Popularity-Based Democracies Are Tyrannies Of The Majority

Democracy is a very easy word to misuse and abuse, isn't it? What does democracy really mean or do we know what's a democracy? A simple definition of democracy from a very HIGH SCHOOL or ELEMENTARY lesson from one's Civics and Culture subject that it's a government of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE and for the PEOPLE. It's not defined as a government that's only of the majority, only by the majority and only for the majority where their demands must always be catered to regardless of the consequences. The minority is still part of the PEOPLE in a democratic government and they have the right to protection and free speech. In short, they still have a right to a voice but how is it working?

A basic definition of democracy

An article from Stanford has this to say about what makes a democracy with its four key elements which would and should definitely include the MINORITY as part of the people:

1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.

2. The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.

3. Protection of the human rights of all citizens.


4. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

There's a saying that if you're not with the majority then you're just left out. But that's not what a democracy is supposed to be based on how it's defined. You can think about how the democratic principle which is also listed in the same article which emphasis is in bold letters which emphasizes that the minority too have the right to be heard and that democracy should NEVER be ran by a popularity based system:

If democracy is to work, citizens must not only participate and exercise their rights. They must also observe certain principles and rules of democratic conduct.

People must respect the law and reject violence. Nothing ever justifies using violence against your political opponents, just because you disagree with them.

Every citizen must respect the rights of his or her fellow citizens, and their dignity as human beings

No one should denounce a political opponent as evil and illegitimate, just because they have different views.

People should question the decisions of the government, but not reject the government’s authority.

Every group has the right to practice its culture and to have some control over its own affairs, but each group should accept that it is a part of a democratic state.

When you express your opinions, you should also listen to the views of other people, even people you disagree with. Everyone has a right to be heard.

Don’t be so convinced of the rightness of your views that you refuse to see any merit in another position. Consider different interests and points of view.

When you make demands, you should understand that in a democracy, it is impossible for everyone to achieve everything they want.

Democracy requires compromise. Groups with different interests and opinions must be willing to sit down with one another and negotiate.

In a democracy, one group does not always win everything it wantsDifferent combinations of groups win on different issues. Over time, everyone wins something.

If one group is always excluded and fails to be heard, it may turn against democracy in anger and frustration

Everyone who is willing to participate peacefully and respect the rights of others should have some say in the way the country is governed.

How are popularity-based democracies dictatorship?

The conditions have been written above require people to respect each other's opinions whether one is in the majority or minority. It's like how people should have the right to opinion which in turn gives them the duty to respect others' opinions. You have no right to shove your opinions into other people's throats regardless which side you belong. If you don't like what the majority or minority likes then you have the right to it -- you have that right. You can go ahead and convince the other or defend your stand but you have no right to shove your views to other people's throats.

But that's not the case with popularity-based democracy. This means the 51% and above has the right to bully and force the 49% and below into submission regardless how right or wrong they are about something. I don't see that kind of democracy to be the type that's of the people, by the people and for the people? Don't tell me that the minority are not of the people. This means that the majority must always be right even when it's wrong and that the minority must always be wrong even when it's right. This doesn't give the minority a chance to voice out their opinions.

This is the problem of the presidential system's popularity-based democracy. People win by popularity either by majority (above 50% vote) or plurality (which is getting the most number of votes that didn't constitute of half of the voting population) and that's that. It doesn't matter even if the candidates are either popular celebrities and athletes that know NOTHING about politics or highly intelligent and very educated people that suck in real life -- people vote for them based on popularity which explains why the Philippine politics is full of idiots. It doesn't matter if the minority is right because it's almost like that they have no right to be heard.

Such is not the case of a parliamentary set-up. The Majority Bloc (where the prime minister belongs) must contend with the Minority Bloc (where the opposition leader belongs). Both sides will have their say and everything is sorted out. It's not just dictated by the fallacy of false dichotomies. Rather, the right and wrong of every side is sorted out where one hopes to come up with a feasible solution. This one would be truly more democratic than a government that just rules according to the demands of the majority. Instead, everyone regardless of which side has more voice in a parliament than in a presidential form of government. 

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