Who made the following statement about DEMOCRACY?
The answer is at the end of the post.

"Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."


All of these quotes were in a newsletter from Dr. Mardy, who is one of the great quote collectors and organizers of our time. I get a weekly email from him, where every week is devoted to a new theme.

After the mid-term elections, Dr. Mardy sent these quotes out.

See which ones speak most powerfully to you and understand why they are so meaningful to you.


"The fabric of democracy is always fragile everywhere because it depends on the will of citizens to protect it, and when they become scared, when it becomes dangerous for them to defend it, it can go very quickly."  MARGARET ATWOOD

"At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper—no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point." WINSTON CHURCHILL

"My political ideal is that of democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized."  ALBERT EINSTEIN

"To define democracy in one word, we must use the word 'cooperation.'"  DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

"In an autocracy, one person has his way; in an aristocracy a few people have their way; in a democracy, no one has his way."  CELIA GREEN

"Even though counting heads is not an ideal way to govern, at least it beats breaking them."  LEARNED HAND

"The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion."  MOLLY IVINS

"Democracy is not a state. It is an act."  JOHN LEWIS

"The rock of democracy will founder when people in other parts of the country or in other parties begin to see each other as The Other, rather than as common citizens."  THEODORE ROOSEVELT

"Democracy is not a tea party where people sit around making polite conversation. In democracies people get extremely upset with each other. They argue vehemently against each other's positions. (But they don't shoot.) "  SALMAN RUSHDIE

“Democracy is a beautiful mess” (paraphrased).  MARDY GROTHE

And one more . . .

"The best argument against democracy is a 5-minute conversation with the average voter." Winston Churchill

A Short Reflection About the American Experiment

The Founders of our Nation and the Framers of our Constitution were well versed in the teaching of the Bible, in classical thought from the Greek and Roman philosophers, and from the new political thinkers of England and France.  John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison (all presidents) were among the most brilliant politicians AND philosophers of their age. They were SAGES and STATESMEN who sought to create a new form of government. In many ways, they demonstrate the wisdom of Plato who wanted philosopher-kings to rule the nations!

Our Founders were deeply learned in all the forms of government the world had tried. They agreed with Cicero that all forms of government were finite (limited) and fallen (that is systems designed by and run by corrupt and sinful human beings).

The  Monarchy (or the Executive Leader) deteriorates to Tyranny and Dictatorship.

The Legislative Representatives deteriorate to
Aristocracy (rule by the nobles), 
Oligarchy (rule by a privileged few), 
Plutocracy (rule by those with great wealth), 
Junta (rule by the military), or 
Clerocracy/Theocracy (rule by the religious elite).

Democracy tends toward several problems:
     1) Anarchy and mob rule 
2) Tyranny of the majority over the minority
3) Tyranny of a privileged minority over the majority 

Read those three again. We are experiencing each of those problems of democracy in our nation.

The founders were not necessarily keen on democracy. They were raving fans of liberty and justice. They knew that democracy was just as susceptible to corruption and deterioration as any other form of government. The Electoral College was designed because the  Founders had limited confidence in the masses to make the right choices!

The French Revolution was the illustration of democracy run amok (or amuck) and run fast down the road to terrible ruin. It was also the illustration of democracy unfettered from any religious impulse.

Therefore, the founders looked to create a new form of government, with a synthesis of types, all functioning as checks and balances for the abuse of power. This was the genius of the American experiment. It was truly an EXCEPTIONAL creation.
A government with various branches:

1) Executive - to enforce the law
2) Legislative - to make the law
3) Judicial - to interpret the law
4) along with “we the people,” (democracy)
5) as well as a Constitutional norm,  
6) all "theoretically" under God!

In other words, there are SIX sources of POWER that went into the American Experiment to craft a new type of government. It was truly EXCEPTIONAL.

The real issue is NOT that Democracy is in danger. The real issue is that our entire governmental design is in danger. That means life, liberty, justice, and the pursuit of flourishing is in danger.

On a personal level, I am still NOT SURE of the best way for Christians and the Church to be involved. I am CONVINCED that we should be involved, but the best way, the most useful, means there will probably be a lot of options.

Christians must be able to offer a way of political engagement as citizens that is DISTINCTLY CHRISTIAN. Otherwise, all we do is repeat with some nuances what other groups and parties are already saying.

And, I am very grateful that we still have the freedom, opportunity, and responsibility to make a difference.

Pastor Brian Rice

Answer to the First Quote:
Winston Churchill, November 11, 1947, speaking to the House of Commons