The Concept of the Majority Rule with Respect to Minority Rights
Man is free to act in a manner that will preserve his/her life, culture, love ones and including their belongings. Freedom is not meant to do what we want but it has to be in accordance to law which mean doing what we ought to do. It is based on these precepts that democracy or equality was institutionalized. And it is on this precept where Majority rule does not always rule over the minority rights or vice versa.
The constitution was written in 1778 and it is the worlds longest surviving written documents by a government. It comprises of 755 pages and the first draft was written by Madison to the Congress. The preamble in first Article of the constitution states: “We the people”, an affirmation that a government exist just to serve its citizens (US Senate). In Lincoln address he said that “democracy is a government of the people for the people and by the people”.
From the above definition it was clear that sovereignty belongs to the people and government is subject to the rule of law. If this is well understood, there should be no incoherence with regards to the conviction that all man is created equal. Besides, democracy means giving each one according to its due and this pertain to the rights of minority or an individual over the majority.
Majority rules and minority rights seems to be contradictory with each other, the dictum of majority rule and the protection of individual or the minority may not coincide with general rules. However these principles are the two pillars that forge the very core of genuine democracy (US Embassy, 2007). One principal concept of democracy explains that majority rule should not lead to oppression because in America there is no appointed group who has any authority to take away the basic rights and freedoms of an individual in a minority group.
To understand this further it is worthy to define what Majority rule is and the concept of the Minority rights. Majority is simply put to get the power to rule a decision which binds everyone in a unified group while minority means a group that is lesser in number but has the obligation of the state to defend their rights.
However, some laws are in general still vague and can lead to abuse or intolerance. Two example are namely; the Constitutional Law with regards to the Bill of Rights and the Limitations of Judicial Powers.
The first example is based on “The Bill of Rights Article I to X”
Human rights are protected in these laws including his or free speech and freedom of religion. But in the case of the 9/11, a distorted religious belief fueled the lone pilot to become a hero and transformed hundreds of innocent victims into ashes in a single attack.
Also, there is controversy regarding the Fifth Amendment which says: “. . . no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law (Memory).” This law are often interpolated which makes the accused to have more rights than the one abused. Man though he has committed a crime is not convicted unless proven guilty.
Second example is based on the Limitation of the judicial power – “Article XI of the Constitution”
The Supreme Court became creative to pass the law called Federal Abortion Law. This belief leads to mass abortion. The word due process and liberty is substituted by abortion (New, 2005). Someone who is thinking straight would say that no human person with a correct frame of mind would kill an innocent child and much more a helpless unborn babe.
There was an abuse and judicial activism at the higher court to pass on such law including sodomy. There has never been an error made by man in his lifetime as grave as converting a sinful or an immoral conduct into a virtue or legalizing what is wrong because of the word “liberty” in the Due Process Clause. Here it is important to know that liberty means freedom per se but freedom with responsibility.
Thwarting the constitution is not just political in a sense but also a moral issue. Our perception or understanding should always be based on the true meaning of a genuine democratic government. A good government that is free and its people are well aware that every free act must also be responsible, that in every action there will be consequences. But still, framers of the constitution have ways of distorting meanings to ease consciences or legalized a criminal act. They labeled their bad behavior as “Reproductive Freedom or Free Choice”.
Judicial activism in fact is very unconstitutional. A dissent to what we believe that majority rule with deference to minority rights. Activist judges proposed amendments that intend to correct an injustice in America. These are people who do not lived by true democracy.
The first example, make us see clearly that defending individual right can also lead to an injustice while the second example says that the rule of the majority are often detrimental to those in the minority groups. And because of judicial activism on the part of some lawmakers, the rule of democracy is often times distorted.
Democracy came from the root word demos, a Greek word which means people. Therefore, it is conclusive to say that Majority rule must always protect the rights of the minority. However, no matter how astute an intention is, human law is not as perfect as the natural law. There are instances that due to intolerance, natural law becomes an impediment to our so called human freedom. Gandhi said that, “Intolerance in itself is a form of violence to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” In the face of such intolerance, Majority rules pertains more on who has the power to make the decision and lessening the voices of the minority. True democracy still holds true on the Majority rules but always on the concept of protecting the rights of everyone be it a single person or a minority group. Injustice will not prevail if judgments are based on truth and equality.
US Embassy, 2007. 21 Primers on Principles of Democracy [Electronic Version].
Retrieved 06 February 2008, from
US Senate. Constitution of the United States [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 06 February
2008, from http://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm
David W. New, 2005. The Federal Abortion Amendment of 1868: The Covenant News
[Electronic Version]. Retrieved 06 February 2008 from, http://www.covenantnews.com/davidnew050209.htm
American Memory. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional
Documents and Debates, 1774 – 1875 [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 18 February
2008 from, http://memory.loc.gov/ll/llsl/001/0100/01450021.tif
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