Our political model, then, is only slightly different from Jefferson’s, who believed that the people themselves are the most honest and safe depository of the public interests, although not necessarily the most wise.  The electorate itself, in our model, is wiser than any of its component parts.  Which is not to say, of course, that some individual members of the electorate are not wiser than others in their ability to gauge the interests of the whole.  But we reject the notion that the electorate learns its self-interest from the lectures of politicians.  Great political ideas are not those which can be sold to the people, but are those ideas which the electorate craves even prior to their conception by philosophers or politicians.

The most successful and enduring political revolution in the history of civilization, the development of Christianity, could not have happened if a carpenter’s son had to market his idea by educating the electorate to its attractions.  Rather, the multitudes had awaited expression of the Christian idea and embraced it eagerly.  Nor did the idea spread through the propagandizing of a biased press, blaring the gospel incessantly until the electorate was properly conditioned.  The structure of the church grew almost entirely out of the handful of St Paul’s epistles that circulated throughout the Roman Empire.

The welfare of nation states is, then, not limited by the degree of political education of the populace.  It is limited by the capacity of its politicians and philosophers to understand the wisdom of people.

From The Way The World Works by Jude Wanniski