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Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

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RG08.3 pure democracy at work

February 18th, 2008 by dk

In 1789, our founding fathers convened in Philadelphia to form a government. The war had been won. Freedom was ours. But governing the colonies was a matter not entirely planned for. The Constitutional Conventioneers debated the various forms of government possible. They agreed on little except that they didn’t want a monarchy and they didn’t want a democracy. They didn’t want to be ruled by one, but they wanted also to avoid the tyranny of the majority. Pure democracy’s dark side is simply “mob rule.” Might is right. In the end, that offers no governance at all. So, when Benjamin Franklin exited the hall, a woman asked what sort of government they had crafted inside. He replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” And so our forefathers saw in their wisdom the insidious danger of newspaper comics polling, where no new comic given a temporary “Guest Comic” slot can survive the wrath of change-fearing readers. The masses will always insist they be given the cartoons they’ve always gotten, even years after the cartoonist has retired or died. No matter. Such is the will of the people.

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