Democracy: who needs the word?

My whole discussion of majority tyranny boils down to the fact that there is no such thing. Tyranny there is, and majority is a very good thing to justify tyranny; but majorities always have to be construed before they can justify anything. Construction is a work for expert minorities who seem to get better and better in this demanding task nowadays.

It seems that the same goes for democracy. There are so many democracies available at the political marketplace that any minority (don’t let us forget that in a complex modern society there are only minorities) is able to choose that single type which fits its purposes. Majoritarians will call liberal democracies anti-democratic, liberals will call majoritarian democracies dictatorial. Direct democrats will call representation non-democratic, while d’Argenson had the guts already in the 18th century to call direct democracy a “false” one.

When the same regime may be called a dictatorship, an illiberal democracy, a hybrid system, a hacked democracy, or a constitutional autocracy, you start to wonder whether any of these terms mean anything any more. Democracy being the most popular, its problems are the most vexing. I am even inclined to get rid of the word once and for all. Why do we need a word that never meant what its etymology suggested, anyway?

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