Would Direct Democracy be beneficial?
We should use Direct Democracy.
15.2% (10)
15.2% (10)
We could take a few things from it.
19.7% (13)
19.7% (13)
I dunno.
1.5% (1)
1.5% (1)
No, direct democracy would not be beneficial.
22.7% (15)
22.7% (15)
Direct Democracy is an awful idea.
39.4% (26)
39.4% (26)
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Poll: Would a Direct Democracy be more effective than the system most countries have now?

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So, were studying ancient Greece in my school, and I noticed there was some significant diffrences between the democracy in Aten and todays democracy.

In case youre not well-educated in history, Ill give you the skimmy. Instead of electing one singular president or prime minister or etc to make all the descision and represent the population, Direct Democracy basically means that a batch of people are elected to drive through descisions and give proposals on what to do.

That part with proposal is important. The "leaders" can ONLY make proposals, not drive them through. That might not sound like a big diffrence, but think it through. If regular people were given information on say... SOPA and its potential consequences, do you think they would vote for it? Every week the people get to vote on new proposals.

And another part I actually like is Ostracism. If someone is deemed to be a threat to the democratic system by enough citizens, that person can be evicted from the country.

So in principal, its DIRECT democracy, giving power to the people. To me, this actually sounds a hell of a lot better than the current systems. Think about it. The officials can only send proposals. The citizens are the ones who get to decide.

Of course, this would require more upkeep, but I think thats a small price to pay.

To make everyone participate, you could make it a misdemeanor to not participate(unless one has a valid reason, say sickness or travel), punishable with at most a fine of say...10$ minimum, 100$ maximum(depending on the importance of the suggestion.)

Do you think Im dead wrong? Or am I on to something?

(In case I got you intrested in Direct Democracy, heres a link to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy)

I think that given the level of technology today, it's entirely feasable for a country with millions of people to use a direct democracy system. But I wouldn't use a punishment for not participating, because people should have the choice to not support any of the decisions if they truly don't agree with them or don't care about the decision. If someone didn't vote and complained about a piece of legislation, then we could all look at them and just say, "You didn't even vote, so stop complaining, stupid."

Ostracism would be nice, but eventually it'd turn into booting out criminals, and they'd just keep getting passed from country to country.

Jedoro:
I think that given the level of technology today, it's entirely feasable for a country with millions of people to use a direct democracy system. But I wouldn't use a punishment for not participating, because people should have the choice to not support any of the decisions if they truly don't agree with them or don't care about the decision. If someone didn't vote and complained about a piece of legislation, then we could all look at them and just say, "You didn't even vote, so stop complaining, stupid."

Ostracism would be nice, but eventually it'd turn into booting out criminals, and they'd just keep getting passed from country to country.

What if we made a law saying that you cannot ostracise someone for breaking the law. One can only be ostracised by the people believing their power and influence is a threat to the system. Would that solve your problem?

With the advent of the internet, direct democracy is becoming a much better idea, since the internet could allow for easy referendums, the connection of citizens across larger communities, and easy discussion on certain issues. I don't think that everyone should participate in government or we should have terms forced on citizens, but there needs to be more involvement at the active level of government among ordinary citizens.

Referendums should be far more common than they are now among ordinary citizens. If someone proposes an amendment to the law, or a direction that the government should take on an issue, I think it makes a lot more sense to put the decision in the hands in the people that'll be affected, than people elected by the people at large. Representation has some great advantages, in making communities more evenly represented within government and focusing political action. But most modern systems of representation are based around issues and political ideology than actually representing the people that elect them. It's a spit in the face of the concept of representation when different parties fight for control over certain electoral districts. Rather, representative democracy and political ideology needs to be separated as much as possible.
Debate over the future of what government is to do (whether that's changes to laws, government services, or the direction of public policy) should be in the hands of individual voters, put in the right direction by experts on the subject in question. The current method of government ties together all issues, as well as the representative of your community, all into one single vote. What if I want to vote for transportation infrastructure improvements AND the reduction of land taxes? If I was had a choice between 20 political parties, I'd probably be hard pressed to find a candidate who supports both those ideas, and is also a good representative of my community. And if I did, he'd probably never be elected, so my vote is essentially wasted. If you split up the representation and issues, I could just vote for transportation infrastructure, for land tax reductions, and vote for the candidate who best represents and who will fight for my community.

So in that sense, yes. It would be far more effective. It'd just have to be the right system of Direct Democracy.

I would oppose direct democracy because it's verging very closely to mob-rule. The trouble is that the general public is that it is easily swayed by sensationalist media that can lead to some strange and unfair laws being passed. In Switzerland for instance, where they have a lot of direct democratic measures, a law was passed by referendum which banned the further construction of minarets. Where minarets a major problem in Switzerland? Not really, there were only two. The fact was that the ignorant Swiss electorate were stirred up by an Islamic-Phobic press.

A similar thing has happened in the UK recently. Some laws came through which make it easier for people to petition parliament, and in light of the current debt crisis across the EU, the hot-headed euro-phobe British tabloids got a petition to parliament forcing a vote to debate on wherever Britain should leave the EU. Anyone with a brain knew that leaving the EU would be disastrous, so all political parties implemented a 3-line whip meaning in this context that if an MP voted against the party line (to stay in the EU) the MP can expect to be sacked. The vote was defeated, and the UK government was able to get back to more pressing matters.

Unfortunately, a lot of people arn't politically informed, so i don't think direct democracy is a wise idea.

The real benefit of the type of democracy we have now, a representative one, is that while people don't have a direct say in law making, they can at least influence it by lobbying their representatives, But mainly, the current system holds to account the democratically elected representatives of the people, who's authority to make laws in the interest of the country stems from the people so to prevent abuses of authority endemic to non-democratic regimes.

awesomeClaw:

Jedoro:
I think that given the level of technology today, it's entirely feasable for a country with millions of people to use a direct democracy system. But I wouldn't use a punishment for not participating, because people should have the choice to not support any of the decisions if they truly don't agree with them or don't care about the decision. If someone didn't vote and complained about a piece of legislation, then we could all look at them and just say, "You didn't even vote, so stop complaining, stupid."

Ostracism would be nice, but eventually it'd turn into booting out criminals, and they'd just keep getting passed from country to country.

What if we made a law saying that you cannot ostracise someone for breaking the law. One can only be ostracised by the people believing their power and influence is a threat to the system. Would that solve your problem?

That would work. Not exactly sure how I read that part of the OP the first time, but something told me it'd be a bad idea because of that.

awesomeClaw:
So, were studying ancient Greece in my school, and I noticed there was some significant diffrences between the democracy in Aten and todays democracy.

In case youre not well-educated in history, Ill give you the skimmy. Instead of electing one singular president or prime minister or etc to make all the descision and represent the population, Direct Democracy basically means that a batch of people are elected to drive through descisions and give proposals on what to do.

That part with proposal is important. The "leaders" can ONLY make proposals, not drive them through. That might not sound like a big diffrence, but think it through. If regular people were given information on say... SOPA and its potential consequences, do you think they would vote for it? Every week the people get to vote on new proposals.

And another part I actually like is Ostracism. If someone is deemed to be a threat to the democratic system by enough citizens, that person can be evicted from the country.

So in principal, its DIRECT democracy, giving power to the people. To me, this actually sounds a hell of a lot better than the current systems. Think about it. The officials can only send proposals. The citizens are the ones who get to decide.

Of course, this would require more upkeep, but I think thats a small price to pay.

To make everyone participate, you could make it a misdemeanor to not participate(unless one has a valid reason, say sickness or travel), punishable with at most a fine of say...10$ minimum, 100$ maximum(depending on the importance of the suggestion.)

Do you think Im dead wrong? Or am I on to something?

(In case I got you intrested in Direct Democracy, heres a link to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy)

It may interest you to hear that the Pirate Party in Germany is currently making use of this "direct democracy". Members may go to the home page and vote for what the party should vote for, so to speak. Just thought I would point that out, might be worth a look.

Anyway, personally, I think its an intriguing idea, but thats about it. I do not think it would be beneficial to society. I cant see it making things worse, but I cant see it making things better either.

The core of our problem is lack of and miseducation/information. This would not change under a direct democracy. Currently, bills such as SOPA could be pushed through with a fair majority of backing from the general populace, simply by making sure CNN and other news networks present it in a positive or untrue fashion. The regular Joe, sitting at home, would watch these programs, and think "You know what? This whole SOPA deal dont sound so bad. Im gonna go vote for it tomorrow." Just like he thinks that the Iraq war is justified, and so on, and so forth. Im sure you can come up with more examples.

So, what changes? Not much. We have one more hurdle put in between possible courses of actions being passed. This sounds marginally better for deals like SOPA, but what happens when something positive is being pushed through, only to be presented in a bad fashion by the media?

I think the Roman Republic had some good ideas going for them with their form of Democracy.

I'll probably be in the minority here, but their concept of "Dictatorship" (which was a much more respected office back then rather then what it's considered today) where if Rome was threatened (to them, it was militarily, but I suppose this idea could work for economic or civil issues) they would give someone a six months of complete control over the nation. Theoretically, this could give someone with the right skills to be able to do what is necessary to fix the economy/drive back an enemy without being mired down by petty political squabbles. However the ideas would probably need to be edited so we wouldn't have another Caesar on our hands.

Witty Name Here:
I think the Roman Republic had some good ideas going for them with their form of Democracy.

I'll probably be in the minority here, but their concept of "Dictatorship" (which was a much more respected office back then rather then what it's considered today) where if Rome was threatened (to them, it was militarily, but I suppose this idea could work for economic or civil issues) they would give someone a six months of complete control over the nation. Theoretically, this could give someone with the right skills to be able to do what is necessary to fix the economy/drive back an enemy without being mired down by petty political squabbles. However the ideas would probably need to be edited so we wouldn't have another Caesar on our hands.

I agree with the concept, but I think in practicality it wont work. Sure, a dictator who is both skilled and fair COULD solve all the problems and probably would.

But imagine if we got someone blatantly ineffective, or even worse, dangerously incompetent. With unlimited power, they could crumble the already weakened country into civil disorder or even complete anarchy!

I just dont think it would work practically.

Hey? Lots of nations have emergency powers, or grant themselves such in emergencies.

Hitler claimed there was an emergency so he could take them, then kept extending them. Allied naitons like the UK and later the US did all sorts of things not terribly legal because of the emergency.

...

Direct democracy sounds all very nice, but everyone has to know everything about the political situation. If not everyone is a political analyst, they have to get specialists to do that job. Look at what happened in the later Athenian democracy, people didn't really care, so the system fell down...it only worked when Themistocles or Pericles was there to tell people who to vote for.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
AHAHAHAHAHhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahaha... *dies*

In short, no, Direct Democracy would not be more effective, and is, in fact, a bad idea.

Direct Democracy is just a dictatorship of the majority, who will abuse that power to oppress the minority. What's to stop a majority from stripping voting rights from the minority then exiling them? What's to stop them from passing a law saying that it's legal to beat minorities with a brick? What happens when there's a vote for how to solve the financial crisis since the vast majority of voters aren't economists and thus have no clue how it works.

Jedoro:
I think that given the level of technology today, it's entirely feasable for a country with millions of people to use a direct democracy system. But I wouldn't use a punishment for not participating, because people should have the choice to not support any of the decisions if they truly don't agree with them or don't care about the decision. If someone didn't vote and complained about a piece of legislation, then we could all look at them and just say, "You didn't even vote, so stop complaining, stupid."

Ostracism would be nice, but eventually it'd turn into booting out criminals, and they'd just keep getting passed from country to country.

And we can't send them to Australia anymore, they won't appreciate it.

awesomeClaw:
Do you think Im dead wrong? Or am I on to something

Dead wrong. You seem to think democracy is a good system of government. It's not. Democracy is the worst system, except for all the others.

As for direct democracy. Everything more than a fart requires a referendum in Switserland. As a result of their leaders being powerless to overrule the underbelly sentiments of dumb masses if need be, Switserland didn't get women's voting rights untill 1991, making it later than even Iran.

Also a direct democracy is extremely vulnerable to demagogues and shortsighted politics. Besides, being a politician is a fulltime job. You need to read so much to keep up. Most policy notices in my country are easily a hundred pages A4. Hammering out details sometimes leads the 12+ hour meetings.

It's never ever that a population can make an informed concious decision on such a thing.

BreakfastMan:
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
AHAHAHAHAHhahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahaha... *dies*

In short, no, Direct Democracy would not be more effective, and is, in fact, a bad idea.

I'm pretty much here.

The UK would be bankrupt within a... year... to be safe...
... still bankrupt in a month is feasible >.> The stupid masses pull out of Europe instantly, an act or Parliment to stop Scotland breaking off. Immigration is not allowed... country grinds to a halt as farmers go bankrupt, Scotland gets annoyed and we suddenly find that a lot of our manufacturing and factory work force have... vanished... hmm... where did they go... or rather... where did they stop coming from...

There is one rule you can always count on in life, people are stupid.

Your average person has no idea about politics, they have no idea how the country works and they especially have no idea on how the world works. The average US voter things 24% of the budget goes to Foreign Aid, do you really want those people to be voting on things like Foreign Policy.

1-its impractical to get people out to vote on every thing that the government does, it would be massively expensive and would bring the country to a halt every few weeks. This would lead to disssatisfaction with the system.

2-The system of ostracizing anyone who is unpopular is probably in the top ten worst ideas that I have seen put forward on this site. Any minorty that refuses to conform-gone, so in the US, gay people would get put on a boat and shipped away, along with the communists and those in favour of gun control. In Aus, the greenies get dumped and andrew demetriou gets thrown into the sun. The majority will immediately turn around and throw out the minority in any vote.

Imagine, if the republicans win the next election and immediately expel all the democrats. or the democrats deport the republicans.

3-We elect professionals to do something that we are not suited for. We have builders to build, soldiers to fight and politicians to represent the will of the people. When a builder does a shoddy job on your house, you can see the cracks and see that it is not safe, but you do not break out a hammer and try to rebuild it yourself and yet people who can see the flaws in the government immediatly assume they could fix everything.

The problem with a direct democracy is that it tends to allow policy to follow the momentary passions of the masses. If we had a direct democracy in the US, I would bet money that on November 12 2001, Afghanistan would be flat black and glowing. It is (usually) good that government moves slowly, as it allows for policy to be free from fleeting passions,and a fast government can all to easily slip into tyrany.

Hell no. The masses are asses.

Or to put it less crudely, the populous tends to be emotional and irrational. While they should ultimately have the final say, they should never have the only say.

I voted yes, but it should not be implemented in the current socio-economic climate, you can't tack on direct democracy onto current state of affairs. Also I don't think everyone should vote on everything, I support a more layered approach.

Original topic by the way,
Cheers!

While I'm cautiously in favor of looking into direct democracy, my big concern is that for example we in America are living in an era when people can't even agree on what reality is. We had people just declare government health care would include "death panels", and people bought it. We had people just declare our President was a secret Kenyan Muslim, and people bought it. FOX News has been shown in study after study to present a biased, mis-informing portrayal of current events, but when they say they are the only fair and balanced news network people buy it. And we're not talking a few people. We're talking huge swathes of the public who buy into these fantasies because they are politically convenient.

Now, what's going to happen should we switch to an electronic (or God forbid, Internet-based) direct democratic system where the average member of the public has no real way of being sure that their vote counted? Sure, the public doesn't have a good way of proving their votes count with representative elections using paper ballots. But at least you can touch a paper ballot, and you can see and complain at the representative you elect.

We are a people so arrogant we would rather believe that 50 years ago a woman forged a birth certificate and newspaper announcement just on the off chance that her son might one day be President and then that son spent a huge chunk of his life networking with groups like ACORN just to arrange a massive conspiracy where imaginary votes were collected... than accept the fact that a majority of the country's electors (as well as the majority of voters period) preferred Obama to McCain. In that climate of pig-headed unwillingness to accept even for a moment that you might be wrong, how can a government not spend every moment paralyzed with a need to defend its legitimacy from people who just don't want to accept that their opinion represents the minority view?

awesomeClaw:
And another part I actually like is Ostracism. If someone is deemed to be a threat to the democratic system by enough citizens, that person can be evicted from the country.

This sounds like just about the worst thing in the world.

Didn't they select the president in Athens by a lottery? I remember hearing something about that way back when I was a wee student. The idea that myself or some of the people I know could run the country for any amount of time is a terrifying one.

*Also in Greece women weren't people ;)

... Except that nobody with a full-time job would be able to do this. In the Athenian "democracy", only people rich enough to actually let their slaves do all the work could afford to do politics.

Do you really think a random farmer or woodcutter would be able to just stop working for half a week to go to Athens?

Get rid of media like Fox news, and then it'd probably work. Shouldn't be too hard with the internet to implement a good voting system.

awesomeClaw:
Snip

I think you are missing the important part: Athens could only run like this because it had a huge empire bankrolling it. Many Athenian citizens lived lives of leisure, and most of those who had time to turn up frequently to the assemblies were the rich who could afford to take a few days off 'work'.

With the advent of the internet we have many interesting new possibilities regarding democracy, but I would certainly say it should, at first, only be used for the big things like referenda (which I believe we should have more of on the major decisions such as wars) and with very strict controls.

Plus, people are pretty stupid. Churchill had a lot to say about democracy, his argument against it being "5 minutes spent talking with the average voter"

awesomeClaw:
And another part I actually like is Ostracism. If someone is deemed to be a threat to the democratic system by enough citizens, that person can be evicted from the country.

Someone like say... Socrates? come on, you can't support direct democracy and then go and support a police state, its just not done. But seriously, this is already in practice in all those boring normal democracies it just has a different name. Counter-terrorism measures, treason, all forms of Ostracism.

awesomeClaw:
So in principal, its DIRECT democracy, giving power to the people. To me, this actually sounds a hell of a lot better than the current systems. Think about it. The officials can only send proposals. The citizens are the ones who get to decide.

The problem with that idea is, that most people don't know how to make decisions that will effect their nation. They're too busy living their lives, being plumbers and I.T. consultants, to worry about the big problems of the nations. That, and I like my decisions made with some knowledge, and we can't explain everything in a way that everyone will understand.

awesomeClaw:
To make everyone participate, you could make it a misdemeanor to not participate(unless one has a valid reason, say sickness or travel), punishable with at most a fine of say...10$ minimum, 100$ maximum(depending on the importance of the suggestion.)

The problem with that is that you get people who don't care about politics who vote anyway, sometimes for very right wing parties. Look at Australia, they force the population to vote and has had a right wing government heavy on censoring ever since. (please ignore my vast oversimplification of Australian politics)

All in all, I like my government with as little input from the people as possible for it to remain a beneficial government. If i was assured to have a benevolent dictatorship, I'd take it without a second thought.

awesomeClaw:

Do you think Im dead wrong? Or am I on to something?

One thing you ought to bear in mind is that Ancient Athens had a far lower population, and the franchise back then was far from universal. As I recall it was only about one in ten who had the vote. Furthermore society was far simpler back in the day, and legislative work was not that intricate. Nowadays we have elected assemblies working full days for most of the year having to manage everything from traffic laws, to aeronautical regulations, funding for space exploration and whatnot.

If we were to have a functional direct democracy then the entire nation would have to be assembled in one gigantic football stadium. Maybe 200 days per year everyone would be required to be there the whole day and vote on all of these matters.

Either that or we would have to drastically reduce the number of people who are allowed to vote, thus removing the cornerstone of modern democracy: That all people are equal and have a vote.

Direct democracy is no longer workable in the shape that it took in the ancient era. It isn't perfect, but comparing our societies with education, healthcare, unemployment subsidies, freedom of religion, speech, universal suffrage, the abolition of slavery, the near-total lack of starvation etc. to Ancient Greece is not going to leave the ancients in a favourable light to say the least.

It can work on a local basis however and for that I wouldn't oppose it, but on a national or federal level it would quickly turn into a disaster.

As a political science major, I'd like to give my considered and unusually weighty opinion on this idea.

It's bollocks!

It is simply not possible for that to work, ever. It's not even a matter of having the infrastructure to make it possible. Oh no, that's just the easy part. The difficult part is actually all the other stuff, like making sure everyone has a single unified vocabulary through which any one person in the country can understand any one issue without problem. That means every single person in the whole country needs to understand every single concept involved in every single decision to be made.

That means that, if we were to have a vote on...say, a new budget, everybody would have to have a firm grasp of both micro- and macroeconomics. Good luck teaching 300 million americans that.

Evidently, there are also people who are quite willing to believe whatever bullshit the very least reliable news, and I use the word quite loosely, networks make up. In order for direct democracy to work, it would be required that not a single individual in the whole country ever listened to a single word from those boneheads.

Yeah, this is not going to work.

Yeah, I used to think "no", but with the advent and spreading of the internet, it's becoming a different matter. I'd say I still think we need representatitves to handle the day-to-day stuff, be quite literally the administration, but I'd definitely be in favour of vastly increasing the aspect of direct democracy in our societies with increased public referendums. Currently, those are very, very rare where I live and I'd say that especially on the bigger issues it would do us good to have an increased direct influence. Such a system would certainly still be in danger of being tampered with (things being snuck into bills that the public then votes on, not knowing what they just voted for in full, some issues being handled by the administration rather than even coming to a vote, misinformation about an upcoming vote being spread etc.) but it'd still be preferable to having the same faults manifest basically all year round with even rarer chances for the public to make a difference, namely just when we get to select our representatives. So, all in all, I'd be in favour of an approach that is more directly democratic, although I don't think we'd need to switch over completely.

As a concept, I fully support more individual say in every decision the state makes. Unfortunate the sheer amount of people that would have to be represented makes the entire idea unworkable. Besides, I've seen how referendums go in Ireland. No matter how the consequences are explained, the most sensationalist aspect always gets picked up, no matter how blatantly fabricated it is. A lot of these decisions are far too complicated for the layman to make. A system of petition for reforms, requiring a certain amount of signatures, would be much more effective in supporting the views of the ordinary man or woman in the street. They wouldn't have to make a decision on every aspect of governmental procedure, but would have the ability to voice opinions on things they feel strongly about. Keeps everyone happy.

Ostracism is a fantastic idea, but even in practice in Athens it didn't work quite like it was supposed to. The Athenians tended toward getting a bit envious of people who were doing well for themselves, leading to ostracism of these individuals even if it was to the detriment of their city. For example, as soon as war with the Persians broke out, the Athenians were forced to beg for one of the men they'd ostracised to return from exile early in order to organise their armies. I have a feeling that people who are ultimately good for society but are seen as a bit of a nuisance would be ostracised much more often than individuals who actually cause problems. That's just the way the world works.

It could be good. Of course, there would have to be some precautions in case anything went wrong (like, for example, if someone proposed that they should turn the White House into a strip club and then, 10 million people decided to troll and support that idea).

Elcarsh:
The difficult part is actually all the other stuff, like making sure everyone has a single unified vocabulary through which any one person in the country can understand any one issue without problem. That means every single person in the whole country needs to understand every single concept involved in every single decision to be made.

That could be solved by teaching it in schools.
There could also be exams (FREE, of course) that would qualify you to vote on certain issues (like economy, law, foreign affairs etc.), which would weed out the type of people who vote for the best looking candidate, instead of the most efficient and reliable one.
True, this system wouldn't work with society being the way it is now but who says that it would be the way it is now? New system, new rules, new way of life, new societal structure.

The current system is also buggy as fuck and, if it wasn't a system which is currently in use and was just proposed, people would rip it to shreds just like all the others.

Sure, if you would change the system NOW, it would be a tragedy. But if you would start by making preparations for several years, mainly by educating the youth, they wouldn't have that much trouble adapting.


Video Related^

No, because a direct democracy is basically mob rule. A Constitutional Republic such as the US allows for the people to rule without a simple 51% ruling over the rest.

HardkorSB:
That could be solved by teaching it in schools.
There could also be exams (FREE, of course) that would qualify you to vote on certain issues (like economy, law, foreign affairs etc.), which would weed out the type of people who vote for the best looking candidate, instead of the most efficient and reliable one.
True, this system wouldn't work with society being the way it is now but who says that it would be the way it is now? New system, new rules, new way of life, new societal structure.

But that isn't what we're talking about. You're talking about a system essentially based on meritocracy. That's not the same thing as direct democracy.

awesomeClaw:
snip

I think the acceptable extent of direct democracy is voter-sponsered initiatives and public referendums. These are excellent ways around the bureaucracy and ensures that individuals actually have to power to govern themselves. Actual direct democracy however is incredibly ineffient and especially in the case of what some people are proposing, which is to say internet voting, incredibly vulnerable to tampering.

However, the most critical issue regarding direct democracy is the tyranny of the majority. For the second time today, I'm going to use the example of 9-11. Even in the current US style of representative democracy something like the PATRIOT act was easily passed in the wake of a national calamity despite the intricate system of checks and balances meant to prevent this type of legislation. If you have a pure direct democracy who's to say things would have stopped at PATRIOT? Do you think the mob, in all of it's grief and anger would be able to resist the word of one charismatic lunatic preeching the expulsion of Muslims from government institutions, barring Muslims from voting and placing sanctions of nearly every aspect is Islamic life? If you think it can't happen look at Nazi Germany of Facist Italy. It can.

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