Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, October 19, 2007

No Tyranny of the Majority in the Bush Era

John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville can rest easy about “the tyranny of the majority.”

After being elected by less than a plurality of voters in 2000, George W. Bush has kept America safe from majority rule. After yesterday’s vote, 341 members of Congress had voted to expand children’s health insurance, 187 against, but the President’s veto stands to safeguard us against the folly of mob rule.

If the polls are accurate, seven out of ten Americans want us to get out of Iraq, as do a majority of their representatives, but the President is having none of that panic to do what’s popular.

"A man with God is always in the majority," John Knox declared in the sixteenth century, and Thoreau proclaimed the American counterpart, "Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one."

You don’t see them much any more, but five years ago, there were bumper stickers everywhere that said “Thank God for President Bush.”

As he approaches his final year of protecting us from ourselves, Bush should find comfort in de Tocqueville’s judgement: “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

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