Bret, you've made several arguments in favor of democracy. I'm not sure with whom you're arguing. I think we all accept democracy as the best model we've been able to think of. However, I do think a bit of experimentation might be appropriate before voter referendums determine all laws. As you probably know from your studies of statistical variation in systems, overcontrol can be terribly destabilizing. There also are plenty of examples of mass irrational exuberance - e.g., the dot-com boom - that lead to many bad decisions. A certain amount of difficulty in law-making may be more appropriate than the moment-to-moment "efficiency" of financial markets.
I don't bemoan democracy. I bemoan the lack of leadership that can energize the electorate about the possibilities for our society. Yes, management is important too. But, it doesn't replace leadership. Without leadership, government is simply a bureaucracy which has little ability to change or reform existing systems, even when system flaws become apparent. (My theory is that all systems have flaws, often in the form of unintended consequences that emerge over time.)
Perhaps you're against political leadership? Well, if you think the other forces in society -- technology and finance (and religion?) -- will take care of everything, then I guess we disagree.