It should be obvious that democracy’s usefulness is limited, and it should be equally obvious that not everyone should vote on any given issue. For example, a twelve-month-old baby may be able to express his likes and dislikes, but I wonder how a daycare worker looking after half a dozen one-year-olds could apply the democratic process to anything whatsoever.
But even if she could, would such a demographic be too easily manipulated to make any meaningful decisions? For example, let’s say we allow five-year-olds to vote on whether or not we should drive in the left lane instead of the right lane. Well, if the Left-Lane-Lobby can deliver the candy and the razzle dazzle, they will likely win the majority if not 100% of the vote as what five-year-old wants to be the odd-kid-out?
No, for democracy to work some understanding is requisite as well as common ground or shared values. For example we should all agree on the direction of up, and we wouldn’t let a billion communist Chinese vote on whether or not America should become East China.
For democracy to work a degree of maturity, affinity, and trust must exist within the electorate, a trust which allows the minority to accept the results. If we are voting on pizza or fried chicken for supper, no biggie. If, on the other hand, we are voting on who has to pay for it, that could be a problem if love of tribe is not present.
For the same reason the election must be perceived as honest.
If these elements are present within a given group or polity, then democracy can be an enormously effective tool for governance. One of many. But democracy is a means, not an end. When misapplied, democracy, like the hammer or fire, can be enormously destructive, as we can see in Roe vs. Wade when nine judges voted on whether or not it was okay to kill babies.
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