words like “paradox” and “irony” to describe the wide gap between what people profess and assume, and what they actually do and suffer.
Remember the blind prophet Teiresias of ancient drama. In the carnage of Athenian tragedy he alone usually ends up foreseeing danger better than did those with keen eyesight.
After a catastrophic plague and endless war, ancient democratic Athens was stripped of its majestic pretensions. Soon it was conducting mass executions — on majority votes of the people.
Throughout history, revolutions often do not end up as their initial architects planned. The idealists who ended the French monarchy in 1789 thought they could replace it with a constitutional republic.
Instead, they sparked a reign of terror, the guillotine and mass frenzy. Yet the radicals who hijacked the original revolution and began beheading their enemies soon were themselves guillotined.
It was not democracy but rather the dictator Napoleon who put an end to French domestic unrest.