- Capitalism and Alternatives -

limited? by whom for whom?

Posted by: bill on April 09, 1999 at 11:55:23:

In Reply to: limiting posted by Gee on April 07, 1999 at 16:13:25:

: : Gee, i find your proposition that democracy is 'wrong in principle' a little hard to swallow.

: Unlimited democracy is the one I believe can and does lead to "the tyranny of the majority". Lets take a scenario. The state of Religiosity has a vote concerning marriage and votes 10-1 in favour of stoning unfaithful wives. Thats a landslide victory won democratically. Well it not something I would call moral. Would you?


Kind of a "straw man" wouldn't you admit? Sounds like a theocracy to me. Is there universal suffrage or is this one of your "limited democracies" to only male voters. Perhaps you could point to a world example.

:Lets take a less extreme measure. Lets say the state of Pragmatism took a vote concerning farming and voted 10-1 in favour of obliging all men between 20-25 to work on the farm making food for the community. Another landslide victory won democratically, but the new legislation is tantamount to slavery, to saying that those peoples lives are not their own but belong to the state. Is that moral?

I might agree but you have loaded the dice somewhat. By taking Any decision by Any group that has the result of "limiting choice" and then calling such a decision: State Imposed is not quite fair. You could extend this to rules about stopping at red lights, and so on...

But let's take real life examples:

1.- Universal registration or conscription for the draft. Are you for or against?

2.- Food safety laws? For or against?

: : The other point to be made here is that democracies give to the individual a realm of private activity that is free from coercion. Into such a private sphere the legislature is usually unwilling to venture. As such individuals are free from the majority rule in this sphere.

([To which Joel provides:]-Medicare, Medicaid, the drug war, farm subsidies, abortion for public schoold teens and we could go on.)

: Thats where a limitation has to be drwan, to have 'no go' areas where legislature does not enter. Thats a difficult thing to define, the US constitution & bill of rights did quite a good job but they are not being 'obeyed' in todays legislative environment.


And so we come to THE REAL OBJECTION to Unfettered Democracy!

The Real, Terrifying, Fear of the propertied is that a "mobocracy" might decide to tax itself to generate funds for schools, libraries, fire departments, recreation facilities, parks, waste treatment plants, etc.etc. - All of which are perceived as Coercive Theft, a violation of "individual (property) rights".

Ultimately the debate dissolves to:

Should a relatively small minority composed of those with the most money (ie subject to a greater tax) be the ones to decide where such funds should be allotted -


Should such decisions be the province of the entire membership of the society.

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