I think it would be a very good idea if, in the Standing Orders of this House, a rule could be made that the words "democracy,""democrat,""democratic,""undemocratic," and all the rest of it should not be used. I admit that if we are asked to give a definition of any of these words, the effort to define our concept of the words might take much longer, but it would make for clarity. Personally, I do not affirm that I am a democrat, because, if I were to do so, the people with two-dimensional minds, like Deputy Norton and people like him, would take my statement, that I was standing for democracy, as meaning that I was standing really for things that I abhor. However, I should like the Minister for Industry and Commerce to get up sometime and explain to us what he means when he uses the word "democracy," and to distinguish between that and democratism, demography, demology, and so on; because it appears to me, from the way the Minister seems to use the word that when he says he is standing for it, he is standing for something that no person, who accepts the hierarchy of values, could possibly stand for.
In a debate like this, people talk of the privilege of voting which is enjoyed. Many privileges, besides the privilege to vote, can be enjoyed. In this country people have the privilege of consuming free milk, and it may be presumed that they enjoy its consumption. You might have a law made giving free tickets for theatres, and when people availed themselves of that privilege and went to the theatres, they might be said to enjoy the privilege; but as to the idea of what is called democracy in this voting business—why do they go to vote? They go to vote in order to create a Government? It can hardly be said that they have enjoyed their privilege. They hope to enjoy their privilege afterwards, and the privilege that they hope to enjoy afterwards is to get a good Government which will provide for the common good of this country. What were we guided by in the whole system that we have worked out for the creation of a Government here? We looked around for the best way of getting a Government that would seek effectively what was best for the common good, and that would not abuse its power to act as a tyrant.
At any time now, within the next month or so, we will be dealing, probably with the biggest Estimate of all the Estimates, namely, education. When that comes on, everybody will get up and say that they approve of education, that they think such and such should be done for it, and that they only wish that they had more money to allocate for that purpose. But, if the ideas on the Government Benches are sound, why should we spend what is probably one-fifth of our annual income on education? Deputy Donnelly indicated clearly that as the result of our spending vast sums of money to enable people to get primary education, to move on to secondary education, and to go on to Universities, those people, somehow or another, are less confident to face life or less capable of giving wise judgments in relation to the affairs of the State than a person who got no benefit out of the expenditure of that money. The whole idea of voting is not so much the exercise of a privilege, to my mind, as the acceptance of a responsibility.
We must all recognise that, although for the most part of our lives we are occupied with our own immediate good, at the same time, the welfare of the whole people of the country is also a concern of ours which calls for our judgment and wisdom, and we must give thought to it, and must provide that there will be a Government operating that will adequately safeguard that common well-being. It is clearly a bad thing, irrespective of whether you call yourself a democrat or otherwise, that the power of voting and making and unmaking Governments should be actually exercised by anybody who is completely devoid of wisdom, prudence or honesty. If there were machinery by which we could clearly and firmly exclude such people —if there be such people—from voting, then it would be eminently desirable that that should be done. What you want in voting is that wisdom and prudence should be present.
As I said, in a few weeks' time we are going to vote millions for education. Why do we vote it? Am I, and is everybody else, to be taxed to put certain people in a privileged position, that public money out of other people's pockets will be spent on them for the sole purpose that they, individually, may have greater enjoyment of goods than the ordinary people of the country or the people whose money is actually being spent? It seems to me perfectly clear that we are called upon to give money in taxation for education, because education serves a useful purpose. It gives those people qualities they had not before; it accentuates their qualities and makes them of service to the general community for the common good. I know that it does not always work that way. I know that you may find an illiterate man who, if it came to considering political questions, would show a better judgment, possibly, than a University professor. On the whole, however, we must recognise that we spend that money for education, because we consider that as a result of that education certain qualities are produced or increased in certain people and that those qualities are going to be valuable for the good of the country.
When the Minister for Industry and Commerce talks about equal rights, his democracy is obviously a system that would go right against justice. I wonder that he never has a question in his mind as to how it is that, as democracy is such a sacred principle, the universe was created in such an undemocratic way. It seems, anyway, most unfair to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that he should not have, say, the same intelligence as Deputy McGilligan. You may say that it seems unfair that Deputy McGilligan should be a human being instead of an angel. At the same time you might also say that it is unfair that Deputy Corry should be made a human being instead of having been made one of the lower animals—most unfair to the lower animals. That is just the way. There is no such thing as equality. Where there is difference there is hierarchy and all creation is arranged hierarchically.
In the matter of creating Government you want to bring into play, wisdom, prudence, integrity of mind, and certain other qualities. It seems to be presumed on the Government Benches that to be educated means, essentially, that you are going to be devoid of wisdom, that you will lack prudence and be fundamentally dishonest. You will find that in practically every speech from the Government Benches. If I were to say, for instance, that it was a remarkable thing that, in a general way, educated people in this country supported our Party and did not support the Government, the Government would say: "Yes, that is so, because ...." What would the "because" be? It would be the Marxian doctrine, that there is essentially in nature and life a class war, and that the people who have had more advantages, if you like, automatically, and by nature, must use those advantages to perpetrate injustice against others. If we are going to spend money on education we must presume that it is for the purpose of improving the nature of the people who benefit by it.
I approve very strongly of University representation. It is the one thing in our whole electoral system which seems to me to have something to be said for it. I do not say that it is the most perfect thing. Here in this country, as Deputy Kelly said, you have this purely quantitative view—that it is quantity that matters, and that the idea of quality or value must be completely eliminated. That, of course, is perfectly in accord with the teachings of certain modern writers. But, as Deputy Kelly said, the system of electing Government in this country is to count skulls; that the idea that one person should possess more wisdom than another, that a person should be more prudent than another, must be completely and rigidly excised from our minds. When it comes to voting, obviously if one knew who were the wise and prudent people, the thing to do would be to put all the voting power into their hands and take the voting power away from those who are less wise or prudent, because in that way we would tend necessarily to get better government. The whole idea of voting is not simply to go to the polls, but to have machinery to create a Government, the Government being created to fulfil a certain function. Secondly, one should, as far as possible, put the power of electing Government into the hands of the people most likely to elect a good Government.
Here you have, if you like, a privileged class—University graduates. As was pointed out, they do not need to get as many votes as a person in an ordinary constituency. The Government do not adhere to that too rigidly, because they are engaged at present in dividing my constituency into four parts. In one of them it will require 3,000 more people to elect a Deputy than in any other three. In this system there are people who have a label, who have received a diploma indicating that they have undergone a certain amount of training. Although I admit that very often in Universities now the training tends more to be of a technical nature and not of a general humane nature; at the same time, the tradition of Universities is that they give general education. In this country the Constitution as formed recognised, not for the purpose of giving a privilege to these people, but in order to bring into play good qualities in this country in creating a Government, that it was wise to create these two University constituencies with three members each, although they would not represent as much voting power as in an ordinary constituency.
I was interested to see that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is not nailing his flag to the mast of geographical representation and mathematical numbers. It is not long since the mere suggestion that we should recognise the organic nature of the State and should form it in an organic way caused the Minister and others to get up and state that we were out for a dictatorship and that it meant nothing else but that. I am glad to see that the Government has now decided that it is wise to pass over the propaganda on that side to their Socialist and Communist allies, and steer rather clear of it themselves. Personally, I regret very much that the corporative system has become a Party question. I agree that there could quite possibly have been disagreement, say, between Fianna Fáil and ourselves as to the particular form it would take and the particular administration of it, but everybody who takes any time to think about the thing nowadays— accepting certain principles which, I think, both Fianna Fail and ourselves accept—must recognise that that is clearly, in principle, the proper way society should be formed in the country. Fianna Fáil made it a Party matter, and that has forced them into this quantitative democracy, shouting that because they got elected the last time nothing matters but number and quantity. This Bill is out, as you might say, to fill in the last gap in the armour of the denial of values and the assertion of quantities.
The Constitution, for ordinary constituencies, did say that as far as possible it should require the same number of people to elect a Deputy in all the constituencies. It makes no reference to it here. The Government, abolishing proportional representation in the majority of constituencies in this country, which, in principle, is a thing I do not think is necessarily wrong, then proceeds to use that opportunity to get rid of the two University constituencies. Why do they do it here? I know the Vice-President does not like the use of the word "gerrymandering," but what is there in principle which demands that this portion of the Constitution should be abolished? What is the principle? I know that it is all right to get up at a street corner, or at cross-roads, and shout and say, "These Universities are a privileged class; this is a well-to-do class, trying to grant to itself privileges which it denies to the ordinary poor people of the country." That may be quite good propaganda amongst unthinking people, but I ask is the Government going to get up and say that the real normal value in the country, in all things, but particularly in political things, is going to be purely quantitative? Is the Government going to stand over the doctrine, either stated or indicated by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that the Government is going to be, in some arbitrary way, in a position to crush the people in this country into a condition of equality in all things, in defiance of the fact that they were actually created unequal? Is that really the doctrine of the Government? Is that really the policy of the Government? If it is not, why do they, at this stage, come along to deal with an Article of the Constitution although nothing has arisen making it necessary to effect any alteration whatever in that Article—at least nothing that I can think of, unless it is that the Government not merely want to have their present dictatorship, and the greater dictatorial powers they are providing for themselves within a year and a half, but want to take every possible means to see to it that they establish themselves a Government in perpetuity, without having to make another change in the Constitution, which would be a very simple matter, extending the life of this Dáil indefinitely.
Why was this Bill introduced? The Minister for Industry and Commerce gets up and talks about being undemocratic, and that it is quite ridiculous to have this system operating with regard to these two constituencies, and another system with regard to other constituencies. I could, if I liked, retort and say that it is perfectly ridiculous that we are going to require about 23,600 people to elect a Deputy in Kilkenny and only 20,000 and some hundreds to elect a Deputy in Carlow, Wicklow, Wexford or Kildare. I myself cannot see any reason why this Bill was introduced, except that, as far as the Government can see, the more intelligent the people are in this country the more they are inclined and likely to be inclined to vote against them, and therefore the Government wants to eliminate as far as it can the voting power of the people who have had rather more education in this country. At the same time, I can see that this Bill is in keeping with the general policy of the Government. I do not feel that I am in any way maligning the Government when I say that it has been abundantly clear to me from the speeches of the Government, from the President himself down to the least important member of that Party, that they have consistently gone out to try to get a majority in this country by appealing to class prejudice and class antagonism in this country. We heard the Minister for Industry and Commerce, with regard to the abolition of the Seanad, appealing to what I might call the Deputy Corry type of mind, by speaking about the ex-Unionists, who were enjoying privileges, and the ancient enemy of the people, who had always stood against Ireland—referring to the people whom the President was glad to run to and assure that he knew the welfare of this country was as dear to their hearts as it was to his, when he thought they might be useful to him. It is an extraordinary thing, too, that, to the best of my memory, over that pre-Truce period we, as the Sinn Féin Party at the time, although we were supposed to be ultra-democratic, did express approval of University representation in the Legislature of this country. I should like to know what has happened since then. I am not going to blame people for changing their minds since 1917.