The Heresy of Democracy: A Study in the History of Government

The Heresy of Democracy: A Study in the History of Government

The Heresy of Democracy: A Study in the History of Government

The Heresy of Democracy: A Study in the History of Government

Excerpt

An American friend, hearing that I contemplated this book, commented that to write "on the shortcomings of democracy is hitting a fellow when he's down, or shooting sitting ducks -- particularly at this moment". Is this true? Is Democracy nowadays worth so long a commination service?

Certainly not, if it were only a question of the 'shortcomings' of a particular form of government. But the title of this book is seriously meant. It has been written in the conviction that, in the desperate insecurity of the modern world, what is at issue is not one more mistake in the technique of government, where every generation has multiplied its mistakes since the first syllable of recorded time, but a culminating error of belief which can be accurately described only in the language of religion. It is a false worship whose sincerest devotees, approaching their idol's shrine with the most unselfish aspirations, wake from their trance of adoration to find themselves bound unawares to the service of devils.

What is worse: the same bondage may await those who, with no real faith in the idol, repeat his litanies from habit, or because they have learnt no other creed. This has been -- at least, as late as yesterday -- the fashion of nine-tenths of the public men and active voters of the 'Free World', and even of their moral and spiritual guides. "There must be no propaganda in our schools", said a blameless English Professor of Education between the wars, "except, of course, propaganda for democracy. . . .""After all", wrote an equally blameless bishop to me during the General Strike in 1926, "we cannot deny the principle vox populi vox Dei." Perhaps we, who have thus crowded the outer courts . . .

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