Democracy in the Balance
por Stratford Caldecott
“If there be one thing more than another which is true of genuine democracy, it is that genuine democracy is opposed to the rule of the mob. For genuine democracy is based fundamentally on the existence of the citizen, and the best definition of a mob is a body of a thousand men in which there is no citizen.”
This quotation is from G.K. Chesterton’s article on Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables in Pall Mall magazine of 1902. In it Chesterton puts his finger on a great dilemma. It is wise to devote much attention to the idols of our time, of which Democracy is one. Others include Capitalism, Progress (or Evolution), Wealth, and Equality. None of these means anything, or rather, each of them means several different things and so ought to be defined carefully whenever it is used. Others, such as Peace and Justice, have become so vague that they too qualify as idols.