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CHAPTER 14

"The Tyranny of the Majority"

 

While Orwell and Huxley warned against political and commercial despots, a Frenchman of aristocratic provenance, warned the other way -- against the "Tyranny of the Majority."1 A nine month visit to the United States, from May, 1831, to February, 1832, convinced Alexis de Tocqueville that democratic institutions were not without danger. The main evil stems from unlimited power, he argued. His reason: "Human beings are not competent to exercise it [unlimited power] with discretion." In a democratic state, anarchy, or loss of control over society, is often the result of abuse of force and misemployment of resources.2

In light of de Tocqueville's observations, one must ask if the few human beings on top of international financial pyramids are competent enough to exercise their discretion over the financial lives of millions of citizens around the world.

John Kenneth Galbraith on Money Managers. The observations in Galbraith's Money are not encouraging. Let me quote: "Proof begins with the people who manage money. If anything is evident from this history, it is that the task attracts a very low level of talent . . ." [my italics]; more distressing is the fact that "[i]nadequacy is protected . . . by the fact that failure is not always at cost to those responsible."3

In Democracy in America, de Tocqueville cited Jefferson's concern: " . . . The tyranny of the legislature is really the danger most to be feared . . . The tyranny of the executive power will come in its turn, but at a more distant period."4 An understanding of Jefferson's fears is absolutely vital to understanding what must be done to avoid what I call World War III against the Money Trust (more on this later). Legislative and judicial net advantages for Big Business and Big Government -- at the expense of the Citizen -- must go. Otherwise, Big Business and Big Government risk the consequences of the Tyranny of the Majority.

The Declaration of Independence. The tyranny of the majority must not be taken lightly. The Declaration of Independence, in Congress, July 4, 1776, put it bluntly:5

  1. "[A]ll men are created equal" and "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights," including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
  2. Governments are instituted to "secure these rights," their powers deriving from "the consent of the governed." Without this consent, Governments have no authority.
  3. "[W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it . . . " in order "to effect their Safety and Happiness."

The Representatives of the United States decided to throw off the King of Great Britain, and separate from their "British brethren." Why? The Declaration is crystal clear: absolute Tyranny and Despotism. The grievances included:6

  • abuses, injuries, usurpations, plundering,
  • oppressions,
  • invasions on the rights of the people,
  • misappropriation of property,
  • harassment,
  • eating out of the People's substance,
  • cutting off trade,
  • unconsented taxes,
  • pretended legislation, pretended offences, and mock trials,
  • arbitrary government, etc.

Today's legislators and judicial powers should take note. The Declaration's logic is crystal clear. The refusal by the King to give his "Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good" may be sufferable for a while -- but it will not be tolerated by free and independent people.7

In France, the tyranny of the majority operated differently. Free people who cared more for jobs and bread than for cake, sharpened, and used, their guillotines.

Voltaire on Tyranny. It is instructive to review Voltaire's definition of a Tyrant, in Philosophical Dictionary: a Tyrant is a "sovereign who knows no laws but his own whim, who seizes the property of his subjects, and who then enlists them to seize that of his neighbors."8

It is, therefore, extremely important for Big Business, as creditors, to make sure that the cumulative number of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and other asset seizures during a business cycle not be too large; otherwise, Big Business will be perceived as a Tyrant. Secondly, the duration of the business cycle must be long enough so that the negative memories associated with perceived oppressions during the slump can have sufficient time to fade; otherwise, alienation can compound the way of interest rate!

 


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1 See Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835 and 1840), edited and abridged by Richard D. Heffner, 1956 and 1984, at 113-115 (Tyranny of the Majority).

2 Ibid., at 120-121 (The Greatest Dangers of the American Republics Proceed from the Omnipotence of the Majority).

3 See John Kenneth Galbraith, Money, 1975 and 1995, at 310.

4 See A. de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1956 and 1984, at 121.

5 See The United States Government Manual, 1987, at 1-3 (The Declaration of Independence).

6 See The United States Government Manual, 1987, at 1-3.

7 Ibid.

8 See Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary (1764), edited and translated by Theodore Besterman, 1972, at 398 (Tyranny).

  

 


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