One thing this conversation has brought out is how uncomfortable people are at the idea of overruling the majority. Even if it’s clearly making a mistake, shouldn’t the majority be free to choose?
This line of reasoning makes libertarians uncomfortable, but for no good reason. After all, when the majority votes for protectionism, it isn’t just hurting itself. To over-rule the majority on an issue like this is to prevent them from imposing their misguided will on the minority.
More interestingly, there isn’t even a superficially plausible reason for non-libertarians to object to overruling popular but socially harmful policies. Who but a libertarian has any principled objection to stopping people from hurting themselves? Paternalism provides the rationale for everything from Social Security (if you don’t force people to save for their retirement, they might end up on the streets) to drug prohibition (if you let people ruin their lives with drugs, they might). If you’re willing to embrace this line of thinking—as practically every non-libertarian is—you have at least as much reason to try to stop the majority from adopting policies that impoverish it.
Whatever your philosophical starting point, then, defending the majority’s right to be wrong doesn’t make a lot of sense.