Thomas Fleming: [W]e need to adopt the model of the ancient Athenian democracy

Thomas Fleming advocates sortition in the Daily Mail, even though, with the sordid state of the national character, he seems unsure whether it would do any good:

If Americans ever needed a clear refutation of Churchill’s fatuous aphorism on democracy–an institution he, more than any man of his time, knew how to manipulate to his own benefit–they have it now. If modern democracy cannot do better than the presidential candidates of the two parties, we need to adopt the model of the ancient Athenian democracy, which selected political leaders by lot.

Even a national presidential lottery would not save us. We have the leaders we deserve, leaders who reflect the American character. American voters like to complain that they are dissatisfied with the politicians they elect, but Bush, Obama, McCain, and Gingrich are the political face Americans see when they look in their mirrors.

4 Responses

  1. That’s interesting — as editor of Chronicles, an American palaeoconservative magazine, Fleming published a sympathetic review of my book The Party’s Over a few years ago.


  2. I wouldn’t worry about the national character. I like to quote the lady pictured on our 100 kr bills, Sigrid Undset: “Customs change as time goes by, and people’s beliefs change, and they think differently of many things. But the hearts of men never change, not in any age.”


  3. What do you think she meant by that?

    Anyway, I find talk about the degradation of national character (like other items of nostalgia for the good old days when the Republic was young, when Men were brave and self-sufficient, when Leaders were strong and virtuous and when Women and Colored People knew their proper place in society) idiotic. It is, I think, a dying genre. Who says there is no Progress?


  4. […] both sides of the Atlantic, and formerly a professor of Greek and Latin at several universities, is again proposing following the Athenian […]


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