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262 of 6,095 quotations related to Democracy, showing O'Sullivan to Zappa

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O'Sullivan, John
We have now been given a great opportunity to change our minds. What we are seeing today is that if you give non-democratic institutions the power to restrain democracy, they will use it to correct democracy. Such powers will be abused because it is in the nature of unaccountable power to be abused. Also the case for restraining democracy was based upon the idea that judicial and other elites would dampen the passions of the mob. But these elite turn out to have passions of their own - and by and large they are shared by neither the people nor the Tory and Republican parties.

Feb. 16, 1999 - from his lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies in London, England
In the next decade ... the Tory party should embrace democracy with much more enthusiasm and keep its qualifications muted ... [T]he principles seem clear. [The party] should question whether any restraint - other than a delaying power with its implied request that Parliament think again - should be imposed. It should seek some form of restraint upon judicial review before it is first abused and then its abuse is entrenched by practice. And it should judge all the constitutional reforms now being proposed by the central test of whether or not they strengthen or weaken the central democratic institution in British life - namely the House of Commons.

Feb. 16, 1999 - from his lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies in London, England
Paglia, Camille
'All things being equal... ' But things never are equal. The traumas of the Sixties persuaded that my generation's egalitarianism was a sentimental error. ... After endless quarrels with authority, prankish disruptiveness, and impatience with management and procedure, I now see the hierarchical as both beautiful and necessary. Efficiency liberates; egalitarianism tangles, delays, blocks, deadens. ... In history the human drive is toward monarchy. Western culture has produced the best system yet for organizing and taming those king-seeking energies: representative democracy, part of our pagan heritage.

1992 - from Sex, Art, and American Culture, Random House Vintage Books
Paine, Thomas
When the people fear the government, you have tyranny. When the government fears the people, you have freedom.

Pal, Leslie A.  
... our political institutions are not particularly adept at channelling and facilitating broadly-based, consensual change. Change occurs, but it is masked and managed, and ultimately masquerades as continuity.

1999 - from How Ottawa Spends
Peter, Laurence J.  
Democracy is a process by which people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.

1979 - from Peter's Quotations
Powell, Colin
... democracy is kind of like a life raft. It bobs around the ocean all the time. Your feet are always wet. The winds are always blowing ... but you never sink.

Dec. 2, 2000 - from a speech
Quayle, J. Danford
 I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.

May. 22, 1989
Rand, Ayn
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).

There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.

Reagan, Ronald Wilson
... the march of freedom and democracy ... will leave Marxism- Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.

1982 - from a speech to Britain's Parliament
Those who want to do away with the electoral college really mean they want the President elected in a national referendum with no reference as to how each state votes. Thus a half-dozen rural states could show a majority for one candidate and be outvoted by one big industrial state opting for his opponent. Presidential candidates would be tempted to aim their campaigns and their promises at a cluster of metropolitan areas in a few states and the smaller states would be without a voice.

Apr. 13, 1977 - from his radio address, warning of a problem that is familiar to Canadians
Our whole system of government is based on "We the people," but if we the people don't pay attention to what's going on, we have no right to bellyache or squawk when things go wrong.

1990 - from An American Life
Reed, James Alexander
We vote too much. We deliberate too little. We have brought within the scope of the federal jurisdiction a vast number of subjects that do not belong here, but are nevertheless here. What we need to do is to stop passing laws. We have enough laws now to govern the world for the next ten thousand years.

Riney, Earl
Freedom without obligation is anarchy. Freedom without obligation is democracy.

Rousseau, Jean Jacques
As soon as any man says of the affairs of State, 'What does it matter to me?' the State may be given up as lost.

1762 - from The Social Contract
In the strict sense of the term, a true democracy has never existed, and will never exist. It is against natural order that the great number should govern and that the few should be governed.

Russell, Bertrand
To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of democracy.

Scalia, Antonin
The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting. ... The Court is correct in adding the qualification that this 'assumes a state of affairs in which the choice does not intrude upon a protected liberty' ... [N]o government official is "tempted" to place restraints upon his own freedom of action, which is why Lord Acton did not say "Power tends to purify." The [Supreme] Court's temptation is in the quite opposite and more natural direction--towards systematically eliminating checks upon its own power; and it succumbs.

Jun. 29, 1992 - from his partially dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania vs Robert P. Casey
Scott, J.M.
For upwards of fifty years, the trend has been not just towards securing a greater measure of equality of opportunity, which is a basic object of liberal democracy, but equally towards a rigid, doctrinaire and unjustifiable belief in centralization and control as the only method of achieving it. The partisans of this belief have interpenetrated much of the educational establishment [in Britain] the educational Press, the educational unions, the educational bureaucracy, and the schools, colleges and universities themselves.

1973 - from Dons and Students, Plume Press

Scruton, Roger
Where people take no responsibility for major decisions, they cease to expect politicians to behave any differently. Conversely, where the habit of responsible accounting endures, politicians are under pressure to behave like the rest of us.

Aug. 1998 - from "Christian Democracy and the Czech Republic", published in The New Presence
Shaw, George Bernard
Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

Simpson, Jeffrey  
Canadian parliamentary democracy, as it has evolved, places more power in the hands of the prime minister than does any other democracy, far more than the U.S. president wields, but more, too, than political leaders exercise in other parliamentary regimes.

2001 - from The Friendly Dictatorship
Democracy requires people to care about its institutions and to participate as citizens in them. A sullen and disengaged citizenry is no friend of democracy, because at the very least these attitudes allow governments to grow insensitive and arrogant, and to fail to steer the country in directions that maximize the well-being and solidarity of tis citizens.

2001 - from The Friendly Dictatorship
Smith, Sam
It is in the nature of democracy that we are constantly being called upon to act before we have all the facts. It should not surprise us that writing about democracy is as incomplete as its subject. Journalism, after all, is to thought and understanding as the indictment is to the trial, the hypothesis to the truth, the estimate to the audit. It is the first cry for help, the hand groping for the light switch in the dark, the returns before the outlying precincts have been heard from.

from Shadows of Hope
Soaper, Senator
Democracy is a form of government in which it is permitted to wonder aloud what the country could do under first-class management.

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander
European democracy was originally imbued with a sense of Christian responsibility and self-discipline, but these spiritual principles have been gradually losing their force. Spiritual independence is being pressured on all sides by the dictatorship of self-satisfied vulgarity, of the latest fads, and of group interests.

from From Under the Rubble
Somin, Ilya
If voters do not understand the programs of rival candidates or their likely consequences, they cannot rationally exercise control over government. An ignorant electorate cannot achieve true democratic control over public policy. The immense size and scope of modern government makes it virtually impossible for voters to acquire sufficient knowledge to exercise such control. The problem is exacerbated by voters' strong incentive to be 'rationally ignorant' of politics. This danger to democracy cannot readily be circumvented through 'shortcut' methods of economizing on voter knowledge costs. A truly democratic government must, therefore, be strictly limited in size.

Sep. 01, 1998 - from "Voter Ignorance and the Democratic Ideal", an essay published in Critical Review, Fall 1998
Sowell, Thomas
Democracy might be the most appropriate means of choosing government officials, but that does not imply that democracy equals freedom. Freedom requires more than the right to vote; it requires that each person be as unrestrained as possible from the arbitrary will of others -- regardless of whether the others are conquering tyrants, hereditary oligarchs, black-robed judges, or a majority of neighbors or countrymen.

1999 - from The Quest for Cosmic Justice

Stalin, Joseph
Objectively, social democracy is the moderate wing of fascism.

1924 - quoted in Stalin, A Political Biography by Isaac Deutscher
Stevenson, Adlai
Democracy cannot be saved by supermen, but only by the unswerving devotion and goodness of millions of little men.

Strunsky, Simeon
If you want to understand democracy, spend less time in the library with Plato and more time in the buses with people.

Thatcher, Margaret
In the United States, conservatives are concerned about the judicial imperialism of the courts and the sweeping social and economic changes they have imposed on the country. [They] are right to be so. The idea of courts as independent agencies of social and political change is inconsistent with democracy. The framework within which this controversy takes place is different in Britain. We see an even more far-reaching attack launched by the New Labour government and its left-wing allies on the foundations of our Constitution. One part of this program of rationalizing change, significantly, is the extension of that judicial review which is causing so much trouble here. Another is the attempt to replace our traditional first-past-the-post electoral system by those who would prefer to have horse-trading politicians choose governments, rather than leave that choice to voters.

Dec. 22, 1997 - from a speech at the International Conservative Congress, as quoted in National Review Magazine
... I am an enthusiast for democracy ... I take that position, not because I believe majority opinion is inevitably right or true - indeed no majority can take away God-given human rights - but because I believe it most effectively safeguards the value of the individual, and, more than any other system, restrains the abuse of power by the few. And that is a Christian concept.

May 21, 1988 - from "Christianity and Wealth", a speech to the leaders of the Church of Scotland
Thomas, Cal
We have rediscovered in the nineties that democracy is moral before it is political and that social order is the public evidence of private conscience.

from "The Sixties Are Dead: Long Live the Nineties", a presentation at Hillsdale College
There are political points to be made by pitting us against each other. People have access to federal resources if they are part of a victim class. Their political clout is increased if they can join groups and petition politicians for a redress of their grievances, promising votes to the candidate or party that offers the most goodies.

Jul. 17, 1998 - from "One Nation? Indivisible?", published in Jewish World Review
Thomas, Clarence
We all share a reasonable and, in many ways, admirable, reluctance to leave the safety and peacefulness of private life to take up the larger burdens and challenges of active citizenship. The price is high, and it is easier and more enjoyable to remain within the shelter of our personal lives and our local communities, rather than the larger state. To enter public life is to step outside our more confined, comfortable sphere of life, and to face the broader, national sphere of citizenship. What makes it all worthwhile is to devote ourselves to the common good.

Feb. 13, 2001 - from his Francis Boyer Lecture to the American Enterprise Institute
Tompkins, Jimmy J.  
The essence of democracy is that people are intelligent enough to manage their affairs in such a way that, in case of necessity, the right man appears at the right time and in response to the express will of the people.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo
The very nature of democracy is opposed to dictatorship, no matter how benign the dictator. The sure builder of democracy will realize that the quickest way of achieving his program is to go down and build up the crowd into fit instruments for putting across its ideals. Any other method of procedure would be like building a foundation on sand.

May. 05, 1935 - from his pamphlet The Technique of Democracy, Consumers Cooperative

Truman, Harry S.
Democracy is based on the conviction that man has the moral and intellectual capacity, as well as the inalienable right, to govern himself with reason and justice.

Tytler, Alexander Fraser
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. [Tytler describes the life cycle of civilization as from Bondage to Spiritual Faith to Great Courage to Liberty to Abundance to Selfishness to Complacency to Apathy to Dependency and back into Bondage.]

1776 - from The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic
United States Army
 Democracy, n.: A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of direct expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic... negating property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it is based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Result is demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.

1928 - from U. S. Army Training Manual No. 2000-25, in use from 1928-1932
Democracy is like three wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for lunch.

Democracy is like two wolves and ninety-eight sheep voting on what to have for dinner. The good news is that there are three or four choices on the menu. The bad news is that each dish includes mutton, although alternative methods of cooking may be employed. [The wolves' strategy involves writing the menu, bribing a minority of sheep for their support, making fraudulent claims, and relying on sheep acting like sheep...]

attributed to Steve Withrow
Democracy is the form of government where everyone gets what the majority deserves.

One of the disadvantages of our democracy is the minority has the say and the majority has to pay.

Democracy is a government where you can say what you think even if you don't think.

Democracy is the rule of the easily manipulated mob.

Democracy is an institution in which the whole is equal to the scum of its parts.

SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes one of them and gives it to your neighbor. COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and gives you part of the milk. CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk. SOCIALISM...

The tree casts its shade upon all, even upon the woodcutter.

Hindustani proverb
Vaughan, Bill
A citizen ... will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election.

Washington, George
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politican, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.

Sep. 17, 1796 - from his farewell address
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like a fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

Webster, Daniel
If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us, that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.

... the powers of government are but a trust, and ... they cannot be lawfully exercised but for the good of the community.

Jun. 17, 1825 - from a speech at the foundation of the Bunker Hill monument commemorating the soldiers of the American Revolution
Let us thank God that we live in an age when something has influence besides the bayonet, and when the sternest authority does not venture to encounter the scorching power of public reproach.

Jun. 17, 1825 - [Must we go back to bayonets now? Ed.] from a speech at the foundation of the Bunker Hill monument commemorating the soldiers of the American Revolution
[Popular democratic government] The last hopes of mankind ... rest with us; and if it should be proclaimed that our example had become an argument against the experiment, the knell of popular liberty would be sounded throughout the earth. ... there remains to us a great duty of defense and preservation; and there is opened to us also a noble pursuit to which the spirit of the times strongly invites us.

Jun. 17, 1825 - from a speech at the foundation of the Bunker Hill monument commemorating the soldiers of the American Revolution
No government is respectable which is not just.- Without unspotted purity of public faith, without sacred public principle, fidelity, and honor, no machinery of laws, can give dignity to political society.

White, Elwyn Brooks
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

1943 - from World Government and Peace
Zappa, Frank
[We] like to talk about (or be told about) democracy but, when put to the test, usually find it to be an inconvenience. We have opted instead for an authoritarian system disguised as a democracy. We pay through the nose for an enormous joke-of-a-government, let it push us around, and then wonder how all those assholes got in there.