"[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few."
John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
An Essay on Man's Lust for Power, August 29, 1763
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Reader comments about this quote:
What undulating crap this nonsense is. Who chooses these quotes? The Nazi Koch Brothers? Name 1 true democracy that has ever existed? Meaning a whole nation that was democratic, not just a work place or school room. Don't say Athens, because it was a democracy of land owners that had slaves. So, 1 whole nation that was a democracy, meaning The People voted directly on The Law... I guarantee, the only veritable answer here is, there has never been 1, never 1 true democracy in the whole history of humanity, but the political powers, who contributed to a government that murdered masses of people, ever rail against democracy... hmmm wonder why? Couldn't be because they were some god damn corrupt politicians, now. Nah never. Ridiculous!
 -- Anonymous, Newport Vermont     
    We certainly do live in an artistic dark age. Seriously.
     -- Byron, Fort Collins     
    Which is exactly why the Founders gave us a Constitutionally limited government. Democracy is a complete and total sham. Under this system of "Democracy" our politicians are bought and paid for and do NOT represent We The People. The latest example being Soros and his Pet Kenyan.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Newport, with nonsense like yours, it's no wonder you remain anonymous.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    Sadly we do live in a democracy where the will of the majority of either the masses or the Supreme Court can force their will on the minority. A republic where rights could not be altered or revised by any majority was what our forefathers envisioned. How far our system has strayed.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    Patriotism may be the last refuge of a scoundrel, but the penultimate refuge is labeling a libertarian conservative a Nazi. Newport, you should be ashamed. Ironically, your extraordinarily ignorant tirade aptly proves the wisdom of Adams's warning about "democracy."
     -- Rob, Columbus     
    Precisely why we were given "...a republic, madam, if you can keep it..." and not a democracy. We are supposed to be a country based upon rule of law...but those from the highest office down ignore that fact....
     -- Abigail     
    I hope John Adams is wrong about America.
     -- Vera, Monroe     
     -- Allen, DC      
     -- Sharon Agregaard, Perkinston, MS      
    Too true. Hey, Newport, Adams wrote extensively on the historical forms of government, not just Athens, either. He recognized that governments consisted typically of combinations of monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic forms of government. The US Constitution was developed to help balance these powers so that none could gain dominance. I suggest reading Adams' "A defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America" (http://www.constitution.org/jadams/ja1_00.htm) whereby Adams compares dozens of ancient 'republics.' (Sorry to those that try to say America is a 'republic' not a 'democracy' because Adams refers to democracies as 'democratic republics' and monarchies as 'monarchical republics'.) A long study, but something any 'republican' history buff ought to be familiar with. Essentially, a 'pure' democracy would evolve into the tyranny of the majority -- i.e. might makes right. Yes, a democracy must be limited by the Laws of Nature (no vote can eliminate natural laws) of which the rights of life, liberty, and self-defense are rooted. I am willing to agree that there has never been a true democracy, but it is true that totalitarian dictators have used democracy to get into seats of power and that democracy is a tool of the socialists/communists for voting away the rights and property of those that have it, and ultimately a 'true' democracy can never be achieved as long as THEFT is legalized by majority vote. Adams' quote above is right on the mark - -just look at the USA today.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    In this quote Adams states that he is against "people doing what is right in their own eyes" and most of you guys defend this him on this! I don't get it. Isn't that what we long for and fight for that kind of freedom as long as it does not interfere with others. Now on occasion these free doing people will make constraints that they feel are necessary for the common good, like the direction streets may be laid etcetera Adams here is in effect defending the Aristocarcy, the moneyed class, the establishment etc. Not his finest hour.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    close enough for 5 stars
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Waffler, "you don't get it" is an accurate statement. He is talking about the flaw of Democracy as opposed to a Constitutionally limited Government with a "justice system". Democracy is a slow death for any nation.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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