Saturday, June 02, 2012

Dangerous Democracy

It is very popular to equate Democracy with Peace, but this is a fallacy and, in practice, the exact opposite is true.

Before you write this off as seditious nonsense, take a moment to examine what a democracy is. In very simple terms, a democracy is a form of government in which the majority rules.

That, in itself, does not imply or even make any allusion that a government which is a democracy is peaceful, nor that living in a democratic country needs to be peaceful.

Part of the notion of equating a democracy with peace comes from the formation of people who live within that kind of a system who are taught, from their very earliest days that to solve a problem you vote about it and that everyone peacefully accepts the will of the majority.

To put this into perspective imagine the smallest possible country that could exist as a democracy. This would have to be a nation with 3 people in it, because with a population of only 2 you could never have a "majority" except in those cases where "everybody" agreed.

Now imagine some issue where there was a division of opinion. It could be anything that you can think of, but let's say that it is an issue over whether or not we allow alcohol to be used. Two people are against the use of it, and one person wants to use it.

They take a vote, and inspite of the majority deciding that they don't want it, the third person decides that he will not accept that decision for himself.

How are the other two going to stop this person from making or using alcohol? They may eventually have to resort to force as long as the majority does not reverse their position or change it to allow the minority to do as they wish.

Whenever anyone uses force, or even the threat of it, in order to get their way, we are no longer talking about peace. Peace does not mean accepting what someone else wants because, --if you don't-- you're going to get stompped on.

So to return to original premise, Democracy has nothing to do with Peace. We, who live in a democracy, may have been trained to accept the decision of the majority without complaining, but that acceptance will only last as long as we feel that what we want is less important than the consequences we would face for not accepting.

Don't subscribe to the illusion that just because a country is a democracy, that its government or its people are peaceful … all it means is that they chose the people who make their rules through a process of voting; nothing more, nothing less.

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