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.
Though it is easy to characterize democracy, recent political theory has been marked by a conspicuous omission. Virtually no argument is ever offered to support the desirability of representative democracy, and the little that is available seems distressingly weak. Why ought democracy to be either instituted or promoted, let alone exported? One would think that as important a question as that of the best political system would have generated an enormous literature. In point of fact, most writing on the subject simply takes for granted the desirability of democracy and inquires how existing democracies may be improved. The issue of whether democracy is a “good thing” is not thought worth raising. But what if it is? Why should one care about democracy?