On this Monday, November 2, 2009, the day before the voters of the State of Maine go to the polls to decide if they are to be in reality what all of the paperwork says we are in principle. Whether the citizens of Maine are to be allowed to "pursue happiness" as it has been previously declared is our right. And if we are to be in fact, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Or, if our government is not to be defined by us, but by someone's idea of god and what he demands. That we must all succumb to the laws of those whose limited vision of freedom extends no further than the pit of the dark imaginings of hell of which they constantly live in fear. If humanity has in fact "evolved" or rather, if we are no further along today than those who once lived in caves, grass huts and houses made of sticks. Who thought the world to be flat and sitting upon a foundation. And who believed that killing animals and setting them alight would assuaged the blood-lust of their god.
I thought it would be apropos to remember the words of one spoken long ago about the struggle to achieve freedom and equality. Through these words may we be reminded yet again, that this struggle is not a new one and is never over. That as long as there are people there will likely be discrimination -- but that doesn't mean that we have to accept it. We must constantly fight against our worst qualities. Our worst inclinations. Because in the end, it is this struggle against the worst in ourselves, that makes us truly "human."
Excerpt from On Liberty ~ “The Tyranny of the Majority”
“…Like other tyrannies, “the tyranny of the majority” was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant —society collectively, over the separate individuals who compose it—its means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries.
Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.
Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and, if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own.
There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism. But though this proposition is not likely to be contested in general terms, the practical question, where to place the limit—how to make the fitting adjustment between individual independence and social control—is a subject on which nearly everything remains to be done. All that makes existence valuable to any one, depends on the enforcement of restraints upon the actions of other people...”
~ John Stuart Mill