Direct Democracy. Would you vote for it?

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    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Direct Democracy. Would you vote for it?

    If you had the chance of changing representative democracy in a country like the US into direct democracy, would you support/vote for it? Do you think it would be a big failure or that it could work out? Assume that if it was voted for it would take into effect a few years from now (not right away, but not in the far future either).
    If your choice is that it would be a big failure, do you think that it is the best political system or do you have another favorite choice?

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    I might consider voting for it, much would depend on the details of the implementation. Most likely I would not.

    I don't think it would be a "failure", but I am dubious of what kind of success it would represent. For example, it could easily degenerate into the most crass sort of majority rule: if 55% of people in a state voted to throw homosexuals into deprogramming camps where they perform agricultural labour to help pay the cost, it would happen. If 60% voted for the death penalty on abortion, it would happen.

    And probably both those things would happen here. Although I do not think representative democracy is ideal, I think it does provide a sort of buffer between the government and mindless mass idiocy. Not because I think politicians are such great people, but because they have to walk on so much glass all the time.
    Last edited by MK27; 05-26-2010 at 07:19 PM.
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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    If you had the chance of changing representative democracy in a country like the US into direct democracy, would you support/vote for it? Do you think it would be a big failure or that it could work out? Assume that if it was voted for it would take into effect a few years from now (not right away, but not in the far future either).
    If your choice is that it would be a big failure, do you think that it is the best political system or do you have another favorite choice?
    I'd rather have my congressman vote for the direct democracy bill.

    Trust your politicians... they're smart... or... something.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 05-26-2010 at 07:21 PM.
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_ntua View Post
    If you had the chance of changing representative democracy in a country like the US into direct democracy, would you support/vote for it? Do you think it would be a big failure or that it could work out?
    Like the US or any other country in the world. No one has a direct democracy regime in place.

    I think it would be a big failure. It would definitely remove any protection of minorities. It would also probably become a nightmare to manage the larger the country is both in population as in administrative regions.
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    I've thought about this and while it makes sense I believe b/c 75% of the U.S. population is concentrated in about 13 major urban centers across the country that a direct democracy is just not plausible at this time. The electoral college balances all that out while itself also not being a perfect system.

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    and the Hat of Guessing tabstop's Avatar
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    And either (a) you would have to vote for 4,000 laws every November which no one is going to read (okay, no one reads them now, but at least our reps are supposed to) or (b) vote 4,000 times a year, which no one is going to do.

    (I don't actually know how many bills are proposed in a session of the legislature, but the committees definitely weed them out pretty thoroughly.)

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    Registered User Sharke's Avatar
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    Democracy without a constitution is nothing more than mob rule.

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    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    Although it's impractical without a secured network we probably won't have for another 100 years, I think Delegated Voting (Proxy voting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) is pretty cool. Direct Democracy sounds like a ton of work nobody would be willing to do.
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    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Lets say that you keep your representative, even the president. Lets just assume that we make our current democratic system practically a direct democracy without changing everything. The direct vote of the people will have the major role.

    The representatives would make sure that the laws are followed and all the legal procedures so we don't become a mob. They can also provide a guideline to their supporters. And provide a government on emergency times, like a war.

    All the details in general can be figured out. For example, the people can vote on the bills with the most demands. The voting periods can be a few times per year. So you won't have to read 4,000 bills. The representatives could have the power to demand a vote. If the people feel like reading it they get to vote. If more than X% of the people vote then the vote counts and the people decide.

    You can also have a lot of balance mechanisms. If somebody is not active politically his vote can be reduced by a percentage. The voting system can also make sure (with a few questions) that the individual has a general idea about the bill.

    In any case, try to make sure that ignorant people don't ruin a vote. The most informed people votes should be valued more. I would guess that people that don't care will simply not really participate. For example, if because of an incident the people want to kick out a minority they won't have the power to simply vote for it. The minorities will be protected by laws. They would have to vote for new laws. That requires time and effort so the people will have to be determined. If they are, then still the media or other groups will have a saying. Naturally people are influenced by them. They would realize their mistake. Or not, in which case there could be a demand from the representatives for a re-vote claiming that the act was extreme etc etc. All of this will try to ensure that the people don't vote because of impulse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba
    I've thought about this and while it makes sense I believe b/c 75% of the U.S. population is concentrated in about 13 major urban centers across the country that a direct democracy is just not plausible at this time. The electoral college balances all that out while itself also not being a perfect system.
    That is a good argument. But you forget that a state has its own laws to vote for. A city can have its own as well. So the 13 major urban centers won't have a saying for everything. For some things you could have like state votes for example. The state votes internal and the major vote represents the state vote. Every state vote can be equal. There is a way around.

    My logic is that we vote for representatives. If we are stupid we will vote for bad representatives. So voting for laws our self won't make a difference. But we could blaim only ourselves and not feel that the government is going against us. Furthermore, you wont' have only one vote of the people (for their representatives). Doing something once never achieves balance. So direct democracy is more balanced in that sense. And the ignorant people would probably not vote 10 times a year. They would not be interested. So the ones that vote would be mostly the "good" ones.

    You will always have leaders no matter what. But isn't it better if the leader is somebody that doesn't have to play the whole political game? Think of a group of people that want to change things. They won't just protest. They would actually have the power to make a bill and demand for it to be voted upon. They won't have to settle on the goodwill of the politicians to hear them.

    Concluding I would think that the management is the biggest problem. But with modern technology you could vote from your home as well as get informed from your home. It doesn't cost much either. You would just require more time, which I think is worth it. If you don't have the time, you leave the matter to the rest. You do that now anyways. Of course there will be downsides as well as people could vote for things they thing they know, but are practically clueless.

    EDIT: Our political system is based not on careful planning but mostly on need. We had kings and we wanted a more democratic system. You cannot go directly to a pure democratic system. The first step is the step we have. But that doesn't mean that it has to be the final one. I am just feeling that the next step could be taken at our time.

    Delegating voting sounds interesting. Direct democracy requires work of course, mostly some education, but the ones that are not willingly to do so can simply not participate.
    Last edited by C_ntua; 05-27-2010 at 12:34 AM.

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    I would vote against it. Not that i trust politicians....its just that i trust the general public even less.

    That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the subject.

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharke View Post
    mob rule.
    That's the term I was looking for. I wish I could say I have more faith in my fellow human beings but I honestly do not.

    I do think there are many reforms that could be made to representative democracy to make it a little more "representative" in most places, and hence maybe help to better incorporate some of the potentially positive benefits of "direct democracy" (by making voting more meaningful). For example, the US senate system, whereby each state gets two senators, does not make democratic sense -- California, with a pop of like 50 million, has the same power as Utah (with a pop of less than 5 million).

    But I think that is integral to the US Constitution. Which it's a bit sad that this gets treated like it was written by Moses most of the time, but probably strong constitutions are also good safeguards.
    Last edited by MK27; 05-27-2010 at 07:36 AM.
    C programming resources:
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    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    I actually think we need to return to the intentions of the founding fathers
    They were far wiser and intellegent than they ever get credit for being.

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    Registered User hk_mp5kpdw's Avatar
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    Individually, we as a species seem to be reasonably bright... on average. For some reason this seems to quickly degenerate into idiocy/mob mentality (villagers with pitchfork and torches) whenever large groups of people gather for any given purpose. I would not vote for direct democracy.
    "Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods."
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harry_y View Post
    I actually think we need to return to the intentions of the founding fathers
    They were far wiser and intellegent than they ever get credit for being.
    Sheesh! More credit than they already have?
    Whenever a fracturing question is posed, Americans eventually try to find the inspiration for a solution on their Founding Fathers. Truly, while I understand you concerns, it goes without mentioning.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Shortcomings of the Current Presidential Election System

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    I've thought about this and while it makes sense I believe b/c 75% of the U.S. population is concentrated in about 13 major urban centers across the country that a direct democracy is just not plausible at this time. The electoral college balances all that out while itself also not being a perfect system.
    The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states. Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign events and ad money in just six states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). In 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states; over 80% in nine states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states, and candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states and over 99% of their money in 16 states.
    Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections.

    Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in one of every 14 presidential elections.

    In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

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