How would You build up democracy in Atlantis?

**If there would have sprung up an Atlantis in the middle of the Atlantic 100 years ago and now the citizens, a few millions, would ask You for help to build up the democracy?


  • The standards of life would be the same as in a middle European country, or US, if You like.
  • The tax-rate would be about 30 - 35 %, depending on how much the citizens would earn.
  • The problems would be the same as in any westerner country; a little bit of poverty, some people without work etc.
  • You could change anything in Atlantis, except taxes, so money You would have. But how to spent it.
    (The army thing is obvious, the question is about the rest of the money).

What can a rich country afford?

My definition on democracy: in a very, very short form:

  • The majority rules and takes in consideration (or protects) the minority.
  • The government works for the people, not vice versa (as it is in any country nowadays IMHO).

I think we all know the usual democratically rights: Free speech, equal rights, free mass-communication, right to form associations, right to vote (without registration IMHO), etc, etc.


  • right to get education (free of payment, gov. pays)?
  • right to get health care (free of payment, gov. pays)?
  • right to food and shelter (free of payment, gov. pays)?
  • right to pure environment
  • governmental counselors & lawyers for small business and citizens.
    (The laws are nowadays so complicated that nobody can do anything knowing (s)he does everything according to the rules, laws etc. (government partly paying).

If You think
that the question above is too “wide”, please just answer what You see is democratic (that the government should grant) and what would You leave to the citizen to decide as best as (s)he can?

If I have the right as a thread starter, to allow small side-paths and -steps, I will.

Why would I want to help them make a democracy? Just make me the King. I’ll take care of everyone. I Promise.

Even though IANAPS (political scientist) I guess I should give your question a fair shot. An island nation in the Atlantic. A couple of million people. So we are talking about Puerto Rico.

Okay, first off, we should probably assume no real natural resources. So the first step to success will be making a friendly atmosphere for both light industry and tourism. Tax incentives, transportation routes, established rule of law and an educated populace will be important for business. Environmental conservation, no civil unrest, and pluralism are all important for tourism.

So, now that the goals are defined, what is the best way to achieve them?

I’d probably grab Virginia’s constitution only because it has a long and established history. I think it was written by the same people who wrote the U.S constitution. I could have my historical facts mixed up, though. Then I’d tweak it to make sure that the above goals are protected by constitutional fiat. I’d make constitutional amendments very hard (at the very least, a super-majority of the legislature).

And then I’d have them declare me King for life.

Why does the majority protect the minority, and by what mechanism?

Hi there, SenorBeef!

My answer might be quite long.
Your question:
Why does the majority protect the minority, and by what mechanism?

Personally I think it should, because if it does not, there would be a total anarchy after each election. I mean they could just wipe out those who lost the election: every official that works for the country, but have the “wrong” party-book could be kicked out.

  • Secondly I do not like the thought that the majority could harass the minorities that speaks another language, has another colour of skin, religion etc.
    Anyhow, these rights are written in most countries constitution. And that is right.

But, I have seen no constitution that simply says that “the
minorities should be protected by the state”. That would be something!

If I take one example I know very well. First some facts:

  • In Sweden the school is obligatory. (In many countries it is not obligatory, but it is obligatory to learn, which means that You can have a home-teacher for Your child).
  • In Sweden a class in the school, if there are 12 pupils. Maximum 35 pupils in one class.
  • There is about one million non-Swedes living in Sweden.
  • Finland has two languages Finnish and Swedish, with equal rights. I am a Finn-Swede, meaning that my parents were both speaking Swedish as their mother-language. My family moved to Finland, from Sweden, from my fathers side, in early 1600 A.C.
    I lived in a place near the Swedish capital, that consisted of 33.000 people. (Some people called it wrongfully a getto, I call it multi-cultural).

In the area where I lived, no language had the majority among the pupils or, in fact in the community as whole. According to the social workers, there was 101 languages spoken as mother-languages! Mostly the people that was not from Europe, was refugees.

When we speak about pupils in the elementary school, the top five (the biggest mother-language minorities) was like this:
1st the Finnish-speaking children
2nd the Spanish-speaking children
3rd the Turks
4th the former Yugoslavians
5th the Swedish speaking children!!!

And the only official language, in Sweden, is Swedish. So the schools were teaching in Swedish. However, the Finns had teaching in mathematics etc. in Finnish.
Then, suddenly, the principal of one school, wanted to take this “right” away and begin to teach everything in Swedish.
The mothers of the Finnish pupils said that the pupils has not an opportunity to learn abstract or less abstract teaching, when all of them do not know the language, well enough.
So what happened was:

  • the pupils (mainly because the opinions of the mothers) went on a school-strike, the most young ones was taken out from the official school.
    It was against the law = illegal.
    But so was the decision that the Finnish children could not create non-integrated classes; Finnish teaching classes. The 1st classes, age 7, had in the school where the strike broke out, 72 Finnish-speaking children, so they should have formed 3 first-grade classes!
  • The Finns made a “new Finnish temporary school”, where the children got teaching by voluntary teachers etc. (I was btw. one of the cooks, mostly peeling potatoes and sometimes telling ancient stories to the children, naturally in Finnish).
  • OK. It was illegal, the police should be taking the children to school, by force if needed. The Swedish government was not so stupid that they would begin to fight about 120 mothers in their homes, or kidnapping the children when they went to our “new Finnish temporary school”.
  • Then came the mass-media, wanting to write about that it is a national thing, but the mothers explained that it is about how the children can learn if they do not understand the teaching?
    This was a very good study how the mass-media works, but I do not want to go to that…, but they are mainly biased.
  • Because my mother-language is Swedish, I was elected to be the spokesman before mass-media. (The Swedish-speaking minority in Finland is about 6% and have own schools, 2 universities etc.) So I praised “The Mother-Language”, asking what is the best language in the world?
    Answering that it was The mother-language!
    Naturally there was always some ass-hole reporter that asked if we thought Finnish language is better than the Swedish?
    I answered that I am not speaking about the Finnish language, but the mother-language. And that my mother-language is Swedish! And that I want to protect the Swedish mini-minority that is so small, they are so few, that, they can’t even form classes according to the law (minimum 13 pupils).
    This is a very long story, I just hope You get the general idea = we did not need any new laws, just the right tio make it “our way.”

Summa Summarum: The strike went on in 8 weeks, and the officials gave us all rights back as we had.
I am sorry for ranting, and I could go on and on, on this issue very long…

Anyhow, SenorBeef, if there would have been written in the
constitution, that the majority have to protect the minority, there would have been no need to fight. We would have had the same rights as the native people.
Nowadays there is a Finnish school in Stockholm, even if we did not want to separate us from the Swedish school, just have our own classes.
Now there is mentioned only, in the constitution, that everyone is equal; regardless colour, religion, sex etc. etc. But the question was not about gender, race or religion.
So my answer to the question: ”and by what mechanism?”,
is as above I have tried to explain: writing about it in the constitution.

I hope this will go for an answer, but naturally I would like to hear Your comments. And if You are a minority, by language, I am very interested how the majority is treating You, in what-ever country You live.
And how would it affect You, if there would be a paragraph in Your countries constitution, that would say, that the government is obliged to protect the minority etc. etc.

Thank You for reading.
Have a nive day!


I think you’re confusing Democracy with Republic - which is a fairly common thing. Democracies have no inherent protections against any decree of mob rule whatsoever - and so stating that they’d simply have a will and mechanism to protect the minority is something that I’d have to insist you expanded upon.

If you want a system by which rule of law are important, and the majority cannot suppress or oppress the minority, you may want to look into a Republic - a somewhat vague (in some cases), but very important difference.


Well, that comes from rule of law, due process, etc.

I think you may just have a confusion of terms. Democracy is, by definition, basically mob rule - there are no inherent ‘safeguards’ to protect against the passion and whim of the majority. It leads to ‘tyranny of the majority’ quite inevitably.

A Republic is a system by which the rule of law and protection of fundamental rights is the cornerstone of government. People are generally represented by those they elect to represent them, but have no direct action in government. Generally, when you hear about a country being a “democracy”, you’re listening to someone erroneously mislabel a Republic. There have been a few real democracies in history - ancient Greece being the prime example.

I didn’t mean to nitpick - I thought you were proposing genuine democracy, and was wondering how you planned to prevent a tyranny of the majority.

As for the rest, I may comment tomorrow, I’m a bit tired now.