DOC 2 Paper 1 RD

DOC 2 Paper 1 RD - Ng 1 Sharon Ng Professor Skrentny, TA...

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Ng 1 Sharon Ng Professor Skrentny, TA Megan Strom DOC 2 – C06 14 February 2011 The Freedom of Undermining Majority Rule A true democratic government must be founded on the principles of majority rule while respecting the rights of the minority. The rights of the minorities cannot be taken away while limiting the strength of majority rule. Limiting the power of the majority may hurt some principles of democracy, but oppressing the minority with the unfair demands of the majority would be a greater injustice. Majority rule must be confined to ensure that the liberties of the minorities are not infringed on. The subject of this essay is that while majority rule is necessary in sustaining a structured democratic government, a limit must be imposed to preserve the liberties of the minorities. Because a structured democratic government is necessary to ensure that people’s liberties are not violated, there must be majority rule to maintain an orderly framework. However, this rule must be limited to assure that the system does not become tyrannical and solely representative of the majority. In The Second Treatise of Government (1690), John Locke focuses on natural liberties, which implies that people can do as they please as long as their actions do not hinder others from doing the same. He points out that there are certain inalienable liberties that everybody is entitled to, including the “perfect Freedom to order their Actions, and dispose of their Persons as they think fit” and also the “state of equality, wherein all the Power and Jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another” (Locke 21). He further contends that “all Men may be restrained from invading others Rights, and from doing hurt to one another,
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Ng 2 and the Law of Nature be observed” (22). While the majority dominates a large portion of the democratic system, the Law of Nature is observed as long as the majority does not intrude upon the basic liberties of the common people. The limit to majority rule, ultimately, reinforces individuals’ liberties. A structured democratic government allows for a certain level of majority rule to exist for maintaining organization, but not to the extent of violating minorities’ liberties. Unmediated majority rule not only leads to tyranny and the corruption of a structured democratic system, but also to the erosion of minority liberties. Majority rule often satisfies the demands of the majority, but is problematic because it excludes the needs of the minorities. The excerpt “Introductory” from John Stuart Mill’s work, On Liberty , emphasizes the detrimental effects of unregulated majority rule. He first defines liberty as something that “was meant [to provide] protection against the tyranny of the political rulers,” and further contends that the “aim
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DOC 2 Paper 1 RD - Ng 1 Sharon Ng Professor Skrentny, TA...

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