THE MYTH OF DEMOCRACY by Ferdinand Lundberg


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A thinly disguised excuse for Lundberg (The Rich and the Super-Rich; Cracks in the Constitution, etc.) to let loose a vitriolic attack on his own national rogues' gallery. One would not mind the vitriol were it backed up by fact, but Lundberg seems to be a master of launching opinions unbuttressed by documentation. The one great opinion that sustains this brief essay is that our form of government is not, despite almost universal belief, a democracy; rather, it is a republic. After Lundberg espouses his view (obvious enough) that democracy only truly exists in New England town meetings, he spends the rest of his book giving examples of how elected leaders throughout our history have either flouted the wishes of the electorate or undertaken incentives or policies that would have been quashed had the electorate known of them. Primary villains here are Woodrow Wilson (""The pathological world we see today is the outcome of Wilson's feelings of moral superiority. . ."") and John F. Kennedy (""The source of Kennedy's inspiration appears to have been the James Bond novels. . .""). To support his argument that the electorate is blind-sided, Lundberg makes such unlikely statements as that FDR's paralysis was unknown to many voters ""until after he had been elected president four times,"" or that Eisenhower's two illnesses led to ""nothing formal"" in constitutional arrangements (what about the 21 st Amendment?). About the best the author can offer as a prescription is that we develop a trained cadre of leaders from which a future electorate could draw--as if, in Lundberg's view, misguidedness and political lunancy were the sole preserve of the untrained.

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1989
Publisher: Lyle Stuart/Carol Comm.