Democracy departed "from the scene heavily armed with candles and sandwiches. The heralded stories burst to pieces, the cheap decorations were pulled down, the bombastic moral strength proved itself foolish weakness. Finis!"
With these ironical words, Leon Trotsky, one of the foremost leaders of world Communism, explained the ease of the Bolshevik victory and wrote a contemptuous epitaph on the tombstone of Russian democracy.
The spread of dictatorship in no more than thirty years from a small area of a few square miles to almost two-fifths of the globe and to a dominant position on the Eurasian continent; its rise from an obscure heresy to a state religion commanding the observance of half a billion freeborn people; and the transformation of the apostles of this new despotism from inmates of police prisons into organizers of the most powerful and most oppressive police state the modern world has ever known are proof that the business of democracy has not been conducted with wisdom, circumspection, and diligence.
For more than thirty years the initiative in world affairs has not been in the hands of free, representative, and progressive governments. Nor have the free peoples aroused themselves to the creative effort of adjusting the worn machinery of democracy to the exacting conditions of the air and atomic age. The will to freedom languished amidst the playthings of material self-indulgence. The defense of the cause of humanity was mounted along the line of least resistance. Complacency and defeatism assailed whatever willingness there lingered to make sacrifices for the highest political ideals of mankind.
The progress of dictatorship does not prove the excellence of the principles of tyrannical government. For the advance of dictatorship was due to the default of democracy. The democratic nations, with surprising indifference to their own survival, condoned--indeed, sometimes abetted--the spreading of dictatorial government. In those rare cases when they opposed the danger they indulged in those untimely half measures of which the present generation of democratic statesmen has the unique secret.
By the middle of the 20th century the struggle between democracy and dictatorship is entering into its decisive phase. Which side will win?
Will the individual remain free, that is, free to make the important decisions of his life? Or will the individual be transformed into a robot who acts upon decisions made for him by his masters?