Wikimocracy and a Grook

Wikipedia describes itself as written by open and transparent consensus. So the Register article about a ruling clique using a secret mailing list came as something of a shock.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have been a shock. Stan at Mashable, in covering the story, asserted that Where there’s democracy, there’s oligarchy.

Oligarchy is the rule of the few. Democracy is the rule of the people. Are these two mutually exclusive? Quite the contrary. It is impractical and impossible for everyone to rule; thus, a higher degree of influence and power will always be retained by the selected few.

That quote reminded me of “Majority Rule,” a grook by Piet Hein.

His party was the Brotherhood of Brothers,
and there were more of them than of the others.
That is, they constituted that minority
which formed the greater part of the majority.
Within the party, he was of the faction
that was supported by the greater fraction.
And in each group, within each group, he sought
the group that could command the most support.
The final group had finally elected
a triumvirate whom they all respected.
Now, of these three, two had final word,
because the two could overrule the third.
One of these two was relatively weak,
so one alone stood at the final peak.
He was: THE GREATER NUMBER of the pair
which formed the most part of the three that were
elected by the most of those whose boast
it was to represent the most of the most
of most of most of the entire state —
or of the most of it at any rate.
He never gave himself a moment’s slumber
but sought the welfare of the greater number.
And all people, everywhere they went,
knew to their cost exactly what it meant
to be dictated to by the majority.
But that meant nothing, — they were the minority.

I found this and other grooks here.

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