Thursday, July 22, 2010

CS Lewis on Democracy

C.S. Lewis:
I am a democrat [proponent of democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man.
I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government.
The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. . . . I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. . . .
The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.
—C.S. Lewis, “Equality,” in Present Concerns (reprint: Mariner Books, 2002), p. 17.

(Hat Tip: Justin Taylor)

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