An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.


John Adams (1735-1826, American President (2nd))


Democracy: In which you say what you like and do what you're told.


Dave Barry (1947-, American humorist, author)


Democracy is the menopause of Western society, the Grand Climacteric of the body social.  Fascism is its middle-aged lust.


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


The worst thing I can say about democracy is that it has tolerated the Right Honorable Gentleman for four and a half years.


Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960, British politician)


We once worried that democracy could not survive if an undereducated populace knew too little. Now we worry if it can survive us knowing too much.


Robert Bianco (American radio and TV editor)


The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.


William F. Buckley (1925-, American writer)


Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


The ship of Democracy, which has weathered all storms, may sink through the mutiny of those aboard.


Grover Cleveland (1837-1908, American President (22nd and 24th))


There cannot be true democracy unless women's voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. There cannot be true democracy unless all citizens are able to participate fully in the lives of their country.


Hillary Rodham Clinton (1947-, American First Lady, senator, wife of Bill Clinton)


Without the power of the Industrial Union behind it, Democracy can only enter the State as the victim enters the gullet of the Serpent.


James Connolly


The tendency of democracies is, in all things, to mediocrity.


James F. Cooper (1789-1851, American novelist)


Democracy's the worst form of government except for all the others.


Ram Dass (1931-, American spiritual author, lecturer)


When great changes occur in history, when great principles are involved, as a rule the majority is wrong.


Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926, American socialist leader)


Nor is the people's judgment always true: the most may err as grossly as the few.


John Dryden (1631-1700, British poet, dramatist, critic)


The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.


William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963, American historian, educator, writer, journalist)


Democracy don't rule the world, you better get that in your head.  Tthis world is ruled by violence, but I guess that's better left unsaid.


Bob Dylan (1941-, American musician, singer, songwriter)


When people put their ballots in the boxes, they are, by that act, inoculated against the feeling that the government is not theirs. They then accept, in some measure, that its errors are their errors, its aberrations their aberrations, that any revolt will be against them. It's a remarkably shrewd and rather conservative arrangement when one thinks of it.


John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-, American economist)


The true slogan of a true democracy is not `Let the Government do it' but rather, 'Let's do it ourselves' .. . This is the spirit of a people dedicated to helping themselves and one another.


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969, American President (34th))


Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Two cheers for Democracy: one, because it admits variety and two, because it permits criticism.


Edward M. Forster (1879-1970, British novelist, essayist)


Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.


Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969, American minister)


The common people of America display a quality of good common sense which is heartening to anyone who believes in the democratic process.


George Gallup (1901-1984, American public opinion expert)


Democracy! Bah! When I hear that word I reach for my feather boa!


Allen Ginsberg (1926-, American poet)


Democracy is the wholesome and pure air without which a socialist public organization cannot live a full-blooded life.


Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-, Soviet President (1988-91))


The soviet people want full-blooded and unconditional democracy.


Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-, Soviet President (1988-91))


I swear to the Lord, I still can't see, why Democracy means, everybody but me.


Langston Hughes (1902-1967, American poet, short-story writer, playwright)


Everybody's for democracy in principle. It's only in practice that the thing gives rise to stiff objections.


Meg Greenfield


The freeman, casting with unpurchased hand the vote that shakes the turrets of the land.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


The freeman, casting with unpurchased hand the vote that shakes the turrets of the land.


Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894, American author, wit, poet)


It is not enough to merely defend democracy. To defend it may be to lose it; to extend it is to strengthen it. Democracy is not property; it is an idea.


Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978, American Vice President)


Democracy without morality is impossible.


Jack Kemp (1935-, American football player)


Chinks in America's egalitarian armor are not hard to find. Democracy is the fig leaf of elitism.


Florence E. King (1936-, American author, critic)


Democracy with its semi-civilization sincerely cherishes junk. The artist's power should be spiritual, but the power of the majority is material.  When these worlds meet occasionally, it is pure coincidence.


Paul Klee (1879-1940, Swiss artist)


Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.


Karl Kraus (1874-1936, Austrian satirist)


Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.


Karl Kraus (1874-1936, Austrian satirist)


Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions -- it only guarantees equality of opportunity.


Irving Kristol


Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891, American poet, critic, editor)


The more I see of democracy the more I dislike it. It just brings everything down to the mere vulgar level of wages and prices, electric light and water closets, and nothing else.


D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930, British author)


You must drop all your democracy. You must not believe in "the people." One class is no better than another. It must be a case of Wisdom, or Truth. Let the working classes be working classes. That is the truth. There must be an aristocracy of people who have wisdom, and there must be a Ruler: a Kaiser: no Presidents and democracies.


D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930, British author)


No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


This is one of the paradoxes of the democratic movement -- that it loves a crowd and fears the individuals who compose it -- that the religion of humanity should have no faith in human beings.


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


Unless democracy is to commit suicide by consenting to its own destruction, it will have to find some formidable answer to those who come to it saying: "I demand from you, in the name of your principles, the rights which I shall deny to you later in the name of my principles."


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


What we call a democratic society might be defined for certain purposes as one in which the majority is always prepared to put down a revolutionary minority.


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. What is necessary now is one thing and one thing only, that democracy become again democracy in action, not democracy accomplished and piled up in goods and gold.


Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982, American writer)


A modern democracy is a tyranny whose borders are undefined; one discovers how far one can go only by traveling in a straight line until one is stopped.


Norman Mailer (1923-, American author)


It is a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory. Logically considered, freedom and equality are mutually exclusive, just as society and the individual are mutually exclusive.


Thomas Mann (1875-1955, German author, critic)


Democracy is also a form of religion.  It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


I confess I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


It is the American vice, the democratic disease, which expresses its tyranny by reducing everything unique to the level of the herd.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship.


Ralph Nader (1934-, American lawyer, consumer activist)


Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.


Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971, American theologian, historian)


The best way of learning to be an independent sovereign state is to be an independent sovereign state.


Kwame Nkrumah (Leader of Ghana's fight for independence)


Everything that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries,  'Tis time to part.'


Thomas Paine (1737-1809, Anglo-American political theorist, writer)


In a democracy everybody has a right to be represented, including the jerks.


Chris Patten (1944-, British statesman, former governor of Hong Kong)


Let the people think they govern and they will be governed.


William Penn (1644-1718, British religious leader, founder of Pennsylvania)


Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.


Laurence J. Peter


Democracy is a charming form of government; full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequal alike.


Plato (BC 427?-347?, Greek philosopher)


These, then, will be some of the features of democracy... it will be, in all likelihood, an agreeable, lawless, parti-colored commonwealth, dealing with all alike on a footing of equality, whether they be really equal or not.


Plato (BC 427?-347?, Greek philosopher)


Freedom without obligation is anarchy. Freedom without obligation is democracy.


Earl Riney


Democracy is a political method, that is to say, a certain type of institutional arrangement for arriving at political -- legislative and administrative -- decisions and hence incapable of being an end in itself.


Joseph A. Schumpeter (1883-1950, Austrian-American economist)


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


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


I talk democracy to these men and women. I tell them that they have the vote, and that theirs is the kingdom and the power and the glory. I say to them "You are supreme: exercise your power." They say, "That's right: tell us what to do;" and I tell them. I say "Exercise our vote intelligently by voting for me." And they do. That's democracy; and a splendid thing it is too for putting the right men in the right place.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


Democracy encourages the majority to decide things about which the majority is blissfully ignorant.


John Simon


All the ills of democracy can be cured by more democracy.


Alfred E. Smith (1873-1944, American politician)


There is little hope for democracy if the hearts of men and women in democratic societies cannot be touched by a call to something greater than themselves.


Margaret Thatcher (1925-, British Prime Minister (1979-90))


There is a limit to the application of democratic methods. You can inquire of all the passengers as to what type of car they like to ride in, but it is impossible to question them as to whether to apply the brakes when the train is at full speed and accident threatens.


Leon Trotsky (1879-1940, Russian revolutionary)


I am a democrat only on principle, not by instinct -- nobody is that. Doubtless some people say they are, but this world is grievously given to lying.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.


Gore Vidal (1925-, American novelist, critic)


Democracy is supposed to give you the feeling of choice, like Painkiller X and Painkiller Y, but they're both just aspirin.


Gore Vidal (1925-, American novelist, critic)


Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.


Elwyn Brooks White (1899-1985, American author, editor)


Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


America is the place where you cannot kill your government by killing the men who conduct it.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


Democracy is not so much a form of government as a set of principles.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


I believe in democracy, because it releases the energies of every human being.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


That a peasant may become king does not render the kingdom democratic.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


The world must be made safe for democracy.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


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