Talk:Majoritarianism

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Addressed to the anon: The changes you're making to "Variations and concept in-depth" are too verbose and stretch the definition beyond what anyone understands the definition to be. The "decision to have representatives" makes no sense, and is, at best, POV. Further, let's keep the verbosity out of this article. Let's let it settle down for a while. -- Stevietheman 19:36, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Sri Lanka/Tamil info[edit]

It seems like the amount of text devoted to covering the situation in Sri Lanka in this article is a bit excessive, perhaps the result of someone applying his recent thesis? Either way, it feels very unencyclopedic for a general article and should probably be deleted.

75.146.21.117 (talk)


— Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.146.21.117 (talk) 13:24, 10 June 2011 (UTC)


As long as english is not my native language I cannot express my self easily

The definition of majority rule is : A rule that requires at least 50% plus one person of community members to agree and to vote for a measure in order for the whole community to make a decision on that measure. Also that majority is not allowed to prevent for a new majority to emerge anytime, thus not allowed to exclude any minority from democratic process.

So someone may say that representatives, as long as their role is obviously to decide for a measure before 50% of the people being asked or beeing able cast a vote for the specific measure, any decisions made by those representatives is against the 50% plus one rule. So the concept of representatives is against majority rule.

I the other hand, as long as the only restriction of majority rule is that majority is not allowed to prevent a new majority to emerge, it is possible for a majority to decide in favour of representatives or even in favor to monarchy and against majority rule. In that case, what I am trying to say is that in a pure majoritarian state, this new majority (which is against majority rule) is allowed to destroy majority rule and give full power to representatives or even to a king, but this very first majority decision (against majority rule) should be kept alive and respected and beeing able to change anytime, by any new majority that will be possibly emerge in futute. And also, any minority should not be exclude to vote using majority rule in this very first and last poll, that keeps the majoritarian state alive and running.

Even if too verbose, do you understand what I am trying to say?

I think this text takes the article off-course.
First, since I could say that representatives reflect the will of the people, I could say that a majority of representatives is equivalent to a majority of the people--therefore, our views cancel each other out as POV and shouldn't go into the article.
Second, I don't believe anyone recognizes that voters under majoritarianism can "vote their system out of existence". I believe this is one of those obvious things that doesn't even need to be mentioned. But if you must say something, just mention it as another restriction--that is, under majoritarianism, a majority cannot decide to end the political structure of majority rule. Besides, no democracy I know of has ever voted to knowingly reduce the people's power. -- Stevietheman 21:22, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)
There are potential examples. One is Chile in the 1980s. A plebiscite in 1980 approved an undemocratic constitution; however, a 1988 plebiscite then rejected the single presidential candidate Augusto Pinochet. Another example is Liechtenstein, where a referendum in 2003 gave the prince major political powers unusual in a modern constitutional monarchy; he had threatened to emigrate if he was not given them. --Henrygb 12:25, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Need to slow down with the changes[edit]

We recently saw a lot of changes to this article that some may call "fast and loose". At any rate, since this article is relatively hardened, we need to take it slower and discuss any major changes before making them. Any major changes should be reverted that aren't discussed here first and also have the support of a consensus to include. I think this is fair.

That said, I believe the recent changes appeared to be very tilted toward a POV and also introduced a lot of questionable grammar that would have taken quite a bit of work to correct. Hopefully, the author will bring his material here and defend it. I'm (and I'm sure others) will be very open-minded to looking at it. -- Stevietheman 17:08, 3 Oct 2004 (UTC)

ok ...lets first of all have a look at the definition again... I dont think that majoritarianism definition
should mention terms such as nation or state or country. Majoritarianism, as an idea, refers and addapts better to
the terms population, society and community. Also majoritarianism is not nececerily defined to be an initialized
and restricted group of people that are separated from the others using some special conditions (like language,
religion, nationality, skin color or any other factor) , thats why I tried to define both the initialized
majoritarianism and the uninitialized one. If you think the terms initialized and uninitialized are not suitable,
you may help me to propose a more suitable term in order to distinguish those two majoriatianism variations.

where does the magic number "50%" come from?[edit]

Just out of curiosity, where does the magic number "50%" come from? Are there articles on the various magic numbers used in voting? For example, many measures require "two-thirds majority" before they take effect; others require 100% Unanimity. -- DavidCary 18:35, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Majority is by definition more than 50% . Less than 50% is considered by definition to be a minority. For example a 49.999999% is considered to be the bigest possible minority. If you think that majoritarianism should refer also to percentages less than 50%, rather you should call it a big_minotarianism than a majoritarianism. "Two-thirds majority" is also majority (a strong one).A 50% percentage is by definition the lowest possible majority, thats why it is a "magic" number.
Agreed, except that a more exact "magic number" is "50% + 1". --Stevietheman 19:06, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, it is not "50% + 1", but rather " > 50%". For example, if 11 people are voting, 6 would be a majority (as would 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11), whereas "50% + 1" would imply that one would need 6.5 people (and therefore, at least seven) to achieve a majority. See [1]. Furthermore, a phrase like "two-thirds majority" is not the best usage, and probably should not be used in a formal work, as it is a bit self-conflicting. Of course, this usage is frequent in common speech, like the related misuse of half (two people who are sharing a dessert: "Go ahead, you eat the bigger half." "Well, if it's bigger, it's not half then, is it?"). Also, saying "100% unanimity" is redundant, as a 100% approval rate and unanimity are synonymous, although they can be used together for emphasis. — Knowledge Seeker দ (talk) 02:12, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)
If you ask a group people a yes/no question, and their intelligence and knowledge on the topic is above absolute 0, the decision of the majority will be right by a chance above 50%. Or, that's how it was before advertizing. Two-thirds majority is arbitrary, though. --R.H. 01:45, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Tyranny of the majority[edit]

The article tyranny of the majority redirects here, but this article really does not seem to address that subject, which has nothing to do with debates over representative versus direct democracy. Someone redirected here from the link in judicial review is not likely to get very far in this article before stumbling over rare idioms like "initialized majoritarianism" and wondering "what the !@#$% is this nonsense?" (I admit to not having been a poli.sci. major, but I do take an interest in government and political philosophy and I have never heard or read that turn of phrase in my life.) 18.26.0.18 04:35, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree, something should be added about the philosophy of the tyranny of the majority. --Benna 22:51, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Suspicious content[edit]

There have been recent concerns about original research in voting schemes which are alleged to have been contributed by user:iasson and his/her Wikipedia:sockpuppets. In a recent discussion thread, he boasted "I have created 11 voting theories in Wikipedia. Go find them and delete them all!" This article was edited by anonymous users who also contributed to some of the other suspect articles. As a result of that investigation, I am now questioning significant portions of this article. For example,

  1. I am unable to independently source the use of the term "loose majoritarianism". A google search for that exact phrase returns only 4 hits - our article and three that appear derivative of it.
  2. A search for "strict majoritarianism" returns more hits but none (except Wikipedia and various mirrors) which use it as a technical term in the sense of this article.
  3. The phrase "accurate majority rule" is presented as a technical term with definition yet returns only Wikipedia and mirrors.
  4. I have been unable to verify the statements about the "acceptable and unacceptable restrictions" on the two "variations of majoritarianism".

If anyone can definitively source the use of these terms and definitions, please do so either here or in the article. I do not pretend to be an expert in this field and look forward to learning more. However if they can not be independently sourced, they must be removed as unverifiable. Thanks.

By the way, I agree with the comment above that this article does not do a very good job of explaining tyranny of the majority. Either this article needs a significant rewrite (probably) or we need to find a better redirect. Rossami (talk) 00:18, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I've already removed content related to "initiated and uninitiated majoritarianism". I left "loose" in the article as the opposite of "strict". I see "loose" as an adjective rather than part of a term that distinguishes from "strict." Perhaps a better term can be found.
That all said, I encourage anybody to do background research on this article and correct it as they will. I didn't create it and only have an interest in accuracy and encyclopedic relevance. --Stevietheman 01:52, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)


NPOV? Maybe Not.[edit]

The section on "Reform and Backlash" violates Wikipedia guidelines for NPOV. It is written in a partisan tone that reflects the author's bias in favour of majoritarianism. It can, however, be easily re-written so as to convey the polarity of majoritarianism vs. multiculturalism in an NPOV manner. I would urge the author to do so, so as to avert an edit war. Wandering Star 02:40, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree that this section is fundamentally, biased (and indeed factually wrong) because it doesn't mention that these restrictions (e.g against the majority establishing a religion) are based on the Constitution, which wasn't written in 1960 and isn't a majoritarian document. Superm401 - Talk 10:49, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Lack of Sources, Lack of Coherence[edit]

I know that the authors of Wikipedia's guidelines recommend against making sweeping criticisms about an article, but I find myself in a difficult situation. I am admittedly rather ignorant when it comes to majoritarianism -- or at least it's a term that doesn't pop up too often in my reading. However, I have read enough about voting theory to know that this article suffers from at least two major problems:

  1. At some points this article seems to be about the view that the default rule of a polity ought to be majority rule. At other points this article seems to be about the view that if a polity has an entrenched majority it ought to rule. These views are not equivalent. Anthony McGann would argue that these two views are incompatible. But even if he's wrong, we need to avoid conflating these two views.
  2. Paradoxically this article sometimes seems to state that minorities are protected under majoritarian governments. Though I agree with this statement, a significant defense of it has been developed recently, so it may violate NPOV to state it without argument. But the more glaring difficulty is that it doesn't mesh well with parts of the article that seem to equate majoritarianism with the establishment of an entrenched majority.

No doubt, part of the problem is that this article is entirely unsourced. This also makes it difficult for me to read about majoritarianism and offer criticism of this article that is more constructive. So can anyone recommend to me primary or secondary sources of information about majoritarianism? If you could recommend something that can be read for free on the Web or something I'm likely to find in a public library, that would be great. (I've googled, but that didn't lead to much that seemed relevant.) --SgtSchumann (talk) 23:49, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

I do agree with SgtSchumann that this article is quite confused. For a start the sentence "his traditional view has come under growing criticism and democracies have increasingly [...]" is historically wrong. In fact, in the constitutional debates in the US as well as in France the idea of human rights was put down (bill of rights; Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen) to prevent the "tyranny of the majority" as de Tocqueville put it. The awareness of this problem and was there from the first moments of modern democracy. Frankly, I have no idea where the authors of the quoted section and a few related parts want to go with this article. Are they proposing that the legal system accumulates legislation constraining present governments? Yes, of course this takes place but the legislative can simply replace it with new legislation. (This is of course different in those political systems where the executive is not elected by the majority of the parliament, e.g. the USA.) And if the executive decides to ignore existing legislation constraining government (e.g. because a 2/3 vote is required) they might get called back by some constitutional court (e.g. supreme court of the US or the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.141.28.137 (talk) 22:59, 20 September 2012 (UTC)