Courtesy Reuters

The Enemies of Democracy in France

"The report that a dictator had been elected was painful to all honest men." -- Cicero, "Ad Quintum fratrem," III, 8, 4.

FRENCH democracy has two sets of adversaries today: enemies of the Right and enemies of the Left.


Taken by themselves, the enemies of the Right are not very dangerous. They comprise: 1. Members of the old privileged classes who are full of bitterness at a régime that has stripped them of their privileges (the old monarchy itself began the business, but that fact they have forgotten). 2. People of clerical affiliations who cannot forgive democracy for denying to the ecclesiastical authorities any part in the government of the nation (the old monarchy did the very same thing in practice, but never as a matter of principle). 3. The wealthy business class, the upper bourgeoisie, which views the democratic system as a door opened to the proletariat for some day relieving it of its property. 4. Intellectuals and writers in the pay of the wealthy bourgeoisie, who moreover are offended in their aesthetic sensibilities by the spectacle of a society lacking in hierarchical order, without a trace of that subjection of the part to the whole which to an artist is so large a part of the beauty of a Gothic cathedral. 5. Snobs -- people who are naturally full of contempt for an equalitarian system and who imagine that by giving expression to such contempt they somehow or other acquire recognition of their superiority; opposition of this type is characteristic more especially of women.

One individual may of course belong to several of these categories. For example, a nobleman who hates democracy for taking away the privileges that went with his title, may also fear it in his rôle as an uneasy property holder. A business man who hates it as a capitalist may also despise it through snobbery. A writer who is reactionary for reasons of aesthetics may also be reactionary out of snobbery and because he

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