Quote of the Week: Alain de Benoist, “The Problem of Democracy”

benoistAll ancient authors who have extolled democracy have praised it not because it is an intrinsically egalitarian regime, but because it is a regime in which competition is open to all and enables a better selection of the elite. Plato, in his Republic, denounces those systems which dispense ‘a sort of equality to both equals and unequals alike’. Aristotle points out that justice also implies the idea of equality and inequality: ‘Justice is thought by them to be, and is, equality; not however, for whomever, but only for equals. And inequality is thought to be, and is justice; neither is this for all, but for unequals’. Pericles himself, according to Thucydides, stressed that equality goes hand-in-hand with the systematic search for merits, which are by nature unequal. Some modern authors have held much the same opinion: ‘No intelligent person can believe that all men are equal’, Francesco Nitti writes. He adds, ‘Democracy does not mean equality among men, nor does it mean equality of wealth or of situations. Liberty enables all attitudes to find expression: as it is based on the equality of citizens before the law and in public offices, democracy inevitably engenders inequalities, which are necessary conditions for development in all advanced societies’. Much in the same spirit, Giovanni Sartori argues that the aim of democracy is not to make individuals equal, but to give them equal chance of being unequal.”

▪ Alain de Benoist, The Problem of Democracy (Arktos, 2011) extract from page 47.

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