Too Stupid to Rule

So I've been seeing people talking about why increasing the power of the people - from a genuinely democratic government all the way to anarchy, if that's what you're inclined to support - is a very very very bad thing indeed, for a couple of reasons. I'll only deal with one in this post, the one I feel most comfortable arguing against: the assumption that people are too stupid to rule for themselves.

This is pretty much any argument against referenda (I'm a Latin nerd, so I shall stick to using the correct Latin forms and you shall shut up and like it - plus Latin did the same thing when it came to using Greek words), direct democracy, you name a measure designed to get people to have a say and at some point someone will say:
"People are too stupid"
"It's political suicide"
"The electorate aren't informed enough"
...yeah, you get the picture. Basically, don't give people a say because they're too stupid to have one. The logical corollary to this is let a bunch of elites rule us idiots...

...and how well has that worked out exactly?! Not very. The trouble with getting the superior to rule the inferior is that our so-called superiors fuck up just as badly as we would, or perhaps worse. The trouble with a distinction between the so-called superior and the so-called inferior (yes, there are even problems with distinctions) is that oftentimes, people who couldn't tell their arse from a hole in the ground end up telling the Einsteins of today what to do. In what world does this make sense exactly? Not even ours.

More to the point, I don't believe people are inherently incapable of intelligence, not when I've seen them grow and change. I berate them often for being shallow, superficial and refusing to think, but that's not the same as being unable to think deeply. Any stupidity they may have isn't an argument against putting more power into their hands, it's an argument for decent education that concentrates more on creating intelligent people than it does on spitting out test-taking machines (which is another rant for another time, but oh well). People are autonomous, sapient beings, as I keep saying to little or no avail, and capable of making their own decisions without having their so-called betters (read: dumb rich people) force them to act in certain ways. Since there's also no real way of creating a meritocracy (firstly, merit is difficult to pin down, secondly, as the system becomes entrenched it becomes more about picking from an established class than it is about picking the best people for the job), better to have us all equal and able to determine our own fates, perhaps in general assemblies and the like, rather than leave them to an elite of some description.

I don't care whether my proposals are radical or liberal or whether they fit with the current system or not. I care about them being fair and working.