Walden Two

November 01, 1990 1 min read

He turned back to the window.

“I don’t think I follow you,’' said Castle, somewhat softened by Frazier’s evident emotion.

‘Democracy is the spawn of despotism,’' Frazier said, continuing to look out the window. “And like father, like son. Democracy is power and rule. It’s not the will of the people, remember; it’s the will of the majority.’' He turned and, in a husky voice which broke in flight like a tumbler pigeon on the word “out,’' he added, “My heart goes out to the everlasting minority.’' He seemed ready to cry, but I could not tell whether it was in sympathy for the oppressed or in rage at his failure to convince Castle.

“In a democracy,’' he went on, “there is no check against despotism, because the principle of democracy is supposed to be itself a check. But it guarantees only that the majority will not be despotically ruled.’'

“I don’t agree that the minority has no say,’' said Castle. “But in any case it’s better that at least half the people get what they want, instead of a small elite.’'

“There you are!’' said Frazier, jumping up again just as he had started to sit down. “The majority are an elite. And they’re despots. I want none of them! Let’s have government for the benefit of all.’'

From Walden Two
(Macmillan, 1976)

A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 1990 edition of Teacher as Walden Two