Polybius–too much of a gentleman to say “I told you so”
I wrote this essay for Chalcedon in 2006, and 13 years later, it seems more on target than it was when it was new. Maybe Chalcedon is rubbing off on me.
Polybius was a Greek who lived in Rome when Rome’s Republic was at the height of its power and prosperity. He studied it shrewdly and intently, praised Rome for its system of checks and balances [which inspired our own country’s system of checks and balances, and divided government]–and accurately predicted its collapse.
As a pagan, for Polybius there was no escape for humanity from the impersonal, unchanging, hopeless “cycle of political revolution.” Rome, he predicted, would be brought down by the intense “craving for office” among her elites, who would do literally anything to obtain it, and the masses “roused to fury” by class warfare rhetoric. He could imagine no way out of it: for him there was no Kingdom of Christ, no sanctification, no redemption.
But if we’re going to behave and think like pagans instead of joint-heirs with Christ, well–take another look at today’s headlines. If Polybius could see them, he’d swear he’d seen it all before.
Still in full tantrum mode
The Greek historian Polybius praised the Roman Republic for its system of checks and balances. As a Greek, he had personal experience of “democracy” self-destructing into hysteria and mob rule.
Today presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton, still unable to come to terms with her defeat by Donald Trump and the American people, continues to push for the abolition of one of our country’s firmest and most successful checks and balances–the electoral college (https://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/09/17/hillary-clinton-abolish-electoral-college-because-donald-trump-is-destroying-america/).
Why? Because Donald Trump won, and he’s “a racist.” And he’s destroying an “American democracy” that does not exist and never did: our Constitution guarantees us a republican form of government, not a democracy. Our founders read Polybius.
Of course, it would require a constitutional amendment to replace the electoral college with a straight popular vote. You don’t “just do it.” But I don’t think Democrats know that.
Without the electoral college, every presidential election would be dominated by Far Left crazy states California and New York; and a regular injection of illegal alien votes would ensure a perpetual Democrat presidency. Can’t have any of those voter ID laws, etc. That would be racist.
The electoral college protects America from being hijacked by a handful of states with big populations. It has always protected us from that. “Democracy,” Polybius wrote, never fails to degenerate, first into mob rule, finally into dictatorship. Sort of like what happened in Venezuela.
If you love your country, don’t even think about voting for a Democrat.