Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Is Democracy a legitimate form of Government?

Check out this post over at Vanishing American where VA, in an amazing show of self-restraint, stands aside and lets the giants speak.

My first thought in deciding to post on this topic was to follow VA's lead and let these great men speak for themselves; to let the quotes stand on their own. But ultimately I could not resist the temptation to share a few of my thoughts on the quote that stood out most prominently for me. The "standout" quote for me while reading through this list, and a quote I don't recall ever having seen before, incidentally, was the following from Aristotle, Politics:

Democracy arose from men thinking that if they are equal in any respect they are equal in all respects.

In other words, and very simply stated, democracy arose from liberalism, since liberalism is the ideology which teaches this false doctrine that if men are equal in any respect, they are equal in all respects.

Now if, in your opinion, I'm unfairly attributing to Aristotle ideas he is not actually trying to convey, or I'm putting words in his mouth, or I'm destroying, in any way, the spirit of his message, please do not hesitate to let me know. But it seems to me that one may justly paraphrase the above quote to say:

If men are not equal in all respects, they are not equal in any respect. This is the core fundamental thinking of liberalism, the establishment of which, as the governing rule of society, is the core fundamental object of democracy, liberalism's form of government; government of, by, and for liberals.

I think I may have just experienced something of an epiphany here. It seems to me that democracy is not a form of government at all, at least not in the normal sense in which we use the term "govern-ment," which implies structure and order and restraint, and so on. Indeed, democracy, as a ruling theory arising from liberalism, seems more anti-governmental than govern-mental to me.


Vanishing American said...

Bravo, Terry,
I think you have boiled that quote down to its essence.

I am appreciative that you liked that collection of quotes and understood my intent in posting the quotes without any additional comment from me.

Personally I like to sometimes just let the great minds speak without any unnecessary comment from me. I hope to do that more often.