Majority isn’t always right

Dec 09 11:12 2019 Print This Article

I came across an interesting article in The Guardian from a few years ago that is perhaps somewhat relevant to the very public discussion about Canada’s telecommunications industry.

Three years ago, Julian Baggini wrote “Think democracy means the people are always right? Wrong”. In the article he writes:

Western democracy is built around a tripartite trust: trust in the people to hold government to account and to set the general direction of policy, but also trust in politicians to make specific decisions, and in institutions to provide safeguards against rash or tyrannical actions. What we are seeing all over the western world are the last two pillars being torn down, leaving all trust resting on the people.

This is rightly called populism, not in the American sense, but as understood in the rest of the world. Populism is generally defined as a mode of politics in which the will of the people is seen as clear, virtuous and homogeneous. Populist politicians simply promise to do what this will commands, ignoring or denying the fact there are different, competing interests in society, not just those of the majority. Populists do not try to square the simple desires of the electorate with the complex realities of society but pretend that what seems simple is simple and that anyone who says otherwise belongs to an obfuscating elite looking for excuses to defend its own interests.

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About Article Author

Mark Goldberg

Mark Goldberg has more than 35 years of international experience in strategic planning, managing, designing and implementing telecommunications carrier networks. His background includes heading the Network Services organization for one of Canada's largest long distance companies, developing the network architecture for competition in Canada, design of the US Government Voice Network, creating the business plan for Canada's Information Highway initiative, and helping international entrepreneurs launch traditional and enhanced telecommunications services. He holds a Masters degree in Mathematical statistics from Carleton University and a Bachelor's in Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario

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