, as well as representative governance. He has written numerous books, including Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom (Oxford University Press, 2020), and Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter – both of which informed his team’s report (download it here).

Below is a summary of the three main ideas offered by Team Libertarian to ensure that our system of government remains accountable to We the People. While libertarians as a group are not often the most favorable towards capital-D Democracy, insofar as it leads the majority to deprive individuals of their rights, the team (composed of Ilya Somin, Clark Neily and Walter Olson) came up with several suggestions worth heeding.