Commentary

How Direct Democracy Breeds Majoritarianism

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Democracy is contrived to be a panacea of human liberation, and the fountain of justice which will cure all social ills. In foreign affairs, we assume that oppressed people merely require a little democracy to melt away their chains of oppression. It is surmised that if we just had more democracy at home, all iniquity would disappear.

Democratic philosophy conceives of all responsibility as shared. In such a weltanschauung, a man like Donald Trump, who puts his name on everything in huge letters, is the absolute devil.  It believes that no one should have more responsibility than anyone else, and that anyone who does is purely vainglorious and full of demonic conceit.

In practice, responsibility diffuses with each individual involved in the decision making process, until no one can be held accountable for anything.  Then the masses seek a tyrant. If the executive power had not grown to Leviathan proportions under a popularly elected president, the prospects of a Trump or Clinton presidency would not be so unsavory. If the office of the President was not given such great weight, the Senate, House and Supreme Court would be effective counterweights to balance the power of an unpopular president.

It is clear that the democrats believed they would define reality indefinitely, as they not only applauded, but encouraged ever more egregious transgressions. Now that Republican style government failed to bend to their will, they wish for even more direct democracy.

So, we are now facing a challenge to the Electoral College because the system worked exactly as it was intended–as a fail-safe against majoritarianism.  The original spirit of the Constitution was to mix various levels of democracy. The president was originally selected by popularly elected electors. A popular vote was never intended as the method of electing a president at all, let alone a direct popular vote. The Supreme Court Justices are appointed by the president and confirmed by the legislature. The Senators were appointed by the State governments. Only the House Representatives were directly elected.

The states already have no representation in the Federal government since the ratification of the 17th amendment. The 17th amendment was a massive leap toward direct democracy and nationalism. William Allen White, an old progressive, celebrated every step toward democracy as “a step toward the Declaration of Independence, and away from the Constitution, which so feared majority rule that the majority was hedged about with checks and balances at every possible point.”

The Electoral College is one of the last ramparts between the United States existing as a Constitutional Federalist Republic and becoming a national collective.  Democracy must be hedged in by laws which govern its reach, or its reach is unlimited, while simultaneously restrained by systems of checks and balances.

In Federalist No. 10 Madison concedes the “causes of faction cannot be removed” so the only preventative measure against the collusion of faction is to control its “effects.” The preventative measure for a minority faction dominating is self-explanatory. This means only the minority needs protection through complex systematic means. Madison postulated that the intricacies of checks and balances constituted in the republic would prevent such evils as “(a) rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project…” As predicted, when the checks and balances dissolved so did the protections against such improper projects.

Once the fail-safe of checks and balances falls the fundamental rights set down in the Constitution become threatened. Natural law is replaced with the subjective whim of the masses. When everything is relative, nothing is sacred, especially rights, which are no longer seen as natural, but as inventions of the state.  Once democracy is victorious it seeks to make everything public and political. Its tendrils will choke out all life and liberty.

The cult of democracy believes everything is potentially under its purview of control, so long as the majority demands it. The majoritarianism of direct democracy is the ultimate experiment in applied relativism and subjectivism.  It rejects the concepts of natural law, absolute rights, self-organizing systems, and spontaneous complexity.  The democratic philosophy sees laws as mere constructs of government, tools for social engineering and totalitarian management of individuals.

Cicero  wrote “…justice is completely non-existent if it is not derived from nature… If there is such power in the decisions and decrees of foolish people that they can overturn the nature of things by their votes, why do they not enact that things wicked and destructive should be deemed good and wholesome?”

History has answered this.  Democracies always fail, and they always lead to tyranny, for the scales of justice are always biased in majoritarian society.

About Delian Valeriani

Delian Valeriani works as a diver, cook, and pyrotechnician, he has started and run a restaurant, is a volunteer firefighter, visual artist, and sometime political activist. In his spare time he writes philosophy, reads and collects books, and enjoys hiking, fishing, whitewater, shooting, and riding his motorcycle. His philosophical work applies scientific theory as a basis for social theory and strives to bring historical and philosophical context to the apparently convoluted world of today.

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