Democracy in Crisis

Democracy in Crisis

Democracy in Crisis

Democracy in Crisis

Excerpt

This book is an expanded version of the Weil lectures which I delivered in April 1931 to the University of North Carolina. Publication was a condition of their delivery, and I have to thank my friend, President Graham, for the permission to delay their completion for a period beyond my promise.

I am aware that my argument is a pessimistic one, and that it is rooted in a sombre picture of our situation. I do not think any explanation, beyond the argument itself, is called for by its character. I shall be satisfied if I can either persuade a few readers to realise how near our feet lie to the abyss--the usual point at which Englishmen are stimulated to consider principle--or, alternatively, be shown by critics to have misunderstood the position. I have arrived at my conclusions with regret, and only after long and careful thought upon the material they summarise. I should have been happier if my conclusions had been in another direction; but the obligation to follow the compulsion of the facts is inescapable.

I owe a deep debt to my colleagues, Mr. H. L. Beales and Mr. K. B. Smellie, for constant illumination of the themes I have ventured to discuss; and I should like to register here my special obligations to Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Hammond and Professor R. H. Tawney for the insight their books have given me into the general problem of discontent in a democracy. I hasten to add that none of them has any responsibility for my dis-

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