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Sep 22, 2001 06:12 PM
by Frank Reitemeyer

'Democracy,' in the United States rhetoric refers to a system of governance
in which elite elements based in the business community control the state by
virtue of their dominance of the private society, while the population
observes quietly. So understood, democracy is a system of elite decision and
public ratification, as in the United States itself. Correspondingly,
popular involvement in the formation of public policy is considered a
serious threat. It is not a step towards democracy; rather it constitutes a
'crisis of democracy' that must be overcome.

Noam Chomsky, noted American dissident and professor at MIT in On Power and
Ideology (1987)


Thus corporations finally claimed the full rights enjoyed by individual
citizens while being exempted from many of the responsibilities and
liabilities of citizenship. Furthermore, in being guaranteed the same right
to free speech as individual citizens, they achieved, in the words of Paul
Hawken, 'precisely what the Bill of Rights was intended to prevent:
domination of public thought and discourse.' The subsequent claim by
corporations that they have the same right as any individual to influence
the government in their own interest pits the individual citizen against the
vast financial and communications resources of the corporation and mocks the
constitutional intent that all citizens have an equal voice in the political
debates surrounding important issues.

David C. Korten, in When Corporations Rule the World


The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element
in the larger centers has owned government ever since the days of Andrew

Franklin D. Roosevelt in a letter to Woodrow Wilson's closest adviser, Col.
Edward M. House dated November 21, 1933


Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes
upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their
fate.... After having thus successively taken each member of the community
in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then
extends its arm over the whole community....The will of man is not
shattered, but softened, bent, and guided.... It does not tyrannize, but it
compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each
nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious
animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

Alexis De Tocqueville in Democracy in America (1840)


The bewildered herd are a problem. We've got to prevent their rage and
trampling. We've got to distract them. They should be watching the Super
bowl or sitcoms or violent movies or something. Every once in a while you
call on them to chant meaningless slogans like 'Support Our Troops', and
you've got to keep them pretty scared because unless they're scared properly
and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy them from
outside or inside or somewhere, they may start to think, which is very
dangerous because they're not competent to think, and therefore it's
important to distract and to marginalize them.

>From a lecture by Noam Chomsky, on the power elite's conception of democracy
in America


The most popular man under a democracy is not the most democratic man, but
the most despotic man. The common folk delight in the exactions of such a
man. They like him to boss them. Their natural gait is the goose step.

H.L. Mencken


It had been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be
the most perfect government. Experience had proved that no position is more
false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves
deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very
character was tyranny; their figure deformity.

Alexander Hamilton, June 21, 1788


If you establish a democracy, you must in due time reap the fruits of a
democracy. You will in due season have great impatience of public burdens,
combined in due season with great increase of public expenditure. You will
in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason; and
you will in due season submit to peace ignominiously sought and
ignominiously obtained, which will diminish your authority and perhaps
endanger your independence. You will in due season find your property is
less valuable, and your freedom less complete.

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli -1850


The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into

ibid, 1870


The adoption of Democracy as a form of Government by all European nations is
fatal to good Government, to liberty, to law and order, to respect for
authority, and to religion, and must eventually produce a state of chaos
from which a new world tyranny will arise.

Duke of Northumberland 1931


De Tocqueville once warned us that: "If ever the free institutions of
America are destroyed, that event will arise from the unlimited tyranny of
the majority." But a majority will never be permitted to exercise such
"unlimited tyranny" so long as we cling to the American ideals of republican
liberty and turn a deaf ear to the siren voices now calling us to democracy.
This is not a question relating to the form of government. That can always
be changed by constitutional amendment. It is one affecting the underlying
philosophy of our system -- a philosophy which brought new dignity to the
individual, more safety for minorities and greater justice in the
administration of government. We are in grave danger of dissipating this
splendid heritage through mistaking it for democracy.

Archibald E. Stevenson


Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that
between order and chaos.

John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.


I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner
or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both.

Thomas Babington Macaulay


...democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have
ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of
property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been
violent in their deaths.

James Madison in Essay Number 10 of The Federalist Papers (arguing in favor
of a constitutional republic)


More Notable Quotes:

Democracy | The Media | The Money Powers
New World Order | Socialism

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