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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible?
    #1727464 - 07/18/03 01:38 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

200 hundred years ago, some very wise men got together and formed a new state- America- which was to be as close to a democracy as possible, giving what was possible at the time. They settled on a representative democracy because direct democracy would have been infeasible at the time.

My question is, does anyone here feel that representative democracy is obsolete? It seems that most of our problems come from the egos of politicians we don't need. Couldn't some kind of highly secure internet forum be set up for ordinary people to propose and vote on laws? This would be more just, closer to an actual democracy, and it would eliminate a lot of expensive salaries. It would also speed up the legislative process quite a bit. Note that I would still support an executive and judiciary branch in the name of checks and balances...

what are your thoughts?


--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1727574 - 07/18/03 02:24 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

Oh yes, the technology to rid ourselves of politicians is already here. Just look at the electronic stock markets. They handle instant decisions by millions of individuals much faster than what is needed by any legislative institution.

There will still be a niche for political professionals and experts of course, but they will all be advisors, every one of them. Not law makers.


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Anonymous

Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1727588 - 07/18/03 02:29 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

pure democracy is not a good thing. pure democracy is mob rule. it is tyranny by the majority. our nation's founders understood this, and this is why we are not a democracy, but a constitutional republic. i think america is currently much more of a democracy than was ever intended.



"We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real Liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of dictatorship."
--Alexander Hamilton


"...democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."
--James Madison, Federalist No. 10 (arguing in favor of a constitutional republic)


"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
-- John Adams, 1814


"The adoption of Democracy as a form of Government by all European nations is fatal to good Government, to liberty, to law and order, to respect for authority, and to religion, and must eventually produce a state of chaos from which a new world tyranny will arise."
-- Duke of Northumberland, 1931


"Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos."
-- John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court


"I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both."
-- Thomas Babington Macaulay


"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury."
-- Alexander Tytler


"Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses."
-- H.L. Mencken


"It had been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience had proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity."
-- Alexander Hamilton


"Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage."
-- H.L. Mencken


"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people."
-- Oscar Wilde


"Any political party that includes the word 'democratic' in its name, isn't."
-- Patrick Murray


"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."
-- H.L. Mencken


"If we advert to the nature of republican government, we shall find that the censorial power is in the people over the government, and not in the government over the people."
-- James Madison


"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections."
-- Lord Acton


"Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few."
-- George Bernard Shaw


"All the civilizations we know have been created and directed by small intellectual aristocracies, never by people in the mass. The power of crowds is only to destroy."
-- Jean de la Fontaine, Fables (1668)


"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
-- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)


"It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority...from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason."
-- Lord Acton


"The people as a body cannot deliberate. Nevertheless, they will feel an irresistible impulse to act, and their resolutions will be dictated to them by their demagogues... and the violent men, who are the most forward to gratify those passions, will be their favorites. What is called the government of the people is in fact too often the arbitrary power of such men. Here, then, we have the faithful portrait of democracy."
-- Fisher Ames, The Dangers of American Liberty (1805)


"The tendencies of democracies are, in all things, to mediocrity, since the tastes, knowledge, and principles of the majority form the tribunal of appeal."
-- James Fenimore Cooper, The American Democrat (1838)


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InvisibleinfidelGOD
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1727594 - 07/18/03 02:32 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

yeah it's technologically feasable but direct democracy would be a complete disaster. do you realize how uninformed the Average American is? as bad as politicians are, we need them to function as a society.


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InvisibleEdame
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1727599 - 07/18/03 02:33 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

I like the idea in theory, but at the moment I can't see it working. Just look at the whole fiasco with electronic voting in the US (I made a post on it here).

Any software used would have to be open-source for me to even think about using it, that way everyone can look at how it works to make sure nothing is rigged. Until that happens I'd rather stick with paper ballots. It's a lot easier to add a few zeroes to an electronic voting database than it is to create the same amount of paper ballots out of thin air.


--------------------
The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
:tongue:

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1727616 - 07/18/03 02:40 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

They settled on a representative democracy because direct democracy would have been infeasible at the time.

If you examine the Constitutional Convention debates, it was clearly stated that democracy was not preferred by "the founding fathers" because they believed anyone who wasnt of European decent, male, and a wealthy land-owner were incapable of decision-making. It wasnt so much logistically infeasible as it was they only wanted "democracy" for themselves.

My question is, does anyone here feel that representative democracy is obsolete?

Yes. I believe representative democracy to be root of many of our contemporary problems. Any system in which power and decision-making is plucked from individuals and their respective communities and placed in the hand of some distant "wise one," is incredibly problematic. The only people who know what is best for us and our communities is ourselves, not someone who we have never met (nor will ever meet) who we are supposed to have faith in to do the "right" thing. All the while, power goes further and further away from us.


I believe that most forms of representation are at best problematic. The removal of decision-making power from the individual/community into the hands of someone else makes us spectators in our own lives. We because apathetic and irresponsible and ignorant. We become the society of the spectacle that Guy Debord wrote about.

Couldn't some kind of highly secure internet forum be set up for ordinary people to propose and vote on laws? This would be more just, closer to an actual democracy, and it would eliminate a lot of expensive salaries. It would also speed up the legislative process quite a bit.

A common misconception of direct democracy is that it requires a nation-state. No, direct democracy works best locally and among your friends, family, and community. Therefore, there is no need for internet voting. All democracy requires is people meeting in person on a needed basis in order to argue and reason and debate and reach some sort of near-consensus under the important principle of free-association.


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InvisibleEdame
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: iglou]
    #1727621 - 07/18/03 02:42 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

I think that it should just be noted that there are different 'flavours' of democracy. In the US and UK we have representational democracy.


--------------------
The above is an extract from my fictional novel, "The random postings of Edame".
:tongue:

In the beginning was the word. And man could not handle the word, and the hearing of the word, and he asked God to take away his ears so that he might live in peace without having to hear words which might upset his equinamity or corrupt the unblemished purity of his conscience.

And God, hearing this desperate plea from His creation, wrinkled His mighty brow for a moment and then leaned down toward man, beckoning that he should come close so as to hear all that was about to be revealed to him.

"Fuck you," He whispered, and frowned upon the pathetic supplicant before retreating to His heavens.


Edited by Edame (07/18/03 02:44 PM)


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: Edame]
    #1727624 - 07/18/03 02:44 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

Yes, there is a huge difference between representative democracy and direct democracy. There is also a difference between "mob rule" and direct democracy - principles and framework being the difference.


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Anonymous

Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: iglou]
    #1727629 - 07/18/03 02:46 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

does anyone really think that pure, unchecked democracy is a good thing?


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: ]
    #1727651 - 07/18/03 02:52 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

does anyone really think that pure, unchecked democracy is a good thing?

Depends on what you mean by "pure, unchecked democracy."

If you mean something similar to Somalia where there is no principled framework of free-association nor democratic decision-making/debate, then, that should be avoided. That is a "bad thing"; that is mob rule.

If you mean a situation in which people come together on a needed basis in order to work out problems and maintain the principle of free-association, then yes (in my opinion) that is a "good thing"; that is direct democracy.

I support myself and my community deciding what is best for ourselves, not someone else who we are supposed to have faith in. Fuck faith.


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: iglou]
    #1727665 - 07/18/03 02:58 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

It is also important to note that no system, political or economic, will ever be perfect.

We must balance out the negatives and positive aspects/effects of the said system.

I say representative democracy has some good aspects, but they are far outweighed by the negative. The problems that are found in direct democracy theory/practice are outweighed by the positive aspects (individual responsiblity, active decision-making and participation in our own lives, no spectacle, doing what is best for ourselves and our community).


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Anonymous

Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: iglou]
    #1727683 - 07/18/03 03:03 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

what i'm asking is, do you think that the will of the majority should become public, enforced, official policy, whatever it may be?

our constitution (especially the bill of rights) was created not to foster democracy, but to LIMIT it....

what if the majority of the people wish to establish a state religion and persecute those who don't comply?

what if the majority wish to make political protest illegal?

what if the majority wish to reinstitute slavery?

what if the majority wants to ban certain plants and incarcerate anyone found in possession of such plants?

what if the majority wants to ban certain consensual sexual acts between adults?

just because more than half the population thinks something is a good idea doesn't mean that it is... i like this quote:

"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."
-H.L. Mencken


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: ]
    #1727686 - 07/18/03 03:05 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

"does anyone really think that pure, unchecked democracy is a good thing?"

not what I was refering to in my origional post. obviously if there is still a court system in place it will hold the same weight in declaring laws unconstitutional if they are.

also, we need a commander in cheif for times of crisis when democracy takes too long


--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: ]
    #1727687 - 07/18/03 03:05 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

does anyone really think that pure, unchecked democracy is a good thing?




No, there should be checks and balances, and some system that makes sure there is a division of power and a hard limit on government spending.

But I think the idea that selected educated gentlemen should be the ones who selflessly manage the common interest of the public is totally obsolete. Get rid of the worthless political middle-men.


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Anonymous

Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: DoctorJ]
    #1727699 - 07/18/03 03:11 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

yes... i think that democracy can be a good thing. any government should derive its authority from the will of the people... the individual decisions it makes should not be completely guided by the will of the majority though.

so many people are bigoted and ignorant. so many have no regard for freedom. this isn't made any easier by mass media. remember... the majority of the people are of only average intelligence or lower...

we've got to have a constitution in place, a system of government that places checks on the majority. if something is wrong, its support by more than half of the population doesn't make it right. people are idiots.


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: ]
    #1727714 - 07/18/03 03:17 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

what if the majority of the people wish to establish a state religion and persecute those who don't comply? what if the majority wish to make political protest illegal? what if the majority wish to reinstitute slavery? what if the majority wants to ban certain plants and incarcerate anyone found in possession of such plants? what if the majority wants to ban certain consensual sexual acts between adults?

The principles that are required for direct democracy are free-association (non-binding decisions and the ability of the individual to not participate) and self-defense as well as near-consensual decisions.

Basically, decisions are made by those who are most effected by the outcomes of the decisions. Decisions must be made in consensus (or majority vote as a necessary last resort). If someone does not agree with a decision made by majority vote, that can opt out. Decisions are not binding (especially for the minority).

However if such a decision is coercive and the democracy has devolved to point of coercion, that is where self-defense comes into play.


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: ]
    #1727733 - 07/18/03 03:25 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

any government should derive its authority from the will of the people

Does state power ever work in the interest of the individual/community? And how exact would an individual grant authority to a government to rule over them - what would be the process of such authority grants?

the individual decisions it makes should not be completely guided by the will of the majority though.

Nor should decisions be made by the will-of-the-minority (those wise ones who "know best").

so many people are bigoted and ignorant. so many have no regard for freedom. this isn't made any easier by mass media. remember... the majority of the people are of only average intelligence or lower...

I'd argue that most people are in such a condition because they are disempowered and hold little responsibility over their own lives. Individual decision-making power makes the individual grow and learn and become strong. But decision-making power is currently in the hands of the weathly elite who supposedly know best.


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Anonymous

Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: iglou]
    #1727736 - 07/18/03 03:25 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

so if someone doesn't agree with the majority (they're in the minority) they can 'opt out' of the decision?

i'm not exactly clear on how this works... there's some jargon you're using that i'm not familiar with. can you explain this?


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Invisibleiglou
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: ]
    #1727744 - 07/18/03 03:33 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

Sure. Here's an example of everyday direct democracy theory at work.

Lenny, Carl, and Homer are at home watching television. All are hungry. Lenny and Carl want to order a pizza, but Homer wants to go to the Chinese food buffet. They argue and work out what they want to eat. Lenny and Carl still want pizza, and Homer still wants Chinese.

Do Lenny and Carl force pizza slices down Homer's throat? Of course not. Lenny and Carl decide to eat pizza; Homer eats Chinese. Now, if they do force pizza down Homer's throat, Homer must kick their asses. Quite simple.

Now identify the principles at work (free-assocation, consensual agreement, self-defense) and apply in other situations.


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: Direct Democracy = Technologically Feasible? [Re: ]
    #1727745 - 07/18/03 03:33 PM (13 years, 4 months ago)

"people are idiots. "

only because they havent been given an opportunity to learn. have a little faith. people will get better if you give them a chance. you cant learn how to ride a bike if you dont eventually take off the training wheels.

"so if someone doesn't agree with the majority (they're in the minority) they can 'opt out' of the decision?"

this is why qwe used to have state's rights. that way, if you didn't like the laws in your area, you could move to an area with different laws and still enjoy the benifits of American citizenship. Now we've got feds walking all over state pot decrim laws... this needs to stop. but thats all part of the "macrobiotic governbment" theory that igloo was talking about earlier.



--------------------
peace, pot, and microdot!


Edited by DoctorJ (07/18/03 03:34 PM)


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