- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on December 23, 1999 at 10:40:36:

In Reply to: majoritarianism - lets consider it first. posted by Gee on December 22, 1999 at 18:32:33:

: Some questions for Santa to answer.

: Can any one show me why majoritarianism is a good thing in principle, or do its supporters merely hope it to be 'good' or 'better than x' in practice.

: Whats the basis for that assertion? - it does, after all, sound good.
: Are we subject to defacto majoritarianism in daily life anyway (read 'On Liberty' by Mill)?

SDF: No, power, as Mao once said, can come from the barrel of a gun. However, those who wish to rule thusly will have to do without the democratic life of the people, and society will be made thusly dependent upon the struggle for power, with its ongoing death threats.

: Whats the full and precise definition of majoritarianism? The best I found was in Merriam Websters, 1997 : " the philosophy or practice according to which decisions of an organized group should be made by a numerical majority of its members "
: From where does the right to rule others derive - under any system with rules? Or is it all just down to who can exert the most force - in which case all systems follow the same principle, but do so simply along a different part of a continuum, one in which the trigger fingers change but rule by the muzzle of a gun remains constant.

SDF: ALL rights come from society, nobody has ANY rights outside of a society that can provide them. We can describe this physically -- "rights" is a cultural term denoting respect between individuals within a social framework -- no social framework, no rights. This fact is what makes modes and systems of social decision-making of paramount importance to all of society's members, indeed to the well-being of the entire planet. Please see John Dryzek's book RATIONAL ECOLOGY for a thorough examination of this above theme.

: If a majority of people in parts of Europe once believed that burning women as witches was the right thing to do - then if the principle of majoritarianism is right, the burnings were by definition also right.

SDF: "Mob rule" is certainly one system of governance, but of course not the only one.

: How does this differ from 'consensual democracy' in practice and in outcome?

SDF: Three links: (1) -- (2) -- (3)

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