September 02, 2013

Roger Scruton - Understanding Political Opposition

The English philosopher Roger Scruton ran  a series on August 2013 on Radio 4 on the nature and limits of democracy by the title, 'Of the People, By the People'. He explored the role of political opposition and explained:
"It has been assumed in this country from the time of the Anglo-Saxons that political decisions are taken in council, after hearing all sides to the question, and taking note of the many interests that must be reconciled. Long before the advent of democracy, our parliament divided into government and opposition, and except in stressful periods during the 16th and 17th Centuries it was acknowledged that government without opposition is without any corrective when things go wrong. That is what we saw in the Soviet Union and its empire - a system of government without a reverse gear, which continued headlong towards the brick wall of the future."
He continued:
"And the lessons that they (the public-spirited citizens who studied democracy in underground universities and planted the seeds of opposition in the former communist countries) learned need to be learned again today, as our politicians lead us forth under the banner of democracy, without pausing to examine what democracy actually requires."
Read more on the BBC website here.


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