[Unhappily, George W. Bush, never an able student despite considerable prepping to get him into Yale, was also turned down when he applied to the University of Texas Law School:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/choice2000/bush/cron.html

Had he made it there or had he had some serious studies in the history of democracy along the way, he might have learned that democracy entails more than simply a majority vote (or even winning an election with a minority). The major problem for democracies is precisely figuring how to protect minorities FROM majorities. De Tocqueville first (to my knowledge) applied the term, “tyranny of the majority” to the U.S. in his classic and prescient study, Democracy in America, published in 1835:

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/detoc/1_ch15.htm

John Stuart Mill borrowed the phrase and expressed the same concern in On Liberty (1859):

http://www.serendipity.li/jsmill/jsmill.htm

Sadly the following article from today’s NY Times spells disaster for any hopes for peace in Iraq. The Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is all that stood in the way of Shiite determination to dominate Iraq by fair means or foul. No way will American troops now be able to control the religious civil war already terribly launched there between Sunnis and Shiites.

How sad that Bush never seems to have realized that democracy is a deadly force when lacking restraints on behalf of minorities. And presumably the neocons who have moved Bush along towards their own disparate goals could care less?

Let us hope that the reaction now is not yet another mindless attack on other nations over there — Iran, Syria, whatever. Ed Kent]

…………………………..

Shiite Cleric Opposes U.S. Plan to Permit Former Baath
Party Members to Join Government
By EDWARD WONG
The rejection by the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani appears
certain to fuel hostility between the majority Shiites and
the former ruling Sunni Arabs.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/03/world/middleeast/03iraq.html?th&emc=th

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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