Democracy Is a Dangerous Business

Teamsters and police clash in a 1934 Minneapolis strike

Democracy is a dangerous business; it allies itself with change, which engenders movement, which induces friction, which implies unhappiness, which assumes conflict not only as the normal but also as the necessary condition of its existence. The idea collapses unless countervailing stresses oppose one another with competing weight – unless enough people stand willing to sustain the argument between the governing and the governed, between city and town, capital and labor, men and women, matter and mind.

Lewis Lapham
Democracy 101: Mark Twain’s Farewell Address
Harper’s Magazine, April 2011

Photo: Teamsters and police clash in a 1934 Minneapolis strike

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