This isn’t a long and elaborate post, but Daisy concluded a comment with “The real question is whether we believe in democracy or not.” The comment will get a longer response tonight, but this partly addresses the democracy question.
I like using this when a young female makes a “democracy is supreme” comment in a group. For this to work, males with a least a few drops of testosterone need to outnumber females (the minimum amount is two males/one female).
Imagine that I’ve been trying to get across the point that certain individual rights trump those of the majority will, and Melissa just won’t buy it. I then propose that we pretend our little group is a closed society, and that we’re a democracy. Majority rules, period. Melissa goes along: after all, its democracy.
I might then make a couple of innocuous proposals for us to vote on, like maybe what restaurant we go to or on what color cups we should use. Make it fun.
Once we’ve all accepted how incredibly fair democracy is, I “propose that Melissa remove her shirt, now.” I call for a vote, and the majority votes that she does it. Melissa protests.
Martel: But we’re a democracy. Majority rules.
Melissa: Yeah, but…
Martel: Democracy! Majority rules.
Melissa then hems and haws, so I help her out.
Martel: So are you saying that there are some things that a democracy should not be allowed to do?
I have thus illustrated that there are circumstances under which individual rights (in this case Melissa’s right to keep her shirt on) trump the will of the majority, that sometimes the interests of the majority violate the sovereignty of the minority. Democracy is NOT infallible.
Have I won completely won the argument? No, but I’ve made the point that although democracy usually respects individual sovereignty, sometimes it doesn’t. If and when it doesn’t, we need something that transcends the “will of the people” to stop it; sometimes I is more important than we. That’s why we have government that respects the will of the people but doesn’t entirely succumb to it.
The Constitution trusts nobody, not politicians, not judges, not even the people. Our Founders recognized that everything that might have power over others requires something that can keep it in check.