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Volume 24, Number 2
February 2004

The Myth of Majority Rule
Erich Mattei

In November of last year, a percentage of Louisiana residents made history by electing the first female governor. She is a statist with big plans for using government to shape everyone up, whether the citizens want to be shaped up or not. While some may view this development as a major, progressive change within the state’s political sphere, symbolizing a move in a new direction of central planning and regulation, the election is actually a perfect model on which to comment on the democratic process as a political system, and the changing tide in voter attitudes.

Traditionally in the US, the management of the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion, or government, is brought to power by an election in which the majority vote attains dominion. Individuals living in such a democratic republic are mollified by blindly assuming that such a form of government is "rule by the people," as indoctrinated.

In a state operating under a democratic system the populace is inevitably divided into more or less one of two factions: that which supports the newly elected administrator, typically referred to as the majority, which we may identify or label government, and that which opposes, and is thus subjugated by, this dictator, known as the minority.

Rule of the state will evolve around the decisions made by representatives of the majority, as the minority representatives are generally outvoted in governmental processes. Thus, the minority population is obliged to live according to the will of the majority, while the state rule, believed to be that of the people, promptly transforms into a tyrannical oligarchy by the majority.

Democracy, being nothing more than an arrangement of the monopoly force concentrated within the state, is not much more a demonstration of freedom than any other governmental scheme. We, the citizenry of an involuntary democratic republic, are like a prisoner being allowed to choose his cell, but even worse due to the fact that most of us have committed no crime on which to justifiably restrain our liberties.

The system is merely a mask for coercive rule of one group over another wherein a portion of the population gets the opportunity to choose its oppressor, the next interim aggressor seizing an illegitimate authority to "govern" individuals and "plan" the economy throughout the land.

Further, it is an illegitimate rule that no individual in this land agreed to. When and where did any one of us sign a constitutional contract to bind our person and property to the state?

What does the outcome of the Louisiana gubernatorial election have to do with this much condensed critique of democracy? The victor of the recent election was chosen by approximately 52 percent of the 50 percent of voters who turned out to cast ballots. These voters are but a half of the 60 percent of the 4.7 million people composing the population of Louisiana that are registered voters. In other words, the governor-elect for the state of Louisiana is the representative candidate of around 16 percent of the state’s population.

As though this fact were not shocking enough, the new governor of California was chosen by an even smaller electorate. Of the near 35 million people living in the Golden State less than half, approximately 15 million, are registered voters. In the recent recall election, 60 percent of these individuals cast ballots, 48.6 percent of them in favor of the eventual victor. Essentially, less than 13 percent of the population of California chose the elected governor as their sovereign. 

Since we are on the verge of entering another presidential election year, it is necessary to look at statistics from the last presidential election also. According to the year 2000 presidential election figures, of the 205.8 million persons over the age of 18 living in the United States only 156.4 million of these were registered for the election that November, that is around 76 percent. Approximately 67 percent of registered voters turned out to vote for what is arguably the most powerful political office in the entire world, this being only slightly over 51 percent of the entire population of persons of legal voting age. Of the popular vote, the two front-runners were split at about 48 percent each. Therefore, the current president is actually the representative of less than a quarter of the voting age population, which equates to only 18 percent of the 281.4 million persons living in the United States at the time.

Now, this is hardly majority rule at work. The refusal to bother to vote may in fact be a sign of a new ideology emerging among people throughout the country and obviously in this state: (a) more and more registered voters are indeed not voting, choosing the "none of the above" option in light of the fact that (b) the people they elect cannot or will not really change the future, which is all about further taxation, injustices, and inefficiencies by the public sector.

Hence, the surge of individuals choosing not to vote, what some may call "voter apathy," is actually quite the opposite of an apathetic reaction, rather it is the manifestation of an ever-growing portion of the population refusing to give in to the system that continues to steal, manipulate, sabotage, and "decivilize" the coordination of individuals we refer to as society.

The consensus way back in American history was that the responsibilities of the state consist only of the protection of property, liberty, and peace. Government was organized to uphold a constitution of natural, inalienable laws and rights. Unfortunately, this idea has been grossly altered beyond such simple doctrine into a dastardly perverse justification for the total state, the welfare-warfare machine.

Through the use of unwarranted statutes and laws, the coercive stench of government intervention has plunged its way into the lives of individuals, stealing property, restraining liberty, and disturbing peace behind curtains of legislation and reform. Such centralized forms of democratic government have deceived the masses into believing that they are free.

Although it exists and operates as a much adorned "lesser of evils" in comparison to other governments, it is still an involuntary institutionalized organization, and the evolution of its forceful hand, in the form of democracy, continues to restrain freedom to ownership of one’s own person and property, the intrinsic right of all individuals. It is the realization of this fact that has introduced the tide of a movement among the masses, a refusal to contribute to the system thus recognizing it as an illegitimate rule.

The underlying issue here is not one resting on capitalist versus socialist economies or democratic versus monarchic governments, but rather that of coercive versus voluntary interaction and involvement. To put it simply, the only just system is that of the free market, not political democracy, wherein all tastes are satisfied. This is the system implied by the principles embraced in the founding period of the United States. It is the only form of voluntary government and rule by the people: not democracy, as we understand it today, but freedom itself.

Erich Mattei is an economics major at Loyola University of New Orleans (


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