Discussion paper

The democratic deficit: how minority fundamentalism threatens liberty in Australia

Publisher
Democracy Social issues Minority groups Activism Civil rights Freedom of speech Australia
Description

We are faced with a new kind of fundamentalism – call it ‘minority fundamentalism.’ It has all the features of religious fundamentalism, such as ideological fanaticism, intolerance of dissent, and a Manichaean certainty about truth and falsehood. The goal of the minority fundamentalists is to eradicate all forms of discrimination in the name of liberating those deemed to be oppressed. In this age of the new intolerance, punishment by intimidation and vilification is meted out to those who think differently. This leads to what is known as a ‘democratic deficit’ – a growing discrepancy between our expectations and our experience of democratic institutions. This widening of the democratic deficit is indicative of an increasing readiness on the part of self-appointed guardians of the moral and social order to privilege the sensitivities of the minority over those of the majority. Minority fundamentalism poses a threat to the normal political and social functions that we take for granted.

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