Huntington Warns Breakdown Due to Excessive Democracy
Samuel P. Huntington, professor of Government, told a group of about 20 students yesterday that a movement to attack established institutions in the 1960s had resulted in what he termed an "excess of democracy," and contributed to the breakdown of democracy in America in recent years.
Huntington added that the expansion of the federal bureaucracy in the '60s had produced political figures who appealed to an "non-hierarchal American ethos." He cited presidential contender Jimmy Carter and Gov. Edmund Brown (D-Cal.) as prime examples.
Speaking at North House, Huntington said there was a worldwide pattern towards a general extension of democracy, which had resulted in non-democratic ends. He cited the experience of Chile, where, Huntington said, "an over-extension of democracy led to a coup d'etat which has restored political stability."
He said other democratization efforts in Mediterranean countries--Greece, Portugal, and Spain--would probably fail.
"I for one will be very surprised if Spain does not have a right wing coup in the next live years," Huntington said.
Huntington compared the present politcal situation in the United States to the Jacksonian and Progressive periods. All were periods of reform which eventually failed, he said.
He added he thought most reforms now being undertaken would be unsuccessful, citing the recent efforts of the Democratic Party to make selection of delegates to national conventions more representative.
Huntington said the reforms paradoxically would cause a deadlocked convention in July, marking "the return of the smoke-filled room for the first time in several years."
"This is hardly more democratic," he said.
Huntington termed the present an "Age of Exposure." "The biggest crime a political figure can commit is the cover-up," he added, speaking of the role the press played in the Watergate investigation.