Free Markets, Free People

Quote of the day: Eschewing individual rights for majority rule

It’s not like we haven’t seen where we’re headed before.  One of the reasons for the war on individualism?  Because it yields a desired result, a result, unfortunately, all to common in our history.

Auberon Herbert (via the WSJ) in "The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State", written in 1894, provides the lesson we’ve still apparently not learned:

We are fast getting rid of emperors and kings and dominant churches, as far as the mere outward form is concerned, but the soul of these men and these institutions is still living and breathing within us. We still want to exercise power, we still want to drive men our own way, and to possess the mind and body of our brothers as well as of our own selves. The only difference is that we do it in the name of a majority instead of in the name of divine right. . . .

In this case the possession of power would necessarily confer upon those who gained it such enormous privileges—if we are to speak of the miserable task of compulsion as privileges—the privileges of establishing and enforcing their own views in all matters, of treading out and suppressing the views to which they are opposed, of arranging and distributing all property, of regulating all occupations, that all those who still retained sufficient courage and energy to have views of their own would be condemned to live organized for ceaseless and bitter strife with each other.

In presence of unlimited power lodged in the hands of those who govern, in the absence of any universal acknowledgment of individual rights, the stakes for which men played would be so terribly great that they would shrink from no means to keep power out of the hands of their opponents. Not only would the scrupulous man become unscrupulous, and the pitiful man cruel, but the parties into which society divided itself would begin to perceive that to destroy or be destroyed was the one choice lying in front of them.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Forward!

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

12 Responses to Quote of the day: Eschewing individual rights for majority rule

  • I used to be a fairly doctrinaire Right winger, but I noticed that all the social issues which I believed in were not being addressed by legislation, but instead were being furthered by conversation.  So I started reading about libertarianism.
     
    Slowly, over time, I came to understand that until we are prepared to let our neighbors, lead their own lives,(even if we don’t like them, even if they are self destructive, even if with think them stupid) Then we ourselves cannot be free.

    • I don’t care what you do as long as I am not forced to be involved, either directly or indirectly.

    • “He that would make his own liberty secure,
      must guard even his enemy from oppression;
      for if he violates this duty, he establishes
      a precedent that will reach to himself.” — Thomas Paine

  • …but the parties into which society divided itself would begin to perceive that to destroy or be destroyed was the one choice lying in front of them.

    As I’ve said many times…every issue becomes a blood struggle over the bone of power.
    The religious right was never political to the extent it became toward the end of the last century until it became apparent they would have to in order to compete.
    (The religious left, on the other hand was very glad to impose Prohibition, among other miserable things.)
    Decentralize power.

    • God help me, State’s Rights.

    • The religious right was never political to the extent it became toward the end of the last century

      The “last century” being the 16th century?
      Read up on who gave “Holy Hell” to that atheist, Thomas Jefferson, in the 1800 election.

      • Jefferson ran for office in the 1500s…!?!?  You asserting there was a “religious right” in the early U.S.?

        • Sure, the settlers fled Europe so they could home-school and cling to their firearms!

  • I think a good first step would be to return to the original Constitutional means of filling Senate seats, returning power to the states.

  • I saw a quote last week that sums this up{
    “People go to Washington to do good and stay to do well”.
    Power is very corrupting.