The Divine Right of the Majority

From “Fun For Clio,” an essay in Hilaire Belloc’s The Silence of the Sea (1941):

An older generation marvelled that men should unquestioningly obey a King, who claimed absolute Divine authority for his mandates. To-day you find men falling into exactly that state of mind in the presence of what they call a majority. All sorts of evidence is shouting at them to show them that this word “majority” has no meaning because it may be of any kind whatsoever — a majority of men or a majority of women or a majority of men and women combined, or a majority of those who care, or a majority of those who want to express an opinion, or a majority of those who are bored stiff with having to express an opinion, or a majority of those who don’t express an opinion but simly make a mark on a bit of paper. It may mean a majority of a thousand and one to a thousand, or a majority of nine out of ten, a majority of citizens or a majority of professional politicians, a majority of murderers, a majority of savages, a majority of lunatics, a majority which changes in a few hours or a majority which is fixed — it is all one, majority is worshipped as of Divine Right. (p. 88, Glendalough Press edition)

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

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Enough of “Social Welfare”
The Case of the Purblind Economist