A blupete Essay

Virtual Representation, Part 10 to blupete's Essay
"An Essay On Democracy"

Edmund Burke was an exponent of "virtual representation."8 The idea is that - those who do not have the franchise or those who cannot have it by custom or law (i.e., for reasons such as they are infants; or, indeed, are unborn) -- are, nonetheless, represented by those exercising government power. When one thinks it through, one is bound to come to the conclusion that it is pretty presumptuous to strike on a legislative course, not knowing the degree or type of impact which such a course will have on those generations which stretch out (we hope) much beyond that time which will mark the current generation's departure from this life.

In the days prior to 1832, great large populated areas, for example, Manchester in England, were not represented by a seat in parliament; while little villages, particularly in the south of England, had a seat, sometimes more than one. While some of the larger county seats were somewhat democratic, the little southern village seats were totally in the pockets of the local lords.9 The Great Reform Bill of 1832 fundamentally redefined the electoral districts, thus came the end of the pocket boroughs.10 Since 1832, Britain (and, thus, in modern day Canada) there exists a permanent commission on electoral boundaries.

All that I can see of democracy's role is to put into place those people; who, in a very general way, represent the views of the majority, or rather the views of the party to whom they owe their advancement. This of course is a recipe for the oppression of the minorities (no matter from which strata of society they come; and, no matter whether any particular individual from within society likes the party policies, or not).

"The most difficult of all political problems is to be solved - the people are to be at once thoroughly restrained and thoroughly pleased. The executive must be like a steel shirt of the Middle Ages - extremely hard and extremely flexible. It must give way to attractive novelties which do not hurt; ..."11 (Bagehot.)
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