more from Baruch de Spinoza

Single Idea 19920

[catalogued under 24. Political Theory / D. Ideologies / 5. Democracy / c. Direct democracy]

Full Idea

Democracy is properly defined as a united gathering of people which collectively has the sovereign right to do all that it has the power to do.

Gist of Idea

Democracy is a legitimate gathering of people who do whatever they can do


Baruch de Spinoza (Tractatus Theologico-Politicus [1670], 16.08)

Book Reference

Spinoza,Benedict de: 'Theological-Political Treatise', ed/tr. Israel,Jonathan [CUP 2007], p.200

A Reaction

Representative democracy doesn't fit this definition. What 'unites' the people, and where do they get their sovereign right? If my neighbouring village votes to invade mine, I spurn their pathetic 'sovereign right'.