Supporting Democracy Without Understanding It

The idea that aggregating preferences of ordinary people, treating all people equally and allowing a substantial amount of political rights to everybody is the best way to organize society is a new one for most of the world, and one which still strikes people as strange. I know this from my own experience doing political work in dozens of countries. In every one of these countries, the U.S. included, I have heard people, including people in positions of influence and power, remark that the citizens of their country are somehow not smart enough, educated enough or prepared enough for democracy.