When the political going gets tough, pundits turn to a tried-and-true scapegoat: the voting public and the democracy that empowers them. Slate editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg was the most recent to write a column bashing America's fickle electorate on Saturday. On Friday, Kurt Andersen made a similar stab in New York Magazine, arguing that irrational Tea Party mobs proved that "American democracy has gotten way too democratic." They are, of course, in good company. In September, Thomas Friedman said America's "one party democracy" was worse than autocracy. (H/t Frank Ross.) Pat Buchanan has voiced similar sentiments. So has The Economist. And Founding Father James Madison perhaps said it best:
Democracy is the most vile form of government... democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.