It is surely inexact to say that democracy is defined essentially by the mechanical and blind application of the rule of the majority. In 1931 in Italy, nearly 99% of university professors gave their allegiance to Mussolini. And Hitler had been consecrated by the parliamentary route.
It is also altogether inexact to pretend that a democratic society is one in which anyone can do as he pleases and in which freedom can become license. Slaves had total sexual "liberty" in their huts.
What is characteristic of democracy is anterior to the concept of majority rule as the basis for the functioning of a system of this type: Democracy is not characterized first by the way societies function. In the modern sense of the term, democracy is essentially defined by a fundamental consensus on the part of the whole social body regarding the right of every man to live and to live with dignity. It is primarily this right that must be promoted and protected. Consequently, it is the need for this protection that justifies the legislator's repression of the activity of individuals who would arrogate to themselves the "right" to dispose of life, liberty or the property of others.
When consensus about this fundamental right is weakened, we risk returning to the privileges, to the injustices and the cruelties of the Iron Age. The door is opened to barbarism. The major illusion of Westerners is to think that since they have overcome all the contemporary forms of barbarism, they are definitively vaccinated against their triumphant return.