In the many words that have been written since September 19 2006 there is one particular line of commentary that, quite literally, raises my blood pressure. I continue to be both annoyed and astonished by the view that the problem with Thailand’s political system lies in the population’s lack of electoral ethics. “If only the rural voters had more ethical sense,” the advocates of sufficiency democracy bleat, “then they would have thrown Thaksin out and there would have been no need for a coup.” This nonsense about ethical deficiency persists despite the absence of any empirical evidence at all. It is based on simplistic and circular argument that because people voted for Thaksin they are unethical and because they are unethical they voted for Thaksin. Have any of the advocates of this view actually spent time in serious political discourse with the rural voters they so despise? Do they have any appreciation for the range of factors that influence people’s voting decisions? Have they taken the time to talk with rural people about their day-to-day concerns about corruption and maladministration? Or have they undertaken any serious analysis of voting patterns? In most cases the answer is no. Their dismissive view is narrowly framed by a parochial preoccupation with their own idiosyncratic and elitist “ethics” (using the word generously). Their vision of democracy is a narrow and exclusive one in which other people’s democratic participation is only considered legitimate if reflects the “ethics” of the elite. The notion that people bring diverse political values to the democratic table is completely alien to them. And the only electoral trade-offs they consider legitimate are those that reflect the “national interest” that is so comfortably embraced by the affluent.