Equality Versus Excellence: Does Universal Adult Franchise Complement Democratic Values?
Since political equality, free and fair elections, and universal adult franchise have become synonymous with the primary characteristics of democracy, it is ironic to see how such democratic means have the potential to yield undemocratic outcomes. This article questions whether political equality practiced through a universal adult franchise is able to fulfill its goal of empowering people to express their ‘will’ equally or whether this political equality actually is the reason behind the increase in substantial inequality as people have the unequal capability of cognitive decision making, and hence are susceptible to influence which might corrupt their ‘real will’ and end up expressing ‘false will.’ If people possessing unequal cognitive ability are enfranchised with an equal value of the vote, then it might lead to greater inequality in expressing the ‘real will’ of the people. Furthermore, although every citizen is considered to be morally equal and deserves equal respect, there are bound to be inequalities in terms of wealth, education, luck, etc. The real aim of democracy is to reduce such inequality and propound egalitarianism rather than simple equalitarianism through democratic decision-making. This article further proposes an alternative plural voting system where people could be awarded extra votes as per their excellence and disadvantage.