Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Democracy and its Corruptions

‘The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.’ That sentence, so resonant with recent events all over the world and particularly in America, was written by Acton in 1877. The problems with democracy have a long pedigree. One problem is that democracy has always had two definitions. The first definition is government by and for all the people. Since the word democracy means literally ‘the people rule,’ we may take this to be the true as well as the desirable meaning; but it is hard to implement in practice, because a ‘people’ will have many different interests, all clamouring to be heard and acted upon. In practice, the only way it can be implemented is for government to remain above and beyond the clamour of different interests; but this is not the route that has been travelled.

The second definition, easier to implement but potentially much less satisfactory, is government by a simple majority. And ‘government by majority’ is all too apt to degenerate into government by a minority, as disillusioned voters, who feel they are represented by no particular party, drop out of the voting altogether.

Democracy, Fascism and the New World Order
Ivo Mosley


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