Essay on majoritarianism

Super Majoritarianism and the Endowment Effect

Spectators and newspapermen came from allover to witness …show more content…. Through exploring Bryan, Larson exposes the majoritarian democratic ideology underlying the veneer of religion that has since characterized the trial Next Larson explores the role the ACLU played in the Scopes Trial.

They saw the Scopes trial as a means to advance the rights of laborers and academic freedom using the First Amendment. Darrow claimed that he was fighting for individual rights but he was also obsessed in his determination to overturn the fundamentalist adherence to creationism. Larson delves deep into the internal documents of the ACLU to reveal how difficult it was to control Darrow and keep the case centered on a test of the law, not creationism.

Ascribe it to plain timidity or sugar-coat it as an enlightened passivity, either way the Hindu is the poster boy for classic vulnerability. The fact that Islamic rulers and their small coterie held sway over the vast expanse of India for over a millennium is ample proof.


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The numerical disparity between the British residents and native Indians during the British Raj further lends credence to this assertion: a minuscule contingent of 20, ruled nearly million Indians, predominantly Hindus. To calculate the ultimate impact of demographic inequality, another variable begs interjection into the equation: Minorityism. Minority groups often indulge in their own brand of parochial immoral aggressive behaviour to ostensibly counter the designs of the majority. Kashmir is a definitive example, wherein unsubstantiated fears of being swamped by a Hindu majority prompted local Muslims to ethnically cleanse the Valley of Hindus: an occurrence unimaginable in a majoritarian nation.

Add to this the dynamics of "vote bank politics" to appreciate the heightened influence of minorityism. Attempts to project the execution of Yakub Memon as a majoritarian excess cannot pass muster. Religion was not a deciding factor: the punishment matched the crime, as in the case of the Sikh killers of Indira Gandhi and the Hindu assassin of Mahatma Gandhi — all sent to the gallows. Additionally, only four of 26 individuals hanged since were Muslims, which further demolishes this duplicitous campaign of disinforwmation that engenders needless paranoia among minorities.

Write To Us : letters sunday-guardian. Unabashed minorityism, not majoritarianism, is the bane of India. Vivek Gumaste is a US-based academic and political commentator. Newer Newer Older Older. They compare themselves with the most prosperous inhabitants of the planet. In this connected world of ours, migration is the new revolution — not the twentieth-century revolution of the masses, but a twenty-first-century exit-driven revolution enacted by individuals and families and inspired not by pictures of the future painted by ideologues but by Google Maps photos of life on the other side of the border.

This new revolution does not require political movements or political leaders to succeed. For a growing number of people, the idea of change means changing the country they live in rather than the government they live under. The key characteristic of many of the right-wing populist parties in Europe is not that they are national-conservative but that they are reactionary. The Harvard economist Dani Rodrik turned out to be right with his warning some years ago that in order to manage the tensions between national democracy and the global market, nations have three options.

Majoritarianism - Wikipedia

They can restrict democracy in order to gain competitiveness in international markets. They can limit globalisation in the hope of building democratic legitimacy at home. Or they can globalise democracy at the cost of national sovereignty. What we cannot have is hyper-globalisation, democracy and self-determination all at once.

So it should come as no surprise when internationalists begin to feel uneasy about national democracies and when democracy-praising populists turn out to be protectionist and isolationist. The populist turn If history teaches us anything, it is that the spread of free elections can be an instrument for both opening and closing national societies. Democracy is a mechanism of inclusion but also of exclusion, and what we are witnessing today is the rise of majoritarian regimes in which the majority has turned the state into its own private possession — as an answer to the competitive pressure of a world in which popular will is the only source of political legitimacy and global markets are the only source of economic growth.


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The rise of populist sentiments means a return to political polarisation and a more confrontational style of politics which is not necessarily a negative development. It reverses the process of fragmentation of the political space characterised by the mushrooming of small one-issue political parties and movements, and it makes publics focus not on their individual but on their collective fears.

The rise of populism entails a return to a more personalised politics in which political leaders play a very significant role and institutions are most often mistrusted.

Are majoritarian or proportional electoral systems better?

The explosion of fears also marks. The little-remarked downside of this is that for the winners, liberal democracy offers no chance of a full and final victory. In pre-democratic times — meaning the bulk of human history — disputes were not settled by peaceful debates and orderly handovers of power. Instead, force ruled: the victorious invaders or the winning parties in a civil war had their vanquished foes at their mercy, free to do with them as they liked.

The paradox of liberal democracy is that citizens are freer, but they feel powerless. The appeal of populist parties is that they promise non-ambiguous victory.

They appeal to those who view the separation of powers, so beloved of liberals, not as a way to keep those in power accountable but as an alibi for the elites to evade their electoral promises. Thus, what characterises populists in power are their constant attempts to dismantle the system of checks and balances and to bring independent institutions like courts, central banks, media outlets and civil society organisations under their control.

But populist parties are not only merciless victors — they are also nasty losers. Their conviction that they speak for the majority makes it difficult for them to accept electoral defeat. In the post world there was the common presumption that the spread of democracy in the long term would also mean the spread of liberalism.

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It is this very assumption that is now being questioned by the rise of majoritarian regimes in different corners of the globe. The paradox of the post-Cold War liberal democracies in Europe was that the advancement of personal freedoms and human rights was accompanied by the decline of the power of citizens to change not only governments but also policies with their vote. Now the primacy of politics is back and governments are regaining their capacity to rule but — as it seems today — at the cost of individual freedoms.

Notes 1.


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    For more information on the drb and its objectives click here. Blog Twitter Facebook Issue , October Majoritarian Futures Ivan Krastev. The paradoxical effect of the spread of democracy in the non-Western world, according to a recent study, is that citizens in a number of supposedly consolidated democracies in North America and Western Europe have not only grown more critical of their political leaders. Rather, it is more likely they will suffer a setback, unless they manage to reform themselves substantially: Today, the stars of international analyses are Singapore, China, India, Turkey, Russia.