The tyranny of powerful minorities

Our institutions never contemplated that the conduct of this country, the direction of its affairs, the adoption of its policies, the maintenance of its principles, should be decided by a minority moved in part by self-interest and prejudice. They were framed on the theory that decisions would be made by the great body of voters inspired by patriotic motives. Faith in the people does not mean faith in a part of the people. It means faith in all the people. Our country is always safe when decisions are made by a majority of those who are entitled to vote. It is always in peril when decisions are made by a minority.

These are the words of Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States, whose death took place 77 years ago on 5th January 1933.

Coolidge must have lived at a time, in a place where people still had faith in democracy. Had his words been heeded in this Millenium, there would have been no war in Iraq, at least as far as the British were concerned, because contemporary polls show popular support for the anti-war ticket. The majority of British want to be out of the European Union. Not just ceding more powers, out, finished. It is almost certain that, given a referendum on the EU, we the people would vote OUT. But the establishment won't allow the majority to make that decision.
Calvin Coolidge. RIP


Brian said...

If we live in a democracy, why do politicians and their hangers-on attach a pejorative meaning to populism? Surely populist should be the gold-standard to which the servants of the people must aspire.
And why did Marathon become Snickers without giving snackers the chance to decide? I haven't eaten one since in protest.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Brian, Why did Walkers put Cheese and Onion crisps in Blue packets, when everyone knows they go in green ones?

Were we consulted, we the people?

Richard said...

Totally agree, and +1 to Brian's comment. I had something to say on the topic here recently:

Brian said...

WW, Agree. The international colour of cheese crisps is green - it was for Tudors Three Spires (a defunct Coventry brand) and is for the excellent Taytos I brought a box of them back as hand luggage on the plane many years ago. So I did.

It's like Vladimir Tretchikoff's Chinese Girl, some say charmingly kitsch but I say running out of cadmium yellow is plain slipshod. Bet he didn't clean his brushes properly either.

Richard, Many thanks. I shall read your post later.

Twig said...

Yes, we should quit the EU, but it'll never happen under a Labour or Tory government or any coalition with the Lib Dems. It's gonna take a long time for conservative voters to finally accept that the Tories are no longer conservative, and when they do it will be too late. I've gone right off of Cheese and Onion and Salt and Vinegar crisps since they switched colours (there's probably a political analogy there somewhere).