From the Tyranny of Majority to the Soft Despotism Cover Image

A többség zsarnokságától a szelíd önkényuralomig
From the Tyranny of Majority to the Soft Despotism

Author(s): Vasile Prahovean
Subject(s): Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Governance, 19th Century Philosophy
Published by: Erdélyi Múzeum-Egyesület
Keywords: modern democracy; the will of the majority; public opinion; freedom; soft despotism; administrative despotism

Summary/Abstract: Tocqueville’s thought-world is decisively influenced by the conviction that modern democracy that is based on the will of the majority is rather appropriate for creating equality than freedom. Moreover, the mass democracy leads to oppression if the coercive force of the public opinion is extended over all the aspects of social life. Democracy in America discusses in two different contexts the problem of totalitarianism supported by the public opinion. The tyranny of majority is supplemented by the hypothesis of soft despotism, by recognizing that the horizontally extending oppression can be generated by a state power that is manipulating the democratic ideas. The administrative despotism reconciles the omnipotence of the public opinion with the centralizing tendencies and under the aegis of the benevolent state power will take control over private lives. The individuals isolated from each other are less capable of restraining its power, therefore it is essential that the exertion of individual rights and freedom has to be supplemented with collective values.

  • Issue Year: LXXXI/2019
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 26-31
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: Hungarian