Therapeutic Democracyrnby Paul GottfriedrnIt is impossible to judge what is wrong with democracy unlessrnwe first understand its changing and constant features.rnThe democratic principle as we now encounter it is both ancientrnand rudely contemporary. Among the ancient aspects ofrnour contemporary democracy are the spirit of equality andrnthe dangers that result therefrom. Aristotle properly perceivedrnthat democracy involves a regime of the have-nots,rnand, as he tells us in Politics, Book Three, the connection betweenrndemocracy and indigence, real or imagined, is morernimportant than whether the poor become the popular majority.rnRule by the multitudes would not be democratic, Aristotlernnotes, unless that multitude was, or saw itself as, materiallyrndeprived. In the Republic, Book Nine, Plato depictsrndemocrats as drones avid for the honeycomb produced byrnthe industrious few. Lack of discipline, exemplified by a demandrnfor endless oration and a boundless appetite for thernfruits of others’ work, characterizes democratic man, and byrndegrees, Plato shows, the lawlessness of democratic life givesrnrise to tyranny.rnThe coupling of democracy and equality was axiomaticrnamong Greek political theorists, and it has remained thus forrnmodern critics and exponents of democratic institutions, fromrnRousseau and Tocquevillc to Carl Schmitt, John Dewey, andrnHarry Jaffa. Whether these theorists advocate or deplore democracy,rnclearly none of them dissociates it from the expandingrnapplication of the principle of equality. Legal equalityrnmust move toward political and, to some extent, socialrnequality if democracy is to remain true to its essence. The tolerationrnof privilege, it is said, works against the inculcation ofrnPaul Gottfried is a professor of humanities at ElizabethtownrnCollege in Pennsylvania. His most recent book is The ConservativernMovement: Revised Edition (Twayne Publishers).rna democratic ethos; thus, as Professor Jaffa is fond of remindingrnus, American political leaders pointed back to their nation’srndoctrinal origins while fighting a war against slaveryrnand carrying through a belated civil rights revolution.rnBut also present in classical democracy and in the Swiss,rnItalian, and American republicanism of an earlier age (thoughrnincreasingly absent from modern Western democracies, ineludingrnour own) was the practice of self-government. AmongrnPlato’s chief objections to democracy was that the demos inrnfact governed and were preeminently in a position to inflictrntheir greed and sloppiness on society in general. It wasrnhomonoia, spiritual and ethical unity, not isegoria, allowing everyonernto have his say, that Plato believed produced a goodrngovernment and a public-minded population. To achieve arncitizenry capable of self-government, ancient democraciesrnand ancient democratic statesmen engaged in what todayrnwould be considered hate crimes. With due respect to DonaldrnKagan who celebrates him as the forerunner of global democracy,rnPericles—an advocate of the people and later a virtualrntyrant—began his political career by striking from thernvoting roles Athenians who were not descended from astoi,rnregistered citizens, on both sides. This act was genuinelyrnpopular and was thought to undedine Pericles’ respect forrnthe lineage of all property born Athenians, whatever their socialrnstatus. In Politics, Book Seven, 7ristotle pointedly warnsrnagainst allowing xenoi, aliens, to overwhelm an already establishedrnpolity. Such an oversight could result in social disruptionrnand, as Bertrand de Jouvenel explains in The Pure Theoryrnof Politics, undermine effective self-government by lesseningrnthe recognized value of each individual citizen. The largerrnand more heterogeneous the population base of a politicalrnsociety, Jouvenel observes, the more difficult it is for citizensrnto run public affairs in a meaningful way. Whence the at-rnJUNE 1993/25rnrnrn