[1835]  Alexis de Tocqueville,  De la Démocratie en Amérique, vol. I, Flammarion, Paris, 1981

-  "L'intrigue et la corruption sont des vices naturels aux gouvernements électifs. Mais lorsque le Chef de l'Etat peut être réélu, ces vices s'étendent indéfiniment et compromettent l'existence même du pays. Quand un simple candidat veux parvenir par l'intrigue, ses manoeuvres ne sauraient s'exercer que sur un espace circonscrit. Lorsque, au contraire, le chef de l'État lui-même se met sur les rangs, il emprunte pour son propre usage la force du gouvernement."
"Le principe de la réélection rend donc l'influence corruptrice des gouvernements électifs plus étendue et plus dangereuse." (pp. 210-211)


[1849]  Henry David Thoreau,  Civil Disobedience, The Riverside Press, Boston, 1960

 -  "All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority." (p. 240)


[1911]  Roberto Michels,  La sociologia del partito politico nella democrazia moderna [Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens in der modernen Demokratie], seconda edizione riveduta e accresciuta, 1925, il Mulino, Bologna, 1966

 -  "L'inizio della formazione di una leadership professionale segna anche l'inizio della fine della democrazia."
 "Una massa che deleghi la sua sovranità, cioè la ceda a pochi singoli uomini, vi rinuncia, poiché il volere del popolo non è trasferibile come non lo è il volere del singolo. L'operazione elettorale è nello stesso tempo espressione e annientamento della sovranità della massa." (p. 189)

 -  "Tra monarchia e democrazia, se basate entrambe su di un sistema rappresentativo, vi sarebbe al massimo una insignificante differenza di collocazione storica e non di sostanza. Il popolo sovrano si eleggerebbe al posto di un re un'intera categoria di piccoli sovrani." (p. 191)

 -  "Con il concludersi delle operazioni elettorali, ha termine il potere delle masse elettorali sui loro delegati." "Se nell'ambito della massa esistono ancora individui che hanno influenza sui loro deputati, questi sono i 'grands électeurs', i 'pezzi grossi' delle singole circoscrizioni elettorali o delle organizzazioni di partiti locali." (p. 193)


[1945]  Bertrand de Jouvenel, On Power : its nature and the history of its growth (Du pouvoir : histoire naturelle de sa croissance), Liberty Press, Indianapolis, 1993

-  "The members of society are citizens for a day and subjects for four years." (p. 288)

-  "The 'Power of the people,' so called, is in fact linked to the people only by an extremely slack umbilical cord - general elections; it is, to all intents and purposes, a 'Power over the people,' a Power which is all the greater for getting its authorization from this cord." (p. 289)

 -  "... elections are now no more than a plebiscite by which a whole people puts itself in the power of a small gang." (p. 305)

 -  "... there is no tyrant who dares go to such extremes as those who give themselves the airs of popular sovereignty." (p. 324)


[1950]  Alex Comfort, Authority and Delinquency in the Modern State. A criminological approach to the problem of power, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1950

 -  "Of the elections in Britain between 1918 and 1940, at least four were decided by means which closely resemble those of the criminal trickster. These included the spreading of rumors affecting the security of savings, the forgery of documents which were then released to influence public opinion, and the promise of direct financial gain." (p. 37)

 -  "Strictly paranoid attitudes towards the Jews, the Communists and the Germans have been observable in democratic statesmen of our own time, quite apart from public projections of resentment against these groups." (p. 41)


[1965]  E. G. West,  Education and the State. A study in political economy, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded,  Liberty Press, Indianapolis, 1994

 -  "First the system of political voting by the ballot box only [takes] place at long intervals. Voting in the market, on the other hand, is a process whereby the wishes of the parent [in selecting and supporting a school] are immediately and more continually expressed, for the market mechanism is, in the words of Lord Robbins, 'a continuous general election on the principle of proportionate representation'. Second, the political process allows advantages to those who can organise themselves more readily into pressure groups; and because parents (especially mothers fully occupied at home) are less easily organisable in the political sense than others, much of their bargaining power is reduced. Third, voting through the ballot box is much less discriminating since it is less able to avoid the necessity of large 'package deals'. For instance, the selection of a local councillor involves voting non only for what he is expected to do in education but also for his policy in housing, roads, health, sewage, etc." (pp. 219-220)


[1980]  Alvin Toffler,  The Third Wave, Pan Books, London, 1981

 -  "... although its gravity is not yet recognized, we are witnessing a profound crisis not of this or that government but of representative democracy itself, in all its forms. In one country after another, the political technology of the Second Wave is sputtering, groaning, and malfunctioning dangerously." (p. 402)

 -  "Even when important decisions are extruded they usually come too late, and seldom accomplish what they are designed to do. 'We've solved every problem with legislation,' says one hard-pressed British lawmaker. 'We've passed seven acts against inflation. We've eliminated injustice numerous times. We've solved the ecology problem. Every problem has been solved countless times by legislation. But the problems remain. Legislation doesn't work'." (p. 404)

 -  "The messiah complex is the illusion that we can somehow save ourselves by changing the man (or woman) at the top. Watching Second Wave politicians stumble and flail drunkenly at the problems arising from the emergence of the Third Wave, millions of people, spurred on by the press, have arrived to a single, simple, easy-to-understand explanation of our woes: the 'failure of leadership'." (p. 409)


[1992]  Basil Davidson,  The Black Man's Burden. Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State, James Curry, Oxford, 1994

 -  "Once colonial rule was over [in Africa], ... the leaders of the new nationalism became the potential or actual leaders of their newly independent colony. From being instruments of pressure against foreign rulers, the new parties at once became instruments of rivalry within the nation-statist political arena. The competing interests of the 'élites' ... took primacy over the combined interests of the 'masses'." (p. 112)

 -  "... two principles were now in any case established. The first principle, universally accepted like the second, was that advancement toward the nation-state was the only feasible route of escape from the colonial condition." "Those who argued for inter-territorial federalism or its equivalent, pointing out the obstacles to progress adhering in the colonial frontiers, were ignored or pushed aside. Any such large and constructive reorganization of frontiers could never suit the imperial powers, eager still to remain 'neocolonialist' levers of interest and influence. Nor could they suit the nationalist leaders, now increasingly impatient for the fruits of power, and rightly aware that interterritorial reorganization must delay and perhaps threaten their enjoyment of these fruits."
    "The second principle, servant of the first, was that the 'national conflict', embodied in the rivalries for executive power between contending groups or individuals among the 'elites', must continue to take priority over a 'social conflict' concerned with the interests of most of the inhabitants of these new nation-states." (pp. 113-114)


[1999]  Martin van Creveld,  The Rise and Decline of the State, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999

 -  "The main difference between 'free' and totalitarian states consisted in the fact that the former chose their rulers by democratic elections; although, as Hitler once pointed out, judging by his own popularity, the Nazi regime may have been the most democratic in history." (p. 259)