Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
This Is Your Last Chance to Dump Netflix Stock - 19th July 19
Gold and US Stock Mid Term Election and Decade Cycles - 19th July 19
Precious Metals Big Picture, as Silver Gets on its Horse - 19th July 19
This Technology Everyone Laughed Off Is Quietly Changing the World - 19th July 19
Green Tech Stocks To Watch - 19th July 19
Double Top In Transportation and Metals Breakout Are Key Stock Market Topping Signals - 18th July 19
AI Machine Learning PC Custom Build Specs for £2,500 - Scan Computers 3SX - 18th July 19
The Best “Pick-and-Shovel” Play for the Online Grocery Boom - 18th July 19
Is the Stock Market Rally Floating on Thin Air? - 18th July 19
Biotech Stocks With Near Term Catalysts - 18th July 19
SPX Consolidating, GBP and CAD Could be in Focus - 18th July 19
UK House Building and Population Growth Analysis - 17th July 19
Financial Crisis Stocks Bear Market Is Scary Close - 17th July 19
Want to See What's Next for the US Economy? Try This. - 17th July 19
What to do if You Blow the Trading Account - 17th July 19
Bitcoin Is Far Too Risky for Most Investors - 17th July 19
Core Inflation Rises but Fed Is Going to Cut Rates. Will Gold Gain? - 17th July 19
Boost your Trading Results - FREE eBook - 17th July 19
This Needs To Happen Before Silver Really Takes Off - 17th July 19
NASDAQ Should Reach 8031 Before Topping - 17th July 19
US Housing Market Real Terms BUY / SELL Indicator - 16th July 19
Could Trump Really Win the 2020 US Presidential Election? - 16th July 19
Gold Stocks Forming Bullish Consolidation - 16th July 19
Will Fed Easing Turn Out Like 1995 or 2007? - 16th July 19
Red Rock Entertainment Investments: Around the world in a day with Supreme Jets - 16th July 19
Silver Has Already Gone from Weak to Strong Hands - 15th July 19
Top Equity Mutual Funds That Offer Best Returns - 15th July 19
Gold’s Breakout And The US Dollar - 15th July 19
Financial Markets, Iran, U.S. Global Hegemony - 15th July 19
U.S Bond Yields Point to a 40% Rise in SPX - 15th July 19
Corporate Earnings may Surprise the Stock Market – Watch Out! - 15th July 19
Stock Market Interest Rate Cut Prevails - 15th July 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Current State July 2019 Video - 15th July 19
Why Summer is the Best Time to be in the Entertainment Industry - 15th July 19
Mid-August Is A Critical Turning Point For US Stocks - 14th July 19
Fed’s Recessionary Indicators and Gold - 14th July 19
The Problem with Keynesian Economics - 14th July 19
Stocks Market Investors Worried About the Fed? Don't Be -- Here's Why - 13th July 19
Could Gold Launch Into A Parabolic Upside Rally? - 13th July 19
Stock Market SPX and Dow in BREAKOUT but this is the worrying part - 13th July 19
Key Stage 2 SATS Tests Results Grades and Scores GDS, EXS, WTS Explained - 13th July 19
INTEL Stock Investing in Qubits and AI Neural Network Processors - Video - 12th July 19
Gold Price Selloff Risk High - 12th July 19
State of the US Economy as Laffer Gets Laughable - 12th July 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Current State - 12th July 19
Stock Market Major Index Top In 3 to 5 Weeks? - 11th July 19
Platinum Price vs Gold Price - 11th July 19
What This Centi-Billionaire Fashion Magnate Can Teach You About Investing - 11th July 19
Stock Market Fundamentals are Weakening: 3000 on SPX Means Nothing - 11th July 19
This Tobacco Stock Is a Big Winner from E-Cigarette Bans - 11th July 19
Investing in Life Extending Pharma Stocks - 11th July 19
How to Pay for It All: An Option the Presidential Candidates Missed - 11th July 19
Mining Stocks Flash Powerful Signal for Gold and Silver Markets - 11th July 19
5 Surefire Ways to Get More Viewers for Your Video Series - 11th July 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Top AI Stocks Investing to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend

The Majority Is Always Wrong, Except by Accident

Politics / Social Issues May 09, 2012 - 02:19 AM GMT

By: LewRockwell

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleAl Lowi writes: Sifting the historical record for cases affirming that the majority was on the right side of an issue fails to turn up a single "decision" where this was the result. So where is it written that the majority should rule? In the absence of affirmative evidence, a clever wag once offered the following argument:

The majority is infallible. Because no matter how stupid the propositions decided or the ones elected, the majority was always the stupider for having done so.


Another commentator pointed out that most people obtain their sense of right and wrong by counting noses. Accordingly, the notion of an infallible source of authority becomes a statistical abstraction. Too bad statistical abstractions aren’t real.

In logic, majority rule is a fallacy known as an argumentum ad populum (Latin for appeal to the people, however this is supposed to be done). It is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true merely because many or most people say they believe it; which alleges: "If many believe it so, it is so." Never mind the question of how the many arrived at the truth of their belief, if any, or whether the beliefs of the many were even traceable to entities with functional brains let alone accurately and faithfully obtained and ascertained, i.e. recorded, transmitted, collected and compiled before being stereotyped to label a uniform group of like believers. After all, data so collected cannot be backtracked to its source for confirmation. Statistics has a way of disconnecting its conclusions from its origins. A nose count is not a thought experiment.

The authority-of-the-majority argument goes by many names including appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, argument by consensus, consensus fallacy, authority of the many, and bandwagon fallacy, and in Latin as argumentum ad numerum ("appeal to the number"), and consensus gentium ("agreement of the clans"). It is also the basis of a number of social phenomena, including communal reinforcement and the bandwagon effect, not to mention Democracy. Dare we say that political government is based on fallacious argumentation?

Notice that none of the above named sources of authority has a brain. All are brainless collectives or groups of humans that do, incidentally as individual beings, have such an organ. No brain, no reason and no discrimination. Thus the appeal to the majority turns out to be just another cop-out.

However, notice that whoever speaks for the collective is a human individual. He has a brain. Otherwise, the collective could not even fake a semblance of volition. It is the chutzpah of the spokesman that gives the collective the superficial appearance of having a functional brain. Clever those politicians: they create the illusion of authority created out of thin air by some poll that is passed along to them for "safekeeping." In actuality, the group is more like a ventriloquist’s dummy because the erstwhile human members of the group seem to turn off their brains in the interim leaving the spokesman free to masquerade his brain as the surrogate brain for the group.

Rare is the spokesman with the balls to openly admit he has usurped his position of authority. Usually, he hides behind a poll that is widely supposed to speak for the majority if only in esoteric terms couched in the language of numbers. Rarer yet is the person who questions that a poll speaks for the majority as if the majority was someone with authority. Almost nobody doubts that a majority speaks through a poll, which is also supposed to reveal the infallible opinion of the majority. Perish the thought!

Now let’s suppose for the sake of argument that a poll is evidence that the majority has spoken. Can such a pronouncement qualify for rectitude? Can you question such a proposition in the same manner as you must to determine whether that which you "know" is right or wrong, namely look at the evidence? Likewise, can you seriously question what one of your fellow humans asserts is right or wrong by taking a poll of non-questioners and non-observers? Clearly, the proposition can qualify for treatment by the scientific method to the extent its underlying assumptions can be exposed to view and observed, examined and tested by you and your peers. By contrast, the results of the poll must be taken on faith because they cannot be traced back to their source if ever there was one. And even if they could be traced, there would be nothing but opinions to consider. Polls and statistics have a way of concealing the evidence that could settle the matter. By the same token, polls and statistics also have a way of avoiding the settlement of such issues as right and wrong.

Most people are conditioned to accept "majority rule" without a second thought. In doing so, they assume the majority is always right. Accordingly, they are resigned to accept whatever polling results prevail even if they may have personally chosen otherwise. This habit of thought is explained by the observation made by Jonathan Swift over three-hundred years ago that "some people have no better idea of determining right and wrong than by counting noses."

Of course, there can be no argument with those people who are in a position to claim to be right in the perverse sense that "might makes right." To the extent the policeman has a sanction from the majority, few will pause to question whether the "majority" can muster superior physical might in the population to suppress minority dissent. Thereby, the presumptive leaders of the "majority" obtain the superficial appearance of being in the right.

In actuality, the majority is usually wrong. It can be right only by accident because its predilections always represent the inclinations of the lowest common denominator of opinion. How else does a majority of diverse individuals come to a uniform consensus?

Who is the majority that "he" can have an opinion? Opinions like decisions are formed in a human brain or not at all. Since a majority is only a mindless collective mass of humanity, majority decisions are figments of human imagination. They are only the illusions of the participants in a poll, who are like the participants in a masquerade.

Given prevailing sentiments and illusions, the people’s concern for the integrity of the ballot box is understandable inasmuch as its contents will determine who shall rule over them. The ballot box contents sanction the people (a fictitious entity) to rule the people (the actual population), who are not only the ones who cast votes but also the ones who didn't. This clever sophistry resigns most people to submit to whatever the outcome of the poll as long as such outcomes are believed faithful to the ritual. Never mind that the "majority" is spurious and the decision illusory: blind faith rules. The outcome is considered fair as long as the sacrifice is uniform, universal and high-minded. Bring on the rituals. Let’s have a parade. Feel good in the bosom of the group.

What passes for a decision of the people is a proposition that must be formulated by some person with a brain to be subsequently ratified by a ritual poll or vote count. Curiously, the outcome of this process can be radically altered by one anonymous vote more or less. Whatever raises doubt that the tally is at odds with an actual nose-count casts doubt on the outcome. Such doubt disturbs the faith. It shakes the belief in the legitimacy of the outcome and any succession to rule so ordained. The slightest hint that the vote count was corrupted, miscounted, miscarried or forged can quickly turn the mood of the subjects from doubt to outrage and on to outright rebellion. The reaction to even an abstract notion that the "decision of the majority" was thwarted by some evil conspiracy can produce panic in the streets.

Thus, a population of volitional human beings becomes a herd of political animals. Such a hysterical reaction might be expected from an invasion of alien plunderers. Alien invaders may be real or imagined, but plunder is a fait accompli when the rulers take over and shake down their peers. Plunder is traceable to the election in any case however conducted, and the plunderers will not be aliens. They will be domestic opportunists. Ballot box contents settle the issue as to who shall be anointed to do the deed with legal immunity.

Al Lowi (send him mail) has been a professional engineer in private practice in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, for the past 40 years.

http://www.lewrockwell.com

© 2012 Copyright Al Lowi / LewRockwell.com - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules