This Isn’t What Democracy Looks Like
“THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!”
That chant has truly been making the rounds of late. Today’s example comes from the streets of New York, where a large crowd of anti-Trump protesters gathered as a couple of racially diverse grandmas gyrated awkwardly to music provided by a frat-boy wannabe trumpet player wearing a “WOKE AF” tank top.
It’s a popular chant these days on the Left; you rarely hear such chants from the Right, which generally assumes that democracy looks more like this:
That’s because there are two widely varying beliefs about democracy that currently split the country. The first mirrors the beliefs of the founders: loud, boisterous debate and popular movements must be channeled into republicanism, voting for those who can represent us best, and whose ambitions will be counteracted by other ambitions. The founders feared and hated mob politics. They were readers of Cicero, who said that “No tempest or conflagration, however great, is harder to quell than mob carried away by the novelty of power.” Alexander Hamilton summed up the founders’ notion of democracy well: “Real liberty is neither found in despotism, nor in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate goverments … if we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy.”
The second view of democracy mirrors Rousseau and the French Revolution more than the American Revolution: the mob in the streets makes the rules. No one man is better than any other; the collective rules the individual.