„That is the notorious danger of modern democracy. That is also its purpose and its strength.“

—  John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, Context: The manifest, the avowed difficulty is that democracy, no less than monarchy or aristocracy, sacrifices everything to maintain itself, and strives, with an energy and a plausibility that kings and nobles cannot attain, to override representation, to annul all the forces of resistance and deviation, and to secure, by Plebiscite, Referendum, or Caucus, free play for the will of the majority. The true democratic principle, that none shall have power over the people, is taken to mean that none shall be able to restrain or to elude its power. The true democratic principle, that the people shall not be made to do what it does not like, is taken to mean that it shall never be required to tolerate what it does not like. The true democratic principle, that every man‘s free will shall be as unfettered as possible, is taken to mean that the free will of the collective people shall be fettered in nothing. Religious toleration, judicial independence, dread of centralisation, jealousy of State interference, become obstacles to freedom instead of safeguards, when the centralised force of the State is wielded by the hands of the people. Democracy claims to be not only supreme, without authority above, but absolute, without independence below; to be its own master, not a trustee. The old sovereigns of the world are exchanged for a new one, who may be flattered and deceived, but whom it is impossible to corrupt or to resist, and to whom must be rendered the things that are Caesar's and also the things that are God’s. The enemy to be overcome is no longer the absolutism of the State, but the liberty of the subject. Nothing is more significant than the relish with which Ferrari, the most powerful democratic writer since Rousseau, enumerates the merits of tyrants, and prefers devils to saints in the interest of the community. For the old notions of civil liberty and of social order did not benefit the masses of the people. Wealth increased, without relieving their wants. The progress of knowledge left them in abject ignorance. Religion flourished, but failed to reach them. Society, whose laws were made by the upper class alone, announced that the best thing for the poor is not to be born, and the next best to die in childhood, and suffered them to live in misery and crime and pain. As surely as the long reign of the rich has been employed in promoting the accumulation of wealth, the advent of the poor to power will be followed by schemes for diffusing it. Seeing how little was done by the wisdom of former times for education and public health, for insurance, association, and savings, for the protection of labour against the law of self-interest, and how much has been accomplished in this generation, there is reason in the fixed belief that a great change was needed, and that democracy has not striven in vain. Liberty, for the mass, is not happiness; and institutions are not an end but a means. The thing they seek is a force sufficient to sweep away scruples and the obstacle of rival interests, and, in some degree, to better their condition. They mean that the strong hand that heretofore has formed great States, protected religions, and defended the independence of nations, shall help them by preserving life, and endowing it for them with some, at least, of the things men live for. That is the notorious danger of modern democracy. That is also its purpose and its strength. And against this threatening power the weapons that struck down other despots do not avail. The greatest happiness principle positively confirms it. The principle of equality, besides being as easily applied to property as to power, opposes the existence of persons or groups of persons exempt from the common law, and independent of the common will; and the principle, that authority is a matter of contract, may hold good against kings, but not against the sovereign people, because a contract implies two parties.
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„Now we have Peronism that is everything: it's the far right and its the center, it's left centrist and is also extreme leftist, it is democracy and is also terrorism, its demagogy is also insanity... Peronism is everything.“

—  Mario Vargas Llosa Peruvian writer, politician, journalist, and essayist 1936
Mario Vargas Llosa compara al peronismo con los nazis y lo culpa de destruir Argentina http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1474566-mario-vargas-llosa-compara-al-peronismo-con-los-nazis-y-lo-culpa-de-destruir-argentina

„Yet the very essence of democracy is the absolute faith that while people must cooperate, the first function of democracy, its peculiar gift, is to develop each individual into everything that he might be. But I submit to you that when in each man the dream of personal greatness dies, democracy loses the real source of its future strength.“

—  Edwin H. Land American scientist and inventor 1909 - 1991
Context: I believe there are two opposing theories of history, and you have to make your choice. Either you believe that this kind of individual greatness does exist and can be nurtured and developed, that such great individuals can be part of a cooperative community while they continue to be their happy, flourishing, contributing selves — or else you believe that there is some mystical, cyclical, overriding, predetermined, cultural law — a historic determinism. The great contribution of science is to say that this second theory is nonsense. The great contribution of science is to demonstrate that a person can regard the world as chaos, but can find in himself a method of perceiving, within that chaos, small arrangements of order, that out of himself, and out of the order that previous scientists have generated, he can make things that are exciting and thrilling to make, that are deeply spiritual contributions to himself and to his friends. The scientist comes to the world and says, "I do not understand the divine source, but I know, in a way that I don't understand, that out of chaos I can make order, out of loneliness I can make friendship, out of ugliness I can make beauty." I believe that men are born this way — that all men are born this way. I know that each of the undergraduates with whom I talked shares this belief. Each of these men felt secretly — it was his very special secret and his deepest secret — that he could be great. But not many undergraduates come through our present educational system retaining this hope. Our young people, for the most part — unless they are geniuses — after a very short time in college give up any hope of being individually great. They plan, instead, to be good. They plan to be effective, They plan to do their job. They plan to take their healthy place in the community. We might say that today it takes a genius to come out great, and a great man, a merely great man, cannot survive. It has become our habit, therefore, to think that the age of greatness has passed, that the age of the great man is gone, that this is the day of group research, that this is the day of community progress. Yet the very essence of democracy is the absolute faith that while people must cooperate, the first function of democracy, its peculiar gift, is to develop each individual into everything that he might be. But I submit to you that when in each man the dream of personal greatness dies, democracy loses the real source of its future strength.

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David Davis photo

„If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.“

—  David Davis British Conservative Party politician and former businessman 1948
David Davis MP speech "Europe: It's Time To Decide" http://www.daviddavismp.com/david-davis-mp-delivers-speech-on-the-opportunities-for-a-referendum-on-europe/ ( 19 November 2012 https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2012/11/invitation-to-david-davis-lecture-on-europe.html)

 Sting photo

„Dissent is a legitimate and essential right in any democracy and modern politicians must accept this fact with tolerance. A sense of proportion — and a sense of humour — is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.“

—  Sting English musician 1951
Joining with Amnesty International in condemning the Russian authorities’ treatment of Pussy Riot, a Russian punk rock protest band. "Sting condemns Russia's treatment of Pussy Riot musicians ahead of Moscow concert" Amnesty International (25 July 2012) http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/sting-condemns-russias-treatment-pussy-riot-musicians-ahead-moscow-concert-2012-07-25

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Louis Sullivan photo

„A democracy should not let its dreamers perish. They are its life, its guaranty against decay.“

—  Louis Sullivan American architect 1856 - 1924
Context: He who knows naught of dreaming can, likewise, never attain the heights of power and possibility in persuading the mind to act. He who dreams not creates not. For vapor must arise in the air before the rain can fall. The greatest man of action is he who is the greatest, and a life-long, dreamer. For in him the dreamer is fortified against destruction by a far-seeing eye, a virile mind, a strong will, a robust courage. And so has perished the kindly dreamer — on the cross or in the garret. A democracy should not let its dreamers perish. They are its life, its guaranty against decay. Thus would I expand the sympathies of youth. Thus would I liberate and discipline all the constructive faculties of the mind and encourage true insight, true expression, real individuality. Thus would I concentrate the powers of will. Thus would I shape character. Thus would I make good citizens. And thus would I lay the foundations for a generation of real architects — real, because true, men, and dreamers in action.

J. William Fulbright photo

„In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not its taste, but its effect, ...“

—  J. William Fulbright American politician 1905 - 1995
Context: In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not its taste, but its effect,... p. 25 http://books.google.com/books?id=Td-qAAAAIAAJ&q=%22In+a+democracy+dissent+is+an+act+of+faith+Like+medicine+the+test+of+its+value+is+not+its+taste+but+its+effect%22&pg=PA25#v=onepage

Benito Juárez photo

„Democracy is the destiny of humanity; freedom its indestructible arm.“

—  Benito Juárez President of Mexico during XIX century 1806 - 1872
As quoted by US President John F. Kennedy in a speech. (29 June 1962)

Raj Patel photo

„We are not the consumers of democracy, we are its proprietors.“

—  Raj Patel British academic 1972
Ways to Counter the Excesses of the Market (24:00) http://fora.tv/2010/01/06/Raj_Patel_The_Value_of_Nothing#fullprogram FORA.tv

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Kurt Vonnegut photo

„Democracy owed its life to know-how.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut American writer 1922 - 2007
Context: During the war, in hundreds of Iliums over America, managers and engineers learned to get along without their men and women, who went to fight. It was the miracle that won the war — production with almost no manpower. In the patois of the north side of the river, it was the know-how that won the war. Democracy owed its life to know-how. Chapter 1 (p. 9)

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Charles Evans Hughes photo

„While democracy must have its organizations and controls, its vital breath is individual liberty.“

—  Charles Evans Hughes American judge 1862 - 1948
Statement of May 1908, quoted in "Reauthorization of The Civil Rights Division of The United States Department of Justice" (15 May 2003) US House of Representatives.

Walter Lippmann photo

„The newspaper is in all its literalness the bible of democracy, the book out of which a people determines its conduct.“

—  Walter Lippmann American journalist 1889 - 1974
quoted by Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times, Saturday, October 7, 2006

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