NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:So I'm sitting here this Sunday morning watching a political roundtable discussion show and the commentator states "56% of Americans believe..." and it doesn't even matter what the topic was because he said it as if it meant that 100% believe. As if, once you get to 51% of a democratic society believing something, it becomes the rule for all 100%.

Of course, that's one of the fundamental ideals of a democracy. But should a 51% vote be treated the same as a 99% vote?

The easy answer is "No" but... it IS the same in our society, and everyone seems OK with that. Of course, we can all say "Can't we all just get along?" but we know that's just too idealistic. So we set the 'winning score' at greater than 50% and whoever wins, wins, and whoever loses gets no say.

Do the 51% have any responsibility to the 49% in a democratic society? Should they?

If you are a politician in a Democratic society, isn't an easy way to get elected to opress 49% of the people to get 51% of the vote?

Should a 51% vote be given the same weight of a 99% vote or does that undermind the entire idea of a Democracy?


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Gnarly Cranium
Gnarly Cranium

member
Location: San Francisco
Member Since: 16th Feb 2005
Total posts: 186
Posted:Dood!! It's not EVEN 51% you know.. just 51% of the people that voted, which was still what? 40% of the total population? Something lame like that? So that 51% really translates to something more like 1/4th.

And hell, NO it's not enough. Not even close. What kind of a freekin 'majority' is that anyway???


"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X

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MissEgyptology
MissEgyptology

officially expelled from BYU
Location: Southern California
Member Since: 21st Feb 2005
Total posts: 195
Posted:I think 51% is not enough at all. Especially when you consider that there is probably, at LEAST, a 3% margin of error on any given poll, that's enough to make someone else a winner. When you also consider that there are always a few people who will change their minds, there isn't a clear winner at all.

Even though the 'winner take all' majority seems to be a fundamental part of democracy, I have to say that, on some level, I disagree with it. I'd say that 2/3 or 3/4 would be a more appropriate majority, but is it possible to get that many people all agreeing to any one thing? Dubious.

I also agree that giving a 51% 'majority' the same weight as a 99% one is definitely undermining the idea of democracy. I think some other solution should be found, but as with most idealists, I just know there should be a change, I don't know what should be done about it.


"So Miss, I think you win the prize... A mormon egyptologist in a firespinning chat room... that's gotta be a record of some kind"
-NYC

Thanks, NYC,but I quit mormonism now XD

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:There is this Founding Father concept of the "Tyrrany of the Majority." Canada gets it. One of their judges, when talking about the gay marriage issue, said "this is not something to be decided by a majority because majorities ignore the rights of minorities."

Apparently this country is forgetting that no great civil rights advance has happened by majority vote.

The structure of the U.S. Government was to be quite clear: citizens were not to vote on laws; they were to vote on representatives to vote on laws.

It's too bad that the majority has turned into a tyrrany again.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Gnarly Cranium
Gnarly Cranium

member
Location: San Francisco
Member Since: 16th Feb 2005
Total posts: 186
Posted:Yeah real majorities aren't great either... like someone said once, "in a gang rape situation, the majority has voted"

But still, it's no good to pretend that 1/4th of the population is most of us. Especially when that 1/4th is so STUPID.


"Ours is not to question The Head; it is enough to revel in the ubiquitous inanity of The Head, the unwanted proximity of The Head, the unrelenting HellPresence of The Head, indeed the very UNYIELDING IRRELEVANCE of The Head!" --Revelation X

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Birgit
Birgit

had her carpal tunnel surgery already thanks v much
Location: Edinburgh
Member Since: 27th Jan 2005
Total posts: 4145
Posted:We have 2/3 majorities for major things in the parliament, like changes and additions to the constitution. That way, since usually the ruling parties are only a bit over 50 %, they can't decide on their own but need the agreement of at least part of the opposition.

"vices are like genitals - most are ugly to behold, and yet we find that our own are dear to us."
(G.W. Dahlquist)

Owner of Dragosani's left half

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Nucleopoi
Nucleopoi

chemical attraction
Location: Ilkeston, Derbyshire, England
Member Since: 6th Nov 2004
Total posts: 1097
Posted:51% is nowhere near enough, more like 75%

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:I guess it could be even more scary if there were more than two real political parties in the US. You could have the guy with 26% of the vote be president.

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Stone
Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 13th Jun 2001
Total posts: 2830
Posted:In Australia, we have varying degrees of a Proportional Representation in our voting system. This is meant to be a fairer system, but minor parties can get more power than they deserve. So, there is no easy answer.

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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spritie
spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX
Member Since: 9th Sep 2001
Total posts: 2014
Posted:What type of system would you prefer, NYC? One where a 2/3's majority was always needed to pass or change something? Do you think the states could agree to anything if that was the case?

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Adrillf
Adrillf

member
Location: UT
Member Since: 8th Feb 2005
Total posts: 112
Posted:With the idea of only a quarter of the actual population voting for an election, that's how it is, there is no way to change that unless you start forcing others to vote, and that's never a good idea to force people into something that they do not want to do.

missegyptology: I'm gonna be a terrorist when I grow up anyway

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Written by: spritie

What type of system would you prefer, NYC? One where a 2/3's majority was always needed to pass or change something? Do you think the states could agree to anything if that was the case?



I guess I would just hope that people would have a social responsibility to respect a sizable minority. I'm not sure you can make it law, but it seems to be the ethical thing to do.

I think the 51% has a social obligation to reevaluate the views of 49% and perhaps come up with a compromise that is more inclusive. In SOME instances.


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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:My solution is this: ABOLISH ALL BALLOT PROPOSALS.

Yup. Citizens need to stop making laws. If they want a law, then they need to go through their elected representatives.

Ballot proposals are simply a tool for small special interest groups to shove through laws that don't truly represent the interests of the majority by cowing a majority into voting for it.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Hrm... I totally disagree. I'd rather be voting on more stuff.

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:NYC, the problem with having the populace vote was exemplified just this last november. 11 states ratified anti-marriage proposals.

The will of the majority is not always in the best interest of the nation. The will of the majority is pliable and easily manipulated by special interests. Ballot initiatives are contrary to the basic design of the Founding Fathers because they understood that the average citizen is not well-educated on the issues and is easily swayed by scare tactics.

Thank heavens that the FMA wasn't put to a popular vote.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:The will of the majority is more easily manipulated than the will of ONE? I think not.

If Bush was King, you'd be in a 'reeducation camp' before you knew it. wink


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SpitFire
Mand's Girl....and The Not So Shy One
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2002
Total posts: 2723
Posted:So what is the best way to avoid Tyranny of the Majority?

Solitude sometimes speaks to you, and you should listen.

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Obey me.

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Written by: NYC

The will of the majority is more easily manipulated than the will of ONE? I think not.

If Bush was King, you'd be in a 'reeducation camp' before you knew it. wink



The VOTES of the majority are manipulated AS easily as the will of one...ad campaigns.

If you put out a ballot proposal to ban interracial marriage right now, I'd wager you could AT LEAST get 30% to vote for it with an effective enough ad campaign.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:I disagree.

Isn't it obvious that it's easier to manipulate one person than two?

If one of those "30%" you're talking about was king, we'd be in way more trouble.


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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:You manipulate masses by manipulating individuals, dontcha?

Imagine all the messy legislation that would have been pushed through if left to decide by the masses alone. Things like a law banning private companies from having anti-discrimination policies, etc. The courts have had to knock down a number of ballot proposals that passed and were unconstitutional.

Good thing it's not all left up to popular election. We'd be screwed.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Prometheus
Prometheus

Diamond In The Rough
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Member Since: 30th Jun 2002
Total posts: 459
Posted:I've never supported the idea of deciding things by referendum. If you put every governmental decision to a national vote, then why do we need the elected representatives? It's thier job to research the issues, think about them, know what their constituents think, and then make a decision. Most of the population doesn't have the time to devote to thoughtful, well-informed decision making.

I think a 2/3rds majority is a definitive 'majority,' but i's not the best way to decide the fate of everybody. We need people who can look beyond the politics and examine the morals and merits behind every issue. Of course, people like that don't often get voted into public office.

"Sometimes the majority means that all the fools are on the same side.." -- Pele

P.S. 51% is not a mandate! ubbrollsmile


Dance like it hurts; Love like you need money; Work like someone is watching.

Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you DO criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes.

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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:I agree with that.

I agree that we should be electing people that will make those decisions better than us. That's the theory anyway.


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SCRUBS
SCRUBS

erm....can you smell parafin or is it me?

Member Since: 28th Feb 2005
Total posts: 146
Posted:power corrupts it has been said and with big buissnese so willing to oil the wheels of democracy the smae big buissnesses that control the media how can the masses have freedom.
lets face it people are affected by media . we need a high profile free-global-media for the people by the people soapbox peace


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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:Oh, word word word...

Media reform.

But nobody wants it. They'd rather have the 11:00 news tell them what brand of shampoo is best.


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SCRUBS
SCRUBS

erm....can you smell parafin or is it me?

Member Since: 28th Feb 2005
Total posts: 146
Posted:All I can hope for is that the internet gets bigger than television so that we will all be able to have our own live streams and that this media is kept free!

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