Matt Brundage

Diversity in Democracy

I found this blurb in a discussion group, so I thought I’d share my comments.

The 2000 presidential election was a good test for our democracy. The country is becoming more and more diverse. With each day more come in, thus increasing the diversity. Diversity of culture is not bad. It is the diversity of political beliefs that cause the problems. When diversity reaches all times high little to none are pleased.

When you say that the diversity of political beliefs causes problems, are you aware that it is such diversity that defines democracy? One of the cornerstones of democracy is the right to associational autonomy, i.e. the right to form interest groups. If, for instance, a nation were governed by one monopolistic political party or interest group, its political system could not be defined as a democracy. Our democratic guarantee of associational autonomy ensures the diversity of interest groups and political parties.

Perhaps the term “polarization” was the term you meant to use. Some are of the belief that our nation is politically polarized like never before, with liberals and conservatives perpetually fighting each other. Yet razor-thin popular vote margins — such as what Florida experienced in 2000 — are not necessarily the indicator of such polarization. It simply means that the two major political parties were about equally represented in the election. Correlatively, landslide victories, such as Reagan (1984), Nixon (1972), or Roosevelt (1932) do not necessarily ensure political peace and harmony. In fact, quite often the opposite is true.

I’m interested in your solution to your statement that the “diversity of political beliefs … cause the problems”. Would you prefer that everyone hold the same political beliefs? If this were so, by logical extension, there would be one political party, one presidential nominee on the ballot, et cetera.

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