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Jeruba's avatar

Here's one thing I wonder about: democracy in nonpolitical settings?

This question is about the functioning of democratic norms in everyday situations (not in elections to public office) where we are used to voting for our choice, versus places where majority rule does not function.

Our American democracy appears at risk to be sliding away. I’ve read lots of opinions about it. Here’s something nobody mentions:

How are the processes of group decision making (other than political elections) carried out in authoritarian societies? Do voting and majority rule apply or not?

In, say, Russia or Hungary, do students vote for class president, does the majority rule in choosing officers of a social club, does a business organization elect a chairman and secretary by vote of the members? Or how are those things done in an authoritarian society?

We are used to taking votes in all sorts of commonplace situations. It’s a basic part of our culture. How many want to go to Subway for lunch, how many want to order a pizza? If we end up with a Trump dictatorship, will we still practice majority rule in such everyday matters? Or who gets to be little dictators in all those trivial situations? Who picks the winners of the Academy Awards?

Or is our culture too ingrained with the idea of casting a vote and having a voice (no matter how poorly executed at times) to actually submit to a system of dictatorship?

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