"Before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
Harper Lee
(1926-2016) American author, 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning novelist for 'To Kill A Mockingbird'
To Kill a Mockingbird
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Reader comments about this quote:
So much here must be qualified but I think the overall sentiment is accurate. In a setting of liberty, personal conscience is of paramount importance as a bedrock footing. Majority rule has historically demonstrated to be antithetical to freedom, liberty, and individual sovereignty and a bedrock footing of despotism and tyranny.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I doubt that Reid, Pelosi, Obama, and the rest of the gang even have a conscience.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    WE must always remember that in a representative republic, often referred to as a democracy, not everything is up for vote. Democracy (so-called) is LIMITED by the natural born rights of each individual. We may not vote away the property of others -- we have no right! We cannot vote away the rights of conscience either. The role of conscience is crucial -- it is to be exercised in the ballot box and the jury box -- these are our last stands against the totalitarian state. Remember even the USSR had elections, and so do many other socialist dictatorships today and throughout history. Unchecked democracy results in totalitarianism eventually.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer, well said. Your comment on the quote brought to mind: It is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defense of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave. (Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1772)); and, "Man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years" (Lysander Spoonner). Democracy is a misnomer when used in conjunction with a representative republic. The representative republic is a government of law with a majority selecting (through representatives) the most harmonious administration of "law" (the law of nature and of nature's God). A democracy is the might of many makes right (the forest - as is averse to the tree - being god with ability to make law), putting into practice socialist dictatorships, despotic totalitarians, or otherwise tyrannous overlords.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Good conscience is a thing to behold, even better, to follow.
     -- Ronw13, OR     
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