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November 11, 2016 / Congau

Democracy for Majorities Only

Is democracy the same as decision by the majority?  http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/phil/101q.php

Yes, it is, definitely.

I am well aware that another answer is probably expected. The minorities must also be protected, you may indignantly object. Yes, I agree completely, but that has nothing to do with democracy. If minority groups are to be given more influence than what their number would suggest, democracy has to be limited. It is good and just to shield underprivileged groups, but it is not democratic. Even if something is good for society it does not automatically mean it is democratic.

Maybe democracy is the best system of government overall, but a perfect democracy is not necessarily perfect for society. A partial democracy may be better, for many people may need to be protected against the government of the people.

The government of the people is the government of the majority – there cannot be another reasonable interpretation. Whoever governs is necessarily a member of the people and if a small elite has the power, at least it can be said that a part of the people has the power, but it would of course be absurd to call that a government of the people. At the other end, the government cannot be derived from all the people for a hundred percent support is obviously impossible. The people, then, can only mean the majority.

 

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