Democracy and Mob Rule

The Democrats are constantly talking about “defending democracy.”
A little history…
The ancient Athenians, who basically invented democracy, were also the first critics of democracy. Plato, feared mob rule, and argued that the most just republic would be one that was ruled by an elite, educated caste of benevolent philosopher kings. Before the US was founded all national leaders were either dictators, autocrats, Kings or Queens.
America’s Founding Fathers also feared that majority rule might turn into mob rule. That’s why they invented all kinds of institutions to try to keep the majority in check. The US Senate was an example of this. It kept the majority in check by over-representing small states. Every state would have two Senators, elected by the state’s legislators.
However, with the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment, senators were then chosen by the people. Instead of a rotating influx of new senators, we now have powerful career politicians in those positions of influence.
The Founding Fathers had a lot of reasons for wanting the government to have non-majoritarian institutions, and fear of mob rule was certainly one of them.
Thomas Jefferson said it like this: “Democracy is nothing more than mob-rule. The 51 percent take away the rights of the other 49.”

Brian Sussman

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