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The Guardian: "The trouble with democracy"

"Government shutdowns, petty policy squabbles, voter disaffection – democracy doesn't seem to work very well. But what's the alternative? And can we rely on muddling through?"

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"The end of the cold war was a lot like the end of the first world war: victory took the victors by surprise. Democracy won not just in spite of its distractions but because of them.

"While the Soviets were digging themselves a hole that they couldn't get out of in Afghanistan, western citizens watched television and went shopping.

"Then one night they turned on their TVs and discovered that the Berlin Wall had come down. As in 1918, the temptation existed to turn this triumph into a vast morality tale. It must mean something momentous that democracy had won such a crushing victory. More, it must be an opportunity for democracy to cement its grip on the world as the rightful system of government for everyone.

"But it didn't mean anything momentous. After the wall came down, western citizens just carried on shopping."

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