Tag: 2015 British general election

Churchill’s Average Voter

Churchill’s Average Voter

(Or: “Churchillian Drift,” Part 1,398….)

On the eve of the British Gen­er­al Elec­tion, Metro UK declares: “Win­ston Churchill said the best argu­ment against democ­ra­cy is a five-minute con­ver­sa­tion with the aver­age vot­er.”

This is alas a reap­pear­ance of an ever-pop­u­lar red-her­ring quote that Churchill nev­er said.

Churchill had thought­ful cri­tiques of democ­ra­cy. See in par­tic­u­lar his essay on “Mass Effects in Mod­ern Life” in his book, Thoughts and Adven­tures. But he also had more respect for the aver­age vot­er than this non-quote sug­gests. In the House of Com­mons on 31 Octo­ber 1944 he said:

At the bot­tom of all the trib­utes paid to democ­ra­cy is the lit­tle man, walk­ing into the lit­tle booth, with a lit­tle pen­cil, mak­ing a lit­tle cross on a lit­tle bit of paper [we still vote that way in New Hampshire]—no amount of rhetoric or volu­mi­nous dis­cus­sion can pos­si­bly dimin­ish the over­whelm­ing impor­tance of that point.…

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