October 31, 2015

POLITICAL THEORY FROM the latest Jim Butcher book:

“We’re a civilized society, are we not?”

Esterbook blinked. “Since when,miss? We’re a democracy.”

“Just what I mean. We have dispensed with violence as a means of governing ourselves, have we not?”

“The heart of democracy is violence, Miss Tagwynn,” Esterbrook said. “In order to decide what to do, we take a count of everyone for and against it, and then do whatever the larger side wishes to do. We’re having a symbolic battle, its outcome decided by simple numbers. It saves us time and no end of trouble counting actual bodies — but don’t mistake it for anything but ritualized violence.”

I remember my dad — who was teaching Aristotle and Plato at Heidelberg at the time — explaining democracy to me exactly this way when I was eight years old.

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