Saturday, June 7, 2008

Elected Government is Bad for Minorities

I mean here statistical minorities, as the political connotations of the word are such that it is now sometimes used to refer to groups which are statistically the majority.

I am not ignoring the institutionalized bigotry which has existed for pretty much all of known history, including monarchical history. Think of the words pogrom and ghetto.

But did things improve with the introduction of elected government? South Africa and Nazi Germany had elected governments. My own country had slavery for nearly a century after becoming a democracy, and Jim Crow laws for another century after that. Until a few decades ago, it was commonplace for hotels and apartment buildings to be "restricted" - a euphemism for "no Jews allowed". And changing these laws and practices was a hugely painful process for everyone, involving riots and a war that, on the Union side alone, killed more Americans than any other war. (Confederate American casualties were exceeded only by World War II.)

Further, while progress has indubitably been made in terms of bigotry, at the same time many measures allegedly intended to improve the lot of "minorities" are actually making their lives worse. For example, the welfare system, which rewards women for having out-of-wedlock children who are statistically at far higher risk of delinquency or drug use. Does this make the lives of these individuals better? Does it improve their image in the eyes of others? Clearly not. Once again, elected government purports to solve a problem which it patently does not.

Monarchy is no more a miracle cure for the depressingly innate human tendency to bigotry than is democracy. However, if one reflects for a moment, its advantage for minority subjects should be clear. The point is often made that while a politician owes his allegiance to the party that supported him and the constituencies that elected him, a monarch is the ruler of all of his people, owing them all his protection and care.

If you really are a statistical minority, you don't have enough votes to indebt a politician to you. Only if the statistical majority can be made to sympathize with your plight do you have any hope for the preservation of your rights in a democracy.

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