Lucius Annaeus SenecaLucius Annaeus Seneca, (4 B.C.-A.D. 65) Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, "Seneca the Younger"

Lucius Annaeus Seneca Quote

“Democracy is more cruel than wars or tyrants.”

Lucius Annaeus SenecaLucius Annaeus Seneca
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

'Epistulse morales'

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

Again, ancient knowledge lost to the pridefully ignorant.

My Name, Your Town,USA.

I disagree.Example:Adolf Hitler.He was NOT the leader of a Democratic Germany.Rather he WAS a tyrant responsible for the EXTERMINATION of MILLIONS of PEOPLE in a few short years.How can PURE,Unadulterated, Un-poisoned Democracy be any more cruel than that?It can't.Therefore,I disagree with this statement.

kilpeg, austin, tx

Of course, democracies usually wind up being run by tyrants , given enough time.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Hitler is a great example of the break-down of Democracy! The majority is not the strongest constant to build a foundation of government on. Most sources, like the "Rise and Fall of the Thired Reich," actually place Hitler around 30%, and Hindenburg somewhere around 49%. Hitler never received the popular vote, but still won the election off fraud. The majority can be defrauded, and this is yet another reason why it is not the single greatest foundation to lay a government on. Our Republic, as I have said ad nauseum, is fundamentally built on assumptions of constant "laws of nature and of Nature's God." Regardless of whether anyone wants to take this with a Christian slant, Jewish, Buddhist, agnostic, or any other way is irrelevant. The point is, our founders tried to base our system of government on certain universal constants that would still protect the people should ever the majority be defrauded or the individual's rights trampled upon. They called this a Republic. Assuming a Hitler type personality was fraudulently elected as our president (and assuming we're still running our government as a Republic and not a damn Democracy), then the fundamental premises, philosophy, and understanding of our government (those things that differentiate it from a Democracy and make it a Republic) would prohibit our Hitler type personality from committing the atrocities of his German mentor-- regardless of popular acceptance of his actions.

Ben, Springfield, MO

Where's Waffler now?

E Archer, NYC

Hitler was 'elected' into office with less skepticism than GWB. The US has been following the footsteps of Nazi Germany steadily for the last decade (or two). The American people are just as easily deceived as the German people were. If the US continues down this path, it will be a nationalist socialist state (uh, isn't it already?). Will we not learn from history, or are we a bunch of hypocrites?!

Phil, Vancouver

This quote is meaningless. It looks profound but each person will interpret this quote their own way and as a result it's message is confusing

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

I am here Ben! Thanks for inquiring. The logic of this quote says that democracy does not lead to war and tyrants but to something even more cruel. I disagree. Tyrants generally have to give their subjects continual triumphs in order to appear strong and to stay in power. Thus Hitler and Saddam. Tyrants climb to power by currying favor with majorities by beating up on minorities, Hitler on the Jews for example. (Note: the Bushes curried favor by beating up on the IRS.) Democratically elected leaders and term limits can serve to put a stop to this strong man mentality. People talking to people is the best way to confront any propensity the human has towards violence thus I think Archer is wrong in lambasting the League of Nations which if the US had joined may have prevented WWI and lambasting the UN. Secret treaties among European nations is said by some to be the cause of WWI.

warren, olathe ks

He hadn't seen a decent democracy so I can't fault him for being wrong.

warren, olathe ks

Good job Waffler. I agree except we do need to beat up on the IRS and the U.N. sucks.

Bob, Vancouver

Since he was speaking of the original concepts, I wonder what he would think of the perversion of those original concepts used to give the freedom of death to so many by countries like America and Britain, that have so perverted those concepts they bear little resemblance to those original ideals? The perverted ideals of democracy used today in all it's various iterations is the worst and most disgusting form of enslavement of the majority by the insane whims of the minority that one can possible find as example of cruelty, to say nothing of the entrenched corruption in those same countries. In the world today there is no system worse than the perversion of democratic ideals used by America and Britain.

Mason, McMinnville

Democratic Government - A government governed by the whims and prejudices of the majority. Ochlocracy (government by the mob; mob rule; mobocracy).

Seneca did not say wars and tyrants were not cruel, only that a democratic government was MORE cruel.

So, what's the difference between a Republican, Democratic and Socialist FORM of government? If you don't know the difference, how do you know you have one and not another? The Founders certainly knew the difference and did their best with the Constitution to protect against a full-out democratic form of government for the United States.

The perversion Bob of Vancouver sees is really the result of our political trek from a Republican form of government through the muck of Democracy into the insanity of a Socialist form of government, which has taken better than a good hundred years. Your education and ego tell you this is not so but reality doesn’t give a hoot about education or ego.

Laus Deo,


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