MajorityBooks about Majority
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The Government of the absolute majority instead of the Government of the people is but the Government of the strongest interests; and when not efficiently checked, it is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised.
Human life in common is only made possible when a majority comes together which is stronger than any separate individual and which remains united against all separate individuals. The power of this community is then set up as right in opposition to the power of the individual, which is condemned as brute force.
How, then, can the rights of three men exceed the rights of two men? In what possible way can the rights of three men absorb the rights of two men, and make them as if they had never existed. . . . It is not possible to suppose, without absurdity, than a man should have no rights over his own body and mind, and yet have a 1/10,000,000th share in unlimited rights over all other bodies and minds?
The principle of majority rule is the mildest form in which the force of numbers can be exercised. It is a pacific substitute for civil war in which the opposing armies are counted and the victory is awarded to the larger before any blood is shed. Except in the sacred tests of democracy and in the incantations of the orators, we hardly take the trouble to pretend that the rule of the majority is not at bottom a rule of force.
Majority rule is a precious, sacred thing worth dying for. But -- like other precious, sacred things, such as the home and the family -- it's not only worth dying for; it can make you wish you were dead. Imagine if all of life were determined by majority rule. Every meal would be a pizza. Every pair of pants, even those in a Brooks Brothers suit, would be stonewashed denim. Celebrity diet and exercise books would be the only thing on the shelves at the library. And -- since women are a majority of the population -- we'd all be married to Mel Gibson.
The moment a mere numerical superiority by either states or voters in this country proceeds to ignore the needs and desires of the minority, and for their own selfish purpose or advancement, hamper or oppress that minority, or debar them in any way from equal privileges and equal rights -- that moment will mark the failure of our constitutional system.