"... eventually people will define democracy by what it has become: a system, open and acessible in theory, but ruled in reality by organized or rich or fanatical minorities, protecting themselves for the present and sacrificing the future. This is a very different vision from that of the enthusiasts of direct democracy, who say that the liberating new world we will live in will harken back to the city-states of ancient Greece. I leave it to the reader to judge whether Californian politics today resembles Athenian democracy in its prime. In any event, it is worth remembering that direct democracy was tried only in a few small cities in ancient Greece where a few thousand men were allowed to vote. It is also worth remembering that within a hundred years all those democracies collapsed into tyranny or chaos—frequently both."
Fareed Zakaria, The Future of Freedom. Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (WW Norton and Company, 2003), p 255