Book Review: 'The Smallest Minority'

Written by Staff Writer

knowledge 1052010 640Book Review: 'The Smallest Minority' -Tamny/Real Clear Markets
"The Houston-based Kevin Williamson's very entertaining and insightful book, 'The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking In the Age of Mob Politics,' is among other things a rejection of 'mob politics,' and 'its effects on our political discourse and our culture.'

In the free market, the mob most certainly doesn't rule...Free markets are about individual choice, as opposed to decrees from the Commanding Heights about what we'll purchase, and how. When Burger King rolled out its plant-based Whopper, it tested it in St. Louis first, as opposed to ramming it down the throats of thousands of franchisees. Williamson plainly doesn't trust the mob, and it seems one message the National Review reporter is trying to send is that we should aim to localize our policymaking a la Burger King. If so, bad ideas will be contained while good ones will be widely adapted. The free markets account for our many differences, while politicians increasingly strive to craft national solutions to perceived problems. Williamson would no doubt prefer to leave things to the people....Most important is Williamson's muscular disdain for democracy. 'I come not to praise democracy but to bury it.' As he later explains, the 'Founding Fathers understood the dangers of democracy' without limits on government: it would lead to ochlocracy, another word introduced to me by Williamson which is, you might have guessed, mob rule. And while most would describe Williamson as a conservative, particularly given his views on abortion, he's really a libertarian as the previous paragraph makes rather plain. Williamson believes in individual freedom to do as one wishes short of hurting others, and undiluted democracy has little do with freedom....The crisis narrative is easily my favorite part of Williamson's book...'Every interest group, faction, and policy entrepreneur in the country has a crisis narrative to peddle. The Right blames the rhetoric of the Left every time a cop is ambushed, the Left blames the rhetoric of the Right every time a gay man or Muslim is assaulted or worse.' Conservatives and liberals, and conservative and liberal pundits most of all, have thoroughly stripped any meaning from the word 'crisis.' Thank goodness Williamson is willing to showcase this truth....Williamson's conclusion at book's end is that 'the biggest democracies will always be a dangerous place for the smallest minority,' as in the individual. So true. The answer is freedom."