How Scholars Loath Democracy, Freedom, and the Common Man


I wanted to give you some historical snap-shots of the disdain that our institutions of higher learning have for democracy, freedom, and the common man. Please note that these scholars are renowned leaders in their fields and taught for decades at some of the most prestigious universities in our nation: Harvard, Stanford, and MIT.

Notice the consistent pattern through time:

Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr was an American Reformed theologian, ethicist, commentator on politics and public affairs, and professor at Union Theological Seminary for more than 30 years.

In 1932, Neibuhr published Moral Man & Immoral Society where he wrote:

All social co-operation on a larger scale than the most intimate social group requires a measure of coercion. While no state can maintain its unity purely by coercion neither can it preserve itself without coercion. …the coercive factor in social life is frequently cover … Yet is is never absent … Ultimately, unity within an organised social group, or within a federation of such groups, is created by the ability of a dominant group to impose its will.

p. 3-4

The stupidity of the average man will permit the oligarch, whether economic or political, to hide his real purpose from the scrutiny of his fellows and to withdraw his activities from effective control.

p. 21

Most individuals lack the intellectual penetration to form independent judgments and therefore accept the moral opinions of their society.

p. 36

There is always, in every nation, a body of citizens more intelligent than the average, who see the issues between their own and other nations more clearly then the ignorant patriot.

p. 87

If our assumption is correct that the achievement of harmony and justice between groups requires a measure of coercion, … we admit that the factor of coercion is ethically justified,

p. 172

Rationality belongs to the cool observers. There is of course an element of illusion in the faith of the proletarian, as there is in all faith. But it is a necessary illusion.

p. 221

Thomas A. Bailey was a professor of history at Stanford University for nearly 40 years and authored many historical monographs on diplomatic history, including widely used American history textbooks still in use in schools today.

In 1948, Bailey published a book titled: The Man in the Street where he wrote:

In a dictatorship, the masses must be deceived; in a democracy, they must be educated.

p. 2

Because the masses are notoriously shortsighted, and generally cannot see danger until it is at their throats, our statesmen are forced to deceive them into awareness of their own long-run interests.

Deception of the people may in fact become increasingly necessary, unless we are willing to give out leaders in Washington a freer hand.

p. 13

Ithiel de Sola Pool taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was the chair and founder of the MIT political science department. He remained at MIT for more than 30 years.

In 1967, Pool published a book in cooperation with the American Political Science Association titled: Contemporary Political Science: Toward Empirical Theory where he wrote:

What is the testimony of the developing world? In the Congo, in Vietnam, in the Dominican Republic, it is clear that order depends on somehow compelling newly mobilized strata to return to a measure of passivity and defeatism from which they have recently been aroused by the process of modernization. At least temporarily, the maintenance of order requires a lowering of newly acquired aspirations and levels of political activity. The so-called “revolution of rising expectations” creates turmoil as new citizens demand things which the society is unable to supply. Movement which express demands that cannot be satisfied do threaten the cohesion of those commonwealth.

In our own society, too, the civil-rights movement likewise demonstrate that the demand for citizen rights is often in conflict with the value of order. This issue of militancy and compromise is always irreconcilably present in that movement. There are those who would stir up people to ask for freedom now regardless of consequences and those who would go slowly to preserve the body politic.

p. 26

Samuel P. Huntington spent more than half a century at Harvard University, where he was the Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government and director of Harvard’s Center for International Affairs.

In 1975, Huntington co-authored a book on behalf of the Trilateral Commission titled: The Crisis of Democracy, where he wrote:

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men,” observed James Madison in The Federalist, no. 51, “.the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

The maintenance of that balance is, indeed, what constitutional democracy is all about. … Views as to what constitutes the precise desirable balance between power and liberty, authority and democracy, government and society obviously differ.

p. 63

The basic point is this: The vitality of democracy in the United States in the 1960s produced a substantial increase in governmental activity and a substantial decrease in governmental authority.

p. 64

legitimacy of hierarchy, coercion, discipline, secrecy, and deception-all of which are, in some measure, inescapable attributes of the process of government.

p. 93

The turning inward of American attention and the decline in the authority of American governing institutions are closely, related, as both cause and effect, to the relative downturn in American power and influence in world affairs. A decline in the governability of democracy at home means a decline in the influence of democracy abroad.

p. 106

AI Smith once remarked that “the only cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy.” Our analysis suggests that applying that cure at the present time could well be adding fuel to the flames.

p. 113

the effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups… Marginal social groups, as in the case of the blacks, are now becoming full participants in the political system. Yet the danger of overloading the political system with demands which extend its functions and undermine its authority still remains.

p. 114

An excess of democracy means a deficit in governability; … The United States and Western Europe consequently need to restore a more equitable relationship between governmental authority and popular control,

p. 173

Things that make you go hmmm…

Thanks for reading,

One response to “How Scholars Loath Democracy, Freedom, and the Common Man”

  1. As always I greatly appreciate your research and insight.

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