In critical times like these - although voters did not at all align with such premise on March 3 - my mind can't help it but go back learn once again from the unmatched American history and its heroes, who left us the legacy of individual responsibility over the herd mentality.
Let me chat a bit about one of my personal heroes, James Madison.
The year was 1787. James Madison traveled to Philadelphia and had one issue bugging his mind: Athens. After all, he had spent the entire year preceding the Constitutional Convention reading truckloads of books on the history of failed democracies, Athens included, sent to him from Paris by Thomas Jefferson.
In drafting the Constitution, therefore, Madison was determined to avoid the fate of what he called “ancient and modern confederacies,” which he believed had succumbed to demagoguery and mob rule, technically called "ochlocracy".
Madison’s studies finally convinced him that direct democracies - such as the assemblies carried out in Athens, where 6,000 citizens were required for a quorum before any issue was discussed and decided upon - tragically unleashed populist passions opposed to everything British and Scotish Enlightenment thinkers believed in.
“In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever characters composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason,” he argued in The Federalist Papers, which he wrote with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to build support for the ratification of the Constitution.
He, then, concludes: “Even if every Athenian citizen had been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.”
I grew up surrounded by a "democracy-is-the-best-there-is" type of mindset. I was blessed enough, though, to see how flawed that argument was (and still is) very early in my life. I then started to intentionally build up a severe, relentless informed contempt for that conventional wisdom. That awkward discomfort and annoying dissatisfaction ended leading me to the understanding that, yes, another world existed, another mindset was possible, other books were available.
I connected with ALL the conservative authors I was able to. I read ALL the books I had never read in my entire life. My mind was washed anew. I became, with ALL my affections, an American, believing, as Abraham Lincoln described, that I am "the blood of the blood and the flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence,"
Americans, what about doing the same?
ELIEL ROSA has built a solid career in the urban planning and public policy arenas in Brazil, Latin American countries, Portuguese-speaking African nations, Spain and in the US for the past 20 years. However, instead of keeping a long list of professional credentials and accomplishments, there is a special, top feature he would want you to retain: he is a diehard America-loving legal immigrant!