Democracy is often viewed as the best form of government, but when taken to the extreme, absolute democracy can actually enable tyranny. This is because, in an absolute democracy, the majority holds unchecked power and can use it to oppress minority groups. This can happen when the majority uses its power to restrict the rights and freedoms of minority groups, either through legislation or through other means.

  1. Threat to individual rights and freedoms: In an absolute democracy, the majority has the power to restrict the rights and freedoms of minority groups, which can result in a tyranny of the majority, which Alexis de Tocqueville warned about in his book “Democracy in America“. This can include limiting free speech, violating property rights, or suppressing religious expression.
  2. Lack of checks and balances: An absolute democracy lacks the checks and balances that are necessary to prevent tyranny. In a democratic system with checks and balances, there are institutions, such as the judiciary, that can intervene to protect the rights and freedoms of minority groups. But in an absolute democracy, the majority has complete control, leaving minority groups vulnerable to oppression.
  3. Polarization and division: An absolute democracy can also lead to increased polarization and division in society. When minority groups feel that their rights and freedoms are being restricted, they are likely to become more polarized and less likely to engage with the majority in a productive manner. This can result in further division and tension within society.
  4. Unrepresentative of the minority: In an absolute democracy, minority groups may not be adequately represented in the political process. This can result in their views and needs being ignored, which can further contribute to their feeling oppressed and marginalized.

Absolute democracy can be dangerous when taken to the extreme. By removing checks and balances and enabling the majority to hold unchecked power, it can result in tyranny and oppression of minority groups. It is important to remember that democracy is not just about the majority having control, but also about ensuring the rights and freedoms of all individuals in society are protected. As the cartoon suggests, democracy must be more than 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

What do you think is the best way to prevent tyranny?


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