The Tyranny of Freedom

Socrates says that because democracy is free and the lives within it appear to be varied, it will seem to be the most beautiful of arrangements. The truth, however, is not so appealing. Democracy breeds indifference, a city of people that will neither embrace a man for his beliefs and virtues nor burn him at the stake because of them. According to Socrates, a man must be taught and trained in excellence from his birth. This will never happen within a democracy, though, because the people care not for the pursuits with which men concern themselves. It is a society where nobody is right or wrong, the truth is dead, and demagoguery is king.

The real ugliness of democracy does not yet cease with this because it must now devolve into tyranny, the worst of them all. The hallmark of democracy, for both Socrates and perhaps modern America, is egalitarianism of both people and preferences. The people of a democracy spend both their time and money feeding their unnecessary, or evil, pleasures. They refuse to evaluate their desires and grant an awful equality to their personal preferences. This causes a spiritual instability and unreliability. The democratic man rejects virtue on principle. He will stop at nothing to satiate his unsound passions and he believes not in the truth because the truth is that all of man’s desires should not be equally pursued. Democracy grants equality where it should not exist, such as between the sexes. This rampant freedom and egalitarianism spreads to every social context. Even the family is seen as an obstruction to true freedom.

Finally, the people will abhor the law because it imposes limitations upon them as well. Every institution becomes oppressive, every man of authority is seen as the cruelest of slave masters. The rulers are monsters, the mob says, and the people require an advocate to advance their cause of liberty. In response, the rulers assume the form of oligarchs and do indeed resemble the monsters that the people always thought them to be. The advocate must become stronger in order to deliver his people, he must be given the power to rule. He will give the people what they have always wanted by any means necessary. A tyrant has been born.


  1. Hey, I'm Andrew, I'm in the NYC for school, too, and I saw your post on Chronicles. Have you been going to the Roman Forum's lectures on Church history (assuming you're Catholic here)? I haven't been yet, but I've heard that Dr. Rao is excellent.

    Their next big event is here:

    I have a friend who goes on the Sundays they have lectures. I think there's one coming up this weekend. If you're interested in going and or meeting up, I think this comment will link to my email.

    Lastly, Our Savior (park and 38th) is where I and many of the other Catholic students I know go. It's Fr. Rutler's parish and there's a great 11am Novus Ordo mass with a choir and much Latin substituted in.


  2. Oh, and to comment on the actual post, I am often amazed by the numerous "academics" who are ignorant--often willfully so--of democracy's critics, stretching from Socrates to De Tocqueville and onward.