Monday, August 10, 2015

An apposite quote from Lord Acton

Once again, it being the silly season, there are discussions about the need to reform the House of Lords, make it more accountable to the people, make it more democratic, make it representative of the people's will, and so on, just because one particular friend of a former Prime Minister has turned out to be somewhat silly in his behaviour in his own time and at his own expense. I may add that apart from the cocaine nothing Lord Sewel did was illegal though I can't help thinking that the wearing of an orange bra ought to be.

Anyway, I shall write a long piece on the subject very soon. (Really, I will.) In the meantime I was interested to find this quote by Lord Acton from his History of Freedom in Hugh Tulloch's book:
It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist. But from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason.
As we look at political systems that were built on the concept of the "will of the people" or of one class, we can see that he was right.

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