So Alexander Hamilton reputedly said in an argument with Thomas Jefferson. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Hamilton explained:
"Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of dictatorship."
In his column, "Democracy Versus Liberty," Walter Williams cites Hamilton, James Madison and John Randolph, who wrote of "the follies and turbulence" of democracy, and John Adams:
"Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
Yet what our fathers feared we embrace. For it may fairly be said of this generation that it worships democracy. Indeed, the fanaticism of this faith in democracy as the path to worldly salvation causes many to hail any and all revolutions against any and all autocrats.
One wonders: How is it that this childlike faith endures?
After all, the French Revolution gave us the Terror and Napoleonic wars. The Russian Revolution gave us Lenin, Stalin and 70 years of totalitarian horrors. Mao's revolution put 30 million Chinese in early graves.
Cuba's revolution gave us an end to freedom and 50 years of Fidel's cult of personality. Iran's revolution that took down the Shah raised up the Ayatollah.
One would think we would have learned a little skepticism.
Yet no sooner had the crowds in Tunis turned out their autocrat and the throngs taken over Tahrir Square in Cairo than our giddy elites were proclaiming the "Arab Spring" and demanding the United States get on the side of the Arab street against all autocrats.
Yet Hosni Mubarak, though a ruthless ruler, had been our man in Cairo since the assassination of Anwar Sadat, fighting alongside us in the Gulf War, keeping the peace with Israel, allying with us in the war on terror.
But as soon as the tide turned against him, we ditched him and cheered on the crowd in Tahrir Square, a few of whom celebrated the downfall of despotism with a sexual mauling of Lara Logan.
What our democracy-worshipers, our "power-to-the-people" lovers of revolution fail to understand is that revolutions unleash all the forces in a society, including the most noxious. Indeed, especially them.
To understand what revolutions and popular democracy are likely to produce, we need to understand the fires in the minds of the men who create or capture those revolutions.
And neither Africa nor Arabia offers much in the way of hope.
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