The Greeks—that is to say, Plato and Aristotle—knew that democracy was a bad idea because it would allow the poor to plunder the rich. Modern democracy, however, has been a great success, even though a certain amount of plundering of the rich does go on. The reason is that democracy in Europe has been superimposed on the established constitutions of modern states. As a result, Government of the people (which is meaningless) becomes government by a balance between different groups. If one or other of these groups comes to seem dominant, then democracy begins to look rather like a concealed oligarchy. This is why the standard criticism of modern democracies has been to reveal them as concealing oligarchy.

Marxism is the classic version of this template, and later, Italians such as Michels and Pareto turned it into a kind of realism about democratic realities. James Burnham’s discovery that the bourgeoisie were being...

 

A Message from the Editors

As a reader of our efforts, you have stood with us on the front lines in the battle for culture. Learn how your support contributes to our continued defense of truth.

Popular Right Now