Are people too stupid for democracies to function properly? Why or why not?

Are people too stupid for democracies to function properly? Why or why not?

What do you think?

12 Points
Upvote Downvote


Leave a Reply
  1. We’re using old systems to try and run a population so many magnitudes larger than they were intended for. It is unclear to me what should change, but I don’t think we can purely and simply expect these systems to work on this population scale, even if you did get rid of corruption.

  2. The thing about democracies is that they are inherently fragile.

    If you think we have a democracy so it’s all good, I’m going to sit back and relax, it’s destined to fail. Democracies need active participation, and that’s a lot of work. On the other hand, people are inherently lazy, in the sense that at our core we are a species – like all the others – driven by incentives, and active participation in a democracy doesn’t have a lot of immediate visible incentives.

    So, it’s not that people are stupid, it’s just that there’s a natural conflict between the nature of democracies and nature of people.

  3. No.

    Look, we all have very different needs depending on where we live. And a person isn’t “stupid” because they have different values than you. I’m not saying, “every side is valid”, but let’s focus on a specific issue in America: health care.

    People that live in urban areas generally have ample governmental infrastructure that can support them. We (I’m in this group) believe that a government controlled healthcare system, be it universal or single payer, can work for us because we have the resources to believe it possible.

    But if you’re in a rural area, where you have to drive 30+ minutes to your local hospital, and consistently have the government forget about you for basic services, you might not believe it as possible.

    Neither side is “stupid” for what they believe. Their situations are too different to reconcile.

    No, I don’t think we’re too stupid for democracy, I believe our needs based on geography are too different to have it successfully function.

  4. I would say the problem lies mainly in a deeply flawed information system, aka mass media. Many of those are owned by very few people, so the plurality of information is just not happening. Also many of these entities have also many other businesses, which means that there’s a big conflict of interest there in reporting the news.

    People are being misinformed. It’s not helping the fact that many western governments are now pushing for some form of control of the information, to fight misinformation. This is ironic since this very concept would have been considered unthinkable during the Cold War where the other block actively and systematically controlled what information was right what wasn’t while the west allowed free speech.

    So yes: lack of plurality of information and government censorship.

  5. Democracies function properly. It’s just that their legislative output is what the electorate has voted for. And since the electorate often doesn’t research their candidates properly, they elect legislatures that produce shit laws and elect governments that usually make things worse.

    Governing a nation is hard and if the communist dictatorships proved anything, it’s that it doesn’t hurt to sometimes have a long-lasting plans that are not subject to 180 turns in policy after the relatively short terms a typical democratic government has.

  6. Lack of education does this. Political leaders who endorse making education less available and discourage free thinking is usually a sign of a budding autocracy. Because they want stupid voters who will not only vote against their own best interests, but who also will demand for it loudly.

  7. No.

    And unless idiots have voting rights, too, it’s not a democracy.

    Some people are morons. When we start taking away the right for adults to vote, that’s a damn slippery slope. It’s not a perfect system, but what would the alternative be?

  8. Well, if your historical lens focuses on North America and Western Europe and focuses exclusively on the past say 200 years of history then yeah. But otherwise no. My tribe was basically a direct democracy for god only knows how long before colonialism, and we successfully occupied the same land for 2k years apparently. You don’t do that unless you’ve got your shit figured out lol.

  9. Are there no functioning democracies? I suppose your answer to that is the answer to your question. There are a lot of democracies to consider. Success is measured in many ways. I think you would need to establish the terms of “properly functioning”.

  10. For a pure democracy, I think so. The average person isn’t fully educated on political affairs. People usually want what sounds more appealing rather than what’s practical. Also a lot of new policies and stuff that are put into place cause a massive ripple effect of consequences, both good and bad. The average person would not be able to anticipate that and will be left all shocked when something they voted for goes downhill tremendously

  11. Perhaps, but that’s why you need constitutions. You can’t leave everything to be decided by a majority vote. For example, a minority must have human rights, so it must be constitutionally illegal for a majority to vote to take those rights away from the minority.

Leave a Reply