In Tocqueville’s influential novel Democracy in America he outlines some very important ideas regarding the inevitable flaws of Democracy as compared to it’s counterpart Monarchy. Tocqueville believes that the Tyranny of the Majority is far more destructive to a society than any Monarch could ever be. His basic theory is clearly stated when he said
“The authority of a king is purely physical, and it controls the actions of the subject without subduing his private will; but the majority possesses a power which is physical and moral at the same time; it acts upon the will as well as upon the actions of men, and it represses not only all contest, but all controversy.”
He believes that in a Monarchy there is some reprise from the people and from the oppressive nobles. The King/Queen is the scapegoat where all decisions are laid to rest regardless of people’s opinion on the matter. Therefore people are free to think as they will, free of all societal pressure and biases. This supposed intellectual freedom is worth far more in his eyes than anything else. He says that a king may kill you but cannot change your mind. Versus you simply not wanting to think differently due to social pressure and group thought.
My classmates mostly widely disagreed with this critique and took the other extreme of blaming the “Ruling class” and the Corporations that supposedly “Run the media”. From my interpretation of their argument the shift of power from the masses and into the few has caused the current situation of the country. I completely agree on all almost every aspect of the argument.
Firstly: If The Rich Corporations ruled the media then why would they receive bad press? Different news corporations have their own biases I.e. Fox and CNN. If you really beleive the media is run by the Corperations read this.
Secondly: If you really are against the bailouts then you fail to understand Economics. If the President “Bailed out” all of the people who bought crappy mortgages that would be far more Socialist/communist and less productive than bailing out companies that will PAY YOU BACK! Don’t believe me? Take a look
My Favorite Quote:
Thirdly: Rich people are taxed a solid amount to keep them from vehemently exploiting us “normal people”. Top earners are taxed almost 40% (Marginal) at the Federal level. Also in regards to us being wage slaves, yes we are but this is not a bad thing. Yes my job sucks but my unskilled and non-physically demanding labor is not worth much more than $8 an hour. The minimum wage laws exist to protect us. We are not being rolled by companies. With a few notable exceptions….
Finally: In regards to speculation and how that affected the economy. It is a bubble that popped like any other. That happens. It would take way to long to explain how it works but if your interested here is the prime historical example of how it all happens.
I would address the arguments in further depth but in the interest of keeping this brief i will begin closing arguments. Tocqueville was far more worried about an uneducated mass running the show than he was about the mob feeling a bit used. And he cited the example of blacks having difficulty voting. For the most part i would tend to agree with him on this. I would rather have a select knowledgeable group of people running things than blatant mob rule. simply put Paine was wrong, we are not all fit to rule. The arguments i gave attest to this; if uneducated mobs ran things with little or no foresight we would fall into ruin rapidly. This is why we have a representative democracy instead of a direct one.
Disclaimer: If you were in the class session where this debate happened this is not a personal attack. Don’t get too upset. That said, if you still disagree with me i would love to hear your counterarguments 🙂