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and the commentator finds much that disappoints him. Are the weak points the natural result of democracy, or of certain local conditions in each special case ? Summing up in five lines what Lord Bryce has argued out in two volumes, we may conclude that, while many of the faults of modern democracies result from antecedent facts of origin, history, race, climate, geography, economics, for which a constitution cannot be held responsible, there remains a very large residuum of unsatisfactory phenomena for which democracy itself must take the blame. The conclusion is made certain when we find these faults pervading not only modern states but the free republics of antiquity, and noted down long ago by observers, like Plato and Aristotle, as essentially democratic failings.
It is not, of course, the failings only for which Lord Bryce is in search. There are plenty of compensatory benefits on which he enlarges in his second volume. And some evils seem to be curing themselves; e.g. there is a well-marked and successful reaction against administrative corruption in America, which has brought many men of sterling character into politics, who would not
ou or could not have entered them twenty years ago. The splendid services of Australia to mankind during the late war have disproved the charge that her people were growing so interested in sport and strikes that they had no attention to spare for the greater issues of human life. No one will again declare her decadent, though they may still have to regret her want of interest in things intellectual, and the subservience of her administrations to the class-demands of a labour party whose policy some one summed up, as Lord Bryce notes (II, 258), in the simple claims, · More wages for shorter hours; less work, and more amusement.' Canada's dealings with her race-problem give good evidence that her people by their intelligence and law-abiding habits are well prepared to face whatever problems the future may bring about, finding remedies for such defects as from time to time disclose themselves in her government.
There is always good hope for the future when public opinion-real public opinion, not press opinion or party opinion-is sound. And in practically all of the states
which Lord Bryce here analyses-putting aside parts of Latin America-it may be said that there is a public opinion and a sound one, though certain happenings of the moment may tempt the observer to doubt its existence or its soundness. Democracies have not lost the power of recognising and admiring virtue. They have shown full power of discovering and respecting civic merit, even when embodied in a rather eccentric personality like that of Abraham Lincoln. They have shown no tendency to overlook moral defects in their leaders; no man scandalous in private life or in money matters can hope to maintain his leadership. The same could not be said in any of the old monarchies or oligarchies of earlier centuries, which could tolerate Walpole and Charles James Fox, Dubois and Talleyrand
The establishment of popular freedom has removed, or at least diminished, many sources of fear or suffering which existed under more arbitrary forms of government. It is only in Latin America, which is not really democratic, and in Bolshevik Russia, which is only a horrible and unreal parody of democracy, that administrative cruelty and deliberate personal persecution of the enemies of the ruler of the moment can be discovered.
we ask what are the special drawbacks of democracy qua democracy, failings to be found regularly through all the ages, from the Athens of Plato and Aristophanes to Australia or the United States in the 20th century, there is no difficulty in constructing a formidable list. Lord Bryce has done so in the seventysecond and seventy-eighth chapters of this book.
Yet some of the usual indictments of democracy turn out to be ill-founded when we cast an eye down the annals of history. For example, democracy has been accused of being the parent of class-strife. But classstrife was as bitter in the oligarchic republics of ancient Greece or medieval Italy as in any democratic state. That monarchies are not immune from it is evident when we recall the Jacquerie, Wat Tyler, the Hungarian peasant revolt of 1513, or the German peasant revolt of 1524. It is equally incorrect to accuse democracy of intolerance greater than that to be found in other
constitutions, though a plausible case may be made out against it on the line that the craving for political uniformity leads to a desire to impose spiritual uniformity. The average man wishes to thrust his beliefs and his tastes on the minority which likes to think for itself. There is no tyranny so crushing as the peaceful tyranny of a stolid and self-satisfied multitude, because against it there can be no insurrection' (II, 572).
It is true that certain self-styled devotees of democracy -the Jacobins of 1793, the Bolsheviks of 1920-have argued that a government when installed in power must inculcate its principles, not only by instruction in schools, but by forbidding the teaching of any other doctrines, as likely to seduce the mind of its citizens. This may lead to the persecution of opinion, to the abolition of free speech and free printing. Putting aside the objection that both Jacobins and Bolsheviks really represent not democratic majorities but militant oligarchies wrongly usurping the name of the People' or the Proletariate,' there is a more general answer to the charge of intolerance. It is simply that not only democracies, but any association of human beings who are absolutely sure that they are morally right and that their opponents are morally wrong, is only a step away from persecution; to make true doctrines prevail becoming a duty, all means must be used to secure their victory. Hence the methods of the Spanish Inquisition ---assuredly not a democratic institution. Intolerance is a general human phenomenon, common to fanatics, whether they call themselves kings, priests, philosophers, or commissars.
Nor is it fair to accuse democracy of being the enemy of intellectual and artistic eminence, a dull and level plain in which every bush is a tree,' the craze for equality leading to a drab uniformity of culture, since the average man resents eminence of any sort. History would seem to show no justification for this generalisation, Art, letters, and science have flourished in different ages under governments of every sort, from autocratic monarchy downwards, or upwards. It is only necessary to quote the case of the Athenian democracy of the fifth century before Christ, to show the absurdity of this particular accusation.
But, putting aside unfair charges, Lord Bryce constructs a sufficiently damaging catalogue of proved offences against democracy. One class of them proceeds from the self-confidence of ignorance. Possessed by the notion that one citizen is as good as another, democracies ancient and modern have never duly recognised the necessity for thorough knowledge and trained skill in those to whom they hand over by election the manifold functions of government. The wildest excesses of this kind were perhaps those to be seen in fifth-century Athens, where equalitarianism ran to such a ridiculous extreme that gradually all civil offices * were distributed among the citizens by lot, and were never tenable for more than a year.
The Archons who served as the figure-head of the state, the council which was supposed to prepare legislation for the assembly, the committee which presided at that assembly, all the boards which supervised police, finance, public works, the chairmen who presided in the law courts, were all chosen by lot. There was no means of excluding a citizen notoriously deaf, purblind, slack in morals, or indelicate in money matters from positions of responsibility and importance. The obvious evils of such a system were apparently disregarded in order that every man might have his turn of office, and that no man might hold office so long that he might begin to regard himself as indispensable, or claim the prerogative of seniority and long experience.
Modern democracy has never got so far on the road to insanity; but some of its developments are quite on a line with Athenian prejudices. A fine example is the elected judiciary of the United States.
In all save eleven of them, the tacitly assumed theory appears to be that the man in the street is perfectly able to decide on the relative merits of lawyers and their fitness for the Bench, though why he should be better able to gauge knowledge and practical ability in such a technical subject as law, more than in surgery or astronomy, it is hard to see. The judges are chosen by popular vote for short periods of office, sometimes running so low as two years, with no certainty of re-election. Candidates have to stand as belonging to one of the two great political parties, and are sure to lose their judgeship if their party in the state is defeated at the next elections. But if either the Republicans or the Democrats are in a permanent majority in any state, the judges who belong to them may hope to be continued in place—with the consequent result that no lawyer, however eminent, who belongs to the other party, which is in a permanent minority, need ever hope to obtain judicial office. By another democratic foible, visible in many other countries, ,
* But not military offices; there even Athens drew the line.
, e.g. France, the salaries of the judiciary are fixed at a very low figure--perhaps 12001. a year in a state of several millions of inhabitants.
‘No one will be surprised,' remarks Lord Bryce, 'at what is in most states the combined effect on the quality of the Bench of these three factors-low salaries, short terms, and election by a popular vote controlled by the party managers.'
The ablest lawyers can seldom be induced to stand, firstly, because candidature implies servitude to the professional politicians who run the party machine, which high-minded men will not endure; secondly, because the judge may be turned adrift at the end of a very few years by some defeat at the polls; and thirdly, because the successful advocate commands four or five times the annual income of the insecurely-seated occupant of the Bench. Hence the result, stated in
very mild terms, that,
taking the states as a whole, we may say that in most of them the judges do not enjoy the respect which ought to be felt for the ministers of justice, and that in some few states enough is known about them to justify distrust.'
But the United States are not the only region, nor is the judicature the only branch of civil administration, in which democratic sentiment has shown an insufficient sense of responsibility when offices are to be filled by public election. When Aristophanes presented on the Athenian stage Cleon and the Sausage-seller bidding against each other by shameless self-advertisement and grovelling flattery for the favour of Demos, he was drawing a picture for all the ages. The only difference required in a modern play on the same lines would be that each of the candidates would be displayed as owning
Vol. 236.-No. 468.