Sir Richard John Cartwright Quote

“I think that every true reformer, every real friend of liberty, will agree with me in saying that if we must erect safeguards, they should be rather for the security of the individual than of the mass, and that our chiefest care must be to train the majority to respect the rights of the minority, to prevent the claims of the few from being trampled under foot by the caprice or passion of the many.”

~ Sir Richard John Cartwright

in the Legislative Assembly, Canada, March 9, 1865; reproduced in Janet Ajzenstat, Paul Romney, Ian Gentles, and William D. Gairdner (Eds.), Canada’s Founding Debates (Toronto: Stoddart, 1999), p. 19.

Ratings and Comments

Simon, Deep Cover, BC, Canada

Well said, and I'm glad that my first day on your email list yielded a quote from a fellow Canadian.

Gölök Zoltán Leenderdt Franco, Vancouver, GVRD(Paine Cnty), BC(SU), USoEh!(USoA)

A brilliant defence of the of the most oppressed minority the individual from the mass or rabble; no I am not objectivist, I am objective, I just agree with Ayn Rand (Individual as Minoirty) on this and a few rare points.

-- Gölök Zoltán Leenderdt Franco [Mes(-)Van Dongen] Buday

J Carlton, Calgary

Individual rights are the only kind there are. Group rights are an oxymoron and a completely dysfunctional way of thinking.

Frank Daloisio, Canton, OH

I agree with Richard Cartwright.

  • Reply
RBESRQ    10/8/09

Yes, said well like it has been said so many time before but seems to fall on death ears.

E Archer, NYC


zeitgeist, la crescenta, ca

Concise. Says it all wonderfully.

Waffler, Smith

Poetic buy simplistic. What are the rights of the individual good for if he cannot join with others, as a majority, and effect policy, law etcetera. That there should be some basic rights that no amount of a majority can interfere with I generally agree but to deny the individual the rights of organizing with and as part of a majority, and to have that majority listened to, would be the biggest loss of freedom that any individual could be dealt. I give a thumbs down just to get your attention.

  • Reply
Anon    10/9/09

Waffler, freedom of choice does allow for the right to join with others as a majority and effect policy and law but you seem to forget that the Constitution is supposed to protect the individual (minority of one) from acts of a majority that deny the minority's right to choose what is best for him by enacting policy or law that denies the individual that first of all natural rights. THAT is what natural rights and freedom is all about. The freedom to choose as long as the choice does not harm anybody else. Please, could you give an example of "some" basic rights that you believe no amount of a majority can interfere with."? In comparison, an example of a right the majority can interfere with and how exactly that action does not take away from and individual's freedom to choose? Freedom of choice is the foundation of freedom and though you can freely choose to join with others, that does not automatically give that majority the right to deny the choice of the minority of 49% or the minority of one under natural law rights PROTECTED by the Constitution.

Buff Linzer, Frost Bite Falls

... then he started drinking his own maple syrup...

Byron, Fort Collins

Then, you have the matter of the guy who boarded a US Air plane wearing only women's panties and a bra. I'm sure he was *hoping* someone would question his offensive dress so he could pop the airline a fat lawsuit. This whole minority rights bull shite has been taken too far.


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