Isocrates on Democracy

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

During the 2010 financial crisis, Isocrates was quoted as saying this:

Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality, because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality, and anarchy as progress.

Isocrates’ actual quote runs as follows:

Those who directed the state in the time of Solon and Cleisthenes did not establish a polity which… trained the citizens in such fashion that they looked upon insolence as democracy, lawlessness as liberty, impudence of speech as equality, and licence to do what they pleased as happiness, but rather a polity which detested and punished such men and by so doing made all the citizens better and wiser.


  1. Alrenous says:

    Democracy attempts to socialize power, by definition. To the extent it succeeds, of course it’s going to socialize everything else.

    In particular the freedom of democracy is freedom from the consequences of your own action. The socialization of mistakes.

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