James BovardJames Bovard, (1956- ) American author, lecturer

James Bovard Quote

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”

James BovardJames Bovard
~ James Bovard

Lost Rights. The Destruction of American Liberty (St. Martin's Press: New York, 1994), p. 333

Ratings and Comments

  • Reply
P.M.    5/3/05
KS, Queensbury,NY.

If this truly is an example of what democracy has become (and I do believe there is some truth to this statement) then it is time (dare I say "past time") for The Goverened to come together and make a change. The Sheep Must have a Equal Say in how they are governed !

john-douglas, nassau

KS - It won't work unless you first get rid of the wolves!

Johnson, Gainesville, FL

Democracy, by definition, is where two wolves and a sheep are voting on what to have for dinner. What we need is a republic with a constitution that leaves deciding what we have for dinner out of the realm of election, and a government that doesn't allow anybody to eat anybody else.

Mike, Norwalk

What would that something be? Those that support a democracy within the confines of this blog consistently defend the concept(s) that: might makes right, rape is an ok activity if its decided on by a majority, inflicting punishment on the innocent that has neither harmed any one or thing nor infringed on anyone's right(s) is ok, larceny is accepted as uniquely ok if performed by the majority etc., etc., etc. Franklin's original quote covers all the examples.

Guess Who?

Cute saying. Nonsense but cute.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

The more things change the more they remain the same. Apparently there will always be wolves. Learned last night that the market crashed in 1907 for the same basic reason it crashed this time. It was caused by derivatives which were then referred to as bucket shops where investors basically bet on the market rather than actually buying the market. These things were made illegal but then restored in the late '90's. The point, oh yeah the point, is that there will always be piggish behaviour. What we need is a pragmatic common people and leaders in an educated democracy, demcoracy, democracy.

jim k, austin

The market has "crashed" for several reasons. The main one is that the government virtually forced lenders to make mortgage loans to people who could not make the payments. Janet Reno, the horrible, the Attorney General under Clinton, told lenders that if they didn't make those idiotic sub-prime loans they could be "investigated". I would call that a threat. Thank you, Slick Willie. Now Pelosi, Reed and the usual suspects have circled the wagons to put the blame everywhere except where it belongs, on their own doorstep.

E Archer, NYC

Yes, well, how about we stick with the lawful Constitutional representative republican form of government instead of the de facto arbitrary version of 'democracy' the people have been fooled into thinking we have? There is a BIG difference betwen 'self-government' and 'majority rule.'

Logan, Memphis, TN

I couldn't agree with Waffler more on his "change" mantra; this is why Obama is full of shit -- all the sweet talk of a politician, and all the smelly manifestation of a douche bag (which goes the same for McCain). Yes, there will always be wolves, and only the insanely stupid would support a form of government that would allow these wolves to ever have influence on government (yet another notch in the pole against Democracy). Private corruption in enterprise is easily solved, whereas government corruption can only be solved through revolution (by government corruption I don't mean the immoral President who keeps an intern under his desk, but as Machiavelli, Rousseau, and Locke spoke of it). In private enterprise, if someone infringes upon another individual's life, liberty, or property -- then you take them to court to receive equitable portion back... Where do we go to list our grievances if government itself infringes upon the life, liberty, or property of the individual? There is no "pragmatism" in Democracy, you moron! It's the difference between "Rational Choice Theory" and "Cultural Theory" (there are two ACTUAL theories for you Waffy my boy). If you build society upon the rights of the individual against the masses, then you will maintain a pragmatic, disciplined, and educated people that know their limits in relationship to their neighbor; you build a society based upon the whole, and history has proven that even the societal thought of individual rights, liberties, and freedoms will vanish out of that society. To prove this, all you have to do is look at China; the people over there don't WANT real liberty -- they only want sweet security that's provided by the state. Ironically -- while there can be fast short term growth (a few decades or so) under such a regime, it cannot last. Human rights watchdog groups are finding it increasingly difficult to pass human rights legislation in China because the people themselves don't want to live the life that freedom requires (eternal diligence). The people have been brainwashed, educated, misinformed and manipulated into accepting a life absent freedom and liberty. That's the ultimate manifestation of your Democracy, Waffler - look to China to see what your precious philosophy will bring. Democracy disguises itself as the benefactor of the whole -- so does socialism and communism -- but it all comes crashing down the minute the people realize that a mere majority vote can put their fellow man into subjection and slavery of the state. After all, that's Democracies only claim of legitimacy -- a majority's consent. Don't be a damned fool.

  • 3
  • Reply
    Anonymous    3/15/09


    Justin, Elkland

    Too bad the U.S. effectively stopped being a Republic after the 17th amendment passed. Now we have a social democracy so everyone can have a share of the misery, instead of just those who deserve it.

    Virginia Slim, Fairfax Station, VA

    Because the Founders knew that democracy is “two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner,” they purposely adopted a form of representative democracy. IMO, today that representative democracy is perverted by politicians who win the wolf vote by promising lamb for dinner. In today's America, the wolf is any special interest group that supports favorable political positions to gain unfair economic advantage over others. But the real villain in this story is the SCOTUS. Between 1933 and 1954, U.S. vs. Butler, Helvering vs. Davis, and Flemming vs. Nestor successively reinterpreted Art. 1, Sec. 8 of the Constitution, the Congress was given unlimited powers to bestow favors any way it chose, and the sheep were abandoned to the wolves.

    Mike, Norwalk

    The next line to the quote is; "Freedom is a well armed sheep contesting the vote".

    Mike, Pleasant Hill

    Take it to him Logan! "The people have been brainwashed, educated, misinformed and manipulated into accepting a life absent freedom and liberty. That's the ultimate manifestation of your Democracy, Waffler..."

    I know you were referring to China but I think the same thing could be said about the United States these days which would explain the youthful and useful idiocrasy of the students at the University of Missouri (Ferguson effect) and the people that support the socialist left and their candidates. OUR PEOPLE HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED TO BELIEVE A LIE!

    • Reply
      Abby    11/13/15

      He borrows a phrase here from Ben Franklin...but Democracy is NEVER but 2 wolves voting on what to have for dinner...because it is mob rule; It is 51% of the population OPPRESSING the other 49%. It is why the United States is a Republic, a nation of law (tho you would never believe it the way our Executive, Judicial, and Congress spit upon the the Law). Our government, right now is so divisive that it appears the WOLVES are about to devour the sheep because they ignore the fact that LAW has CONSEQUENCES.

      Robert, Somewhere in Europe

      Why complicate it!

      Howard., Harbor City.

      A REPUBLIC is a well armed lamb contesting the vote. A democracy is majority rules, which results in mobocracy. We are a Republic, or should I say originally designed to be.

      Ronw13, Yachats Or

      " At all times, sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects differed from their own; and this association, which is always dangerous, has been sometimes disastrous, by giving to opponents just grounds of opposition. The one pervading evil of democracy is tyranny of the majority, or rather of the party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections. "
      Lord Acton


      Get a Quote-a-Day!

      Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.