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Throughout history certain ideas are promoted to a level where any questioning or criticism of them is seen as taboo. In the 21st century, one of these ideas is democracy. Democracy is virtually never criticized by those in the mainstream media, and state controlled education presents democracy to students with the status of a god – a perfect institution with literally no flaws to speak of. However, democracy is not seen by all in this light, and many people both past and present have questioned its desirability, here are some quotes by such thinkers:

“There is a difference between democracy and freedom. Freedom cannot be measured by the opportunity to vote. It can be measured by the scope of what we do not vote about.” (John T. Wenders, Economist)

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49 percent.” (Thomas Jefferson)

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” (John Adams)

“Every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.” (H.L. Menken)

“Unlimited democracy is, just like oligarchy, a tyranny spread over a large number of people.” (Aristotle)

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what they are going to have for lunch.” (Benjamin Franklin)

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” (Benjamin Franklin)

“Democracy is the will of the people. Every morning I’m surprised to read in the newspaper what I want.” (Unknown Dutch comedian)

“Of this I am certain, that in a democracy the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppression upon the minority. . .and that oppression of the minority will extend to far greater numbers and will be carried on with much greater fury, than can almost ever be apprehended from the dominion of a single sceptre.” (Edmund Burke)

“I have been long convinced that institutions purely democratic must sooner or later destroy liberty, or civilization, or both.” (Thomas Macaulay, British liberal thinker)

“Five men are in a room. Because three men take one view and two another, have the three men any moral right to enforce their view on the other two men? What magical power comes over the three men that because they are one more in number than the two men, therefore they suddenly become possessors of the minds and bodies of these others? As long as they were two to two, so long we supposed each man remained master of his own mind and body; but from the moment that another man, acting Heaven only knows from what motives, has joined himself to one party or the other, that party has become straightaway possessed of the souls and bodies of the other party. Was there ever such a degrading and indefensible superstition? Is it not the true lineal descendent of the old superstitions about emperors and high priests and their authority over the souls and bodies of men?” (Auberon Herbert, 19th century British politician and writer)

“How can we continue to ensure progress if we increasingly adopt a lifestyle in which nobody’s willing to take responsibility for themselves and everyone is looking for safety in collectivism?. . .If this mania continues, our society will degenerate into a social system in which everyone has their hands in someone else’s pockets.” (Ludwig Erhard, former German Chancellor)

“To highlight the offensiveness to liberty that democracy and majority rule is, just ask yourself how many decisions in your life would you like to be made democratically. How about what car you drive, where you live, whom you marry, whether you have turkey or ham for Thanksgiving dinner? If those decisions were made through a democratic process, the average person would see it as tyranny and not personal liberty. Isn’t it no less tyranny for the democratic process to determine whether you purchase health insurance or set aside money for retirement? Both for ourselves, and our fellow man around the globe, we should be advocating liberty, not the democracy that we’ve become where a roguish Congress does anything upon which they can muster a majority vote.” (Walter Williams, Economist)

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” (Winston Churchill)

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