U.S. Capitol Behind Fence

Democracy Rules By Democracy’s Rules

By Thomas R. Cuba, Ph.D.

Blame the education system, linguistic drift, the substitution of mantra for understanding, or conspiracies if you like, but at least recognize that we have a problem. 

Somehow we have managed to rear several generations in a row composed of people who believe that Democracy is a good thing.

Remember back in the playground when you were a kid?  There was always some argument going on. Usually, it was about whether to play football or dodge ball.  Somewhere in the middle of the heated exchange someone would yell “Majority rules!”  Another kid would say “Who wants to play dodge ball?” 

Hands would go up.  Then there would be a count of those who wanted to play football.  Once again the cry of “Majority rules!” would ring out and the selected game would begin.

The game, in supposedly true American fashion, was selected by majority vote.  It was a democratic decision.  Now, think about that principle as if it were in play as an adult.  Scary.

What made me think about the majority rule of democracy was two seemingly unrelated events.  One was a newscast about the current drive to support, or even allow, gay marriage.  In particular, the story dealt with a south Florida court that had overturned a paragraph in the Florida Constitution defining marriage as a union involving one man and one woman.  The second one was a chart on a different news channel that 1.9% of adult Americans self-identified as non-heterosexual (LGBT).

Put the two stories together.  Let’s add another little factoid.  Ninety three percent of Americans self-identify with a religion which does not support gay marriage.  Let’s consider one more factoid. 

Most Americans, and demonstrably most Florida voters who adopted the offending paragraph, are opposed to gay marriage.  How would the majority rule of democracy address this?

One quick conclusion is that every gay person in the nation should immediately abandon the concept of democracy, but this article is not about homosexuality.  This article is about democracy as a form of government.  It is clear that in a true democracy, gay rights would be very severely restricted, but what else might be different?

Would women have the right to vote?  Would blacks? Given the mood of the people today, would the IRS still exist?  Under the rule of the stream of independent voters, would the days of the political party be numbered?  There is, in fact, a movement to replace all elections with a simple non-party based process that is not much more than a poll.

What about that secession thing that happened a while back?  Under a true democracy, the south would have seceded and we would be having an entirely different conversation.  There are other examples where situations exist which would not exist if America were a democracy.  One is the existence of Indian Reservations and the litany of exemptions and special status that many people have based on being just a little bit Cherokee.

Then there is the drinking age and driving age.  These two present a catch-22 based on whether the people in the age group under consideration would have the right to vote on the outcome.  The same could be said about the military draft.

I’m pretty sure that we might have a firm rule that English be the primary and only language for all government business.  No more ballots in two languages.  We would also have price fixing.  Wait! Don’t object too soon.  If you think you might want to, just look up something called rent controls.  The majority ruling that came out of the rent control debate was that the people who didn’t own the building got to tell the owner what the rent would be.

On the other hand, all the taxes, every dime, would be paid for by people who had lots of money.  Now this one is fun to think about.  The first year, the government would collect its operating funds from the richest down through the ranks until it had enough. 

The second year, the richest would no longer be the richest, so a new set of people would get robbed.  Every year, the rich would become poor and the poorest would advance up the ladder.  Right about the time the poor thought they had it made, it would be their turn to give it up.

Let’s consider some of the good consequence of a majority rule system.  For one, the border would be closed.  I already mentioned that the IRS would be shut down.  But the best one is that we would never again have our phone calls answered by a computer with a simulated voice, a simulated personality, and the IQ of a houseplant.

In a true democracy, the opinions, desires, wants, and needs of the Majority rule over those of the minority.  It’s that simple.  That is the rule of democracy.

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About The Author: Thomas R. Cuba, Ph.D.

Raised a simple Missouri farm boy, Tom managed to attend a British Prep School before commencing a college career that would culminate in a Doctorate Degree in Marine Ecology.  He also served as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy, and as a scoutmaster, SCUBA instructor, Wilderness Survival Instructor, and Firearms Instructor.

Tom has worked as an ecologist in both government and private practice, as well as a freelance nature photographer and computer programmer.

Now, a father and grandfather, Tom offers life lessons in the form of stories about the challenges people face and conquer as well as socio-political essays.  To that end, his first lesson is always his favorite quote.  “Failure is the whetstone of success.” ~ T. Leith Rettie, 1884.

You can read more from Tom on his site by clicking here

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