The knock against democracy

Since the time of the ancient Greeks, one of the main criticisms of democracy has been that it is nothing more than rule by mob.  Our Founding Fathers pretty much agreed:

In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever character composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

Madison – Federalist Papers No. 55

Let’s face it – it’s true!  But the argument for democracy is clinched by this wise statement from Winston Churchill:

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

This truth seems to be lost on President Obama.  He and the Democratic party should be riding this wave of popular rage and anxiety, but instead, they are becoming its target.

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3 Responses to The knock against democracy

  1. troutsky says:

    The new conservative mantra up here is “This is a Republic, not a democracy!” Very fervent. As I’m sure you have noticed my project is expanding a radical, plural democracy and defeating the essentialists. A “mob” is no more “determined by history” than any other political development.

  2. lichanos says:

    I don’t get the new mantra. Do the “conservatives” think this is a good or a bad thing? The USA certainly is a representative democracy, or republic, and not a direct democracy: that was in the cards at the beginning. What’s their point? Do they know?

  3. troutsky says:

    I believe it ties in to a radical states rights or even more local (county) agenda. A very selective reading of the Constitution with a little Revelations mixed in from your newest post. Not super coherent but hey, who is?

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