Herbert London, a conservative academic drawing on Plato and others, gives six reasons why he thinks American democracy is in trouble:
First, and perhaps most notably, a democratic republic depends on an educated populace and adherence to certain norms of behavior. It is evident, however, that Americans have a far greater interest in amusing themselves than in educating themselves. Even the extraordinary number of college graduates reveals little about educational attainment since so many are trained in incapacity. Many colleges in the United States are only faintly related to education at all, and many that purport to train simply instill an ideological canon on their students.
In a recent ISI survey on civil knowledge, a majority of college graduates could not name the three branches of government. . . .
Second, a government that assumes enlarged authority over the economy can browbeat those in the private sector to accede to its desire. . . .
Third, the power of demagoguery is enhanced by a press corps that engages in cheerleading. . . .
Fourth, as Juvenal once wrote, those in power want to remain in power. In order to do so, they will make any gesture, compromise any principle, and purloin any aspect of the economy in order to retain their positions. Acting in what is reputed to be the public interest, a class of politicians acts to build constituencies for reelection. The public welfare is mere cover for actions that lead to incumbency.
Fifth, if self-restraint does not exist, external restraint must be imposed to assure domestic tranquility. At issue is the moral basis for civic cohesion, namely, families, churches, associations, and schools, which are in disarray and cannot provide the mediating structures between the individual and the state. As a consequence, government is obliged to fill the moral vacuum playing a role that was not intended in a democratic republic.
Sixth, a democracy cannot work if the system of taxation is used to take from the productive elements of society and give to the unproductive sector.
Is he right? What’s the alternative?
If Democracy is no longer possible in this country, who should we pick for King to get our hereditary monarchy started? Who would be our aristocrats?
Maybe the Queen of England would take us back, though she’d need to dismantle democracy in her country. Or maybe we could just complete our sale to China.
Seriously, some of these six reasons to worry seem to be due to a lack of democracy, not its collapse. Can some of these be remedied through a proper exercise of democracy?