Virtue and Terror: How the New Normal was Created, by Simon Elmer

Off Guardian did good work from early on with the Covid travesty. They saw it for what it really was. Now they are publishing a two-volume retrospective. From Simon Elmer at

“If the mainspring of popular government in peacetime is virtue, the mainspring of popular government during a revolution is both virtue and terror; virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing but swift, severe, inflexible justice; it is therefore an emanation of virtue. It is less a principle in itself than a consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to our nation’s most pressing needs.”
Maximilien Robespierre, On the Principles of Political Morality, 1794

The past three years have exposed the structural flaw in Western democracy with more disastrous consequences for its populations than at any time in recent history.

It’s generally known that democracy, from the Ancient Greek dēmokratia, means ‘rule by the people’; but it is perhaps less widely known that the fifth-century city-state of Athens on which the West modelled its democracy was a slave-owning society in which only adult males and hereditary citizens comprising maybe 10-15 per cent of the population had the right to vote.

The universal suffrage we have in the UK today was only attained through centuries of political struggle, and is predicated, at least in principle, on an equally universal education. One of the arguments against extending rights of suffrage that were originally restricted to landowners, then to property owners, then to heads of households, then to men over twenty-one, then to propertied women over thirty, and only eventually made a universal right, was that according equal votes to individuals with vastly unequal levels of education, influence and understanding of policy was politically suicidal.

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