On Unrestrained Democracy

Plato’s Republic and Confucius’ Lunyu seem to have much in common. I’m not greatly surprised by all this. Both stress the demands placed on people who are junzi of what Plato calls the “guardian class”. I see nothing inherently less Christian about this than what people think of democracy: unrestrained, egalitarian, materialistic.

The fact is, all men are created equal, but not all men are alike in their strengths and weaknesses. This applies not only to kind but to degree. Some people we can call “underdeveloped”. They are mean (small) people who will not but think of benefit, and consequences alone. There are, in contrast, also people who can think of the right thing to do without pretending to know all of the consequences but trusting God that it is always better to do good than to do evil.

At the same time, I do not think America has such a class waiting to serve. It would need to be made in several generations, not in a revolutionary swoop that turns out to have changed absolutely nothing. People say “democracy” and “equality” without knowing what they mean. They cannot be given what they think they want, if the things they pursue are just dangerous delusions.

The trouble now is, all the classes alike think the same thing. They think the government is supposed to be the ultimate provider, the one that finances the lives of the poor, all while the government continues to neglect abolition of corporate welfare, opposition to fraud and infanticide. And at the same time, the people, believing that the government has all under its belt, feel no urge to be compassionate to the poor, because they think that their duty is done.

No, if we were to have “democracy” as the deluded would have it, we might as well select officials by lot, and there would be no need for elections. It is more important to protect the people’s liberty than to give them direct power in government. People are greedy for wealth and power and all want to attend university, thinking that it exists for that very reason: to give them power. Well, people have to stop pursuing power when what they need is something greater than power.

Think again about the reason for giving the people a say in the affairs of the state. It’s not about power. It’s about something else, and as long as everyone is motivated by gain we will all suffer the consequences of a degenerate democracy of the wicked.

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