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Democracy is great

Yes it is great, but not as great as people think. It has been said before "Democracy is the least worst form of government".

What is wrong with democracy?

The internal deficiencies of a democratic government.

Democracy is misunderstood

People generally believe that the government should reflect "the will of the people".
There are a couple of problems with this,
  • The will of the people is non-existent concept. e.g
    Person A wants the national flag to be blue and have no second preference, 
    Person B wants the national flag to be red and have no second preference , 
    Person C wants the national flag to be white and have no second preference , 
    They have a choice of voting for a red or white flag only, and take a vote and one colour is chosen. Could we say that the colour of the flag is representative of the will of the people.
    Essentially Voters have to choose from impossible bundles
  • Government is not elected by a majority of people, there are demographic groups that are excluded such as under 18's and prisoners. Of those that are eligible to vote only a percentage actually do.
  • It would be better to characterised say that government reflects "The will of the politicians, sanctioned by the majority of voters"
  • None of the candidates that stand may reflect the views of the majority.

Quote 1081

If a population is extremely large and extremely heterogeneous, it might not be possible to reach collective decisions on many things at all.

   --  Dr Eamonn Butler

Democracy  legalises plunder

There is an demonstratedly reason that democracy fails: voters ultimately vote for "more" which moves resources from productive activities into consumption.

Democracy can lead to an unstable laws

  • When an election comes up, no-one can be sure of the outcome. This makes it hard to plan, so it puts people off taking action because of the risk. 
  • Between people, the way to get certainty is to sign a contract. Government reserves the right to change the terms of its promises and laws at will.
  • Even when a leader is elected you can't be sure they will keep their promise, yet the effects of the law will affect you.
  • Democracy is the enemy of the rule of law.
Democracy leads thoughtless votes

A system of periodic elections tends to give rulers a very short-run perspective.

Democracy can lead to too many laws

Quote 1045

The simple deal is ‘you vote for my measures and I’ll vote for yours’, but the result is that more legislation is passed than anyone really wants.

   --  Dr Eamonn Butler

Tyranny of the majority

"Democracy is the priciple of Majority rule, this can never the less mean that democracy degenerates into 'the tyranny of the majority'"

"Democracy is not always right; wisdom cannot be determined by the simle device of a show of hands"

"Encouraging people to accept the will of the majority, thereby promoting uniformity and dull conformism"

   --  Andrew Heywood

Quote 322

A government in which majority rule in all cases, cannot be based on justice

   --  Henry David Thoreau

Would you rather have, representative democracy or representative self ownership.
Voting is appropriate if voters want to be part of it.

There is no such thing as government or the state; there are only individuals acting together in their own interests against the interests of other individuals who are powerless to stop them.

Democracy has to be more than just an election every three years; otherwise we are stuck with an elected dictatorship for three years at a time.
Because the decisions that result from the electoral process will be imposed monopolistically on everyone in a polity, a decision made by some fraction of the whole may not adequately take into account the interests of the rest.

Democratic deficit

Why wait until there is a majority of 1, to change a law. Moreover, a man more right than his neighbours constitutes a majority of 1 already.

A direct democracy seems to be what some people wish for, but that could not exist under our form of government, and does not exist anywhere in the modern world. Representative democracy is messy and imperfect, but is probably less imperfect than any of the alternatives. 
Even if 51% of people prefer something, there are 49% that don't. That could be a lot of people. Then, if x% of all those people don't even have intimate knowledge (an informed opinion) of what is up for discussion, then this could lead to bad laws being passed.

Contradiction of government

"People don't feel the need to put limitations on themselves, but feel popular government does."

   --  Stuart Mill


Representatives are not accountable to voters
  • There is no contract
  • Are they bound by law to fufil pledges?
  • Do you have any recourse?
  • Politicians don't even know who voted for them
The Reform Act of 1832 saw the abolition of many "rotten boroughs" - seats with only a handful of voters, which would be sold to the highest bidder. Old Sarum was one of the most notorious, with only 11 voters in 1831. Which 18th Century prime minister was the MP for Old Sarum between 1735 and 1747? 

Direct Democracy

The market is like direct democracy.

Controversial Question Should Law or Democracy Be More Important?

Its the difference between a democracy or a republic.


Quote 1055

Voting demands a little time and effort from the elector. It is not just the modest time and effort of making your way to the polling station and filling in the ballot form. There is also the much greater time and effort that is needed to inform yourself about the candidates and their policies so that you can make a choice.

   --  Dr Eamonn Butler




Link485UK voter power by constituency ==> well produced website