called information or news—that are the basis on which ourrninformed electorate makes its decisions. Set aside the obviousrnobjection that most people are not reading the New York Timesrnor watching C-Span but arc getting most of their informationrnfrom Gannct papers that read like newspapers put out byrnspecial-ed students or from the network news-entertainmentrnshows that air during the breakfast and dinner hours. Supposernthey read the Times or even a real newspaper from London,rnFrarrkfurt, or Zurich, unless the reader already has some experiencernof politics and a coherent world view, he is simply gettingrnan information-massage designed to produce “opinions”rnwithout substance. Newspapers are like poetry in translationrnor—worse—literary criticism. They are conversations aboutrnthings that a small group of men has decided are important,rnand the difference between political reality and “news” is therndifference between a honeymoon and the dirty jokes told byrnthe best man once the couple has left the reception.rnIf, as it is said, the political is alwavs personal, then the on-rnIv citizens in a republic arc those who have sonre say in makingrndecisions that affect their lives, hi a negative sense, politicalrnliberty consists of all the restrictions on what government mayrndo to us, but in a positive sense our civil liberties arc concernedrnwith our ability to make real choices based on directrnknowledge and personal experience. I am not “empowered”rn(to use the cant term) by a government that gives me thernright to vote for politicians who create agencies that intrude intornmy neighbor’s business, because my power consists in myrnability to act creatively and productively within my own sphere,rnmy household and my shop and my neighborhood.rnIt is possible to reduce much of what I am saying to a simplernand clear principle. The larger the extent of a republic, thernbroader the jurisdiction of a sovereign, then the more intermediaternagencies must there be to insure face-to-face contactrnbetween electors and officeholders. The federal principle,rnof rather limited importance in a tribal village or a city-state,rnmust be elaborated to the nth degree, as states outgrow thernnarrow boundaries of neighborhood and province. In a republic,rnone should never have to vote for any candidate one hasrnnot met. As it is, we go into the voting booth and with ourrneyes closed we try to pin the tail on the donkey or the elephant.rnIf fewer and fewer Americans are exercising their franchise,rnit is partly because they realize that their votes will changernnothing, but the nonvoters may also be wise enough to know,rnlike Socrates, what they do not know, namely politics andrnpoliticians. A picture gallery, says Shaw, is a dull place for arnblind man, and many American citizens who follow nationalrnelections arc learning to rely more on their sense of smell, crnJust complete and mail thernadjoining coupon with yourrncheck or money order, andrnwe’ll promptly send eachrnrecipient a gift card inrnyour name.rnTO ORDER BY PHONErnCALL TOLL FREErn1-800-877-5459rnChronicles Gift Subscription has long been arnpopular choice as a gift for family and friends. Andrnnow, our special rates make giving Chronicles arnconsiderable value, too. Give a one-year subscriptionrnto Chronicles for only $18—you save $12 or 40% offrnthe cover price.rnGIFT FOR GIFT FORrnADDRESS ADDRESSrnCITY CITYrnSTATE ZIP STATE ZIPrnMY NAMErnADDRESSrnFOREIGN ORDERS ADD $5 PER SUBSCRIPTION. U.S. FUNDS ONLY. CHRONICLES SELLS FOR $2.50 A COPY.rnSEND TO: CHRONICLES * RO. BOX 800 * MT. MORRIS. IL 610,54rnXPD24rn14/CHRONICLESrnrnrn