Letter: Beware of men of "factious tempers"

Published June 11, 2014 7:33 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Professor Michael Lyons ("What we need is less democracy, not more," June 7) seems to find democracy a "fundamental defect" in our governing processes, and he argues his point, finally pointing out that the framers of the Constitution feared democracy as understood at the time. He then refers to Federalist 10, in which James Madison argues that "a small number of citizens elected by the rest" . . . will "refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations."

Oh, that it were so!

In the same paragraph, Mr. Madison recognizes that "Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, of sinister designs, may by intrigue, by corruption or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests of the people."

This recognized contradiction and our own recent experiences at all levels of governing would appear to demand that, in order to "promote the general welfare," we have more observant and responsible democracy, not less.

Arlene Pattison


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