Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quote of the Day: The Fiction of the Mass of the People

Representative government cannot express the will of the mass of the people, because there is no mass of the people; The People is a fiction, like The State. You cannot get a Will of the Mass, even among a dozen persons who all want to go on a picnic. The only human mass with a common will is a mob, and that will is a temporary insanity. In actual fact, the population of a country is a multitude of diverse human beings with an infinite variety of purposes and desires and fluctuating wills. 

In a republic, a majority of the population from time to time decides what a candidate for public office shall have the use of The State’s police power. From time to time, an action of a majority can alter the methods by which men get power, the extent of that power, or the terms upon which they are allowed to keep it. But a majority does not govern; it cannot govern; it acts as a check on its governors. Any government of multitudes of men, anywhere, at any time, must be a man, or few men, in power. There is no way to escape from that fact. 
This is from American author, journalist and libertarian Rose Wilder Lane in her essay Credo (1936) So goes the local populist media concept of the "madlang people"

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