Final Word from Monday, December 14, 2015

Democracy is based on majority rule, as Andrej Babiš likes to point out, but a proper democracy includes safeguards against the "tyranny of the majority." The main safeguards are the Constitution and the Constitutional Court, which are there to prevent such an injustice as the majority deciding to abscond with the property of the minority. Yet the Constitutional Court only intercedes once a law has been passed. The main safeguard prior to passage by the majority of a tyrannical law is public opinion. Not all members of the majority believe that "might makes right." Not all members of the majority believe in railroading controversial laws through the legislative process. Filibustering is a democratic way for the minority to obstruct or halt this process and to raise public awareness. Less democratic are attempts by the majority to prevent legitimate filibustering by resorting to strong-arm tactics of the kind used in Parliament on Friday. [Czech Republic Miroslav Kalousek EET online sales reporting system obstruction]

Glossary of difficult words

to filibuster - to engage in an action such as a prolonged speech that obstructs progress in a legislative assembly while not technically contravening the required procedures;

safeguard - a measure, such as a law or procedure, designed to prevent something undesirable;

to abscond (with) - to leave hurriedly and secretly, typically to avoid detection of or arrest for an unlawful action such as theft;

to intercede - to intervene on behalf of another;

might makes right - the strongest have the power to determine right and wrong;

to railroad something - to cause (a measure) to be passed or approved quickly by applying pressure;

strong-arm - using or characterized by force or violence.

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