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Tyranny of the Majority Exam Notes

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Queen's University
PHIL 153
Jim Molos

PART TWO: TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY (10 marks) 1. How does Alexis de Tocqueville describe the tyranny of the majority - Believe in democracy therefore “all authority originates in the will of the majority” - Tension since it is a distasteful idea that “people has a right to do whatsoever it pleases” - Political o Majority opposes minority o Majority has too much power therefore there is a tyranny o Inadequate securities against tyranny o Example: what if a minority is wronged? Who do we turn to?  Public opinion is majority  Executive and judiciary is appointed by majority  Juries are a majority decision  Legislature represents and enacts decisions of the majority o De Tocqueville’s Proposal to prevent tyranny  Legislative power representing majority without being the slave of its passions  Executive power with some degree of uncontrolled authority  Independent judiciary - Social o In America, once a decision is made there is a “submissive silence” o Democracy also has a social voice possessing physical and moral power  No independence of mind and freedom of discussion  Different from Europe o American democracy damages the human mind  “the body is left free, and the soul is enslaved”  Not
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