Tyrannie de la majorité

Pages: 2 (490 mots) Publié le: 24 juillet 2010
I hold it to be an impious and detestable maxim that, politically speaking, the people have a right to do anything; and yet I have asserted that all authority originates in the will of the majority.Am I, then, in contradiction with myself?
A general law, which bears the name of justice, has been made and sanctioned, not only by a majority of this or that people, but by a majority of mankind.The rights of every people are therefore confined within the limits of what is just. A nation may be considered as a jury which is empowered to represent society at large and to apply justice, which isits law. Ought such a jury, which represents society, to have more power than the society itself whose laws it executes?
When I refuse to obey an unjust law, I do not contest the right of themajority to command, but I simply appeal from the sovereignty of the people to the sovereignty of mankind. Some have not feared to assert that a people can never outstep the boundaries of justice and reasonin those affairs which are peculiarly its own; and that consequently full power may be given to the majority by which it is represented. But this is the language of a slave.
A majority takencollectively is only an individual, whose opinions, and frequently whose interests, are opposed to those of another individual, who is styled a minority. If it be admitted that a man possessing absolute powermay misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should not a majority be liable to the same reproach? Men do not change their characters by uniting with one another; nor does their patience inthe presence of obstacles increase with their strength.3 For my own part, I cannot believe it; the power to do everything, which I should refuse to one of my equals, I will never grant to any numberof them.
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I am therefore of the opinion that social power...
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