At philosophybites.com, Anne Phillips argues that in this day in age, direct democracy is impractical. There are just too many people. Thus, we must have a representative democracy: having certain people represent us because of our interests. Ok. So far, this makes sense. But she argues that if we’re going to be consistent with the idea of representation, then the population must coincide with the Congress to get true representation. For example, there are 50% women in the US, therefore there should be 50% women in Congress to get the full representation. Part of her argument is that in a democracy there will always be a majority no matter what. Thus, the minorities will be shut out or be ostricized. But because they live in a country where it’s government is a representative democracy, they should also get representation.
This idea isn’t new. J.S. Mill came up with this. He really popularized the view that the “tyranny of the majority” is a threat to liberty. This silences the minorities. So they should get a percentage representation because that is part of the definition of representative democracy.
Think about this, that would mean Congress would have about 10% homosexuals, 10% atheists, 5-7% creationists, 12% black people, 14% Hispanics, 1% Pacific Islanders, and so on and so on. I think in general, this is a good idea. Everyone will have a voice and thus, everyone is represented. But when we try to put this in practice, it seems so complex. But then again, I have heard that India has been doing this for quite a while and they have three times of the population that we do and they are incredibly diverse than we are.
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