Damocles on January 12, 2012, 04:26:19 am
And now for a total nitpick.  The quote attributed to Voltaire is problematic for a couple of reasons.  First, the quote is a common mistranslation.  The actual quote attributed to Voltaire is

"Le meilleur gouvernement est une tyrannie bienveillante tempérée par un assassinat occasionnel."

Which translates into a "benevolent tyranny" not "democracy".

Second, there is some disagreement as to whether Voltaire actually ever said such a thing, although it is certainly consistent with his views on assassination.  Another common proverb regarding government that is attributed to Voltaire in France is:

"Le meilleur gouvernement est celui où l’on n’obéit qu’aux lois" (the best government is the one in which one obeys only laws).  Another one is "Le meilleur gouvernement est celui où il y a le moins d'hommes inutiles" (the best government is the one in which there are the least useless men).

Voltaire's writings on government also contrast somewhat with the first proverb.  In his Pensées sur le Gouvernement, (http://www.voltaire-integral.com/Html/23/49Gouvernement.html) Voltaire writes:

"On demande toujours quel gouvernement est préférable. Si on fait cette question à un ministre ou à son commis, ils seront sans doute pour le pouvoir absolu; si c’est à un baron, il voudra que le baronnage partage le pouvoir législatif. Les évêques en diront autant; le citoyen voudra, comme de raison, être consulté, et le cultivateur ne voudra pas être oublié. Le meilleur gouvernement semble être celui où toutes les conditions sont également protégées par les lois. "

The last sentence translates into "The best government seems to be the one in which all classes are equally protected by the laws."

This concludes my nitpick for the day.

SandySandfort on January 12, 2012, 08:57:17 am
And now for a total nitpick....The actual quote attributed to Voltaire is

"Le meilleur gouvernement est une tyrannie bienveillante tempérée par un assassinat occasionnel."

Which translates into a "benevolent tyranny" not "democracy".

There's a difference?  ::)

Ike on January 12, 2012, 10:59:44 am
Oh, yes, there is quite a difference between a benevolent tyranny and a democracy.  The first is rather like what Tobi exercises on Little Prince.  The second's ruling paradigm is 'vox populi, vox Dei', which roughly translates into, "Oh, my God!  How did we get into this mess??"   ;) 

rfaramir on January 12, 2012, 11:39:29 am
I think Sandy is noting that a democracy is considered a benevolent tyranny. A tyranny because it is the rule by force of the majority. Supposed benevolent because it is the majority, as opposed to a single dictator or a few aristocrats. The occasional assassination helps maintain the benevolence by not letting the majority ignore the minority for long.

I'm all for anarchism, but when forced to choose among the existing tyrannies (since they've divided up the world among themselves), I choose a democracy over the others.

 

anything