The 20th century saw the triumph of democracy; by its end, 140 out of the world’s 189 states held multi-party elections. Yet this triumph was greeted, not with enthusiasm, but with apathy and indifference. Democracy appeared to be valued more by the rulers, who had become its cheerleaders, than by the ruled, more by the elites than by the people.The elites, indeed, were tempted to blame the people for being insufficiently appreciative, and for failing to turn out to vote or join political parties. The people, however, did not reject democracy as an ideal; what they criticised were its practical short-comings. Nevertheless, the consequence may be that democracy is less secure than we think. It is, admittedly, unlikely to succumb to frontal attack as it did between the wars, but is instead in danger of degenerating into what Tocqueville called a despotisme doux, with its citizens falling, through apathy and indifference, ‘into a trap of unfreedom while still believing themselves to be free’.