Self-poisoned in this fashion, civilization looks as though it might easily decline into a kind of premature senility. With a mind almost atrophied by lack of use, unable to entertain itself and grown so wearily uninterested in the readymade distractions offered from without that nothing but the grossest stimulants of an ever-increasing violence and crudity can move it, the democracy of the future will sicken of a chronic and mortal boredom. It will go perhaps, the way the Romans went: the Romans who came at last to lose, precisely as we are doing now, the capacity to distract themselves: the Romans who, like us, lived on readymade entertainments in which they had no participation. Their deadly ennui demanded ever more gladiators more tight rope-walking elephants, more rare and far fetched animals to be slaughtered. Ours would demand no less: but owing to the existence of a few idealist, doesn’t get all it asks for. The most violent forms of entertainment can only be obtained illicitly: to satisfy a taste for slaughter and cruelty you must become a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Let us not despair, however; the force of a boredom clamouring to be alleviated may yet prove too much for the idealists.
Why will future democracy be diseased?