Perhaps in history democracy will have been an accident, a brief parenthesis which comes to a close before our very eyes."
Jean-François Revel, French journalist, philosopher, and a member of the Académie française,from his book "How democracies Prerish .
History has plenty of examples on how democracy is lost. The two most common causes are: when people stop believing they can continue to survive as a result of a series of internal crisis or, they feel they are under threat from an external enemy. They feel preasured into submission or suicide.
The last, "threat from an external enemy" is one of the most common tactics used by political leaders to move their agenda based upon the ideology of the moment.
American Psychologist, G.M. Gilbertand, best known for his book Nuremberg Diaries (1947), cites his interview of Hermann Goering:
"We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.
Göering: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) was a French author and philosopher of the 16th century, who turned essays into a literary genre. His powerful thoughts influenced writers from over the world and different generations such as: René Descartes,Francis Bacon, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Voltaire, Stefan Zweig, possibly on the later works of William Shakespeare and others.
As a witness to the cruelty of the religious wars that lasted decades in Europe and, by observation of the human being as a creature of weakness and failure; of inconstancy and uncertainty; of incapacity and fragmentation, his sketpticism was sealed with a remark, "Que sçay-je?" ("What do I know?", now in modern French Que sais-je? which became famous and it's reflected throughout his Essays.
One of his most poignant observation was about freedom and independence in which he discusses why humans allow oppressing forms of control: