Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Majority rules - except when it suits a politician

ACT is attacking the government for selectively appealing to the will of the majority:

Why is the public too dumb to understand the Privy Council, too unscientific to understand genetic engineering, but is now an expert on nuclear fission?

And to turn this around, why is the public too dumb to understand nuclear fission (or rather, whether they want it in their back yard), but qualified to judge the other two issues?

ACT is as hypocritical as Labour on this one - like all politicians they're only interested in the will of the majority when it suits them. Though I have to add that at least Labour doesn't sneer at the whole concept of the will of the majority by calling it "popularism".

And on the third hand, we live in a representative democracy, not a direct one. Labour has clearly signaled its policies on all three issues, and been voted into office as a result. Can ACT claim a similar mandate for any of its policy alternatives? Can they even meet the threshhold required to force a referendum on any of them? The answer to both questions is a resounding "no".