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There is a lot of pessimism about the status and future of “Our DemocracyTM,” especially from liberals but also from some conservatives. Consider this representative sample:

The blame for our failure and disillusionment must fall on our idiot institutions. People seem somehow, in relation to the future, to be divided into two categories—the “optimists” and the “pessimists.” The pessimists think that civilization is going to the dogs. The optimists say that, whether it is or not, we must keep up hope, and that “life somehow goes on.” “Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?” someone asks, as though he were asking: “Are you bullish or bearish about the market?” The only answer can be that, if we have as little control over our institutions as an outsider has over the fluctuations of the market, then we are all lost. We mold our institutions and are molded by them. We are the hammer and anvil. Civilization today is a death dance because of the accumulated weight of idiot institutions. Our task is the heroic one of changing and directing those institutions so that their weight will support us, instead of crushing us.

Actually this quotation is from liberal commentator Max Lerner’s 1939 book It’s Later Than You Think: The Need for a Militant Democracy. The title and mood sound just like what you hear today from the leftist bedwetters in full cry about the “threat to democracy” from Trump, populism, nationalism. etc.

Some things never change. It’s always “later than you think” for a certain cast of mind.

Two observations: Our institutions are more robust than the reformers think.

Second: why should we expect better outcomes from institutions “reformed” along leftist lines? The very question answers itself.