I would say that it partly depends on one's historical experience. As I said in England democracy emerged slowly over time and despite your Independence War I think that is also your fundamental experience whereas in France or my own country there was a lot of violence, be it Jacobin terror or WWII and the Shoah, before democracy.
But it is fairly unambiguous that there is a zero-level of violence in democracy. Its content is democratic but its form is totalitarian, you can e.g. not meta-vote against the system itself (in Weimar this was possible) and determine whether you want democracy or something else. Interestingly totalitarianism works precisely the other way around, its content is totalitarian but its form is democratic (a Stalinist leader says that he is just the servant of the course of history which emancipates the masses, a fascist leader says that he is nothing without the people and just their embodiment).
Of course I am not endorsing some authoritarian leadership but I neither like populism because it precisely plays the above mentioned totalitarian game, I am nothing in myself and just your voice. No, a truly great democratic leader is neither a populist nor an autocrat but somebody who listens to the people yet nonetheless dares to do what he considers to be right even if the majority is against him.
Last edited by horatio : 08-22-2012 at 06:56 AM.