Imagine you have four siblings. They all get together, and decide you should be their servant. Does that sound like a great idea to you?
This is a simple example of what’s meant by the expression, “the tyranny of the majority.”
It’s for this purpose, that the United States of America was wisely begun as a representative republic with democratically elected members of the House of Representatives.
You might ask, why I only talk about that group in those terms.
The judiciary is obvious. As a rule, the members of that branch, are appointed.
People in the executive, are typically either appointed or hired. Some are elected, but not the vast majority.
The presidency has a popular vote component, but the person who ends up in the position is placed there, by the electoral college.
Here’s the interesting part, the initial intent of the U.S. Senate, was that they would be representatives to the states, appointed by each legislature, to their positions.
Since that time, a substantial breakdown has occurred. That would be 17th Amendment to the Constitution.
That modifcation caused senators to be elected, via a popular vote.
While the entirety of the purpose of that body wasn’t lost by the change, an important part of it was.
Senators were intended to represent, as has already been said, the states from which they came, not the people thereof.
Even so, elections of the persons in question, are itentionally not the same as democracy.
Though the way senators were selected changed, once they, as well as those in the House, got into the business to which they were called, they were not expected to request referenda, each time a matter needed to be decided by the legislature.
The folks in question were posited as they were, in order to act as a body, that would stand in the place of the populace at large.
Futher, since our country was purposely not constituted as a democracy, but by intent, as a republic, it was meant to be incumbent on those in positions of authority, as well as the governed, to be beholden to the law of the land, as a primary consideration. For legislators, this was to be true, both in how they behaved as citizens, and when they wrote new laws.
Put simply, the beauty of the American system of government was not just that your four siblings, were not at liberty to take a vote, enforcing on you a permanent state of servitude, but that part of the reason, is that they were under laws which made such actions on their part, subject to inspection.
If your brothers and sisters were found to be in breach of some statute or other, that took precedence over their desires.
So when the concept of the abolition of slavery came to be enacted—and though there are those among us, who would argue that the Constitution itself, had such provisions in it from the outset, there are amendments to that document that make it crystal clear it’s not to be tolerated, even if we decide that’s not the case—it should have been plain, your relatives hadn’t a legal leg to stand on when they decided as they did.
This is the wonder of the system of government, given us by those having crafted those precious documents.
It’s a sad reality that, there were those here in America—granted, they existed more or less around the world—who thought slavery to be a reasonable thing. Though that’s the case, such people did and do exist.
And it was on the basis they did, those who began to build the country, crafted the basest concepts of American law.
You can argue that man has somehow evolved since that time. I can counter that there are still among us liars, cheats, thieves, murderers, rapists, and those guilty of so many more untoward, even heinous, acts.
It’s a sufficient appeal to their better nature, to ask them to elect representation, that will work in the best interests of all their fellows.
It takes no special brilliance to see, they cannot always be expected to act in humility, sacrifice and other ways, that will be for the public good.
How many times have even those chosen to represent a portion of humanity, been found guilty of any number of horrible wrongs? This says little to nothing, about those having helped to place them in the positions they held.
The aforementioned, are among the reasons the Founders so carefully, wrought that which you see today.
They had already seen the potential abuses that might come into play, in countries new and old, around the globe; such things were not at all unknown to them.
As if they hadn’t enough cause, consider that a large part of the reason they were forming a new country to begin with, was that the commonwealth of which they were at the time a component, chose to exact from them taxes, while not concerning themselves with ensuring their voices were heard.
One might argue in that instance, the colonists were already plagued by the tyranny of the majority.
Realizing the system put in place, should be as immune as possible to such machinations, was pretty certainly a part of what drove them to make the decisions they did, about how things would work.
These days, there are those who’re arguing we ought to be a democracy—in fact, there are among us, people who think it reasonable to assert we already are, or worse yet, always were ensconced in that form of rule.
Let me assure you, that was never the intent of those having worked diligently, to construct this union.
So when people try to argue for things like the abolisment of the electoral college; when they try to coerce certain policies, laws or activities on the basis that the “majority has spoken,” whether they understand it or not, they’re working in direct contradiction, to those who set things up.
In case you don’t think that’s a problem, I invite you to peruse the history books, to see what they have to tell us about democracy.
If you think the idea of the tyranny of the majority isn’t a “real thing,” please know, it is. If you think it’s not potentially a direct result of democracy, and that most other systems even allow it to exist, understand, you’re in error. It’s on this basis, our country was not founded, and is not today intended to be, a democracy.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.