Taking Control of Tyranny

Tyranny of the majority is a famous quote said by John Adams meaning that the majority might impede the rights of the minority. This has happened countless times through history and sparked ideas for many chilling stories. One such story is “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. This story tells of a dark tale of a town which has an unruly tradition of a lottery which happens yearly. The lottery is not as wonderful as many people see it now a days as it leads to the demise of whoever “wins.” Thus,  characters within the story have heard ideas of stopping this tradition from other towns and possibly their own. The town gathers its people every year to have a lottery in which people draw out pieces of paper and whoever pulls out the paper with a black dot goes through the ritual of having stones tossed at you til death. Of course, the person within the story objects but only after she had already “won.” Perhaps, she may have changed the outcome if she and whoever else would voice their opinions on this old, barbaric tradition, as other towns have, to stop the horrendous acts. There is the fear of the mob mentality and tyranny of the majority to oppose but most changes start with the minority becoming the majority to control the tyranny. Changing the tyranny of the majority has been seen throughout history and is still seen today. One example comes from the towns and villages of Mexico.

Mexico is still a developing country and it has been known that the government has failed to protect its country from the control of the drug cartels. Approximately 65% of the country is under control of drug cartels. They have harassed and killed many of the Mexican citizens and the government could do nothing about it or won’t because of corruption within it. People of certain villages and towns have become fed up with this tyranny and have begun taking control of their own lives. Nicholas Casey who writes for Wall Street Journal has documented these cases where the people are now taking back control. Villages and towns mimic their neighboring towns and created barriers to protect themselves from drug cartel and the government. They prevent people from entering into their towns and has taken justice into their own hand by arresting anybody suspected of being in the drug cartel or may be helping them. These towns and villages also set up trials to lawfully judge the suspects and have jails with safe conditions to detain these individuals if proven guilty. The people who were being controlled by the tyranny of drug cartels have banded to create their own majority and slowly stopped the influence of drug cartels within their towns.  If you have a Wall Street Journal subscription, here is the article:


Had the town of the story “The Lottery” been a real one, there is always a possibility to stop the tyranny of the majority by speaking out and starting protests rather than fearing the majority. The characters of the story spoke of neighboring cities stopping the tradition and it is pretty clear that influence from other towns can spark the courage to do so as shown in the towns of Mexico. Each town and village took the concepts of neighboring towns and built on them. Weapons from the majority are dangerous, but ideas from the minority can spread and overwhelm the majority’s tyranny.

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3 Responses to Taking Control of Tyranny

  1. ryrooney says:

    Can’t one argue that tyranny of the majority or tyranny of the soul is a good thing because it can motivate people or get them to conform to society? In the special case of “The Lottery” tyranny of the majority would not be a good thing, but it would be a good thing when talking about how rape and murder is a very bad thing.

  2. roblewis92 says:

    What is tyranny of the soul?

    • It was a part of Tocqueville’s book “Democracy in America”, basically it is the idea that a representative democracy may create laws that are wrong but people obey because they have lost the desire to rebel. The mindset of popular sovereignty is in his eyes far more dangerous than a tyrannical ruler who exercises power by force. Basically a corruption of the mind to accept evil versus submission from external forces. If you have ever read 1984 that is a perfect example of this idea.

      I completely disagree with the assessment that tyranny of the soul is worse. Even in America today this supposed corruption does not affect everyone, as is evident by our deeply divided political system and social movements.

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