“Civil Disobedience” is a famous prose work by the American environmental scientist Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). In this essay, the author explains the flaw in the majority rule. Let’s have a view over his explanation.
The majority is allowed to rule because it is physically the strongest. A government ruled by the majority party does not mean it is based on justice. It is not the majority but the conscience which should decide what is right. The majority can decide only on those questions where expediency prevails.
More Notes: Civil Disobedience
According to Thoreau, majority rule is not necessarily the fairest way to rule because such a rule relies only on the physical strength or strength of numbers. The majority rule does not consider individual conscience or reason, and the majority is reduced to subjects blindly following their institutions and leaders.
In majority rule, the majority determines what is right or wrong. Thoreau observed this as wrong because right and wrong should be based on conscience. Otherwise, the strong will take advantage of the weak.
Thus according to Thoreau, the defect of majority rule is that it does not necessarily attribute to the laws of individual reason and conscience but to the rules of force.