The Real Reason for Democracy

A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people … who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in the government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. … 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. — C. S. Lewis [1]

Note the d in democratic is lowercase indicating everyone who believes in democracy regardless of party affiliation. We in the West often think of democracy as a cure for all ills even though our own experience proves the opposite. I think we would be better off if we, like Lewis, were more pessimistic. Democracy is not a perfect solution to the problem of governance, it’s just better than all the other options. This side of the return of King Jesus and the fullness of his coming reign, we’ll just have to take what we can get.


[1] C. S. Lewis. Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays (New York: HarperCollins, 1986). Kindle Edition, 279-280.