Posted: 5/17/2002 9:39:24 AM EDT
[b][i]Tyranny of the majority[/b][/i]
[i]Democracy is a procedure that people adopt in order to make collective decisions. It is not the only such procedure. Nor is it always the best one. Some decisions should be made by experts; some should be made by those in authority or those appointed by the law. Some decisions should not be made at all. But people are attracted to democracy, since it seems to confer legitimacy. This doesn’t mean that the majority is always right, or that democratic decisions are necessarily wiser than the alternatives. It means that, whether a choice is right or wrong, the people as a whole are more likely to accept it if they think of it as theirs.
A democracy depends upon a durable constitution, which will filter out extremist passions and reconcile conflicting interests. And a democracy is stable only if people are prepared to accept an outcome for which they did not vote. It takes a lot of history to establish a durable democratic constitution, and a lot more to produce the political culture that enables people to accept being governed by their opponents. Roman law, Christian institutions, the mediaeval doctrine of Estates and the Enlightenment ideal of free citizenship all belong to the pre-history of democratic government as we know it. That pre-history has not occurred outside Europe and its diaspora, which is why we should not be surprised if democracy has seldom taken root elsewhere.
We should be a little more surprised that democratic procedure is giving way to autocratic fiat in so many areas of our own national government — yet more surprised that we, the British people, seem so unable or unwilling to resist the change. [/i]
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."
“Democracy is the demand by the stupid to rule the intelligent because the stupid outnumber the intelligent."
--SFC Steven Barry, USA (Ret.)
“Democracy, which is simply majority rule, is a means to an end, but not an end in itself. Note that the word never appears in either the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution.”
--Colonel Jeff Cooper, USMC (Ret.)
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