Tagged: Democracy

Democracy in Vignettes

On September 29th, 2001, less than three weeks after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, one of America’s tentative popular steps back to some semblance of normalcy was the return of Saturday Night Live (filmed, of course, in New York). In an attempt to earn the right to make silly jokes again, the show began, in typically modern maudlin fashion, with...

Maxims on Modern Democracy

A citizenry proves itself untrustworthy with power, even essentially unworthy of self-government, to the extent that they are collectively sanguine, let alone enthusiastic, about the kind of people they are invariably asked to vote for. To be successful at the highest levels of democratic politics is to expose oneself as the kind of character who overvalues short-term gain, who is always prepared to...

The Totalitarian Tipping Point

I am sometimes accused of exaggerating the threats to modern civilization, or of engaging in hyperbole in discussing today’s political trends. I am certainly not one inclined to feel self-deludedly sanguine about the current state of things, or blind to rising evils and dangerous follies. I note this merely to preface an anecdote that demonstrates the extent to which we are all, even...

An Open Letter to David Hogg

Dear David, (We boring adults typically begin correspondence with expressions like “Dear So-and-So,” even when addressing a person with whom we have strong disputes. We call it being civil, i.e., decent and respectful even toward those with whom one disagrees. Civility seems the most effective and mature pattern of behavior when dealing with others in most contexts, particularly as an alternative to things...

How Democracies Perish, Deathbed Edition

This is the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of How Democracies Perish, an analysis of the spread of world communism by Jean-Fran├žois Revel, one of freedom’s most serious French defenders since Tocqueville. At the heart of this work, Revel details “The Tools of Communist Expansion,” among which the most relevant for understanding our current situation comes in Chapter 16, “Ideological Warfare and Disinformation.”...