Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Are Majorities Always Right?

To borrow some info from Tom Dietrich of Dunlap back in 2/04, "Majorities are not always right". At one time in this country, the majority of the people thought that slavery was acceptable. The people sent Jesus to be nailed to the cross. Tom writes, "The philospher Arthur Schopenhauer said that public receptiveness to minority viewpoints often goes through three stages: At first it is ridiculed. Then it is opposed. Finally it is accepted as self-evident."

I realize I am probably in the minority in my opposition to the City Council approving $35,000,000.00 plus burden on the property tax payers for the Peoria Public Library System but I am preparing my case for the thousands that agree with me. I have spent countless hours accumulating facts and recounting the hundreds of times I have visited libraries all over the area and in different parts of the country.

Sunday, I visited the Normal Public Library and asked to see the system they used for materials check-out. They had a self check-out machine like a grocery store only faster. They had an electronic device that scanned and handed you a computer generated slip without using an out dated "stamping system" as all Peoria Public Libraries use. Our library could have purchased the same faster system. Why didn't they? The time saved would have justified the extra cost of the system in months.

Probably the same reason they demanded that a 2nd floor be added to the remodeled Harrison Library only to find it is now "undertilized and poorly served" and will be closed.

Soon I will post my library FACTS but only after I have submitted them to all Peoria Council Members. What they do with them is up to them. They were elected by the majority.

Only time will tell whether my opposition is correct.

When my fact finding is complete, I'll get back to my regular blogging.

Get well soon, Bob Manning and may some judge get trash like his alleged attacker off the street. And to Sheriff McCoy, if you need more funding to put people like this trash away, present your plans. You have more of an eager ear than ever.


Anonymous said...

To answer your title question - of course the majority isn't always right...that's why we don't live in a democracy...thankfully.

Anonymous said...

if we DONT't live in a democracy, what do you call it?

Clarification said...

We live in a representative democracy. A pure democracy would entail binding referenda on every issue, making the legislative process even more cumbersome. In a representative democracy elected officials often go against the will of the majority.

Brad Carter said...

Actually we live in a Republic! I posted on these subjects on my site. If it won't offend Merle, see my post at http://blog.carter4freedom.com/2007/04/19/library-referendum-legal/

ben said...

@ clarification: Wait, so you're saying that by becoming a true democracy we could grind Congress to a halt? Sign me up! Most of the shit they pass is harmful, so I'm all for any option that will slow down the rate at which they bury us in ignorant and/or malicious legislation.

Anonymous said...

What I find most interesting is that Merle said in one of the posts BEFORE the referendum that is was good that the library folks went the referendum route to let the people decide and weigh in. (Obviously assuming the referendum would fail).

Once the election results came in, that section was ERASED from Merle's older post! That's revisionism to suit your point of view in keeping with the best of the old Soviets. (Their leaders also knew far better than the people did as what was best for the people).

The 1965 library referendum in Peoria passed by one vote and the Main Street Library was built as a result. Something nearly everyone now "accepts as self evident," to quote Mr. Dietrich and Mr. Widmer.

In time, everyone in Peoria will "accept as self evident" the value of a new North Branch library and the upgrades to the other branches

Referendums on issues are far and few between. The people do have a Constitutional right to petition their elected leaders to make their views known. A 72% plurality in a referedum is the most clear message the people can send.

Politicians who cross a majority like that won't be elected for long. In this nation we are "served" by government officials not "ruled." The city council needs to serve the emphatically and clearly expressed wishes of the people.

How dishonest would it be for any city council member to have been part of voting unanimously to put the library referendum on the ballot, have citizens volunteer and work hard to inform the voters in the campaign, have the voters say YES by over 72% and then have a council member vote against it?

In that case the council member's first vote would have been insincere to say the least--and will politically haunt them if they switch now when they asked the people to weigh in in the first place.

The question did not have to go to the people in the first place but the council voted unanimously to bring it to the people. The people have spoken.
Of course there is no legal requirement for the council to follow the peoples' wishes. But every council member will have to answer the question, "why did you vote to put the question on the ballot in the first place and put the people through a referendum if you didn't intend to listen to the people?

Jason D said...

I would hardly call 72% of less than 25% of registered voters the majority of the people. And remember there are even more people that are not registered to vote. In light of these numbers, I would say less than a majority of the people voted in favor of the referendum. Councilmembers represent all the people and the best interest for all of Peoria, not jut those who voted. It will be nice to see those politicians that vote against the tax increase actually stand on principle for a change.

enlightener said...

Jason D

Your point is as valid with regard to the council members own elections as it is for the library referendum.

The point being that no higher percentage of the voters are registered to vote, or registered and not vote, or registered and do vote for the council members own elections (county board members too) than was registered to vote or voted for the library referendum.

You people on the losing side want to denigrate our electoral system because you didn't get your way. Pure and simple.

You act like the council members are bona fide in their own election victories but the library referendum is an illegitimate victory.

The fact is that in any form of democracy the non-voters leave it up to the voters to make the decisions. That is their right to pass on their right to participate but then they have no right to bitch later.

How exactly are 5 at-large council members in a position to dismiss the referendum results as not representative of the people when they were elected in the exact same election by the same voters? Are they illegitimate council members? Are all of our public officials illegitimate because so many eligible voters are not registered or don't vote?

Sour grapes is what things boil down regarding you. And you flunk the logic test as well. Go to a library and read--you need more education.

Jason D said...

Boy I do feel enlightened now... please point out where I was condesending in my comment as you have been to me. I just was making the point that less than a majority of Peorians opined on the referendum. And to the point about the at-large members being voted on by the same percent of the voters as the referendum, I would suggest to you that they listen to constituents regardless if they voted, regardless if they voted for that council member, and regardless if they bullet voted another candidate all together. I suppose elected officials should only listen to those who specifically voted for them and no one else. Does that follow your logic or did I misinterperate you?

As to your view on democracies and non voters, I invite you to research why and how the electorial college was created. It was specifically designed to give a voice to those in the minority opinion. I would suggest maybe it is you that has been bamboozled in you understanding of the American electorial process.

BTW, I am in favor of a new library branch in the North end of Peoria.

Brad Carter said...

Sounds like Jason is quoting from Federlist Paper #10 which I have just finished at the suggestion from another blogger on another site. In a Republic, which is the form of government we currently have, minorities have rights too.

Brad Carter said...

And now Federalist #57. Of course, it is also suggested that the highest caliber of person should be chosen to serve. I think we have forgotten this in most cases.

Anonymous said...

Yes the Federalist Papers also call for minority rights to be safeguarded. No one here is suggesting to trample on the rights of the minority against the library issue.

But minority right protections such as free speech, right to assemble and protest, freedom of religion etc...none of that applies. A minority of 28% of the voters do not have the right to get their way on a simple bond referendum over the expressed will of the majority in this instance. Brad your thinking is so convoluted. You are actually seeking a dictatorship of the minority. That unless we have unanimous agreement that we cannot sell bonds to finance a new library??

Anonymous said...

What does Federalist #57 have to do with the library referendum? That was a question put to the voters. Now you are talking about the Founders wanting "people of the highest caliber to serve."

That has nothing to do with a simple yes or no question on the library referendum...it might apply to a county board member but not an issue referendum.

Brad Carter said...


I was just defending Jason's credibility when whoever accused him about learning more about the voting system. The Federlist Papers I cited were to say the voice, not just rights, of the minority were to be considered and some comprimise reached. Non-binding referendums are worthless pure and simple. They hold absolutly no weight what so ever. It is just a way for duely elected officials to skirt their responsibilities. Of course you would already know this if you would have read the link I referred to earlier. I want elected officials to make decisions made on true facts and not the passions of the moment. Whether I agree with them or not. I am not seeking "a dictatorship of the minority", nor am I seeking a dictatorship of anykind.

Clarification said...

@Brad Carter: I stand corrected, we are in a Republic. I meant well but used the wrong term.

I hope you run for City Council again in 2011. You had my vote this time, and will again.