What’s so great about majority rule? A majority may be as tyrannical as a single dictator, and majorities have often deprived minorities and individuals of their rights — exploited, enslaved, and murdered them. Democratic Athens executed Socrates.
Majority rule has its uses, as long as it doesn’t threaten or violate more fundamental principles, A chess club can elect its officers, but it can’t vote to change the basic rules of chess; or it ceases to be a chess club.
Nevertheless, we now talk as if America, freedom, and democracy were all the same thing. It’s assumed that government may justly do almost anything, provided it does so with majority support.
Actually, we don’t owe our freedoms to democracy. We owe them to older legal traditions, inherited from Anglo-Saxon law: habeas corpus, due process of law, the presumption of innocence, the right to a trial by one’s peers, et cetera. The Framers of the Constitution were wise enough to preserve these protections against arbitrary state power.
But the Constitution, unfortunately, has failed to provide sufficient safeguards….
This is but the lead-in to a great article, so pick a link up-top.