To Ourselves and Our Posterity

Free Minds and Free Markets, May 1988.


A false premise prevails in the latter half of this century, one that will seem as naive to our grandchildren as the Victorians’ confidence in the permanency of empire now seems to us: that democracy is a stable form of government. It is as if we need worry only about how well we are making democracy serve whatever policies are in vogue, not whether democracy itself will continue to survive. Thus, when I recently suggested before an audience that I thought my children would probably live to see the end of American democracy, the reaction was not so much “Why do you think that?” as “Don’t be silly.”