XI
DEMOCRACY AND THE COMMON LIFE

Democratic Society and Democratic Government

WE are to consider in this chapter the relevance to democracy of the general doctrine expounded in the last -- that the function of the state is to serve the community, to remove the disharmonies which threaten its common life and to make it more a community.

Democracy is a theory of society as well as a theory of government. If the end of the state is to serve the community and to make it more of a community, that will mean in a democracy making it more of a democratic community. There will then presumably be certain principles of democratic life which the state will set before itself and have in mind. No doubt the spirit of a community is more than can be formulated in principles. But the spirit of a church is more than its creeds, and yet creeds are an essential clue to the understanding of what distinguishes one church or one religion from another; so the principles inspiring a community must be understood if its common life is to be understood. To give up formulations of democratic principles or declarations of rights because they are abstract is to prepare the way for the cloudy and sinister nonsense about the spirit of a people which inspires so much of Hitler's speeches.

When we have dealt with the principles of a democratic society, we shall have to deal with another question which is often too easily taken for granted. Must the state in serving a democratic community be itself democratic? Is its job well or ill done by democratic machinery? This is not an idle question. An army or a civil service can serve a democratic community without being itself democratic. We have given up the view that democracy is just government by consent, or just the expression of the will of a majority. We are committed tp the view that the democratic state has to discover something not easily or automatically to be discovered. In our complicated

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