The Limits of Pure Democracy

The Limits of Pure Democracy

The Limits of Pure Democracy

The Limits of Pure Democracy

Excerpt

This work was planned, and the opening chapters were written, in the earlier months of the year 1914, when the outbreak of a great war was only a remote contingency. Since then, and more especially during the last twelve months, the subject here discussed— namely, the nature and the limits of the power of pure democracy—has acquired day by day a more immediate importance. Indeed, all practical controversies may be said now to turn on it. It thus has happened that the principles here laid down in general terms have, whilst the work was in progress, been illustrated by a series of extraordinarily apt examples. References to many of these have been added in brief footnotes. Four-fifths of the work were, however, substantially complete before the world was astonished by the revolution in Russia; and, though it has been possible to add a few footnotes relating to that movement, such notes are necessarily inadequate to the magnitude and significance of the occasion. The author has therefore thought it desirable to rewrite the concluding pages, and substitute a more detailed mention of recent events in Russia and other countries also, for a final discussion of various general facts and problems, such as the genesis and functions of a leisured class, the possible equalising of certain industrial faculties by education on the one hand, and the probably increasing difference between the highest and the lowest on the other, the increasing pressure of . . .

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