A Modest Utopia

I. Every quixotic idea has its origins in books of chivalry. Mine began in reading about English political history in the eighteenth century. From Macaulay and Namier, I learned how the Whig Party governed England for seventy years on the basis of a parliamentary majority secured through a corrupt system and fraudulent elections. This strange situation was most memorably portrayed by Hogarth, with his scathing paintings and engravings of rotten boroughs where even the dead were allowed a vote. But then a set of sudden reforms, allied with the emergence of a free press, ushered in genuine competition between parties. The story ended well. Reading this in Mexico, reflecting on this saga of political progress, an obvious thought immediately occurred to me: if this happened in England two centuries ago, why not in Mexico now? The result was an essay called “For a Democracy Without Adjectives,” which I published in

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