So say we all

There’s an important concept within democracy that seems to be misunderstood.

The majority decision is the law. It is not inherently “right”, or “fair”, or even “intelligent”, it is only the law.

We got along for quite a while enjoying the benefits and responsibilities of a democracy. I’m not exactly sure why things have changed, but they have.

Very possibly it is the collision of the “me” generation and their offspring with the “information superhighway”.

The responsibility of living in a democracy means accepting you will not always be in the majority, nor will you always be in the minority. The importance of your ideas and beliefs is equal to the importance of ideas and beliefs you don’t agree with. It is the interaction between people of different views that produces growth. Sometimes we rise above where we are and learn something neither party had considered before.

Somewhere along the way a large portion of American society has come to believe that being a majority infers some moral and intellectual superiority, there is nothing to learn from the minority and they should be destroyed. A scorched Earth approach to social interaction.

As dangerous as that state of mind might be, what is happening is even worse. Since being in the majority is the only accepted validation of ideas, it becomes more difficult for an ego to accept it might be wrong about anything, therefore it creates a majority that doesn’t exist. “I’m not wrong, and everybody agrees with me” has replaced “you may not agree, but this is what I think”. By following this path, the wounded ego empowers itself with an illusion.

The essence of democracy is we do not believe in precisely the same things. We do believe in each other.

In a discussion about religion, self proclaimed atheists state they are not only a majority, but they will supplant all religions. This is the kind of nonsense you hear from religious fanatics, but don’t suggest atheism is a religion, because even though the person speaking is telling you out of one side of his mouth that everyone agrees with him, out of the other side he’s saying there is no definition for his beliefs.

In a discussion about politics a member of one party states the other party is the “enemy of democracy” and this opposing party will cease to exist. Suggest to the person a democracy requires at least two points of views, and you are labeled a fanatic. Both sides see the other as idiots intent on evil.

They are not idiots. Well, some of them are. You read this on a computer screen. At your fingertips is the massed information of our civilization, opposing viewpoints, and pictures of cats. You may be a genius, a poet, an artist, a mailman, or an inmate at an asylum. You might be anything in the world, and your opinion is equal in value to mine. We may not be of equal intellect, in fact it is unlikely we are. It is our responsibility to be civil with each other despite our differences.

Opinions are not truths. There is no objective “right” and “wrong” with opinions. There is simply the majority and infinite minorities. Membership in those groups changes every day. Being a participant in democracy, it is important to understand that today’s majority is tomorrow’s minority, and the way you treat others may be the way you are treated.

It’s not easy. Just as the majority of milk is not cream, the majority of society is not the best we have to offer. Education is our greatest tool, but the majority prefers propaganda.

Be proud to be different. Do not be swayed by other opinions, but listen to them. Learn the facts and make up your own mind. Because in the final analysis, your own mind is all you have.

 

 

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2 comments on “So say we all

  1. mike r says:

    You’ve written some very interesting things, in the past, about what motivates thinking in modern Americans. This adds to that collection, particularly the perversion of democracy. Your conclusion truly strikes at the real state of modern man–the last stronghold of liberty is the human mind. Alas, even that is under attack. Hate crimes, the codification of politically-correct thinking, are an example.

    Most of us do not know that the word “democracy” is not found in the Constitution and that the framers of that document struggled to protect us from a government that would become a tool of the masses. Mob sentiment is a horrible thing and in direct opposition to the individual. Democracy is a very dangerous thing, not in that it more evil than other forms of governance but in that there is no known form of governance that is not, end the end, the tool of the tyrant. In the case of democracy, when the opinion of the masses becomes the basis of the law, we arrive at the tyranny of the majority over the rights and property of the individual.

    Post-modern thinking and philosophy in our Western Civilization vary much from that in place when the Constitution was adopted, as well as from most other times in human history. Much of the concept of the rule of law is based upon man’s belief in a morally-superior Creator, and a fallen mankind. In the absence of a specific deity or any deity at all, it was almost universally accepted that there is a natural and consistent structure of law present in all civilizations, akin to the 10 Commandments sans references to God. The basis for all of these laws is the inherent value of the individual over the majority. Thus, natural law springs from the basis that the person and the property of an individual are valued above any man-made law. Any act that violates the person or his property is therefore a violation of common law. This mindset explains why property taxes, poll taxes, and income taxes were taboo in this nation until recent times. Which of the Founders would have envisioned that the Federal Government would own 1/3 of all land in this nation? Who could have foretold a system of eminent domain that seizes property to give to developers who will enhance the tax income of the government?

    The final death blow to the rule of law comes in the elevation of democracy above law, that is, the law itself is subject to vote and such law is fluid and situational, capable of becoming outdated and no longer applicable. And here we have arrived. Modern men generally see themselves as no having any evil or sinful nature and therefore capable of deciding right and wrong for themselves, and if not as individuals, by group vote. We should not be surprised that such thinking results in the use of the violent power of the state to remove wealth or property from one group and give it to another. So far removed are most Americans that they do not see the evil in taxation systems that are progressive or based upon income or property. Nor do they see the evil in laws of governing vice and not crime, such as prohibition laws concerning alcohol or drugs or laws against prostitution. Justifications for such laws always are based upon the practical needs of the majority being superior to the rights of the individual concerning person and property.

    Perhaps if and when the thinking of modern men allows them to see that they have sacrificed their liberty and freedom for a modicum of perceived well-being, things mights change. Until then the rule of the mob seems assured, it being natural to man. Historically, democracies end up in dictatorships, as we see the signs of in this nation as each successive president of the last several presidents has cast aside law all together and increasingly resorted to dictatorial executive orders. Mob rule has long stripped one man of his property to give to another. While one labors, another lives in sloth, thankful for his ability to vote the money of others into his own pocket. And as dictatorships follow democracies, such economic systems assuredly collapse and consume the remaining wealth of all but the very wealthy. The good news is that in the remains of a fallen society and government a freer people often arise.

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