Even if democracy did not encourage a more educated citizenry, it would still be the only morally defensible way to decide the laws that govern society, and would still be the best guarantor of liberty and rights. Lasch's argument, however, is worth remembering the next time someone wheels out ancient platitudes about people being too stupid for democracy to work.
For many people, 2016 was seen as a terrible year. Their worst political nightmares came to be: Brexit, and Trump winning the US presidential elections being seen as the strongest cases in point. Yet for many others - including, most obviously, Nigel Farage, those same events were seen as their political dreams coming true. 2016 was a year to treasure!
As twisted as it may seem, a Trump victory is actually a victory for democracy. People can truly decide to rise above the expectations of their friends, society, other countries, etc.' and vote with their hearts for who they want, not caring how the media has painted him. Whether they chose fear over progress or not, you can't take away that the results show Democracy as the true winner.
Within the Tory ranks there are few if any genuinely big beasts around whom alternative camps may form, even though George Osborne is trying to position himself as one with his customary lack of subtlety. But the Premiership now is a poisoned chalice, with no way of avoiding fights as Brexit is navigated.
The right of the Labour Party, for all its doom-stricken expressions and angry attacks on Corbyn and his adherents, is in fact being insufficiently pessimistic. They seem to think that if they replace their leader with a balding, uncharismatic, middle-class technocrat, it will be sufficient to avert the collapse of the Labour electoral coalition, ride out the politically destabilising effects of Brexit, and confront the emerging problem of a new fascism that could define the future of western politics. Myself, I shall stick with Corbyn.
What goes down should also be able to go up, and it's not too long ago that younger people's turnout was so much higher than now. But the longer that disengagement goes on, the harder it's likely to be to reverse, and reversing it also means understanding why this is happening in many other countries and where progress is being made.