What Democracy is Not

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Many people think that democracy is "voting about it". That democracy is just a question about elections, and anybody able to get 51% of the votes wins and can rule. Even in countries with a long tradition for democracy, there are people who think that this is democracy. Formaly it is true, of course, that anybody with 51% of the votes has the majority, and eventually they could rule without asking the remaining 49%. But that would not be democracy, it would be tyranny of the majority.

A democracy protects and respetcs its minorities. Those 49% also have the right to a decent life and to be heard--everybody has the right to a decent life and to be heard!--and it is up to the majority to make decissions which ensure this. It is not democracy, if all with black hair decide that the red-haired must pay an extra 20% taxes--or that the majority can practice their religion, but the minority cannot.

Democracy is about listening to oneanother and comming up with solutions together through negotiations. Even if the majority could force through decissions which one or more minorities were against.

Democracy is many things at a time, and democracy-handbook.org tries to introduce as many of them as possible.


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Next chapter: 14 Definitions of Democracy