It has always been true that you could not fully trust information given out by authorities. This is true of religious bodies, political bodies, financial bodies, etc. Our governments lie continually and with purpose; so do political parties and candidates. The only difference Trump has made here is that his particular employment of deceit is the most unconcealed and uncovert we have probably ever encountered. Truth is fake news, lies are true truths.

All governments have always done this, and most people knew it. But with democracy the consequences are perhaps worse than in more authoritarian regimes, since with democracy people may come to believe they actually make decisions. Of course they do not; they are simply manipulated into thinking they make decisions, which are made by those really in control.

Churchill apparently said that democracy is the worst form of government after all the others. I am not convinced that it is better than all the others, since it is not really democracy at all. I think an elitist republic like early Rome, Periclean Athens, Venice at its height and perhaps Geneva after Calvinism declined might be better. Or a system where only some, not all, had the vote, depending on property, education, etc.; in other words, 19th-century European liberalism before the vote was given to every male. It baffles me that we have not got literacy tests for voters.

In France women did not get the vote til after WWII (yes, WWII!), because even the Left was against it, since it assumed that women would vote the way their priests directed! Men were less religious and clericalist and could be more trusted. Vive la difference!

Norman Ravitch *62
Savannah, Ga.