I'm looking for a phrase that says "even though the voters have chosen someone in the short term who was quite toxic - there are hidden long term benefits that come out because of the collective corrective wisdom of large groups of people".

The phrase might be:

  • guiding hand of democracy
  • wisdom of crowds.

My question is: What is the term for 'guiding hand of democracy'?

closed as off-topic by BladorthinTheGrey, curiousdannii, tchrist Jan 3 '17 at 1:21

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  • I'm pretty sure there's a classical phrase that means this. – BladorthinTheGrey Jan 2 '17 at 22:34
  • "political spin" could fit "guiding hand of democracy" when used like this. Historically there are many instances of toxic people whose election by voters resulted in tragedy. – traktor53 Jan 2 '17 at 22:56

Speaking of a guiding hand, I am reminded of Adam Smith in "An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations", Vol 1

Every individual is continually exerting himself to find out the most advantageous employment for whatever capital he can command. It is his own advantage, indeed, and not that of the society which he has in view. But the study of his own advantage naturally, or rather necessarily, leads him to prefer that employment which is most advantageous to society... He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of his intention.

Likewise and for much the same reasons, voters in a democracy seek to advance their own interests "led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of [her/]his intention." You get enough people voting their interests and you get policies that promote those interests. Hold elections often enough then you can correct for the overshoots.

Without a "market" to guide it, non-democracies lack a self correcting mechanism which leads to diminished results.

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