What is a summary of E. B. White's On Democracy?

The 2019 anthology On Democracy collects E.B. White's essays on the subject, in which he consistently describes his conception of democracy in visceral terms, as a feeling of freedom.

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E.B. White wrote many essays on democracy, the most significant of which are collected in the 2019 anthology On Democracy , edited by Martha White, his granddaughter and literary executor. White is consistent in his articulation of what democracy means, summarizing his views himself in pieces such as "Freedom" and...

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E.B. White wrote many essays on democracy, the most significant of which are collected in the 2019 anthology On Democracy, edited by Martha White, his granddaughter and literary executor. White is consistent in his articulation of what democracy means, summarizing his views himself in pieces such as "Freedom" and "The Meaning of Democracy." In the latter piece, he demonstrates his preference for examples and images over concepts by providing a series of illustrations. Democracy, he says, is "The line that forms on the right" and "the dent in the high hat." He does go on, however, to define democracy first as thought, then as feeling:

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere.

White refers to suspicion frequently in his essays on democracy. He talks about his suspicion of those who are attracted to totalitarianism and dictatorship merely because of their efficiency, writing,

From such adaptable natures a smell arises. I pinch my nose.

As in the second half of the quotation above, White's reaction is visceral. Taken together, his essays on democracy in this collection describe democracy as a feeling of freedom, the sense that in a democratic country, one need not fear being approached by a police officer in the street or the sound of a midnight knock on the door. White is less interested in the mechanisms that guarantee this freedom than in the effect it produces and the ways in which he can express it in writing.

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