- - Friday, January 31, 2014

Democracy, especially the Beltway brawling that passes for the status quo in our fair country, is messy. The mess is even more pronounced when the chief executive is a hidebound ideologue determined to fundamentally transform a nation that only requires a little marginal tinkering.

It becomes even uglier when his rigid certitude, bolstered by fellow progressives in politics and the media, leads him to embrace what looks like tyrannical usurpation of the levers of power. This untidiness, of course, becomes more magnified the more perilous the times become — and the times are certainly perilous enough to stir the authoritarian impulse that dishonors the democratic process fostered by our Founding Fathers.

There is another factor that should be highlighted with respect to the authoritarian impulse; namely, the certainty that all true believers, all ideologues of the right and left, bring to the debate.

Many of us are closed to the possibility of mistake and will not consider that we may be wrong, that the fool across the table is as bright, informed and as well-intentioned as we are. Authoritarian governance becomes attractive to one side or the other as compromise becomes less likely.


PAUL BLOUSTEIN

Cincinnati