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Friday 14 May 2021

Network The dictatorship of minorities

The dictatorship of minorities

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After just 13 years, that is from its official birth, the EU is facing the same problems as the US: that is, the dictatorship of minorities. In order not to disadvantage small states, in 1789 the US Constitution assigned two senators per state, regardless of whether a state currently has 40 million residents (like California), or 762.000 (like North Dakota).

Today, 15 American states with a total population of 33 million inhabitants, i.e. 10% of the total US population, can count on 30 ultra-conservative senators (i.e. 30% of the Senate) and 66 electors out of a total of 538, that is 12.3%, taking into account that 270 are enough to elect the president. In fact, 10% of the population can control an entire nation of 332 million inhabitants.

In Europe, a state like Austria (with 9 million inhabitants), or Hungary (with 9,6 million and the latter not even in the eurozone) manages to dominate all 27 EU states, which count in total 447 million inhabitants. 

Under these conditions it would seem logical that the concept of democracy (from the Greek "power of the people"), understood as the will of the majority, is lacking.

The dictatorship of the minority is a concept reborn in the US in 2016 after the election of President Donald Trump, who won with 3 million less votes than candidate Hillary Clinton, and recently in Europe with the "recovery fund", which will cope to the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.

In the past, fiction focused mainly on the “dictatorship of the majority”, a theme often dealt with by the political scientist Giovanni Sartori in the 80s and 90s.

When discussing "democracy", so many conflicting elements come into play that one loses the thread of the discussion. In fact Sartori called it "the era of confused democracy".

Definitions such as "illiberal democracies" and "polyarchy" (the power of the many) have converged with the term "populism", to be understood as "whoever has one more vote has the right to make decisions for all". For some proponents, democracy means "respect for equal dignity", referring to democracy in a social sense and the protection of minorities.

Lately, however, things have turned upside down and dominating in the US and the EU are no longer the "dictatorships of the majority", but those of minorities. In this case it is not clear whether President Trump, for example, can be given the name of "populist", indeed, it should be the opposite, that is, "elitist" and equate the "power of the minority" to that, for example , absolute monarchist. Not sufficiently analyzed are the effects caused by the minority that abuses its disproportionate power, and therefore the privilege conferred by a "social democracy".

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