Poll: What are your undemocratic principles?

2012-02-04 (Saturday) § 3 Comments

What laws or public policies do you want in your society even if a democratic majority opposes them?  I don’t have an answer yet.  Still thinking about it.

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§ 3 Responses to Poll: What are your undemocratic principles?

  • I’m still thinking about it too, but I have a very strong inclination to consider “liberal” principles of the type Fareed Zakaria talks about as trumping democratic principles.

    While I don’t have the details, pretty much everything I’ve thought of that I don’t think should be subject to the folly of the masses falls under one of these categories:
    – The institutional structure of government (except maybe by a super majority)
    – The judiciary
    – Protection of minorities (eg. through human rights law)
    – Decisions which require expert judgment rather than political judgment, and which are likely to be made poorly if made for political reasons (eg. interest rates)

    The last one is the hardest to work out and draw the line.

    • paginavorus says:

      Yeah, I think I’m on board with you on all of those.

    • kisekileia says:

      I think I probably agree with all of these, though the first not as much as the others. I would also probably add that there should be universal, comprehensive, free or heavily subsidized health care (including pharmaceuticals, psychotherapy, and physiotherapy, unlike in Ontario, where I live) and education (probably up to the bachelor’s degree level, for those who have the desire and the ability to go that far). Those are basic necessities to reduce human suffering as much as possible and to educate people well enough for them to contribute effectively to society.

      I see no reasonable motivation for a society to deny people those things, and no, “I don’t want to pay more taxes” isn’t reasonable IMO. The desire to pay less taxes should not trump others’ physical/mental suffering or others’ need to obtain scientific and cultural literacy. I feel much more strongly about this for health care than for education past the high school level, though. Majority will simply isn’t a sufficiently compelling justification for governments to withhold the medical care that people need to relieve their suffering.

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