That’s why they call it ‘democracy’

by Henry Farrell on June 16, 2008

There’s been a lot of outrage expressed by other Europeans (and by “some members of the Irish elite”: )at the Irish vote on Lisbon. Some of this seems fine to me – obviously it is perfectly reasonable to feel annoyed, or even angry, when people vote for what you feel to be the wrong option. Some of the anger, however, seems to me to rest on an unjustified implicit or explicit belief that the Irish were somehow obliged to vote Yes in the referendum. Below the fold, I lay out all the serious reasons I can think of for why you might think the Irish were positively obliged to vote Yes, and why I don’t think that any of them hold (I imagine that there will be vigorous disagreement from many commenters, but reckon that this disagreement will be more useful if the bases of argument are clearer). The emphasis here is on ‘serious’ reasons – I’m not going to get into the “it’s because they don’t like Johnny Foreigner, you know”: stuff, which doesn’t seem to me to deserve proper attention or rebuttal. [click to continue…]