23rd Oct: It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere
Or a cataclysmic earthquake I'd accept with some despair
But no, you sent us Congress—
Good God, sir, was that fair?
— John Adams, 1776
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
"Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
"Envy is the basis of democracy."
— Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness, VI, 1930
"I do not admire 'the people,' as such. No one really does. Their folk wisdom is usually false, their instincts predatory. Even their sense of survival — so highly developed in the individual — goes berserk in the mass. A crowd is a fool."
—Gore Vidal, Playboy 1969
"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution."
— G.K. Chesterton
"From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such 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, Federalist Paper #10
"When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."
"If Voting Changed Anything They'd Abolish It"
— Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London 2000-2008, published an autobiography-cum-political tract in 1988 with this title. ISBN 9780006373353 (also attributed to Emma Goldman)
"He who builds upon the people, builds upon mud."
—Niccolò Machiavelli note
"Democratic" decision making is a means for finding and implementing the will of the majority; it has no other function. It serves, not to encourage diversity, but to prevent it.
— David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom, 88
"The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum... The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
"Of all my master schemes to take over the world—the thousands I killed with my army of robotic suicide squirrels, the millions I spent trying to kill you all with Push n' Eat macaroni in a tube, my even-as-of-yet uncompleted orbital death ray—and all I had to do was run for president?! NYAHAHAHAHAH!! I wasn't really even taking all this all that seriously! I even used my real name! You voted for a guy named Dr. Insano! My election platform was to build a giant robot sawblade that would cut Canada off the top and then attach it to Australia so they wouldn't bother us anymore! My vice president is Fu Manchu! What the hell is wrong with you people?!"
— Noah "The Spoony One" Antwiler as Dr. Insano
"Democratic law does not say, 'Thou shalt not kill'. Instead, it designates certain people who have the right to kill—soldiers and State police. Democratic law does not order, "Thou shalt not steal". It says that only certain people have the right to steal—tax and customs agents. What does "power to the people" mean when the people enjoy fewer rights than their supposed servants?"
— Christian Michel
"Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that someday."
"Democracy is necessarily despotism, as it establishes an executive power contrary to the general will; all being able to decide against one whose opinion may differ, the will of all is therefore not that of all: which is contradictory and opposite to liberty."
— Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace, II, 1795
Democracy is nothing but the Tyranny of Majorities, the most abominable tyranny of all, for it is not based on the authority of a religion, not upon the nobility of a race, not on the merits of talents and of riches. It merely rests upon numbers and hides behind the name of the people.
— Pierre J. Proudhon, founder of Anarchism
Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action.
One-man-one-vote combined with "free entry" into government—democracy–-implies that every person and his personal property comes within reach of—and is up for grabs by—everyone else: a "tragedy of the commons" is created.
— Hans-Hermann Hoppe
"I suspect that democracy is not viable in a technologically advanced society. Free people wield too much ability to destroy."
—Daniel Suarez, Daemon
Mr. Yagami: Anytime Matsuda says over three words we slap him, all in favor?
Matsuda: Wait, that's not fair! [Slap]
What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.
"Nothing to impede progress. If you want to see the fate of democracies, look out the windows."
— Robert House, Fallout: New Vegas
Young Joe: What is democracy?
Father: Well, it's never bright clear on myself. Like any other kind of government, it's got something to do with young men killing each other, I believe.
Democracy is a cancer eating away at the heart of our society. Any action taken to stamp it out, however regrettable, is justified.
And so we are all equally dissatisfied. Democracy at its finest.
"Democracy is the first cousin of anarchy."
— Chairman Shen-Ji Yang of the Human Hive, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.
— Art Spander
Giving power to the inferior components of a nation could only produce inferior results. Those mediocre and substandard minds-uneducated, self-centred, avaricious, prejudiced, chauvinistically patriotic—would ultimately bring about the downfall of their society.
— Alizome Tor Fel-A, in Star Trek: Typhon Pact — Rough Beasts of Empire
Democracy is a poor system of government at best; the only thing that can honestly be said in its favor is that it is about eight times as good as any other method the human race has ever tried. Democracy's worst fault is that its leaders are likely to reflect the faults and virtues of their constituents - at a depressingly low level.
— Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had 500 years of democracy and peace—and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.
You want to know about voting. I'm here to tell you about voting.
Imagine you're locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pitbulls for fun. And you ain't allowed out until you all vote on what you're going to do tonight.
You like to put your feet up and watch Republican Party Reservation. They like to have sex with normal people using knives, guns, and brand new sexual organs you did not even know existed.
So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as your eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades.
That's voting. You're welcome.
— Spider Jerusalem, Transmetropolitan
Noyock: "I know that you've been telling the children that Jason shouldn't choose the Mayor, that everyone ought to vote on it."
Stipock: "Yes, I've said that."
Noyock: "I've been giving that a lot of thought. And it occurs to me that if we did that, we'd usually choose someone that we liked. The trouble is, the Mayor has to make a lot of decisions that no one likes. Then no one will want him to be Mayor anymore, and so we'd either keep changing Mayors or we'd choose Mayors who govern very badly but never offend anybody. Now, before you start arguing with me, Stipock, let me tell you that those are just my thoughts of the moment, and I wonder if you'd be kind enough to think about them at least as long as I thought about your ideas before trying to answer them."
— Orson Scott Card, The Worthing Saga
Shepard: Do the geth have a government?
Legion: Not as you understand. We are all geth. We build consensus.
Shepard: Most governments do.
Legion: Organic governments impose consensus. From a single point of view in autocracies. By codifying the most broadly accepted average of views in democracies.
''I've said it before I'll say it again. Democracy simply doesn't work.
— Kent Brockman, TheSimpsons
Democracy? Democracy. Democracy is not what these people need, hell, it's not even what they want. America has been trying to install democracies in nations for a century and it hasn't worked one time. These countries don't have the most basic building blocks to support a democracy. Little things like, "we ought to be tolerant of those that disagree with us." "We ought to be tolerant of those who worship a different god than us!" That, "A journalist ought to be able to disagree with the president!" And you think you can just march into these countries based on some fundamentalist, religious principles, drop a few bombs, topple a dictator and start a democracy? Huh. Give me a break.