08 January 2021

The Tempering of Democracy

Polybios (c 200-c 118 BC)
Five years ago I wrote something for First Things which I believe continues to have relevance for today, especially after the events of two days ago: The Tempering of Democracy: How Recovering the Classical Mixed Constitution Could Affect the Way We Vote. Attempting to more thoroughly democratize a constitution can backfire and lead to would-be authoritarian leaders coming out on top. An excerpt:

The need for democracy is satisfied by giving citizens a choice between two or more candidates thoroughly vetted by their respective party organizations and presented to the people as the best persons for the job. The aristocratic principle—necessary in all political systems—should come into play within the parties themselves as would-be candidates are screened in accordance with established criteria to insure a high level of competence and personal integrity. Only then would they be brought before the public for their verdict.

Read the entire piece here or here.

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