A blupete Essay

Thomas Paine On Democracy
In Support of bluepete's Essay "On Democracy."
From Thomas Paine's Rights of Man:
"Referring them to the original simple democracy, it affords the true data from which government on a large scale can begin. It is incapable of extension, not from its principle, but from the inconvenience of its form; and monarchy and aristocracy, from their incapacity. Retaining, then, democracy as the ground, and rejecting the corrupt systems of monarchy and aristocracy, the representative system naturally presents itself; remedying at once the defects of the simple democracy as to form, and the incapacity of the other two with respect to knowledge.
Simple democracy was society governing itself without the aid of secondary means. By ingrafting representation upon democracy, we arrive at a system of government capable of embracing and confederating all the various interests and every extent of territory and population; and that also with advantages ... [superior to hereditary monarchy].
... It is the easiest of all the forms of government to be understood and the most eligible in practice; and excludes at once the ignorance and insecurity of the hereditary mode, and the inconvenience of the simple democracy.
... That which is called government, or rather that which we ought to conceive government to be, is no more than some common center in which all the parts of society unite. This cannot be accomplished by any method so conducive to the various interests of the community, as by the representative system. It concentrates the knowledge necessary to the interest of the parts, and of the whole. [Compare this, what Thomas Paine has to say with what Mill has to say.] It ... is superior, as government always ought to be, to all the accidents of individual man ...
On any particular issue, Paine would apparently trust an oligarchical clique to a mass of voters. To Paine, representative government was like that of sliced bread, he could not imagine anything better, nor did he see, apparantly, any problems.

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2011