Ah, democracy. Americans like to extol its virtues, but often forget the dangers. It turns out that the major problem with rule by the people is, well, rule by the people. It was a problem the Founding Fathers were well aware of and the primary reason why they rarely used the term, unless it was in a negative sense. And while our Founders were fascinated with Roman history to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of republican government (meaning government run by representatives), they took a similar interest in Greek history to learn about the foibles of democracy.
Greek history is full of tales of democracy gone bad. My favorite story involves Socrates, but it’s probably not the one you know. Continue reading