What Democracy does to us…

“I wrote earlier about trying to express my reasons to my dad in a calm and intellectual manner. I actually thought I had been calm and well-reasoned. I thought I might even be making progress.

Today I found out he put a Trump sign in his yard.

I got pissed. Really pissed. And I sent him and my mom a text message. Hands shaking, tears in eyes. This is what it said:

Due to the signs in the yard, the kids and I will not be down. The current occupant of the White House is preaching hate and violence, endangering the lives and safety of many of my friends. This is not acceptable to me at all. There is a complete disregard for women, minorities, science, ethics, and morality. Please consider if you support Trump that much. Because I hate him that much. I wanted to be upfront and honest about my feelings.

And then I went for a walk to calm down. And the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with the message. At this point, it is not acceptable to me. You can vote for whom you wish. But I can choose who I surround myself with. I love my dad, but I can’t be around him until he understands how vital I believe this election to be and what is truly at stake. It is not easy. But it was necessary. Now to see what fallout occurs.”

“Plato (Republic, Book VI) argues that democracy is inferior to various forms of monarchy, aristocracy and even oligarchy on the grounds that democracy tends to undermine the expertise necessary to properly governed societies. In a democracy, he argues, those who are expert at winning elections and nothing else will eventually dominate democratic politics. Democracy tends to emphasize this expertise at the expense of the expertise that is necessary to properly governed societies. The reason for this is that most people do not have the kinds of talents that enable them to think well about the difficult issues that politics involves. But in order to win office or get a piece of legislation passed, politicians must appeal to these people’s sense of what is right or not right. Hence, the state will be guided by very poorly worked out ideas that experts in manipulation and mass appeal use to help themselves win office.” -Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

“I am a democrat because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in the government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. And whenever their weakness is exposed, the people who prefer tyranny make capital out of the exposure… The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.”

Demagogue: a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument.

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