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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Meta Cartoon and Quote « Previous | |Next »
September 15, 2007

1920 Cartoon from the Brooklyn Eagle depicting the hard wall of public opinion.

A quote from James Madison:

Public Opinion sets bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one. As there are cases where the public opinion must be obeyed by government; so there are cases, where not being fixed, it may be influenced by the government. This distinction, if kept in view, would prevent or decide many debates on the respect due from the government to the sentiments of the people.

The issue is legitimacy. Deviate too far from public opinion and legitimacy is lost. Dictate rather than influence public opinion, and again legitimacy is lost. The cartoon on the left is ironic as one of the areas where the national government deviated from public opinion and then tried to dictate rather than influence/debate/deliberate a policy was industrial relations.

The result was a loss of legitimacy.

| Posted by cam at 1:27 AM | | Comments (3)


I like it.

Power to the opinionated rabble.

the process of loss of legitimacy that you refer to is happening in to the Liberals in Australia---just as it is happening to the Republicans in the USA.

The judgement of Howard's cabinet colleagues is that under Howard, their prospects were grim indeed. So they turned to Costello, knowing that their prospects would also be grim. But Costello offered the chance of a lucky break---pulling that proverbable rabbit out of the hat--if they could just hang together for long enough.

Their legitimacy has been shot to pieces.

just dawned on me. You are contemplating a change of masthead. The "Eagle" cartoon, on second glance and mined for context, is seriously funny.
Must have been a vibrant culture; the CJ Dennis/ Damon Runyan one.