"Institutions purely democratic must, sooner, or later,
destroy liberty or civilization or both."
Thomas Babington Macaulay
(1800-1859) [Lord Macaulay] 1st Baron Macaulay, British historian
Letter to H.S. Randall, May 23, 1857
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Reader comments about this quote:
Before I accept this statement to be true,I would ask the writer of it to explain. WHY? What is his reasoning or explaination supporting his statement ? We Can't Accept Anything Or Everything As TRUTH Without Understanding How Or Why!
 -- Me, Your Town,USA     
  • 1
    Me from Your Town, look at all the comments concerning democracy from this blog for the last couple of months, that will answer your question. For one, law, rights, etc are defined as the majority's will in a democracy. Law, rights, etc. are a reality given from Nature's God and a faculty of birth in a Constitutional Republic, such as was the U.S.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
    Unfortunately the founding fathers did not figure out how to prevent the feeding frenzy they warned us about. Even though the constitution does not give the congress the right to spend money for purposes of benevolence they do it anyway. Voting ourselves a piece of the public pie will eventually ruin us if we do not find another way to destroy ourselves first.
     -- warren, olathe     
  • 2
    Look at the source. This guy is a Lord. France has a Minister of Culture to tell the people what is good and proper culture, taste etcetera. If we had these guys in our beloved States we never would have had Elvis. I will take a democracy in my republic every time. Political freedom, cultural freedom and all of the rest of it.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
  • 1 1
    Waffler, the statement "I will take a democracy in my republic every time" makes no sense... That's like saying, "I'll take my Corolla in my Accord everytime." These are two entirely separate forms of government we're discussing, with completely different foundations and premises.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
  • 2
    Very true! Any institution is that which sets itself apart from the whole--here being furthered distinguishable as being 'democratic'--another set of checks and balances within the structure of the institution by a model of opposition hoping to find a path of functionality which is reasonable and tolerable in the best interest of the whole ... (Shall we call this perhaps "Distinguished Separation"!) Yet, by definition, it is itself energizing differentiation! Thus, rather than unifying--in which is to be found that true pathway to freedom and community--we instead find lines of division--battle-lines, as it were--keeping civilization in an awareness of 'me versus them'--the status quo in which we now find ourselves, riddled with wars, terrorism, etc. The effect, as the quote above, is one of truth: "Institutions purely democratic must, sooner, or later, destroy liberty or civilization or both."
     -- Saijin, Lewisville     
    If every man is a sinner, what would be the result of letting the collective of sinners decide what we should apply our collective power to? I guess if everyone does it, then it isn't sinning any more is it? Better we do not create seats or councils of power to 'solve' the world's problems -- it will only result in despotism and eventually destruction (as has been the case of every country that has had a dictator -- sooner or later it crumbles).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 2
    So true, and when liberty is destroyed can civilization be far behind.
     -- kilpeg@austin.rr.com, austin,tx     
  • 1
    sadly these seem to be true, just look around you today. do i need to spell it out. our right to decide for ourselves is being eroded away. seat belts, helmets on bikes for kids and motorcycles for adults, you cant spank your kids anymore but the cops can beat you down or even gun you down at will, if the banks go belly up we have to bail them out but if you do you cant even file bankrupt any more, the cops lie, the judges lie, the politians lie but if you do, you go right to jail. just stop and think, you can come up with hundreds of them.
     -- ralph, bayonne nj     
  • 2
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