The influence of democracy served to increase the tension of a crisis because elected politicians felt it necessary to pander to the most irrational and crass motivations of the electorate in order to ensure future election, and did this by playing on hatred and fear of powerful neighbors or on such appealing issues of territorial expansion, nationalistic pride, a place in the sun, outlets to the sea, and other real or imagined benefits. At the same time, the popular newspaper press, in order to sell papers, played on the same motives and issues, arousing their peoples, driving their own politicians to extremes, and alarming neighboring states to the point where they hurried to adopt similar kinds of action in the name of self-defense. Moreover, democracy made it impossible to examine international disputes on their merits, but instead transformed every petty argument into an affair of honor and national prestige so that no dispute could be examined on its merits or settled as a simple compromise because such sensible approach would at once be hailed by ones democratic opposition as a loss of face and an unseemly compromise of exalted moral principles. excerpt from Tragedy and Hope by Carroll Quigley
Why does this paragraph ring a bell?
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