The U.S. Constitution bristles with the language of proscription: Congress, although the expression of popular sovereignty, "shall make no law" doing this and that. The purpose of such provisions, the Supreme Court has said, is to place certain things "beyond the reach of majorities." Furthermore, the noblest career in the annals of democracy involved a principled recoil against democracy improperly elevated over all other values.
Abraham Lincoln rejected the argument of his rival Stephen Douglas, who favored "popular sovereignty in the territories." Douglas thought slavery should expand wherever a majority favored it. Lincoln understood that unless majority rule is circumscribed by the superior claims of natural rights, majority rule is merely the doctrine of "might makes right" adapted to the age of mass participation in politics. The idea that the strong have a right to unfettered rule if their strength is numerical is just the barbarism of "might makes right" prettified by initial adherence to democratic forms. Egypt's military despotism may be less dangerous than Morsi's because it lacks what Morsi's had, a democratic coloration, however superficial and evanescent.
George Will's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.