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Quotes / Democracy Is Flawed

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Literature

Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How’s that again? I missed something.
Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let’s play that over again, too. Who decides?
Lazarus Long, Time Enough for Love

"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."
H. L. Mencken, "Bayard vs. Lionhart"
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Theatre

"I guess all governments are crooked, I guess they're all vicious and corrupt, but a democracy has the immense advantage of being incompetent in villainy and clumsy in corruption."

Western Animation

"In a democracy, everybody gets an equal voice, even if nobody ever listens. And if you have a lot of money, you get an even more equal voice, 'cause you can buy airtime. Of course, nobody watches; they're too busy watching game shows. But if they did, they'd see a bunch of candidates who all look alike making promises they can't possibly keep. Not that it matters, since most people don't vote anyway, because they live in a free country and they don't have to. And that, my friends, is a democracy."
Mike Mazinsky, Mike, Lu & Og

Real Life

"Happily virtue is natural to the people, despite aristocratic prejudices to the contrary. A nation is truly corrupt when, having gradually lost its character and its liberty, it passes from democracy to aristocracy or to monarchy; this is the death of the body politic through decrepitude. When after four hundred years of glory avarice finally drove from Sparta its morality together with the laws of Lycurgus, Agis died in vain trying to bring them back. Demosthenes thundered in vain against Philip [of Macedon], Philip found more eloquent advocates than Demosthenes among the degenerate inhabitants of Athens. There was still as large a population in Athens as in the times of Miltiades and Aristides, but there were no longer any true Athenians. And what did it matter that Brutus killed a tyrant? Tyranny still lived in every heart, and Rome existed only in Brutus."

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In fact, authoritative modern constitutions are rare in the world. Rather than measure societies by this standard, or expect them to evolve or live up to them, we might better reflect on their rarity. Political clans, weak institutions, and personalized politics dominate almost everywhere. Even today, most of the world lacks strong, independent institutions. Most societies are still ruled by persons and patrons more than laws. Indeed, what we take for modernized society, with its representative governments and powerful institutions, began within a few hundred miles either side of the English Channel and exists in the world today mainly there or as transplants from there.
J. Arch Getty, Practicing Stalinism: Bolsheviks, Boyars and the Persistence of Tradition, Page 289

Democratic systems do not work unless there is a basic consensus among most citizens about the acceptability of their state and social system, or at least a readiness to bargain for compromise settlements. This, in turn, is much facilitated by prosperity.
Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes

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"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 for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time..."
Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons, 1947

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what's for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote."
— ''James Bovard, often Misattributed to Benjamin Franklin

For monarchy to work, one man must be wise. For democracy to work, a majority of the people must be wise. Which is more likely?
Charles Maurras

Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant of communism, and rarely in the history of ideas has it been taken for anything else.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Reflections on State and War (2 December 2006)

Democracy will prevail when men believe the vote of Judas as good as that of Jesus Christ.
—Attributed to Thomas Carlyle in "The Scholar in a Republic", centennial anniversary address to Phi Beta Kappa of Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts (June 30, 1881)

-Democracy is the power of equal votes for unequal minds.
Charles I of England

-Democracies that are under threat of destruction face the impossible dilemma of either yielding to that threat by insisting on preserving the democratic niceties, or violating their own principles by curtailing democratic rights.
Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich (2003)

-Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day.
Benito Mussolini to Edwin L James of the New York Times (1928)

A Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of Government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that Democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a Dictatorship and a Monarchy.
An unknown author, first quoted in Pennsylvania Township News vols. 14–15, 1961, where the quote is attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler


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