Would you rather live in a democracy where many of your positions are not policy or would you rather live in an autocracy where you get most of what you want and ask for?

by Bob Schwartz

Do you want a government that gives you what you want most of the time? Or do you want a government that because of democratic principles sometimes—maybe often—goes against your wishes?

Lawful democracy doesn’t always go your way. But if you find an authoritarian who almost always agrees with your position, would that really be so bad?

Apparently in America right now, a substantial number want to get their way, and are willing to lean authoritarian, even if the democratic rule of law suffers. Americans have virtually no experience with this, and certainly not at the highest federal level. The worst case scenarios that seemed to some mere paranoid concerns are becoming even worse realities. There are supposed to be correcting mechanism available, but we suddenly see that those mechanisms take time, and more importantly, depend on the good will of those working the machines. Good will, prudence and integrity that we are discovering may be missing.

To those who love history, the saving grace is that you are getting to live through singularly historic times. To those who are young enough to see another generation or two, you will be able to tell your children and grandchildren that you were around when an all-time constitutional clash—the battle for American democracy—took place. Let’s hope you will be allowed to tell the whole story, and that you will be believed and not dismissed as the purveyor of fake history.