The Terrible Tyranny of the Majority

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The title is taken from Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451. Unless otherwise noted, all identified quotations are sourced from here.

Here is the majority in action:

Taxing the rich remains a popular policy with the American people, according to a new poll by The Washington Post and ABC News.

Because it is determined by majority, this makes it appropriate? It seems at least one authority thinks not:

Exodus 20:17: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Recently, Ron Paul identified the issue of envy as one of the two key human emotions that must be overcome if we are to have any sense of liberty and peace on this earth:

To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome. Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare.

― Ron Paul

Why speak of coveting and envy in a commentary about tyranny? It is because envy is the root, the seed that gives life to the tyranny of the majority. Democracy satisfies this covetous nature while sanitizing the evil – creating a false legitimacy to the end result of envy, that being theft and destruction.

Envy: a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.

Covet: to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another’s property.

One cannot speak of “the rights of others” absent the rule of law. The concept of “rule of law” is meaningless unless at its root is property rights. Without protection of private property, what is the point of any formal structure known as government? It can only otherwise be theft and destruction, driven by envy and covetousness.

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.

~ Thomas Jefferson

There is no rule of law in democracy – it ends up as rule of the majority against the minority. Consider this desire to tax the “rich.” What if the majority had other objectives in mind?

Sixty percent of poll respondents said they supported higher taxes on annual incomes above $250,000, with 37 percent opposed.

Sixty percent of poll respondents said they supported disallowing medical care on people over 68 years old, with 37 percent opposed.

Why not?

Policymakers in Washington are locked in a debate over weather [SIC] to increase the top marginal tax rate on incomes above $250,000, with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats insisting the rate return to 39 percent and Republicans saying it should stay at 35 percent.

Policymakers in Washington are locked in a debate over whether to increase the age where health care will be disallowed, with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats insisting on the age of 69 and Republicans saying it should be at 65 years of age.

Or 58, maybe?

Of course, the aim of a constitutional democracy is to safeguard the rights of the minority and avoid the tyranny of the majority. (p. 102)

~ Cornel West, Race Matters

I expect the advocates of minority rights to speak loudly and strongly against the abuse of the minority by the majority in this case of taxation. I’m still waiting….

People use democracy as a free-floating abstraction disconnected from reality. Democracy in and of itself is not necessarily good. Gang rape, after all, is democracy in action.

All men have the right to live their own life. Democracy must be rooted in a rational philosophy that first and foremost recognizes the right of an individual. A few million Imperial Order men screaming for the lives of a much smaller number of people in the New World may win a democratic vote, but it does not give them the right to those lives, or make their calls for such killing right.

Democracy is not a synonym for justice or for freedom. Democracy is not a sacred right sanctifying mob rule. Democracy is a principle that is subordinate to the inalienable rights of the individual.

~ Terry Goodkind, Naked Empire

Well said, Mr. Goodkind.

Reprinted with permission from the Bionic Mosquito.

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