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  1. #1
    ByMySword
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    Cool The Role of Law and the Idea of Majority Rules

    We discussed this topic in Deviance today.

    Basically we discussed what problems should the law address and the criteria that has been suggested:

    1. the law should target behavior that represents harm to others

    2. the law should highlight behavior that violates the moral beliefs of a large number or people

    3. legal prohibitions should target acts for which the state can enforce its laws

    The second one was the one that caught my eye. It brought up the question of the idea that the majority should rule.

    With political correctness and affirmative action in full force today in this country, it brings up the question of just how many people truly believe in the idea of majority rules?

    Because in the instance of the law, what the majority rules as deviant or criminal could be seen by others, though while a minority, as not deviant. And since there are examples of deviant acts not actually doing harm or infringing on other people's rights, should we let the majority force their morals on everyone? If we do not let them do this, then should we even let them decide anything in this nation? Should there be exceptions to the rule? Should there be a balance of some sort?

    I have some idea of what I believe, but I feel I am not educated enough on the subject in order to make a statement. So I am wondering what others think in order to help me to better assess my own opinion.

    Should the United States be a nation that caters to the majority and what they deem the acceptable course of action?

    Should this nation cater to the minority if only to avoid feelings of under-representation and inferiority?

    Should there be a balance? If so, how?

    For the record, this has nothing to do necessarily with majority/minority of race, religion, etc.

    I just mean majority/minority in general as it relates to a population of human beings.

    However, all examples are accepted.

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    o edward cullen! Ardea's Avatar
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    1. Tyranny of the majority is an issue. There will always be a minority, and at times, minority ideals can, and often do, spread to the greater whole. It's just that the greater whole often aren't vocal enough to make the law match unless additional action is taken. However, majority-rules is TRUE example of democracy. Thank goodness that ideals change over time.

    2. Here's part of one of my old papers that kinda answers what you're asking:

    “The underlying idea of the requirement that a law be abstract and general was the claim that what was binding for all should be the embodiment of universally valid truths and at the same time reflect the spirit of the whole polity, not just of particular segments or individual persons” (Preuss 533). Laws have to encompass all people. Holmes recognized this need when he quoted by Rehnquist as believing that the Court is “the voice and conscience of contemporary society” (541). Using commonly accepted truths legitimizes Constitutional law, therefore it must utilize it.
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  3. #3
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    It's about maintaining order, first and foremost. We like to think that government and law is about giving us what we want, but not really. Order of the state is first priority, if after accomplishing that, there's still room for some perks, then the government can bestow those perks.

    The relevance here is that unity tends to make order easier to maintain. Trying to cater to every minority, especially by their own perspective, is too fractious. Not unified.

    This is why the main cause for government to recognize minorities tends to be things like boycotts or riots. Minorities have to artificially make representing them more orderly than the alternatives.

    Quite simply, a state is easier to maintain if you support majority first, and then miority if possible. Minority first, then majority if possible, has too little constitution.

    EDIT: By the way, you'll notice that since it's about maintaining order, a simple majority usually isn't persuasive. For instance, if something was supported 51 to 49, odds are the side of 49 would still have a lot of say in things, because they have the power to tear the state apart. But the larger the majority, the safer it is to discard the minority. By the time it's 80 to 20, you can start assuming that people will just tell the side of 20 to shut up. 95 ro 5, no one even notices that 5 is there.

    ***Obviously, all of this is simplified, but the concept is what matters. Work with me here!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    The relevance here is that unity tends to make order easier to maintain. Trying to cater to every minority, especially by their own perspective, is too fractious. Not unified.
    Everybody is a minority on several issues of importance to them; the more authority over the lives of citizens that a government claims, the more of a "minority" each citizen is. The issue is not "catering" to "minorities," but rather enacting laws which do not actively violate the rights of minorities, and which do not treat citizens as unequal under the law.

  5. #5
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    Law doesn't exclude the minority. Unless it's an unnatural law.

  6. #6
    Senior Member paisley1's Avatar
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    Following up on the idea of the 5% not being heard by the 95% is fallacious, and lowtech describes it best, and to use an example of that is gay marriage, where 5% of the pop is vocal and making a fairly large impact on what decisions the 95% who aren't homosexual have to make. This is a type of concession, that really doesn't affect the 95% so much as in most cases of minority opinion, as it is something the majority would not think to address if not brought to light by the minority group. If common courtesy were the custom, then the minority will be heard.

    I would argue that everyone has a conscience, and an internal moral code is written into everyone, and so consensus on majority laws, like theft and murder, will stand the test of time, in a society willing to live in peace and obey what's already within them.
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  7. #7
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    When forming a country and writing the laws, there is no better way to secure the rights of the masses than majority rule. The only other option, is minority rule.

  8. #8
    ByMySword
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    I'll bring up an example that I thought of.

    The issue of saying "Merry Christmas".

    The majority of Americans identify themselves as Christian and most celebrate Christmas.

    Should the majority give into the minority on this issue?

  9. #9
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ByMySword View Post
    I'll bring up an example that I thought of.

    The issue of saying "Merry Christmas".

    The majority of Americans identify themselves as Christian and most celebrate Christmas.

    Should the majority give into the minority on this issue?
    I don't really see this as part of the actual majority rules debate. Just minor social custom conflict.

    If someone wants to be a dick and say "Merry Christmas" to a Jewish person, go for it.

  10. #10
    ByMySword
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    I don't really see this as part of the actual majority rules debate. Just minor social custom conflict.

    If someone wants to be a dick and say "Merry Christmas" to a Jewish person, go for it.
    Well, it kind of is, really.

    It brings up the issue of whether or not the majority should be allowed to dominate our social customs.

    There used to be a time where no one worried about it. This is not the case today.

    Edit: Or how about this example.

    Should immigrants coming to this country have to learn the language spoken by the majority of this country or should this nation cater to them teachers, civil servants, etc that speak their language?

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