Democracy and minorities

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posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 03:59 AM
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In this thread I'd like to discuss how democracy correlates with the problem of minorities and their rights. In a broad sense democracy is "is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives." (Wikipedia).
This definition suggests that the people will decide what to do and what not to do by voting. Hence, the majority rules out any possibility for any minority to defend their rights. For example, suppose I have an inborn condition called electro-sensitivity. I can feel radiation from circuitry, power supplies, mobile phones, base stations, etc. I try to minimize the exposure by using wired Internet connection, USB extension cables, etc. Imagine there is a nation-wide vote about the future of wireless technologies. Such people as myself would definitely vote for more restrictions and control, while many people (probably the majority) will vote in favor of free and ubiquitous wireless Internet access. Thus, involuntarily they would become torturers and or even executioners for many people who do not tolerate high wireless exposure. This is just one of the examples. Other examples can include people with specific income, sexuality, social status, etc. In every such case in order to defend your rights (many of which are just basic rights) you have to enforce your point of view so that it becomes accepted by the majority or they will vote against it. But I do not want everybody to become electro-sensitive. I do not want to restrict other people's right to benefit from mobile technologies, I just want my needs to be recognized and met. I don't know it for sure, but probably most gay people also do not want everybody to become gay or even pro-gay. This is not necessary for a heterosexual person to even think about any possible sexual orientation that there is. Everyone just wants to live his/her life happily. But with democracy (in its purest theoretical form) the majority decides everything, so the only 'workaround' is imposing the condition of a minority onto the majority of people. Taking into account the number of different minorities, it all becomes one huge mess. The paradox is you can't make a color-blind person perceive the color as you perceive it. Similarly, I cannot become non-electro-sensitive, and most of you will never become electro-sensitive. So what is the solution? Is there a type of social structure in which these problems are solved? I welcome everyone to express your opinion.




posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 04:37 AM
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WHAT IS democracy? One person, one vote. Now, you have to hope that the person you have voted for (if s/he won) will act as promised.

Politicians are dependant to the public votes and voices, aka MSM.


Therefore, if any person achives the goal to get her problem to be put out and discussed by enough media and syndications, this problem will have to be solved by the politicians.

The louder the voice (regardless the usefullness of the problems solution to the majority of the people), the faster the reaction.



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 05:08 AM
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Originally posted by ManFromEurope
WHAT IS democracy? One person, one vote. Now, you have to hope that the person you have voted for (if s/he won) will act as promised.

This is representative democracy. It does not solve any of the above problems, it just reduces the scale. Consider the same problem with electro-sensitivity. Suppose I was able to convince one MP (or whatever the representative is called) that there are people who suffer from electro-sensitivity. What can this person do? Vote against public Wi-Fi hotspots? That's not likely to happen. Even if he voted this way, others won't. The problem remains. Democracy means dicate of the majority, be it representative democracy or a plebescite. Many minorities will suffer unless the majority is convinced that they have to give away part of their rights or conveniences in favor of the minorities. But if they were convinced, then this is not a democracy, because the minority imposed its worldview onto the majority. So, either way democracy does not guarantee that the needs of every member of the society are met. We assume that the number of happy people indicates the quality of social system. However, I am not sure that the rules of multiplication apply here. There is more to it. We either value each human life and take care of every person, or we are hypocrites. Does voting change anything? What do we choose by voting? Who will suffer and who will prosper?
edit on 5-12-2012 by mrkeen because: added text



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 05:30 AM
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Originally posted by mrkeen
In this thread I'd like to discuss how democracy correlates with the problem of minorities and their rights. In a broad sense democracy is "is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives." (Wikipedia).


I am not a big fan of Wikipedia, but that brief explanation will suffice. The key point to recognize is "eligible citizens". What is to stop the majority of currently eligible citizens from voting to exclude other groups and/or make some portions of eligible votes ineligible? That was the very question that Madison, Jay and Hamilton took on when they penned the Federalist Papers in favor of the Constitution.


This definition suggests that the people will decide what to do and what not to do by voting. Hence, the majority rules out any possibility for any minority to defend their rights.


Precisely! Take the following for example. written by James Madison in Federalist Paper #10.


If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.


That part sounds familiar no? Sounds like our current "gridlock" in Congress, which is a natural byproduct of our republican form of government. Sadly, many see this as a bad thing or causing the government to "be at a standstill", but it is operating exactly how it is supposed to. Hold the majority at bay from running roughshod over the minority.


I do not want to restrict other people's right to benefit from mobile technologies, I just want my needs to be recognized and met.


Here it begins to get tricky, but the Federal system was designed to help alleviate such concerns. By separating duties between the Federal Government and the the government of the numerous States, it broke down an all inclusive centralized form of government. Thus allowing individual States and communities to deal with issues based upon their localized needs.

The century plus long trend of centralizing power into the Federal Government (education, health-care, etc) it creates the very scenario you express and is dangerous.
edit on 5-12-2012 by ownbestenemy because: (no reason given)
edit on 5-12-2012 by ownbestenemy because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 05:37 AM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 

Very interesting points, thank you!



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 05:48 AM
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reply to post by mrkeen
 


Of course, I am speaking to the intended form of government of the United States of America. That being, a Federal Government with specific enumerated powers and all other powers are retained by the States and the People respectively. It is also a system that sought to widely disseminate and dilute democratic principles. Not to quell and silence democracy, but to ensure that groups that can benefit from its benefits will enjoy those fruits.

Democracy works well when the numbers are small, such as a community or even a State. Applied to a National Government, Democracy will become destructive as soon as the denizens realize they can, by majority vote, vote themselves king or exclusive access to the treasury.



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 10:05 AM
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Nice thread. Hope it gets some attention on ATS. S&F.



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 12:17 PM
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This thread just shows that there is no perfect form of government. Democracy will always oppress the minority. Whether it be via racial lines, lifestyle lines, socio-economic lines, etc. All though, one thing truly irks me is that people keep calling the US a democracy. We are not. A true democracy is actually an anarchic government form. A true democracy if it works as well in practice as it does on paper will not have a government at all. So we must realize that our country is a Republic, not a democracy. Even still, this has its inherent faults. This will always mean that the people who have the power to sway the voters will always have the power in the government. Not to start the class warfare on this site, but that does usually mean that the rich will always have power in this government.

This, is in my opinion, is why there is such a large disenfranchisement of the public for the government. Because the government doesn't represent the majority of people. Case in point, how many elections do you hear of people voting for the lesser of two evils? We have to find the two candidates that have the most to offer us, even though we usually disagree with at least 50% of what they do. In a democratic republican society, there is something severely wrong that our elected officials have approval ratings of less that 50%, yet they get re-elected. The fix to this is to make it easier for third party candidates to get as well known as the major 2 party candidates. We are equally enslaved as we were under monarchy or a dictatorship, just not as evident.
edit on 5-12-2012 by noxvita83 because: For got to add that I S&Fed this topic



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 12:26 PM
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reply to post by mrkeen
 

S&F
Excellent thread, let's hope more people read and understand the concept of a Constitutional Republic.

ownbestenemy
Excellent post if I could give you more than one star I would.



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 12:28 PM
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I am not sure there is a Democracy anywhere on the planet

If so, I am unaware of it

There are countries that have democratic principles, but no true democracies

Unless I am unaware of the nation



I guess the question still stands although purely hypothetical




posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 01:22 PM
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So what is the solution? Is there a type of social structure in which these problems are solved? I welcome everyone to express your opinion.


A theocracy under your Creator with Christ as your head.
There is no social structure on earth that can satisfy the evilness and selfishness in mens' hearts except if it be led by Jesus and one is subject to His rule and reign. There will be no peace until evil and wickedness is removed. People will go on slaughtering their babies so that they can fornicate to their hearts desires. Little children will continue to be sexually abused and murdered as long as adults desire to fulfill their sexual lusts. Wars will continue until the war mongers are removed. Murders will still happen as long as rage and envy remain in the heart. Theft will continue until coveting is extinguished. There is a pattern. Our selfishness and desires are root of the world's problems. Sin - lawlessness. As long as the world continues to fall headlong into heathenism and paganism, the poor, needy, innocent and helpless will suffer. And it will get worse. Tragically.



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 01:28 PM
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Originally posted by WhoKnows100

So what is the solution? Is there a type of social structure in which these problems are solved? I welcome everyone to express your opinion.


A theocracy under your Creator with Christ as your head.
There is no social structure on earth that can satisfy the evilness and selfishness in mens' hearts except if it be led by Jesus and one is subject to His rule and reign.



I respect your opinion even though it does not match my beliefs. My question is this, though, what will happen in that case to the non-christians?



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 06:16 PM
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Originally posted by WhoKnows100
There is no social structure on earth that can satisfy the evilness and selfishness in mens' hearts...
This is why models, such as any newer form of legislation are ill-fated from the start. They no longer seek to correct injustices as they arise but rather seek to bestow justice; as if they are benevolent king. There is a stark contrast to those two ideas.

For example: Murder. Currently our age old laws seek to correct the injustice of that crime. This is the correct path, as we cannot banish murder. But that doesn't stop lawmakers from trying. The flip-side, following my models of how to handle Justice, would be to make a law outlawing murder in hopes of bringing Justice to the People.

Frederic Bastiat, in the Law, explains, "The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect."

Until we have a national legislature that stops its orgy of lawmaking, the law will continue to pervert itself into creating Justice, when its only purpose is to respect our natural rights by correcting injustices.


Tragically.








posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 06:57 PM
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Justice mostly comes from the constitution and justice system which clearly defines justice within a country. If you want a country to be just, that's where you have to look but of course that doesn't solve the problem because you have corruption. Democracy is a check against an unjust government. Another is a free press. IMO nothing works perfectly. One idea against corruption is direct democracy. For example, citizen grand juries that have the power to throw out public officials who don't uphold the law and throw out unjust laws.

IMO what it really boils down to is that if you want justice, then you need a society that is motivated to work for justice. Democracies can promote justice indirectly by arguing that if you want justice for yourself, you need to provide it for others but your points about the limitations of this idea are well-taken and not new.

Communism tries to correct the problem by providing equality for everyone. Attempts at communism have always quickly broken down because they failed to consider human motivation. Some people are always going to try to become more powerful or accumulate more while others will want to support other people so naturally things become unbalanced even when governments try to promote justice. You just have to decide as a country what sorts of equality are important and what are unimportant.

If you do nothing to promote justice, then you end up with a few in power so most people in a Democracy understand that to some extent its worth doing. Fewer understand that exploitation of any group, gives rise to civil unrest and costly social problems and like communism can decrease people's motivation to participate in improving the society.



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 08:28 PM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 


"What is to stop the majority of currently eligible citizens from voting to exclude other groups and/or make some portions of eligible votes ineligible? That was the very question that Madison, Jay and Hamilton took on when they penned the Federalist Papers in favor of the Constitution."


nothing, thats why its an absolute sham, add to the fact that others already have a voice higher than your's(lobbyist) and its a never ending system of epic fail. and the only way out of the cycle is usualy bloodshed. look at the salve issue, north wanted south to lose slaves, majority of the "rich" southern plantation owners did not. no one could agree, and poof we had civil war.



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 09:09 PM
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Originally posted by ~widowmaker~
nothing, thats why its an absolute sham, add to the fact that others already have a voice higher than your's(lobbyist) and its a never ending system of epic fail. and the only way out of the cycle is usualy bloodshed. look at the salve issue, north wanted south to lose slaves, majority of the "rich" southern plantation owners did not. no one could agree, and poof we had civil war.


True that a pure democracy, as a national form of governance, is a sham. As for the lobbyist, it isn't that they have a "higher" voice, it is they have easy marks that lend an ear at the drop of a few coins in their pockets. That would lead to one thinking; maybe if we, the People were to hold our Representatives accountable for their actions, rather than continually reelect, no matter the dissatisfaction, we could begin to solve that problem.

Another note on lobbyist. If it is because of their deep pockets, why don't we, form together a substantially large lobbying group to press on Congress? Answer is simple: American's are ill-equipped and anemically sick in their political capacities.

The very form of Government we live under requires a politically active society that is intelligent and moral. Both of which we woefully are lacking on.

As to your assertion on the Civil War, it is painfully over-simplistic. Jefferson Davis, in his speech to the Senate stated "It is known to senators who have served with me here, that I have for many years advocated, as an essential attribute of State sovereignty, the right of a State to secede from the Union...If i had thought that Mississippi was action without sufficient provocation...I should still, under my theory of government, because of my allegiance to the State of which I am a citizen, have been bound by her actions."

That speech by the way is said to have roused even the Senators of the Northern States to thunderous applause.

Slaves were indeed a part of the picture of why States wanted to secede, but not the only part of the picture. States' rights played a huge role and while their reasoning was wrong, they were exercising what they thought was enshrined clearly within the Declaration of Independence, their right to break the shackles of their current Government.



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 11:16 PM
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Originally posted by WhoKnows100

So what is the solution? Is there a type of social structure in which these problems are solved? I welcome everyone to express your opinion.




A theocracy under your Creator with Christ as your head. There is no social structure on earth that can satisfy the evilness and selfishness in mens' hearts except if it be led by Jesus and one is subject to His rule and reign. There will be no peace until evil and wickedness is removed. People will go on slaughtering their babies so that they can fornicate to their hearts desires. Little children will continue to be sexually abused and murdered as long as adults desire to fulfill their sexual lusts. Wars will continue until the war mongers are removed. Murders will still happen as long as rage and envy remain in the heart. Theft will continue until coveting is extinguished. There is a pattern. Our selfishness and desires are root of the world's problems. Sin - lawlessness. As long as the world continues to fall headlong into heathenism and paganism, the poor, needy, innocent and helpless will suffer. And it will get worse. Tragically.



You are absolutely right. I like how C.S. Lewis talked about Christianity being socialist with Christ at the head. This is why man will perpetually struggle. Some just know how to push our buttons to suit their purposes. Democracy is mob agitation for the elites pleasure. Plato knew this long ago his 5 regimes go Aristocracy ->Timocracy -> Oligarchy- > Democracy -> Tyranny. Plato's five regimes

As to OPs question I remember a YouTube video that showed a kind of anarchy-syndicatalist/ Iroquois Confederacy type of Govt that looked interesting but I have not looked into it too much. Inherently every system is flawed because they rely on mans inherent goodness which if not catered to can be overtaken with idle pleasures and materialism. It is fun to theorize though.

Thomas Moore's Utopia is an interesting concept. Seems like any Utopia would need the system be in place before producing the citizens necessary to live there. Paradoxical when you consider that means killing off all of the people who will build this utopia because they would be corrupted from the old system. Makes things like the VENUS project and zeitgeist look like a Huxley wet dream for the elite.

The intended American system is always open for debate but probably one of the best efforts to restrain govt and allow growth, innovation, and liberty. Sadly it has been doomed since the 14th amendment was twisted to apply to corporate personhood and the fed being created in 1913.




edit on 5-12-2012 by NihilistSanta because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 11:30 PM
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Originally posted by noxvita83

Originally posted by WhoKnows100

So what is the solution? Is there a type of social structure in which these problems are solved? I welcome everyone to express your opinion.


A theocracy under your Creator with Christ as your head.
There is no social structure on earth that can satisfy the evilness and selfishness in mens' hearts except if it be led by Jesus and one is subject to His rule and reign.



I respect your opinion even though it does not match my beliefs. My question is this, though, what will happen in that case to the non-Christians?


Not to get off topic but in said scenario being Christ revealing himself again and establishing himself as rightful ruler why would there be non-Christians? That is to say that you mean if Christ returned tomorrow and this played out you wouldn't convert?



posted on Dec, 5 2012 @ 11:51 PM
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I still believe, even though heavily flawed, that the framework for our government is fundamentally the best in the world. As the current incarnation of it, not so much. And that's because we've bent the spirit of the framework to serve a select few. First off, we have a party based system. George Washington was deeply disturbed by this idea for the fact that it lead to divisive ideologies, but also took away from the focus of the job of those in power. If you're a member of a political party, it is more than likely you're going to lock step your votes with the wishes of your party, not your constituents that you are supposed to be representing. There are a couple of ways I can think of off the top of my head. One is campaign finance reform. Disallow donations to politicians, be it from Corporations or Citizens. Give a set dollar amount instead to be spent on campaigning. Find out what is the minimum you need to be able to go out and door to door knock and talk to your constituents and talk to them about your views and why you believe you deserve office. And the second idea is open the national forum up to all established parties. Instead of making 3rd party candidates unable to be on the ballot in all 50 states, remove the state requirement and make a national one. If you have say 0.1% of the vote in petitions, you'll be legally recognized as a political party and give them equal money, equal time in the debates, etc. etc. so they can compete against the big money parties (Dems and Reps) so that Americans can hear their voice.

In the process of writing this post, I decided to try to find a link that showed all candidates (not just Obama and Romney's percentages) but all candidates and it's difficult, all major news outlets (nothing new) do not even mention third parties in their numbers. When the media stacks the deck against the third party, that limits their exposure. Thus people can't really choose the best party, but rather votes for the "Lesser of two evils". There is something severely wrong with this.



posted on Dec, 6 2012 @ 12:09 AM
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Democracy with sensitivity to others is the answer. I think reasonable accommodations should be made for those in the minority, as a matter of social responsibility. Where those limits are....I do not know.

But, then again, you can never please all the people all the time.



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