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Democracy: The Tower of Babel

Democracy was born as a protest against what was felt to be an oppression of man by man, a rebellion against some men having the nerve to behave as if they had a natural right to command their fellow men—whether to enslave them, to lead them, or to tell them what to think and believe.  Symbolically, democracy was up against traditional monarchy (or aristocracy) and the Catholic Church, prime targets for the defenders of every man’s perfect natural freedom to order his actions and dispose of his person, his possessions, and his thinking as he sees fit, as the not so wise Locke used to say.  It was assumed that such oppression had been going on since God knows when—probably since the murder of Abel by Cain.  Thus, it was about time for mankind to be born again, for new prophets to call man to a radical uprooting of his traditions, to a complete renewal of relationships among men.  It took time for such ideas to coalesce, but eventually they did, and that time was called the Renaissance.

It took roughly two centuries for the Renaissance to bear fruit.  Many contributed to the birth of the new kingdom without realizing it.  For instance, John Calvin was no democrat, but Calvinists eventually showed themselves not averse to men availing themselves of some competence to set up a city upon a hill.  By and by the democratic idea gained momentum, and while Americans tried to claim only their...

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