Noam Chomsky - Lord Acton - Bertrand Russell - Alan Barth - Paul Foot - Adam Smith - Henrik Ibsen - Mark Twain - Ralph W Sockman - Thomas Jefferson - Richard Nixon - Niccolo Machiavelli - Aaron Russo - Alain de Botton TV - Vladimir Lenin - Ray Bradbury - G K Chesterton - Helen Keller - Leo Tolstoy - John Dryden - Lord Young - Edward Young - Erich Fromm - Napoleon Hill - Proverbs - Eric Hoffer - Cicero - Homer - James V O’Connor - Stanley Baldwin - Eduardo Galeano - Robert Tressell - Jacob Zuma - Jordan Maxwell - John Pilger -
The repression launched by the Wilson Administration successfully undermined democratic politics, unions, freedom of the press, and independent thought, in the interests of corporate power and the state authorities who represented its interests, all with approval of the media and elites generally, all in self-defence against the ‘ignorant and mentally deficient’ majority. Much the same story was re-enacted after World War II, again under the pretext of a Soviet threat, in reality to restore submission to the rulers. Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy
The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections. Lord Acton
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widely spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible. Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals
Thought that is silenced is always rebellious. Majorities of course are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is necessarily dangerous. Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions. Alan Barth
Great disparities of wealth in society, however, restrict freedoms every bit as much as restrictions on voting. Everyone is ‘free’ to send their children to private school, to have tea at The Ritz, to gamble on the stock exchange. These ‘freedoms’ are defended far more vigorously than the freedom to vote, yet they are in fact restrictions on freedom. For every one person who can have tea at The Ritz, there are a hundred who cannot do so because they have not got the money. If 10 per cent can send their children to private school and secure for them a straight route back into the privileged class from which they came, 90 per cent cannot do so – are banned from doing so – because they cannot afford it.
Thus the ‘freedom’ handed out by capitalist society is more often than not the opposite of freedom. Yet the idea of freedom still prevails, because the prevailing ideas of any society are the ideas of the class which runs it.
So the people who fight against these ideas – whether in strikes, demonstrations, popular protests or just in argument – are always, or almost always, swimming against the stream. They are the minority. But this minority, unlike the passive majority, can involve other people far outside their immediate orbit. And once involved in struggle against the old society, people’s ideas can change decisively. Paul Foot, The Case for Socialism chapter 6
No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable. Adam Smith
The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That’s one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population – the intelligent ones or the fools? Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People
The worst enemy of truth and freedom in our society is the compact majority. Yes the damned, compact, liberal majority. ibid.
The majority never has right on its side. ibid.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain
Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? and ain’t that a big enough majority in any town? Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority. Ralph W Sockman
One man with courage is a majority. Thomas Jefferson
All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Thomas Jefferson
The great silent majority. Richard Milhous Nixon, broadcast 3rd November 1969
For, besides what has been said, it should be borne in mind that the temper of the multitude is fickle, and that while it is easy to persuade them of a thing, it is hard to fix them in that persuasion. Wherefore, matters should be so ordered that when men no longer believe of their own accord, they may be compelled to believe by force. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince chIII
So long as the great majority of men are not deprived of either property or honour, they are satisfied. ibid.
Democracy equals New World Order. Democracy equals slavery. A democracy is not synonymous with freedom. It’s the opposite of freedom. Democracy is the worst form of government you can have. It’s a majority rule. The Government can tell you exactly what it wants you to do. I don’t care what the majority wants. Aaron Russo, interview with Alex Jones
Socrates had the gravest reservations about democracy. Because he refused to accept that because the majority supported an opinion that made it right. Alain de Botton, Philosophy: Socrates on Self-Confidence, Channel 4 2000
No, democracy is not identical with majority rule. Democracy is a State which recognises the subjection of the minority to the majority, that is an organization for the systematic use of force by one class against the other, by one port of the population against another. Vladimir Lenin, State and Revolution 1919 pp95-96
The terrible tyranny of the majority. Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Democracy is reproached with saying that the majority is always right. But progress says that the minority is always right. G K Chesterton, What I Saw in America
The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease. Helen Keller
Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it. Leo Tolstoy, A Confession
For who can be secure of private right,
If sovereign sway may be dissolved by might?
Nor is the people’s judgement always true:
The most may err as grossly as the few. John Dryden, 1631-1700, Absalom and Achitoophel
For the vast majority of people in this country today, they have never had it so good since the recession. Lord Young, David Cameron’s former adviser
Life is the desert, life the solitude;
Death joins us to the great majority. Edward Young, The Revenge, 1721
It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas and feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing on reason or mental health. Erich Fromm
The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail. Napoleon Hill
The more the merrier. Late 14th century proverb
A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority. Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition aph 40, 1973
In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power. Marcus Tullius Cicero
Of the many is not well. One must be chief
In war and one the king. Homer, The Iliad II:253
Today we seem to think that the rights of the individual take precedent over the comfort of the majority. James V O’Connor, Cuss Control: The Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing