I wonder if it would be possible to write a set of rules that could become a Constitutional Amendment defining what can be voted on democratically and what can not. This may sound like the opposite of democracy, because most people seem to believe that anything can be voted on. But I believe that some fundamental rights, and especially crimes like murder, should be defined in a way that isn't up to the whims of 51% of the voting public. Whenever there is an oppressed minority, a vote is surely not going to represent them well enough to protect them from the majority.
In other words, government should never be able to make it legal to kill, imprison, enslave, or steal, no matter what the populist opinion of the moment might be.
Beyond those basics, it even seems possible that there are some other absolutes that could be written into law.
I believe that voting is only appropriate when we can't each have our own way. The Executive branch has one President - we can't each have our own private President - so, we hold a democratic vote to select the President for everyone and place a term limit to make sure we keep going back to a new vote for each new President.
In contrast, something like marriage or sexual preference is a decision that each individual can define for themselves. There's no reason that polygamists, celibates, LGBT, and conservative monogamists can't each have their own kind of marriages - with or without sex as they so choose. These choices are not something which should be put to voters with regard to sanctioning, defining, or allowing. We should all just be free to do as we want, because that freedom doesn't really prevent anyone from exercising a different choice.
I wonder if it is possible to spell out the difference between these two extreme examples in a way that would function as a guide for "democratic" governments as to what is valid material for the popular vote. I don't think that the founders of this nation intended for people to be voting on the definition of marriage or religion or anything along those lines. I do know that they discussed at great length the potential perils of too much democracy.
Here are some quotes:
“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money,
that will herald the end of the republic.”
“A democracy is always temporary in nature;
it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover
that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates
who promise the most benefits from the public treasury,
with the result that every democracy will finally collapse
due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship”
Alexander Tytler 1787
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote."
"The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."