Saturday, January 22, 2005

Ain't Democracy Grand?

I believe democracy can take hold in parts of the world that have been condemned to tyranny. And I believe when democracies take hold, it leads to peace. That's been the proven example around the world. Democracies equal peace.~George W. Bush

Democracy is the road to socialism.~Karl Marx

Democracy passes into despotism.~Plato

Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.~Plato

These, then, will be some of the features of democracy... it will be, in all likelihood, an agreeable, lawless, parti-colored commonwealth, dealing with all alike on a footing of equality, whether they be really equal or not.~Plato

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.~Thomas Jefferson

A perfect democracy is therefore the most shameless thing in the world.~Edmund Burke

We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real Liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of dictatorship.~Alexander Hamilton

...democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.~James Madison

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.~John Adams

The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the party that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.~Lord Acton

It had been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience had proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.~Alexander Hamilton

Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.~H. L Mencken

Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.~H. L. Mencken

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.~H. L. Mencken

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.~H. L. Mencken

The people as a body cannot deliberate. Nevertheless, they will feel an irresistible impulse to act, and their resolutions will be dictated to them by their demagogues... and the violent men, who are the most forward to gratify those passions, will be their favorites. What is called the government of the people is in fact too often the arbitrary power of such men. Here, then, we have the faithful portrait of democracy.~Fisher Ames

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.~George W. Bush

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them...As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, tomislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils…

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
~George Washington

America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.~John Q. Adams


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Darrell,

Not sure if you're disparaging democracy per se or simply Bush's crazy design to remake the world. I'm picking up a little of both.

Of course the man is mad. With him I'm reminded so much of Hitler's grand design for Eastern Europe, his plan after it's subjugation for it's colonization by German farmers and the like, the imposition of National Socialist culture on the sub-human Slavs, one of the many parallels, sadly, to the whole phenomenon of the war in Iraq. Others that come to mind readily are (1) the trumped-up incident at Gleiwitz in September of 1939 and the lying by Bush, Cheney, Rice respecting the nature of the threat from Iraq, and (2) the fuehrerprinzip and its application to the matter of law respecting the torture of detainees. We have a real Ernst Roehm in Rush Limbaugh and a Julius Streicher in Ann Coulter. Additionally, what Rove and Bush have done to the Evangelical Churches, turning them into mere appendages of the Republican Party - and not without their willing cooperation, sadly - shows signs of what Hitler and National Socialism did to the Protestant Churches in Germany prior to the war as well. Barth was agast, of course.

We are not far from this very kind of thing at the moment. The "election" in Iraq bears a greater resemblance to those in Eastern Europe in the era 1944-1950, than to anything one here might describe as democratic, it's sham quality transparent to the most casual observer. The entire project of Bush's absurd campaign to democratize the world is both a cover for his uncritical identification of American interests with those of Israel - something for which no one voted in 2000 and the real reason for the terrorism in the first place - and a strawman to scare away the glaring failure of his adventurism.

In his bunker during the last months of the war, Hitler fantasized non-existent divisions and ordered them into battle against the Soviets. In the Wolf's Lair, he would not abide bad news. Like "von" Rumsfeld to a questioning American soldier a few weeks ago, he once complained that German field marshalls needed to learn to run the war with the equipment they had not with that which they wanted. The Inaugural Speech seemed almost a kind of Mad Scene, with Bush wafting insane nonsense, and I'm told he is in no way prepared to engage bad news either.

I was never comfortable with the nature of our intervention in Vietnam based as it was on a failure of ours to honor agreements with Ho Chi Minh regarding elections, but, at least, it's rationale was defensive from a strategic perspective. In this case, however, we have nothing more than naked agression and, disgracefully, genuine war crimes. I'm embarrassed in a way I've never been in my 64 years as an American and, like many, Paul Roberts among them, clearly, I feel powerless to do much about it. But that's another post isn't it.

John Lowell

11:55 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Great insights, John. You are correct that I am critiquing both the Jacobinism of the current administration and the idea of democracy period. I think democratic governance can work just fine in a limited geographic area, with a largely homogeneous and informed population, etc.

I also find it interesting that the Iraqis are essentially declaring martial law so that they can have a "democratic election," Ah, freedom.

I am wondering if religious liberty, property, a free press, etc., will be a part of the new Iraq or if the pointless exercise in voting will be enough to satisfy the powers that be.

As a Sothern Baptist, I also appreciate your thoughts comparing Protestant churches under Nazism with the full-throated jingoism I am seeing in my circles. It would be interesting for someone to draw out these parallels further.

5:28 AM  

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