original source: http://www.smart.net/~kaz/democracy.html
index page: http://www.mega.nu:8080/ampp/
The greek words that form "democracy" mean "people" and "rule". Rule by the People.
It most certainly does not mean Rule by Majority Vote. In fact, the Founders of the US despised majority rule. They called it The Tyranny of the Majority, and pointed out repeatedly that it would be the destruction of any civilization that adopted it.
You know; they even used to teach that in school.
The only reason majority rule and democracy became associated is that it's the most obvious way to make organized voting airtight while still keeping it convenient.
Getting people to vote unanimously is very difficult, almost impossible with any real number of people, but at least there's no doubt that everyone agrees.
Getting one person to vote for something is easy, but someone is going to point out that it's possible more people are against it than for it.
The solution was fifty percent plus one, so that the number was slightly larger than the number who could possibly be against whatever it is upon which the vote is taken. Hey, I managed to end the sentence on a word other than a preposition!
The problem is that, while 51% of the people voted for something, they're still able to force the other 49% to comply. For a government to force people to do something(other than to keep them from forcing other people) is tyranny. That's why majority rule is the Tyranny of the Majority. The whites can vote that the blacks all should be treated like crap, and their word is law, all nice and "democratic". Hitler was elected with a greater vote than Clinton was. That's "democracy in action"...because we think of majority rule as democracy.
But Rule by the People...democracy...doesn't need to be Majority Rule. In fact, I don't think it can be majority rule, because 49% of the people get left out, even on decisions that are really only about what makes them happy. In fact, eventually everyone gets left out (except the people in the government who execute the "voted laws"), because you are always going to be the one who got shafted with the minority on some vote.
The Founders tried to stop this by making a "republic", where the majority are only allowed to vote on a few things, mostly only things that affect everyone as a group...and then they only get to vote for people elite enough to be allowed to actually make the decisions...the voters don't get to make the decisions themselves.
Well, this is an improvement, in theory, but it has some obvious and some tricky shortcomings.
Obvious: "elite rulers actually make the decisions". So much for Rule by the People. Of course the best of the original Founders, like Jefferson, Washington, and Thomas Paine were so concerned with this that they were completely against the idea of a two party system. The US was originally meant to have either no parties, or at the very worst, a great many parties. Sort of like every "democracy" in the world today except the US. There is, of course, a limited choice if you are picking decision-makers. You might have to decide on someone who disagrees with you on something very important, in order to get someone who agrees with you on the most important thing. In a TWO party system, in fact, you may very well have to pick someone with whom you strongly disagree on almost HALF of what is important to you, as the other one disagrees on OVER half.
What you end up with is almost no say whatsoever, and some bozo claiming to have a "mandate" to do something that you never wanted in the first place, because you had to vote for him versus some other guy as packages, not on their actual issues.
Tricky: It's funny how this government, despite all of its "checks and balances", seems to have forgotten the part about only being able to pass laws on a few subjects that effect everyone directly.
Instead, they've been slowly increasing their power, and decreasing the freedom of choice of the people. It sounds perfectly reasonable, when they tell you about it. No, seriously, it does. If you've accepted that they need to do a tiny bit, just to save babies from being raped and killed, and they defined a specific limit, and a baby gets raped or killed JUST past that limit, then you'll understand why they should have "common sense" powers to go just a tiny bit over the limit, if they think it'll help. And of course "common sense" slowly becomes more, but not fast enough for you to feel a change. A tiny bit more for the children always sounds reasonable. But think about a tiny bit more, for two hundred years...this is another problem with this Republic...a sneaky one. A "slippery slope" that looks perfectly level to the naked eye.
Hey, a nifty allegory!
An old saying...you can't cook a frog by tossing him into a pot of boiling water. His legs are strong and reflexes fast enough that he'll jump right back out every time, those big webbed feet serving to push him off the water and out of the pot.
So what you do is put him in a pot of cool water. Not only will he not jump out, he'll probably be thrilled at the new, safe place.
Then you turn on the fire under the pot, nice and low. You heat the water up slowly, and the frog will always sorta be used to it, and never actually get around to jumping out, until it's too late.
Now, I'm not from the deep south, or France, so I wouldn't eat frogs' legs if you begged me, much less actually try to throw a live frog in a pot, but it still makes sense to me...
The Solution: True DemocracyOK, so Majority rule isn't really democracy. And if it were, then democracy would be a bad thing, so it's a good thing it's not. But what is true democracy?
It's when the People of the society rule themselves; each person deciding what he believes is the path to his own happiness. You decide whether people can cuss in your house, not Big Brotherment, not a vote of 51% of the people who decided that you're wrong about it.
Each other person decides for themselves as well.
Each day, you decide...you VOTE through your decisions...on everything that's important to you. And you don't get over-ruled, even if 51% of the people happen to disagree.
Should we vote on whether people should eat chunky or smooth peanut butter, and a law be passed or government standard determine that it must all be alike? Or do we, even the ones in the minority, get to choose our own peanut butter, so that if there are even a few people who agree with you, you get your own way, and yet so do the people who disagree.
The progress of the society, then, is conducted through the fastest, most efficient "vote" imagined so far. This is truly rule by the people.