> let me quote the most enlightening phrase > in > American history; that's where I am: "...they are endowed with their > creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life > liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights > governments are instituted among men..." > > The purpose of government is to secure inalienable rights and > government > is merely an agent (they derive their power from the governed) of the > people not a supernatural entity to be worshiped. Please note that > this > is quite different from the rule of the majority. If the government acts as an agent of the people, how do the people convey their will to the government? They do it through their majority. The idea of "rule of the majority" and of "a supernatural entity to be worshipped" have nothing to do with one another. If you do not believe in rule of the majority, then where does the government get its power? Indeed, anyone who believes that the government is somehow above and beyond the rule exerted by the majority must themselves believe the government is some superior entity which must be worshipped by the people. I am afraid you do not understand the difference between inalienable rights and the MEANS by which a government implements or secures inalienable rights. Of course the purpose of government is to secure inalienable rights! No one disputes that, or thinks that majority rule is a substitute for that. But the question is, HOW DOES GOVERNMENT DO THAT? HOW DOES IT SECURE INALIENABLE RIGHTS??? If governments derive their power from the consent of the governed, HOW IS THAT CONSENT REGISTERED??? HOW DOES THAT CONSENT COMPEL GOVERNMENT TO DO WHAT IT SHOULD DO? Of course government is merely an agent!!! But how is that agency circumscribed? How is that agency directed by the governed? IT IS THROUGH MAJORITY RULE! Majority rule is a MECHANISM of government. It is the mechanism by which a free people of equal rights govern themselves, give instructions to their government, and make sure that their government secures their inalienable rights. It of itself is NOT the expression of their fundamental philosophy; it is the means by which their fundamental philosophy (inalienable rights) is actualized. You seem to believe that those who support majority rule do so because they believe that anything the majority decides should be considered right and just. Nothing could be further from the truth. A majority NEVER determines what is right; a majority ONLY determines what is the will of the people. What is right and just is a philosophical question that is determined by the principles that you quote. But those principles are not self-actualizing. There must be a power that assures that those principles will be adhered to. And "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED." And how do the governed express their consent? THROUGH THEIR MAJORITY!!! That is what majority rule means. That is the only way that a free people can govern themselves, and that a democratic government, i.e., a government of the people, can function. And if the majority of the people do not support free government, there will not be free government. Have you seen my essay on Madison's "Federalist No. 10 and Thomas Jefferson"? It explains in detail the democratic principle of government and the role of majority rule. It is located at: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/7970/jefpco55.htm > In Jeffersons > words: > > " A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring > one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their > own > pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the > mouth > of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, > and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity." > > In my opinion that is Jeffersons legacy, not majority rule. What do you think Jefferson meant when he wrote this? "The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism." --Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1817. "Republicanism" refers to the system of government, not inalienable rights. Majority rule is the fundamental law of a society of individuals of equal rights, i.e., a society with a republican government. It is only by majority rule that such a society can be governed. If it is NOT so governed, it must be governed by force, i.e., a minority forcing their will upon the majority. Theoretically, perhaps, minority rule *could* secure the inalienable rights of the people -- but in fact, that is a contradiction. Because the right of a people to govern themselves is itself a natural and inalienable right. And the ONLY way a people can govern themselves is through majority rule. > I know you are pressed for time but this has been gnawing at me all > day. I think you have a mistaken idea of inalienable rights. I think not. But I think you have a mistaken idea of majority rule and its function in a free society. Objectivists oppose majority rule because their form of individualism is opposed to any subordination of individual interest to the "general good," or to the "collective." Because they deny a voice to the people as a whole, they are compelled to deny the only way that voice can be heard. They apparently believe that the only purpose of society is to serve individual concerns, and that the society as a collective has no legitimate interests. In fact, I have had one Objectivist tell me that society as a collective does not exist; society is just a group of individuals. And that, basically, is why, as you say, Objectivism has no heart. It has no sense of feeling for their fellow man, only for oneself.
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