Featured Image: ‘Democracy Recession’ Cartoon by Wilcox
Approaching 2021 and as we contemplate the inchoate changeover in the White House (perhaps) are we entitled to feel a tad cynical about ‘DEMOCRACY’ and its most topical iteration(s) in the 21st century? I’ve been struggling with some aspects myself in recent and not so recent times. Some years ago I started to compile a dossier of quotations from books I’ve read. It’s not a long list but accurately reflects the views of a few percipient philosophers over a period of time?
‘Democracy has evolved as the lowest common denominator of practical wisdom for a nation of individuals, most of whom prefer to be left alone to make money’.
Robert D. Kaplan – ‘An Empire Wilderness’ – Travels into America’s Future’ P 174
‘It was my first experience of government office and it left me a confirmed Individualist for the rest of my life…….The best form of government is a beneficent Autocracy. Democracy went by the board as a thing of Mediocrity, the Apotheosis of Bureaucracy’.
Flora Annie Steel: twenty year old wife of a member of the covenanted Indian Civil Service (ICS) in Ludhiana then Kasur (a subdivision of Lahore) in the 1860s. ‘The Memsahibs: The Women of Victorian India’: Pat Barr P. 150
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
Winston S. Churchill
Democracy is “moribund”
Teilhard de Chardin (Helen Foster Snow: ‘My China Years’ 1932)
“Democracy has deteriorated to a salmagundi of political persiflage” (2019)
“Democracy to him (Kipling) was a system conducted by impractical people who tended to obstruct those who were properly equipped in the art of government”
Lord Birkenhead: ‘Rudyard Kipling’: A Star Book; Published in 1980 by the Paperback Division of W H Allen & Co. Ltd on Page 218. A Howard and Wyndham Company, 44 Hill Street, London WIX 8LB; First Published in Great Britain by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Ltd, 1978; Copyright © Lord Birkenhead
“A demagogue or rabble-rouser is a leader in a democracy who gains popularity by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people, whipping up the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation”.
“A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument”
“The Senator was a gifted demagogue, with particular skill in manipulating the press”
More synonyms: rabble-rouser, political agitator, agitator, soapbox orator, firebrand;
troublemaker, incendiary; tub-thumper
Maybe political cartoonists like ‘Wilcox’ are able to define the syndrome so succinctly and most accurately?