• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 4 comments on Baccalaureate Speaker’s Plea: Vote, Speak Out, Organize

  1. I agree our the “republican” form of government as guaranteed by our constitution gives us the tools we need to ensure individual rights. We must never loos sight of the fact that democracy per se is nothing but mob rule. We must read remember too that mob rule is not guaranteed by the US constitution and thus that using these two words in the same speech is simply wrong.

    A basic understanding of the constitution and a strong belief in liberty is what has allowed numerous individuals to stand up against misguided mobs throughout US history. The people that changed the course of US history were only able to do so because our constitution and republican form of government gave them the tools to stand up to the majority at the time which in each instance cited was opposed to protecting the rights of the individual but in the end had its hand forced by the rule of law.

    The founders crafted a document that allows us to fend of the democratically elected mob but only if we recognize that our rights are natural rights that come from our creator and that these rights can never be taken away by majority rule.

    1. “Democratically elected mob”? Is this the U.S. House? It sounds like your comment is a an invective against government, not against democracy, which makes your libertarian critique “simply wrong.”
      Republicanism entails the possibility that an electoral system can select those who will act in the public interest, doing the best for the most while never violating *minority* (including individual) rights. When they fail, it is “the mob,” the everyday people you dismiss, who set them aright through organizing, from populist overturning of Gilded Age excesses, to the CIvil Rights era struggles. The courts help but the people are still what make democratic republicanism what it is. *This* is Dr. Lynch’s point; I’m afraid you missed it.

  2. Nonsense, mobs of people were also responsible for the lynchings in the south and witch trials in the north. Without laws we have unchecked mob rule. Have you not read “The Lord of the Flies”? While an act of civil disobedience such as that committed by Rosa Parks can send a message it is only the protections her voice is afforded under the US constitution through the bill of rights that ensures her minority opinion ever has the chance to influence the thoughts of the majority. It is sad really but I am afraid Dr. Lynch misses the point. She is not alone; as her way of thinking has become the dogma of academia in recent years. If the US has decayed to the point where mobs taking to the streets is the best approach to protecting liberty our professors can come up with then it is they who have failed us and our nation.

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