“Democracy” is not synonymous with “freedom.” It is not the opposite of tyranny. In fact, the Founding Fathers knew that democracy can lead to tyranny. That’s why they built so many safeguards against it into the Constitution.
Democracy, Harsanyi argues, has made our government irrational, irresponsible, and invasive. It has left the American people with only two optionsdomination by the majority or a government that can’t possibly work.
The modern age has imbued democracy with the mystique of infallibility. But Harsanyi reminds us that the vast majority of political philosophers, including the founders, have thought that responsible, limited government based on direct majority rule over a large, let alone continental scale was a practical impossibility.
In The People Have Spoken, you’ll learn:
- Why the Framers of our Constitution were intent on establishing a republic, not a “democracy”
- How democracy undermines self-government
- How shockingly out of touch with reality most voters really are
- Why democracy is an economic wrecking balland an invitation to a politics of envy and corruption
- How the great political philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Burke and Tocqueville predicted with uncanny accuracy that democracy could lead to tyranny
Harsanyi warns that if we don’t recover the Founders’ republican vision, “democracy” might very well spell the end of American liberty and prosperity.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 A Plea for Reason 1
Part I The Mob
Chapter 2 I Don't Trust You People 13
Chapter 3 The Horrible Truth about Washington (is that we don't know the horrible truth) 29
Chapter 4 Herd Mentality 41
Part II The Idea
Chapter 5 Philosopher Kings 57
Chapter 6 Founding Myths 73
Chapter 7 No Revolutions 91
Chapter 8 "Democracy of the Dead" 97
Part III The Cost
Chapter 9 Mencken and the Modern Bugaboos 107
Chapter 10 Democracy: An Economic Wrecking Ball 119
Chapter 11 Gridlock Saves the Republic 135
Chapter 12 The Failed God 161
Chapter 13 "Yearning to Breathe Free"? 177
Conclusion: Don't Vote! 189
Suggestions for Further Reading 199