Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Common Sense Politics

  Although a philosopher or philosophizer should take common sense as his lodestar, sometimes one feels the need to do exactly the opposite and preach against common sense -for common sense is not infallible.
  This is true especially of politics, for instance, in the popular opinion that the majority should rule. It seems that it is a common opinion that the people should rule, that is, that the people should rule just in the case that a majority of them agree to do a set of things. But there is a problem here, which is that a second common notion, namely the notion that the truth is always found in the median (as a midpoint between two extremes), contradicts the other common notion that the people should rule all the time. And I say this chiefly because the reason why the people should rule all the time is that a majority of the populace is somehow more intelligent than the few. And  yet, how could the majority be always more capable of reaching truth than the few, when it is agreed that the truth is always in the median opinion? For a majority of the people has the nature of a mode or (at best) an average. But the median is a separate measure most of the time, in the abstract sense that the normal distribution (where the median is equal to the mode) is only 1 out of 3 possibilities while the median is separate from the mode in the other two distributions.  So therefore, if the truth is found in the median opinion, then how could the truth reside in the majority opinion? Clearly there is an inconsistency here.
  Of course this problem might be solved if one subscribed to the median-voter theorem but I don't think that most people do, and to the extent that they don't, they seem mistaken about a key issue in their political philosophy. Interestingly enough, the inconsistency I discussed now, is even more fatal to the idea that exactly one person should rule (autocracy), so although it seemingly corrupts the idea of democracy it does likewise with monarchy.

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