A blupete Essay

Notes, to blupete's Essay
"An Essay On Democracy"

1 It was Edmund Burke (not Churchill as so many believe) who first said that "democracy is the only tolerable form into which human society can be thrown ..."

2 The British settlers, on coming to colonize the eastern seaboard of the North American continent, arrived with but a few physical possessions; what they did have, in full measure, was their love of freedom, a condition which very much defined them. The roots of democracy and freedom for all "western" democracies are planted in the rich history of Britain beginning with the Magna Carta. Enough to point out that when Captain Christopher Jones and his officers, together with their crew and their passengers disembarked from the Mayflower, in December of 1620, the pilgrims drew up a compact that provided for the government of the colony by the will of the majority.

3 The English Constitution (Oxford University Press, 1928) at p. 130.

4 In fact there is no specific date to which we can point. Human rights, a subject I deal with elsewhere, came about only through deep and long struggles culminating in historical declarations such as the Magna Carta (1215) and the Petition of Right (1628, "A man cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself"); but it is only with English Bill of Rights in 1689 that we see any real progress in the evolution of law designed to protect the "rights" of the normal citizen. With the defeat of James at the Battle of the Boyne, the claim of divine right or hereditary right independent of law was formally brought to an end. Ever since, an English monarch is "as much the creature of an act of parliament as the pettiest tax-gatherer in his realm." (Green, vol. IX, p. 58.)

5 We do not want our medical doctor doing what we want; but, rather, in the final analysis, what the doctor thinks is best for our health and our life.

6 Freedom and the Law (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 3rd Ed., 1991) at p. 122.

7 There is nothing new about this line of thinking, see John Stuart Mill. John Buchanan (The Nobel Laureate in Economic Science in 1986) and Gordon Tullock in their work, The Calculus of Consent, have shown in an "irrefutable way that whenever a minority is well organized and determined to bribe as many voters as necessary in order to have a majority ready to pass a desired decision, the majority rule works much more in favour of such minorities than is commonly supposed." (Leoni, op. cit., p. 242.)

8 See Burke's speech, On the Reform of the Representation of the Commons in Parliament (1784).

9 "Devonshire was a great maritime county when the foundations of our representation were fixed; Somersetshire and Wiltshire great manufacturing counties. The harsher climate of the northern counties was associated with a ruder, a sterner, and a sparser people." [Bagehot, Op. cit., at p. 146.]

10 In 1830 the British Commons represented an electorate of about 220,000 out of a total population of approximately 14 million, or about 3 percent of the adult population. (See Leoni, Op. cit., p. 115.)

11 Bagehot, Op. cit., at p. 181.

12 It was Sir William Temple (1628-99), one of the architects of the Glorious Revolution, who was of the view that states often fell "under Tyrannies, which spring naturally out of Popular Governments." Since, this observation has proved to be true, time and time again.


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