Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Infamous Quotes

Democracy nowadays is portrayed as the supreme unquestionable system and its faults rationalized by claiming all other systems are worse (any proof to that sweeping claim?). When it delivers poor governance in nations, the blame is passed on to the politicians – if only they could be different, democracy would work. But, wasn’t it we who elected them and does not democracy empower all or any of us to join politics and show better results than these politicians? “By the people and of the people” – that is the system. If it does not produce good results, we may need to question the system.

Let us look at who in the past has criticized democracy - were they fanatics, freaks or some great leaders and philosophers?

Mankind will in time discover that unbridled majorities are as tyrannical and cruel as unlimited despots.
John Adams 1793 (1735-1826, 2nd President of the United States, 1797-1801)

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

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: (1743-1826, 3rd President of the United States, 1801-09, Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence. 1762-1826)

A free government is a complicated piece of machinery, the nice and exact adjustment of whose springs, wheels, and weights, is not yet well comprehended by the artists of the age, and still less by the people.
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

Democracies have been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.
James Madison (1751-1836, 4th President of the United States 1809-1817)

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1848, 6th President of the United States 1825-1829)

I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both.
Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800 – 1859, British Historian and Politician)

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British Prime Minister during World War II)

Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been.
Winston Churchill
(This is the only quote that is thrown about these days almost as the gospel truth about democracy. Maybe it was true of just UK in the mid 20th century – may not have been true in the century prior or even after. Winston's first quote criticising the very essence of democracy is not heard anymore.)

Democracy encourages the majority to decide things about which the majority is blissfully ignorant.
John Simon (1925- American critic)

Despots and democratic majorities are drunk with power.
Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973, Austrian Economist)

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956, American Essayist)

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury.
Alexander Tytler (1747-1813, Scott British Writer)

(Egalitarian models are different from democratic majorities cornering resources of a nation in instant benefits)

Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.
Laurence J. Peter (1919-1990, American Educator, formulated The Peter Principle)

Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900, Irish Writer)

Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches.
Will Rogers (1879-1935, American Commentator)

Democracy forever teases us with the contrast between its ideals and its realities, between its heroic possibilities and its sorry achievements.
Agnes Repplier (1855 – 1950, American Essayist)