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32Bravo
04-27-2007, 08:01 AM
I think it was Benjamin Franklin that posed the question:


Democracy is all well and good, but who will protect the minority from the majority.


Does anyone know of instances where the minority have been in need of protection from the majority?

Amrit
04-27-2007, 08:13 AM
Does anyone know of instances where the minority have been in need of protection from the majority?

Most western civil rights movements have been based around this principle. It's only once the voices of the minorities have been aired, to a certain degree, have the majority have opened up to the idea of acceptance (sometimes!). Thus:

homosexuals
ethnic minorities
disabled people

In the above cases most western countries have had to enact laws to protect the minorities from discrimination. And I'm sure people can add to that list.

Amrit
04-27-2007, 08:16 AM
Another example, in Britain at least, would be capital punishment. Leaving aside the arguements about the pros and cons of executions of criminals, the minority (criminals) have had to be protected from the majority (public) by legislation, even though opinion polls have continually shown that the majority would happily bring it back.

Rising Sun*
04-27-2007, 09:42 AM
Amrit makes some good points, but I'd pose the initial question somewhat differently.

How many supposedly democratic governments are elected by a majority of

(a) the whole population?

(b) the population eligible to vote?

(c) those who vote?

Down here in the last jewel in the colonial crown (cricket aside! :D ) I suspect - don't have ready figures for checking - that we might never have had a national government elected by a majority of the population eligible to vote or even just voting. And we have a compulsory voting system. (OK, it's not strictly compulsory voting, but compulsory attendance at a voting booth).

Be that as it may, we've badly mistreated our indigenous people for a couple of centuries (although if we'd stuck to the 18th century British Colonial Office prescriptions we might have done better). They are a minority which has definitely been in need of protection from the majority. The biggest step was to recognise them as human beings entitled to the same rights as the rest of us. That didn't begin to happen generally until about 40 years ago, although on an individual or local basis it happened in some places long before. And still hasn't happened in some places yet.

I could tell some stories from my own experience of what were regarded as funny events, and other events which were deplorable, involving Aborigines in the 1960ís when I worked around the bush in Australia. Much more has come out since then about institutionalised abuse of Aborigines and those of mixed Aboriginal race. Those events now shame those involved, including me. They do confirm that Aborigines were often an oppressed and misused minority in need of great protection from the majority in a supposedly vibrant democracy.

Muslims in Australia are heading in the same direction nowadays. Unlike the Aborigines who never did anything much to attract negative attention, Muslims are being put into that position mainly by some local prize Isamic ****wits who profess to speak for all Muslims, a great many of whom want exactly what everybody else in this country wants: a happy and decent life.

Amrit
04-27-2007, 10:31 AM
How many supposedly democratic governments are elected by a majority of

(a) the whole population?

(b) the population eligible to vote?

(c) those who vote?



In Britain, the answer is none for all three. However, that is, on the whole a choice. Like the US for example, here in Britain, there are very few limitations placed on the eligibility to vote, even though in the US there certainly seems to be some political issues*.

*by that I mean the issues around different States' interpretations of who can cannot register to vote, and the question of disenfranchisement excluding ethnic groups dispropotionately.

Rising Sun*
04-27-2007, 10:39 AM
In Britain, the answer is none for all three.

Sounds like a solid democracy. Just like ours! :D

Amrit
04-27-2007, 10:47 AM
Sounds like a solid democracy. Just like ours! :D

My definition of democracy is the right for all the people to choose.............wrongly :D

32Bravo
04-27-2007, 12:35 PM
My own thoughts are that we have constitutional govenment which is made up of elected representatives. I don't consider that as being democracy in the true sense(i.e. peopel power), but when one considers population size, it's about as close as one can get. Obviously, there are forms of constitutional government that are better than others - horses for courses.

royal744
05-26-2007, 11:39 AM
Most western civil rights movements have been based around this principle. It's only once the voices of the minorities have been aired, to a certain degree, have the majority have opened up to the idea of acceptance (sometimes!). Thus:

homosexuals
ethnic minorities
disabled people

In the above cases most western countries have had to enact laws to protect the minorities from discrimination. And I'm sure people can add to that list.

I'll buy that amrit. Lots of minorities in the US have needed protection. Usually, but definitely not always, the minorities in the US have received consideration from the majority, but for a very long time, Blacks certainly did not; Hispanic Americans in the southwest did not; gays certainly did not and continue in many ways to be discriminated against; and American Indians and many others. In recent decades, since WWII, most minority groups have been able to assert their rights more or less successfully, usually with a great deal of support from the more open-minded folks in this country. Of course, consideration for minorities refers in this case to Minority AMERICANS and in no way implies we should throw our borders open to those who have no right to be here, but that's probaboly covered under another thread.

royal744
05-26-2007, 11:47 AM
In Britain, the answer is none for all three. However, that is, on the whole a choice. Like the US for example, here in Britain, there are very few limitations placed on the eligibility to vote, even though in the US there certainly seems to be some political issues*.

*by that I mean the issues around different States' interpretations of who can cannot register to vote, and the question of disenfranchisement excluding ethnic groups dispropotionately.

Great point. In the US, I would say that the answer is none of the three mentioned - necessarily. The Electoral College in our country is a dinosaur and needs to be vaporized at the earliest opportunity. It also allows certain people to steal elections. What takes place at the state level is not necessarily as closely watched as what happens on the federal, although the internet is helping to shine lights in dark corners. The example of Florida is the most recently egregious one, but in many states there are always groups that don't believe in "one man one vote" and attempt to intimidate voters of certain groups, affiliations, ethnic origins to not show up at the polling booths. The people doing that think "they" are the "real" Americans and the rest of "us" don't count. LOL. How wrong can you be? Hide and watch.

Lots of nut cases around here. Thankfully, they are not the majority. Most Americans prefer the middle ground.