Democracy's Demons

"A republic, if you can keep it." That was Benjamin Franklin's response to an inquiry at the end of the 1787 Constitutional Convention about the type of government the founders of the U.S. had just created. The remark is usually cited as an example of Franklin's renowned wit, but he was deadly serious. He understood the experiment in constitutional governance to be a delicate thing: one that is difficult to maintain, and easy to destroy. We are reminded of this once again as we observe the sad and tawdry constitutional crisis that has suddenly engulfed South Korea because of the March...

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