Two challenging words of the title of this essay stand somehow between us and ourselves, so that we will have to get around the distortions unnecessarily presented by minority and culture in order to see the freedom and even the substance that is closer than we are ordinarily able to perceive.
The lesser is minority, a simple word but nevertheless a deceiving one, for it has taken on associations that limit its obvious usefulness. All I want to indicate by minority is a group of whatever kind, less numerous than the majority. As for majority, that also is a word that must be addressed—and soon will be. Now what I don’t mean by minority is any of its contemporary vibes, as a euphemism for racial, ethnic, or class categories. Indeed the word minorities is often used absurdly today to mean various individuals of a certain kind—African-Americans, for example. Or we routinely hear the bizarre phrase “minorities and women,” as a definition of diversity or involving quotas.
A word more, then, if I may. We should remember that a minority is not at all necessarily a small group: A minority might be 49 percent. A mere plurality can determine an election, and that could be and has been less than half of the whole, on numerous occasions.
But now we need to address the deceptive simplicity...