The words of former United States Senator James A. Reed of Missouri, is a forceful speech delivered before the United States Senate, June 4, 1926:
I am getting a little tired of hearing about the sacred rights of the majority; that this is a country ruled by the majority. . . . This is not a country ruled by the majority. This is not a country of majority rule. The Constitution of the United States was written, in large part, to prevent majority rule. The Declaration of Independence was an announcement that there are limitations upon majority rule.
The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, were declared in the Declaration to be inalienable rights. They could not be given away by the citizen himself. Much less could they be taken away by temporary agents, sitting in legislative bodies, holding a limited authority of brief duration. . . .
Majority rule! Where is the logic or the reason to be found back of majority rule except in the mere necessity to dispatch business. . . . The majority has been wrong oftener than it has been right in all the course of time. The majority crucified Jesus Christ. The majority burned the Christians at the stake. The majority drove the Jews into exile and the ghetto. The majority established slavery. The majority set up innumerable gibbets. The majority chained to stakes and surrounded with circles of flame martyrs through all the ages of the world’s history. The majority in China believe in a doctrine and follow a code of ethics different from ours. Either they are wrong or we are wrong. . . .
The majority went down the pathway of the ages wearing gyves, which they voluntarily forged and fastened upon their arms; and when a minority arose headed by some brave soul, they hanged him upon a gibbet, they crucified him upon a cross, they pulled his limbs apart with horrible instruments of torture, and the majority stood there leering and jibing at the man who was the apostle of a better day.
Majority rule without any limitation or curb upon the particular set of fools who happen to be placed for the moment in charge of the machinery of a government! The majority grinned and jeered when Columbus said the world was round. The majority threw him into a dungeon for having discovered a new world. The majority said that Galileo must recant or that Galileo must go to prison. . . .
Posted by: James McDonald | January 12, 2010
On Majority Rule…
Posted in politics