Monday, March 02, 2009

The Inevitable Sack of Athens

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. E.B. White
Since he also wrote Charlotte's Web, and Stuart Little, we may be certain Mr. White spoke this with his tongue tucked firmly in his cheek.
Garrison Keillor illustrates our sometime difficulty with democracy thusly: The trouble with a democracy is that people will often vote the wrong way when they think no one is looking.
Of course, it may be said, in a perfect world, a dictatorship would be a governmental system approaching perfection.
Taking into account the unfortunate consideration that no one immediately accessible has ever lived in such a flawless place, we are left with the consolation that democracy, as Winston Churchill put it, is the worst form of government except all those other forms which are tried from time to time.
After all, according to Reagan, even socialism boasted of two successful experiments; heaven and hell, respectively.
We will all be given, accordingly, the opportunity to see first-hand the workings of those
However, democracy is currently functioning as well as might be expected, recent election results aside.
It served Greece well, and gave the Roman empire a promising start before being sacrificed to ambition.
That is the lion's share of the problem with democracy; it is a delicate balancing act in a strong wind on a high wire strung over a bottomless pit. The gales of whimsy, mob-rule and ambition constitute a vicious cross-wind.
At the moment, we're teetering, and no amount of well-intentioned faith in "democracy" will save us if, God forbid, we're ever knocked off and fail to grab the wire on our way down.
C.S. Lewis approved of democracy not because he trusted man to govern himself, but because he distrusted the nature of man to such an extent that it becomes necessary to risk anarchy to guard against the level of evil that may be achieved while power is in the hands of one man.
At least every man is given a fighting chance.
It is a poor bargain, but it is the only one we have.
Personally, I have no great affection for democracy.
I simply much prefer it to anything else.
What I would really like is a theocracy, and am expecting our current system of government to fall to an invading benevolent Dictator at any time now.

I'm well aware that the above could be described as rambling; what the average person might accomplish on the telephone or . . . Facebook.

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