October 29th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: email@example.com
From Mencken. The parts of this paragraph that arise from direct observation are very good. The parts that don’t arise from direct observation are very bad.
I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself – that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating. But I am, it may be, a somewhat malicious man: my sympathies, when it comes to suckers, tend to be coy. What I can’t make out is how any man can believe in democracy who feels for and with them, and is pained when they are debauched and made a show of.
In particular, note that his criticism of what he sees before him seems solid, but he departs into speculation here:
Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men.
He has zero evidence of that, and no direct observation to offer. There might be better forms of government. It is the aim of political science to find out.Source