Opinion polls invalid if you don’t agree

I’ve long mocked the opinion polls that are run on places like CNN. Asking people their opinion about things like the whereabouts of Osama Bin Ladin, or whether Prince William cheated on his tests in school, does not constitute real journalism.

Anyways, that’s probably a topic for another time. Here’s a *real* opinion poll which has been deemed invalid because the results were controversial. And that’s just as bogus.

A television show in South Africa conducted a poll to determine who the 100 greatest South Africans of all time were, in the opinion of the viewers. The show was then forced off the air because the results contained some officially unsavory characters, such as Hendrik Verwoerd.

So, presumably, democracy and public opinion are good things, unless they are politically incorrect. And if it turns out that public opinion isn’t what you thought it *should* be, the best thing to do, obviously, is to suppress that public opinion.

It’s things like this that make me wonder whether the American Way of forcing democratic governments on the entire world is really such a good thing after all. Some nations don’t think the way that we do. (I know, that’s a shock to some people.) Some cultures value different things than we do. And it’s entirely possible that if we force democracy on some nations, the preponderance of their public opinion just might not be what we think it *should* be.

It also demonstrates that it is predominately the minorities, rather than the majorities, who tend to rule in many modern societies. This is clearly the case in the USA, where it is the minority groups and special interest groups which form a huge number of the policies that come out of Washington. And, of course, folks who happen to be in the majority can’t speak out against those minorities, even though that would be democracy, in the traditional definition, because to do so would be discriminatory. Indeed, if you can wave the discrimination flag, or the oppression flag, or the victim flag, your political battle is 90% won. Logic need play only the smallest part.

One wonders how long, in some parts of the world, the oppression by the oppressed will be tolerated.

In line with our mandate of creating unity among South Africans, we would like to see a national debate around this issue.

The undertones of that statement are just a little weird to me. Does it mean that it’s important to educate people as to how they *should* think?

By the way, before you label me as an apartheid supporter … I’m not. But I do tend to agree that for some definition of “greatness” (ie, overall influence on the history of the world) Hendrik Verwoerd would certainly have to be considered as one of the great figures of the history of Africa. For the record, Shaka Zulu wasn’t a real nice guy either.