A large democracy, in James Fenimore Cooper’s view, allow the people to “become the dupes of demagogues and political schemers” with “most of the crimes of democracies arising from the faults and designs of men of this character.” Democracy’s ever-present manipulation of public opinion, inflamed by narrow and self-serving interests, is too often a substitute for the rule of law.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org
Democracy and Its Privileged Classes:
“The dogma of political equality produces the dogma of majority rule, and the old monarchical claim to arbitrary power is transferred to the popular majority. Hence the danger almost inevitably arises in a democracy that the state will be perverted to “a system of favoring a new privileged class of the many and the poor.”
On the other hand, there is the equally grave danger that the modern representative state will be captured by the capitalist class and transformed into a plutocracy. As the nineteenth century has progressed, democracy has found it more and more difficult to resist these twin tendencies, either of which would be fatal to the regime of economic liberty . . . [A] class conflict between capitalism and the proletariat will soon write and end to centuries of societal development.
Democracy has also led increasingly to a new and degraded form of political decision-making. Inevitably, “the consequence [of legislators at the mercy of clamorous factions] is the immense power of the lobby, and the legislation comes to be an affair of coalition between interests to make up a majority.”
(American Conservatism, In the Age of Enterprise, 1865-1910, Robert Green McCloskey, Harper, 1951, pp. 58-60)