Duly Elected Tyranny: Recovering Democracy in the Age of Majority Abuses

My latest Huffington Post piece examines democracy in the modern world:

Democracy is dead, long live democracy. Modi has won by a landslide in India. Touted everywhere as the world’s largest “democracy,” India will be ruled by a man who has never repudiated or apologized for the slaughter of Muslims in his state’s riots while he was in charge, a man who is the force behind the most ultranationalist and bigoted Indian political party in modern history. Right here in the USA, Princeton University demonstrates that most every policy and every piece of ‘democratic’ legislation is supporting the rise of an oligarchy and the disappearance of the middle class. From Russia to India to Israel, we have a problem with elected ultra-right leaders who basically embody what John Stuart Mill, one of the greatest modern architects of democracy, referred to as ‘the tyranny of the majority.’

In every case majority tyrannies are injuring and endangering neighbors outside state borders and minorities within. There is one common thread to this trend: the insidious relationship between big business interests, the power of modern media to inspire and manipulate majorities into nativist and jingoistic self-service, and the ever-ready charismatic politician ready to embody the righteous indignation of majorities; they search for spokesmen of their ‘victimhood’ that justifies their hatreds of those who are weaker. This insidious relationship allows for the Murdochs and Kochs to walk away with the vast majority of the world’s wealth, while we dither imagining that we are still doing democracy.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post.

© Marc Gopin