Thoughts on Majority Voting



Surprising to many, our Common Law-based Constitution doesn't like the concept of majority. For most, this seems the best and only way to bring fairness into our society. Give people a limited number of options and get them to vote. And this is the hub of it: the option that gets the largest number of votes wins! "That's fair isn't it?", they'll say. What else can you do?

Well, the concept of majority voting is not embraced by our Common Law with the same fervour or enthusiasm as we do in our modern mind set. I think this has been one of the most successful mind-control exercises - the idea that the greater number should always 'win'. Ahhh, so that's what it's about: winning!

But let's explore this a little further. This means that the larger number's opinion (collectively) seems to count for more: it has greater value. So if you think a certain way, and you're part of the larger group, then you must be more correct? More astute? mmm... interesting. So, the unshakeable belief that the opinion of the larger number must be closer to the truth!

Well doesn't this just create a consensus? The opinion of the lazy majority, who have usually taken the easier path of less resistance. Truth is often uncomfortable and takes more courage to face. Truth often hides in dark corners or is often hiding under the carpet following a furtive sweep. But the thinking man will resist the temptation to adopt the opinion of the herd, instead, through quiet reflection and patience, arriving at a more carefully considered position. I think one could easily argue that the non-conformist's perception is often closer to the truth.

How many times are we suckered into that automatic belief that the majority must be right or correct? Following this argument, one could claim that the truth is more often held by the minority:


Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion.

Søren Kierkegaard, 1850


Therefore what makes one think that a system of voting, designed to reward the majority with an automatic victory, is considered preferable?!


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw, 1903


Is it not the minority that shapes the world?

How interesting it is, then, that it only takes one member of the jury to acquit a man with the possible further result of striking off a government statute? The Common Law truly favours the thoughtful single juror. Truly a system for the contemplative minority!


WK