The need for countervailing power has
been around for a long time as the following quotes give a feel for what is
An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.
A democracy is a government in the hands of men of
low birth, no property, and vulgar employments.
Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a
philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.
David Hume (1711-76)
No man is good enough to govern another man without
that other's consent
Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)
Even in the purest democracies ... a privileged
minority stands against the vast enslaved majority.
Mikhail Bakunin (1814-76)
language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and
to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
George Orwell (1903-50)
Liberation from domination and exploitation requires that people build up and
exercise a measure of counter power to the dominant interests in the society.
G V S De Silva (1986)
In the advanced industrial
societies the problem (of power) is typically approached by a variety of
measures to deprive democratic political structures of substantive content,
while leaving them formally intact. A large part of this task is assumed by
ideological institutions that channel thought and attitudes within
acceptable bounds, deflecting any potential challenge to established
privilege and authority before it can take form and gather strength.
Noam Chomsky (1989)