Majorities are of two sorts: (1) communal majority and (2) political majority. A political majority is changeable in its class composition. A political majority grows. A communal majority is born. The admission to a political majority is open. The door to a communal majority is closed. The politics of political majority are free to all to make and unmake. The politics of communal majority are made by its own members born in it.
B. R. Ambedkar
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Was the majority right when they stood by while Jesus was crucified? Was the majority right when they refused to believe that the earth moved around the sun and let Galileo be driven to his knees like a dog? It takes fifty years for the majority to be right. The majority is never right until it does right.
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The majority never has right on its side. Never, I say! That is one of these social lies against which an independent, intelligent men must wage war. Who is it that constitute the majority of the population in a country? Is it the clever folk, or the stupid? I don't imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over.
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Majorities can be wrong, majorities can overrule rights of minorities. If majorities ruled, we could still have slavery. 80% of the population once enslaved 20% of the population. While run by majority rule that is ok. That is very flawed notion of what democracy is. Democracy has to take into account several things - proportionate requirements of people, not just needs of the majority, but also needs of the minority. Majority, especially in societies where the media manipulates public opinion, can be totally wrong and evil. People have to act according to conscience and not by majority vote.
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Cities are responsible for the vast majority of the creation of the economy. They're also places into which we pour the vast majority of resources, the vast majority of energy and the places where a huge percentage of the decisions about how systems are built and how products designed, etc., happen.
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It is only because the majority opinion will always be opposed by some that our knowledge and understanding progress. In the process by which opinion is formed, it is very probable that, by the time any view becomes a majority view, it is no longer the best view: somebody will already have advanced beyond the point which the majority have reached. It is because we do not yet know which of the many competing new opinions will prove itself the best that we wait until it has gained sufficient support.
Friedrich August von Hayek
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Yet in his own estimate, one theme in particular dominated all others: the growing tyranny of the majority, the ever-increasing and most formidable barriers raised by the majority around the free expression of opinion, and, as a result, the frightening oneness of American thinking, the absence of eccentricity and divergence from the norm. A perfect liberty of the Mind exists in America, said Tocqueville, just as long as the sovereign majority has yet to decide its course. But once the majority has made up its mind, then all contrary thought must cease, and all controversy must be abandoned, not at the risk of death or physical punishment, but rather at the more subtle and more intolerable pain of ostracism, of being shunned by one's fellows, of being rejected by society. Throughout history kings and princely rulers had sought without success to control human thought, that most elusive and invisible power of all. Yet where absolute monarchs had failed, democracy succeeds, for the strength of the majority is unlimited and all pervasive, and the doctrines of equality and majority rule have substituted for the tyranny of the few over the many the more absolute, imperious and widely accepted tyranny of the many over the few.
Richard D. Heffner
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In the South, prior to the Civil Rights movement and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, democracy was the rule. The majority of people were white, and the white majority had little or no respect for any rights which the black minority had relative to property, or even to their own lives. The majority - the mob and occasionally the lynch mob - ruled.
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The French under the old monarchy held it for a maxim that the king could do no wrong . The Americans entertain the same opinion with respect to the majority.... If ever the free institutions of America are destroyed, that event may be attributed to the omnipotence of the majority.
Alexis de Tocqueville
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Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of a senate, is the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence first of a majority of the people, and then of a majority of the states.
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Global warming activists claim a serious public concern presently exists and the overwhelming majority of scientists agrees humans are creating a global warming crisis. The survey of AMS meteorologists, however, shows no such overwhelming majority exists. Indeed, to the extent we can assign a majority scientific opinion to whether all the necessary components of a global warming crisis exist, the AMS survey shows the majority does not agree humans are creating a global warming crisis.
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I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both inperson and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait until they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.
Henry David Thoreau
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We have this sacred cow in our society that what the majority of people want is right —but is it? Our populace can't really be informed, not the majority of them —most people vote the way they have been manipulated and by the way they have responded to that manipulation —they are working out their own patterns of wishful thinking on the social environment in which they live.
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Democratic, Republican members of Congress get along fine. But what you have is this institutional Hatfield and McCoy sentiment coming from our constituents, where the base of both sides doesn't want people to get along. But the majority of Americans, I feel, the majority, they are in the middle. They actually do want both sides to get together.
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Actually, in its essence, democracy is a totalitarian ideology, though not as extreme as Nazism, fascism or communism. In principle, no freedom is safe in a democracy, every aspect of the individual's life is potentially subject to government control. At the end of the day, the minority is completely at the mercy of the whims of the majority. Even if a democracy has a constitution limiting the powers of the government, this constitution too can be amended by the majority. The only fundamental right you have in a democracy, besides running for office, is the right to vote for a political party. With that solitary vote you hand over your independence and your freedom to the will of the majority.
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After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it.
Henry David Thoreau
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A generation may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life; when that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and powers their predecessors once held, and may change their laws and institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and inalienable rights of man.
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The importance of our being free to do a particular thing has nothing to do with the question of whether we or the majority are ever likely to make use of that particular possibility. To grant no more freedom than all can exercise would be to misconceive its function completely. The freedom that will be used by only one man in a million may be more important to society and more beneficial to the majority than any freedom that we all use.
Friedrich August von Hayek
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Palestinians don't really believe in a state of Israel. They, unlike a majority of Israelis, who have come to the conclusion that they can live with a two-state solution to be determined by the parties, the majority of Palestinians are still very reluctant, and they need to be pushed to get there.
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If the majority view, whether in government or in the scientific establishment, is wrong, toleration of dissent increases the odds that their errors will eventually be discovered. But even if the majority view is correct, as it often may be, it is more likely to be seen to be correct if it must defend itself against critics.
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[A] re-elected McConnell, with a Republican majority, would, he says, emulate his model of majority leadership - the 16 years under a Democrat, Montana' € ™s Mike Mansfield. He, like McConnell, had a low emotional metabolism but a subtle sense of the Senate's singular role in the nation's constitutional equilibrium.
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Imagine if all of life were determined by majority rule. Every meal would be a pizza. Every pair of pants, even those in a Brooks Brothers suit, would be stone-washed denim. Celebrity diet and exercise books would be the only thing on the shelves at the library. And - since women are a majority of the population - we'd all be married to Mel Gibson.
P. J. O'Rourke
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When a legislature decides to steal some of our rights and plans to use police force to accomplish it, what's the real difference between them and the thief? Darn little! They hide behind the excuse that they're legislating democratically. The fact they do it by a majority vote has no moral significance whatsoever. Numerical might does not constitute right, no more than a lynch mob can justify its act because a majority participated.
H. L. Richardson
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Every man, and every body of men on earth, possesses the right of self-government. They receive it with their being from the hand of nature. Individuals exercise it by their single will; collections of men by that of their majority; for the law of the majority is the natural law of every society of men.
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The will of the people, moreover, practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people; the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority; type people, consequently, may desire to oppress a part of their number; and precautions are as much needed against this as against any other abuse of power.
John Stuart Mill
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The great masses of men, though theoretically free, are seen to submit supinely to oppression and exploitation of a hundred abhorrent sorts. Have they no means of resistance? Obviously they have. The worst tyrant, even under democratic plutocracy, has but one throat to slit. The moment the majority decided to overthrow him he would be overthrown. But the majority lacks the resolution; it cannot imagine taking the risks.
H. L. Mencken
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Democracy, or "majority rules," is another trick of our society to force us to do things we don't want to do. Even if we actually lived in a pure democracy (and the system we do live in is not even close), where everyone got a single vote on every subject, forcing the minority to obey the majority is no different to one man, if he had the power, forcing everyone else to do what he wanted them to-simply because he could.
William J. Murray
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A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.
Elmer T Peterson
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The vast majority of Americans want a government that creates the conditions for them to have a chance to get into the middle class, the kind of growth and the kind of educational opportunities. Most people would - the vast majority of Americans would much rather have a job that pays more than a welfare check.
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Never to have seen anything but the temperate zone is to have lived on the fringe of the world. Between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer live the majority of all the plant species, the vast majority of the insects, most of the strange ... quadrupeds, all of the great and most of the poisonous snakes and large lizards, most of the brilliantly colored sea fishes, and the strangest and most gorgeously plumaged of the birds.
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This is the first time in history that a war has involved the whole world, and also it may last many years more; this thought is soul-shattering for all of us as human beings. It is horrible to think that the crimes committed by this one man Hitler have these many years been destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands and millions, and one would despair entirely were it not certain that the majority, the innumerable majority which opposes him openly or secretly, will succeed in wiping out once and for all him and his.
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But the most amazing, almost miraculous news is that the majority of the building is still intact. Due to one of the most astonishingly intelligent and professional pieces of strategy by the fire services, they succeeded in protecting the vast majority of the building, apparently by forming a human wall of firefighters up the west end of the main staircase and containing the fire.
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The majority, being satisfied with the ways of mankind as they now are (for it is they who make them what they are), cannot comprehend why those ways should not be good enough for everybody; and what is more, spontaneity forms no part of the ideal of the majority of moral and social reformers, but is rather looked on with jealousy, as a troublesome and perhaps rebellious obstruction to the general acceptance of what these reformers, in their own judgment, think would be best for mankind.
John Stuart Mill
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To change the world by bullets or ballots was a useless procedure. If the workers ever did get a majority of either, they would have the envy and greed in their hearts and would be chained by these as much as by the chains of the master class. And the State which they would like to call a Cooperative Commonwealth would be based on power; the state would not wither away but would grow. Therefore the only revolution worthwhile was the one-man revolution within the heart. Each one could make this by himself and not need to wait on a majority.
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Democracy appears to me potentially a higher form of political organization than any kind of dictatorship. But if it turns out that in America, which could afford a decent living for everyone, the comfortable majority is willing to condone the misery and abuse of a minority for an indefinite period, the exploitation by the majority becomes as repugnant as exploitation by an oligarchy, and democracy loses half its supposed superiority.
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An irreligious man is not one who denies the gods of the majority, but one who applies to the gods the opinions of the majority. For what most men say about the gods are not ideas derived from sensation, but false opinions, according to which the greatest evils come to the wicked, and the greatest blessings come to the good from the gods.
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The very purpose of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution is to protect minority rights against majority voters. Every court decision that strikes down discriminatory legislation, including past Supreme Court decisions, affirming the fundamental rights to marry the person you love, overrules a majority decision.
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The principle of majority rule is the mildest form in which the force of numbers can be exercised. It is a pacific substitute for civil war in which the opposing armies are counted and the victory is awarded to the larger before any blood is shed. Except in the sacred tests of democracy and in the incantations of the orators, we hardly take the trouble to pretend that the rule of the majority is not at bottom a rule of force.
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And what has come to prevail in democracies is the very reverse of beneficial, in those, that is, which are regarded as the most democratically run. The reason for this lies in the failure properly to define liberty. For there are two marks by which democracy is thought to be defined: "sovereignty of the majority" and "liberty." "Just" is equated with what is equal, and the decision of the majority as to what is equal is regarded as sovereign; and liberty is seen in terms of doing what one wants.
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Free institutions are not the property of any majority. They do not confer upon majorities unlimited powers. The rights of the majority are limited rights. They are limited not only by the constitutional guarantees but by the moral principle implied in those guarantees. That principle is that men may not use the facilities of liberty to impair them. No man may invoke a right in order to destroy it.
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Because the persecuting majority is vile, says the liberal, therefore the persecuted minority must be stainlessly pure... What's to prevent the bad from being persecuted by the worse? Did all the Christian victims on the arena have to be saints?... A minority has its own kind of aggression. It absolutely dares the majority to attack it. It hates the majority - not without a cause, I grant you. It even hates the other minorities - because all minorities are in competition; each one proclaims that its sufferings are the worst and its wrongs are the blackest. And the more they all hate, and the more they're all persecuted, the nastier they become! Do you think it makes people nasty to be loved? You know it doesn't! Then why should it make them nice to be loathed? While you're being persecuted, you hate what's happening to you, you hate the people who are making it happen; you're in a world of hate. Why, you wouldn't recognize love if you met it! You'd suspect love! You'd think there was something behind it-some motive-some trick.
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A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.
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