Thursday, December 22, 2005

democracy does not equal morality or intelligence

First of all I want to let everyone know that I spoke with my brotherinlaw Benji and he thinks he is recovering nicely.
Beseech God, you never know when he may listen.

I've been hearing a lot of comments on various blogs that Netanyahu's move to ban Feiglin from running on the Likud list is undemocratic. This follows all the comments that Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza was undemocratic. People seem to mistake democracy for morality or intelligence.

Democracy means the decision rest on the votes of the majority of people eligible to vote. In a representative democracy (such as the US), the people vote for representatives and then anything that those representatives vote on reflect the will of the people. If it doesn't reflect their will, the people are not supposed to vote for them again. In a parliamentary democracy (such as in Israel) the people vote for a party, the leaders of the party determine who the representative list is. In this system, someone who has a lot of supporters among the leaders of the party will be sent to the parliament, even if all the people who support the party hate him.

Removing Feiglin from running on the Likud is a dumb thing to for netanyahu to do, because after losing who knows how many votes to kadima, he is now trying to alienate another large group of people (17% of the party voted for him).

Blackmail and making deals is also part of the democratic process. The way that you get people to vote for your proposal is by promising to vote for their proposal. (quid pro quo)

On that point, there was nothing undemocratic about the withdrawal from Gaza. It may have been unethical. It may not have been intelligent, but the majority of knesset members certainly voted yes.

On that point, if the majority of Germans vote to kill all Jews, that is also democratic. Wrong, but democratic.

If the majority of voters vote that black people should be enslaved, it is a democratic decision. Wrong, but democratic.

People were not given the ability to determine moral societal values. Those were given to us by God, in an unalterable book. The model of the world is based on God, a single ruler over everything. In the animal kingdom, we have the Lion is the king of beasts. The human world used to believe in the "Divine right of Kings" (Charlamange).

When Jesus said (or so I've heard), "let he who is without sin cast the first stone," he was basically saying that the laws of God are not meant to be followed. We, as Jews, instantly rejected him because of that. That is saying that it is impossible to punish anyone, thereby creating a lawless society, because who among us is without sin.

While democracy is not inherently good or bad, it is based on the values of the voting population. Therein lies the intrinsic problem of a democracy.

9 comments:

Jameel @ The Muqata said...
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Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Sharon called for a "Disengagment" vote among Likud party members. He was soundly defeated, 67% against.

He then utterly ignored the vote he called for and bulldozed ahead.

That was anti-democratic, immoral, and evil as well. To give people a vote and then ignore the results?

rockofgalilee said...

I didn't say it was the right thing to do, I said it was democratically sound.

The laws of modern democracies, both the US and Israel among others, do not give any voice to the people once they elect representatives.

If he gets the majority in the Knesset, that is all he needs. He could have lost the popular vote by 100% and it wouldn't have mattered from a legal democratic perspective.

traintalk said...

Arik Sharon is a game breaker. Doesn't really matter how he gets/got in - once he is in he is expected to make, break and/or invent or reinvent it his own way. Why he gets away with it and others do not, has less to do with democracy than with the behavior of elites.

rockofgalilee said...

but sharon is a controlee, not a controller. He was put there to bulldoze his way through.

The question is who's the controller.

Mike Miller said...

What you're describing is not democracy, but majority rule. One of the advantages of a constitutional democracy is that certain rights are above democracy (after having been voted on once), and may either be completely irrevocable, or may require more than a mere 50.00001% (i.e., 2/3, 3/4, or some other significantly higher percentage). In that sense, I agree with Jameel about the need for a constitution. On the other hand, I don't think there's _any_ issue that 2/3 of Israelis can agree on...

stillruleall said...

Being as Jesus didnt speak English, old or new, why dont you just quote him in a normal understandable English. "If someone hasnt sinned, let him throw the first stone".

rockofgalilee said...

mike,

One of the problems with the common preconception of democracy is that people don't believe that it is majority rule.
If you look on dictionary.com, one of the definitions for democracy is "majority rule."

Anything that is only law because it was voted on can be changed. People, by definition, are fallible. The majority may decide that a vote needs 2/3 vote to override it, but I believe that 2/3 law can be overridden by a majority. Such that a new law can be passed that the old law only needs a normal majority before it can be changed.

rockofgalilee said...

sra,

why would you suppose that jesus spoke no English?
Also, I don't find your sentence any more readable then mine.

If you wanted to write it readable it would have said, "Only a peson without sins should throw the first stone."