Is democracy a process or a purpose? As a process, democracy is simply a set of rules by which decisions are made. A traffic code of sorts which places no value on the outcome of its code: of where the traffic winds up. If the majority votes to ban flag-burning or gay marriage, so be it. Unless, of course, banning those activities proves to be unconstitutional (which has been the case so far, by the way). As a purpose, democracy is a different animal. It assumes that there is moral capital on which it relies, and to ignore the essential rightness or wrongness of an issue – say, freedom of speech – is to submit to the Tyranny of the Majority. The majority can vote that saying “poo-poo head” is to be prohibited, except that we’ve already established that saying whatever you want, even if it’s stupid or offensive is a moral imperative. So even if the majority wants it, we’ve already decided that they don’t know what’s good for them.
Jeffersonian democracy had two advantages over the kind of “democracy” (I mean “plutocracy”, but I’m too polite to point that Continue reading