Democracy is a tricky word, as noted at the end of Hunt the Devil. Whether we’ve too little of it or too much depends on what we mean by it.
To Walt Whitman, democracy meant not accepting anything except what everyone else can have their “counterpart of on the same terms” (Leaves of Grass). He could never get his fill of this kind of democracy, which resonated with overtones of equality among differences and resistance to privilege.
The standard definition of democracy refers to rule of the people primarily through their representatives, free and fair elections, and decisions by majority vote. Fair enough, so far as it goes, but lifeless. (more…)