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Repeat after me: Individual ambition is bad, government is good




"In time, however, a democratic republic came to occupy a large portion of the earth’s surface, and made itself felt as one of the most powerful members of the community of nations; and elective and responsible government became subject to the observations and criticisms which wait upon a great existing fact. It was now perceived that such phrases as ‘self-government’, and ‘the power of the people over themselves’, do not express the true state of the case. The ‘people’ who exercise the power are not always the same people with those over whom it is exercised; and the ‘self-government’ spoken of is not the government of each by himself, but of each by all the rest. The will of the people, moreover, practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people; the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority; the people, consequently, may desire to oppress a part of their number; and precautions are as much needed against this as against any other abuse of power. The limitation, therefore, of the power of government over individuals loses none of its importance when the holders of power are regularly accountable to the community, that is, to the strongest party therein. This view of things, recommending itself equally to the intelligence of thinkers and to the inclination of those important classes in European society to whose real or supposed interests democracy is adverse, has had no difficulty in establishing itself; and in political speculations ‘the tyranny of the majority’ is now generally included among the evils against which society requires to be on its guard."

Mill, John Stuart (2006-08-31). On Liberty and the Subjection of Women (Penguin Classics) (p. 10). Penguin UK. Kindle Edition.

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana.


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