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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

With Direct Democracy, Who Needs Representatives?

I think we are at the eve of an era of direct democracy.

 

A system where public opinion on any issue can be measured right this very moment, directly and always. Where you have news media, main and alterstream, that keep the population informed of what actions are being taken, and you have polls and petitions and forums to vote and influence decisions.

 

All you need to add are elected public officials and a civic workforce that do governance, coordination and spending. The officials report on the different fields they oversee, and enact what the population decides.

 

In that era you will completely do away with costly, often misguided and now useless so-called representatives. You'll get rid of a full layer of government, the one where most "special interests" are lobbied and funds are tweaked below the public radar. A layer that thrived on hijacking politics and policies will have been rendered completely obsolete.

 

In that era of direct democracy, information and opinion will rule the political scene. Some very interesting algorithms will be required and devised, I'm sure.

 

I don't think I'll ever see that transformation happen, but some of you very well might. But I do think we should start looking for ways to get rid of these parasites of the political machine.

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Now in the U.S. that corporations can spend unlimited money on campaign contributions every elected official is polluted. Congress needs to change that law and rewrite campaign financing. It would have to be though a constitutional amendment to trump the first and sixteenth amendments reigning in corporate personhood.  I read in the WSJ that in Italy election campaigns are limited to 6 weeks  If politicians were only allowed $5 per person per electorate to campaign with and were limited to six weeks to make their point it would be more concise, the electorate would have less chaff to see through and wouldn't have to waste their time with meaningless B/S. The news media drives the long election cycle. Pundits have more weekends pondering the politicians belly button lint. Long election cycles only benefit the corporate news conglomerates.

 

Yes, campaign financing rules need to be looked at very seriously. The problem is, how does one escape millionaires financing their own campaigns. When enormously wealthy Michel Bloomberg decided to become mayor of NYC, he invested an ungodly (lol) amount of money from his own coffers. He put his ads all over the city, in massive quantities. Unbelievable. We outspent his rival by an obscene amount. He won.

Meg Whitman did that in CA in her run for Governor and lost to Jerry Brown. The polarization in Congress shows how much control corporate money has. John Boehner want's to eliminate the EPA, FDA, OSHA, FEMA and bank regulations. I see it as let the inmates run the asylum. 

Humans have yet to succeed at a democracy beyond tribal level - I wholeheartedly support the idea, and info tech might now actually support the building of it, I wonder how much success we might have.

The biggest problem is education.  A true democracy can only work if the people making decisions - that is ALL the people, are educated on what is going on.  And let's face it, we are a LONG way from that goal at the moment.

Tech democracy will become a strong lobbying force before eventually be put in constitutions.

Yes. And no. I am skeptical because irrespective of the popular perception that democracy is "majority rule" It really is not.  If everything will be decided just by the majority it could very well lead to the tyranny of the majority.  

Be that as it may, the time surely has come to try the technologies that most people now have at their finger tips. No doubt that time has come to try direct democracy within the present system of representation first. Let all constituents participate on voting on major bills in an open process. The representative/Senator is now told how the constituents voted. The rep/Sen should cast his vote after that. In either case he/she must then post before the public as to why he voted either with or contrary to the constituents.  

There is also no reason why we cannot have an open calendar system for all reps/senators. Where who they see is posted on an open calendar.

Re the gonad transplant mentioned on pages 2 and 3:

Stanford University's Robert Sapolsky describes a kind of gonad self-selection.

In a group of chimps he studied for decades, the alpha males one day ate first from some food that had been infected. They died and the group became, and remained, less aggressive.

Gonad self-selection? Well, why not?

You know, there's this saying in France, "you dig your own grave with your teeth". I wonder if graves self-select this way, too? Is a grave's status determined by the social rank of its occupant? Considering the Egyptian pyramids, I would tend to say yes.

Maybe direct democracy is too complicated for most people and that's why elected officials are needed. 

Something like a democratic republic.

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