Saturday, November 1, 2014

A counter blast to people's will and blind faith in "the people"

I was reading a review of Shami Chakrabarti's recent book, which, apparently equates freedom and rightness with whatever she seems to think is right, including advice to the Leveson inquiry that there should be some control over the media (or some of it, anyway, though certainly not the Grauniad).

The reviewer then quoted the author of the original On Liberty, John Stuart Mill:
Protection against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs to be protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development… of any individuality not in harmony with its ways.
Or, in other words, just because the demos wants something at any given time it is not a sign of democracy to make that opinion law.


  1. Good. One to think about in relation to Direct Democracy and the Harrogate Agenda.

  2. What we have a lot of the time in this country is the political elite paying pressure groups (sock puppets as Christopher Snowdon calls them) to lobby them to make it look like the demos wants something. So even getting to that imperfect state that something was done because the demos wanted it would be an improvement on where we are.

  3. And you are, of course, going to define demos and who is allowed to be part of it as well as how many?