Let's say that tomorrow that 5% of income is what makes a difference between life or death from hunger; and at the same time, (rich) "people" are proposing a law that will literally kill whoever does not pay that 5%; do you pay and vote against the law, then die from hunger, or do you not pay and die from the hand of "the people"?
"In modern west" (as opposed to "in Soviet Russia"? lol), in some countries, less than 50% bother to vote in most elections, so the "to willfully ignorant" [sic] already don't take part; it's important they maintain their rights nevertheless. How many HN readers never bothered to deal with the US Congress before SOPA was proposed? Would have been right to deny them a voice?
By now I'm pretty sure you're either trolling or a dangerous elitist, "to willfully ignorant" to be trusted with any decision on political systems.
The only argument I am making is that Democracy means "rule by the people", where "the people" is an arbitrary bunch. And in no way has it always meant "everybody living on this land". This populist form of democracy is an invention of 19th century.
What I am arguing is that I have noticed in historic annals that democracies that have been virtuous and didn't implode after a generation all had built in safeguards from populism. And that citizenship was never viewed as an universal right, but always as privilege that one has to actively protect and exercise else it will be taken away.
Indeed many people do not vote, however when some drastic measures need to be taken, short term sacrifices for long term gain - these people will turn up and block any hope of change.
Also I would like to remind you, that popular democracy was viewed as an instrument of change, that mass participation in political process would enable society to evolve faster into better forms. What it has proven is that rule of the mob is the best "status quo" preserving device anybody ever imagined.
You chose to attack the proposed mechanism, but I merely used it as an example. Should you read this thread, you would notice that I proposed random draw as another alternative.
All I am arguing is that some very wise people eons ago noticed, that for prosperity to happen, you need an elite.
Thats what kept Roman republic strong for so long - the balance between elite and the mob. Once the mob managed to break all the "privileges" of the elite, Rome was effectively doomed.
I am not advocating policy here, I am discussing politics and history. No need to call me names and mock me.
Edit: Soviet Russia (or any communist country) was not a country ruled by an Elite. One does not become Elite by killing previous Elite and proclaiming himself one. Building Elite class takes generations. What happened in communist countries is what you get when you eradicate the Elite and let inmates run the asylum.