The knock against democracy

January 24, 2010

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.