Democratic Politics

Chapter : 3. Outcomes of Democracy

Accommodation of Social Diversity

Accommodation of Social Diversity
Democracies usually develop a procedure to conduct their competition. This reduces the possibility of these tensions becoming explosive or violent. No society can fully and permanently resolve conflicts among different groups. But we can certainly learn to respect these differences and we can also evolve mechanisms to negotiate the differences. Democracy is best suited to produce this outcome. Non democratic regimes often turn a blind eye to or suppress internal social differences. Ability to handle social difference, divisions and conflicts is thus a definite plus point of democratic regimes. But the examples of Sri Lanka reminds us that a democracy must fulfil two conditions in order to achieve this outcome :
(i) It is necessary to understand that democracy is not simply rule by majority opinion. The majority always needs to work with the minority. So that governments function to represent the general view. Majority and minority opinion are not permanent.
(ii) It is also necessary that rule by majority does not become rule by majority community in terms of religion or race or linguistic group, etc. Rule by majority means that in case of every decision or in case of every election, different persons and groups may be can form a majority. Democracy remains democracy only as long as every citizen has chance of being in majority at some point of time. If someone is barred from being in majority on the basis of birth, then the democratic rule ceases to be accommodative for that person or group.

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