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Allison Trowbridge on Democracy

"C.S. Lewis is talking about this idea of democracy and says that 'a great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that everyone deserved to share in the government,' and he goes on to say that 'the real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.' I think we get this false sense of believing that democracy is because we're all so good, we all ought to be contributing and sharing, and instead it's about not allowing power to go unchecked."


"The question of whether and how to check power is deeper than politics. Are checks and balances just our political preference or our political philosophy, or is it rather theological? Reinhold Niebuhr, American public theologian, put it perfectly when he said '[humankind's] capacity for justice makes democracy possible, [humankind's] inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.'"

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