Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Dispute Resolution?

  1. Aug 15, 2012 #1
    What is the most democratic* way to resolve some disputes? I have always thought public voting should be the best method to resolve disputes, but now I have come to think that it won't work when the dispute concerns directly the general public.
    Lets take one example to make this clear.
    Suppose they want to increase the Road Tax for Car Owners. But also say that they are trying to make road taxes very high for luxurious car Owners such that taxes for normal car owners could be reduced. Lets assume that normal car owners are in great majority than luxurious car owners.
    If there is dispute in this thing, then I don't think voting can provide fair result, because the majority of people will have advantage on it.
    Basically, the question boils down to -"Since Voting can result in majority group doing injustice to minority group", whats the good method to resolve political disputes?
    I feel like we need some trusted expert groups to resolve disputes like this, but thats hard to find.
    Sometimes constitution prevents injustice to people, but thats not always the case.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Have you heard the phrase Tyranny of the majority? It's essentially what you're describing here. There's a variety of methods that can be used to avoid this occuring immorally; constitutional law could be made to restrict the powers that the majority has over the minority, votes could require supermajorities or alternative voting systems could be used allowing storable/cardinal/preference votes.

    Something else to consider is the fact that everyone is a minority in some respect: sure you might be in the minority now and loose but next vote you might win with the majority.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  4. Aug 17, 2012 #3
    I am not sure if we need a democratic solution all the time, rather than a "best" solution. For instance, a simple way of controlling something is the OODA loop, in which decisions are made that should lead to the best possible situation thus:

    Obviously one can substitute "opponent" for any disturbance of the desired situation of everybody being happy, (economics, scarcity of means).

    So two major problems here is the complexity/chaos, we do not agree on what is the desired situation, for instance, we have left and right views, and desire to maximize security versus maximize wealth (anti missile system or less taxes) and such. Finding the best compromise here is called "politics" in specialist jargon.

    Second is the adaptation rate and democracy is about the slowest in rate. Last year in the Netherlands a most horrible law was implemented (maximum study duration with penalties) The majority abhors it but it will take a long while to cancel it.

    On the other hand a president with absolute power can take the best decision (in his eyes) with the snap of a finger, as intended in the OODA loop. I think we have seen prosperity under young dictators (Hitler,- oh please -; no Godwin reactions). However power corrupts so the end is rarely happy.

    Just a ramble to indicate that maybe the question is not solvable.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  5. Aug 17, 2012 #4
    I come from a family full of lawyers, judges, etc. As far back as I can remember, the refrain is always the same "The law is a set of rules for resolving disputes and not about justice in any one person’s eye."

    Justice, IMO, is a perspective that people of good will can differ given the same set of facts.

    IMO, I think that's why this country was founded as a Republic and not a Democracy, as often stated. In a Republic, the law is supreme, even when it sides with only 1% or less of the population. As stated, Democracy is, IMO, a form of mob rule; 50.1% tell the rest what to do. Thus, is highly unstable, as opinions shift. We only have to look as far as the routine shift in the fortunes of the political parties to see it. The Constitution is intended to provide the framework for the values, limits, and laws of the US. By limiting what Congress and the Executive can do, Constitution limits our worse natures in a Democracy to legislatively force opinion or punish those that disagree with us. IMO, if the SCOTUS adheres to the strict construction interpretation of the Constitution, where the Constitution means what it says in the appropriate context under which it was ratified , and the SCOTUS takes a similar approach to laws passed at the Federal, State, and local level, we have a stable basis upon which to rely. The population, through Congress, could only pass laws that were consistent within original intent of the Constitution. I believe the Constitution shows amazing thoughtfulness and forethought, especially considering its age.

    So, when we discuss resolving disputes, IMO, there needs to be a firm foundation upon which decisions are made (laws) to remove as much "disputable ground" as possible, and the judicial system must faithfully interpret the law as written so as to avoid such things as judge, jury, or jurisdiction shopping.
  6. Aug 17, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You might be interested to see how not only the chain of command works for dispute resolution (from the lowest levels of outside arbitraters to the highest levels of court) but also how the whole lobbying/challenge protocols are formulated and work in practice.

    ThinkToday makes great points especially about the mob rule statement and personally this decentralization of power is what makes the constitution such an important document not only for the US, but world-wide. I'm not saying its perfect, but the idea of getting rid of the potential centralization of power that came with certain structures of government was something that the writers of the relevant documents were all too aware of.

    More specifically you should look at sovereignty, consent, and jurisdiction regarding any particular thing: when you give consent whether implied or not to another party and when they have jurisdiction, then basically what you have done is given them the right and power to exercise those rights.

    A lot of people aren't aware that they do this all the time and a lot of it is implicit: the thinking is that if you don't demonstrate to be someone is able to independently think and challenge such as an assertion of consent or transfer of jurisdiction, then you implicitly give that jursidiction over.

    These ideas of consent, sovereignty (and ownership), and jursidiction are the most important aspects of the law and most people give away little bits of piece by piece when they enter into contracts, register themselves in various ways, and do other similar things.

    You might want to check out the conditions of what registration does to your rights in the context of a political voter registration and realize what this thing is in the context of a commercial attribute.

    Also if you are super interested, get a good resource on the "law of the sea" and understand how transactions are done on the water (which is an open area completely distinct from the land).

    You might be shocked to find out what registration does implicitly with regard to the above attributes.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook