Representative vs. direct government

Discussion in 'Political Science' started by Blasphemer, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Should representative forms of government (representative democracy, representative constitutional republic) be replaced by direct forms of government (direct democracy, direct constitutional republic)?

    With the computers and internet, this is the first time in history when direct government is practical on the scale of nation states, instead of small city states.

    Discuss.
     
  2. spt5

    spt5 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What do you mean by "direct" (government)?

    What is the definition of the two?
     
  3. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Representative government is a government where policy initiatives are made and approved by representatives appointed by people. Direct government is a government where people themselves make and approve policy initiatives (anyone can initiate a law vote and all people can vote about it).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy
     
  4. Panzerkampfwagen

    Panzerkampfwagen New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    11,570
    Likes Received:
    152
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So you want hackers to be the ones who decide?
     
  5. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I advise you to learn about modern multi-channel network security as used for example in internet banking, but from respectable sources, not Hollywood movies.
    Its more secure than paper ballots.
     
  6. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member Past Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    14,920
    Likes Received:
    4,881
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Neither system is going to be perfect so I suspect moving from one to the other would simply replace one set of problems with a whole new set, with the addition a separate set of problems from the transition itself.

    I also think that before we even consider any further movement towards direct democracy we need to work on that being informed. As it stands, the political and mass-media structures completely fail at giving voters any form of intelligent, considered and balanced information about the issues that we would be expected to decide on.

    I think a better way to improve representation is to encourage more people to get involved in political campaigning (actual campaigns, not ranting protests). If enough people feel strongly about an issue, they should be able to get it in the public and political domain. I'm not convinced simply putting a cross on a bit of paper (or even easier, clicking a button on a webpage) demonstrates sufficient effort implement the scale of changes to people's lives direct democracy could involve.
     
  7. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    27,293
    Likes Received:
    4,346
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Direct government is a silly idea. It would result in decisions that make our current politicians look reasonable. Look at the history of citizen initiatives. Most have been disastrous to the states that pass them.
     
  8. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Do you have any sources to back that statement? I dont think they are disastrous.
     
  9. spt5

    spt5 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Then this is very interesting, and I think that yes, for the 1st time in history, direct government can be gradually introduced. Public input to anything is always open to interference, and the interference can be special interest groups, hackers, and others. But if people can do secure internet shopping and tax filing, then we definitely have the technology for direct government today.

    The interesting question is: how does direct government transform group identities within state formations? I guess direct government by default bypasses groups and goes directly to the individuals. But things like the US Electoral College were specially designed to protect individual interest if it belongs to a minority group, as opposed to the votes of a united opponent majority.

    Would there be an opportunity to a non-majority voter to make his impact against some dominant majority in direct government? I think it is possible that direct government would exaggerate the tyrannical tendencies of populous democracies.
     
  10. spt5

    spt5 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    0
    People vote as per their emotions, not their interests or facts. Media people know this and they formulate and sell people's emotions to the highest bidder. Would direct government improve the service of people's individual and group interests under such condition? If direct government gets to reflect voter-to-voter debates in policy making decisions then yes, although most individual debate platforms are already generated/defined by the media.

    Even more interesting: how would direct government change political districting of regions/cities? In the US, republican and democratic party initiatives frequently play with voting district borders. What would direct government do to EU district borders?
     
  11. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Direct government means exactly that - no representatives. It does not mean there cannot be separated vote districts, different vote weights, quorums, more than simple majorities required to pass some laws etc.. Pure direct democracy is just a one simplest subtype of possible direct governments.
     
  12. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    27,293
    Likes Received:
    4,346
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Look at the California propositions for one.

    In my own state (Florida), there was a series of asinine "constitutional amendments" passed by citizen initiatives. Thankfully, the state got smart and greatly increased the number of signatures needed to put one of these on the ballot.

    One was a school class size amendment, that reduced class sizes. However, since it was written by a committee of citizens instead of people that actually knew the ins and outs of it. It was so inflexible that it ended up killing off honors classes, and resulted in the hiring of unqualified people in order to meet the requirement.

    Another was a "constitutional amendment" that made minimum limits on the size of pens for pregnant female pigs.


    Direct democracy is a great idea if you live in a situation where everybody knows each other (small towns, etc.). It falls apart when they don't.
     
  13. CoolWalker

    CoolWalker New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    167
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Tell ten people a story and when they re-tell it, there will be ten different versions. Have 300 million people trying to decide on something will be chaos. Then we have the hackers, and don't say it can't be hacked, because "anything" can be hacked, that is a proven fact. So we would be worse off your way. Let's defer to our forefathers who were much wiser than we are and leave well enough alone.
     
  14. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    48
    On one hand, direct government allows to pass laws easily (that includes stupid laws), but on the other hand, it allows for repealing of such stupid laws easily too - if they really was that bad, I am sure people will quickly create another initiative to reverse it.

    I think the benefits (completely eliminated corruption - the main problem in todays politics - since there are no representatives to bribe, and you cannot bribe million of people) outweight the risks in the form of increased probability of laws passing (yes, that includes stupid laws, but also good laws or repealing of current laws - the net effect is neutral).
     
  15. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    27,293
    Likes Received:
    4,346
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Of course you can persuade millions of people by use of money. That is what advertising is.

    I haven't seen anything good come from citizen initiatives. The ones I have seen in my own state are flawed (meaning harmful to the state) or just silly. Direct democracy is great in small populations--where everybody knows everybody that would be effected by the legislation, it is impractical in larger ones. (just like communism, which is also good on small scales).
     
  16. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Persuading is not bribing.

    I had exactly the opposite experience with citizen initiatives over here.
     
  17. spt5

    spt5 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Can you mention a few examples?
     
  18. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Citizen initiatives about mandatory transparency in government contracts (no hidden clauses, except defense of course), limiting of excessive representative immunity, limit for the maximum price of government purchased luxury cars, allowing electronic voting, repealing of restrictive print media laws which we had at the time, lowering the referendum quorum so it would actually be usable..

    As far as I remember there was no citizen initiative which was outright stupid or at least not worth a consideration. That cannot be said about laws proposed and often passed by politicians.
     
  19. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    27,293
    Likes Received:
    4,346
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Well, as I said, we have different experiences here in Florida. The school class size amendment, for example, caused the schools to hire a bunch of unqualified teachers to meet it. Students were being taught by substitute teachers (some without college degrees) to meet the amendment, as it was written without any flexibility. IMHO, citizen initiatives have all the problems with lobbyists, etc., that the legislature has.

    If you are truly from Slovakia, the reason may have to do with population. Your country has a population of around 5 million. My state has a population of 18 million. I've always argued that scale is a major factor in direct vs. representative democracy. Maybe Slovakia is at a small enough size. Florida sure isn't.
     
  20. deanberryministries

    deanberryministries Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    But the "jews" who (mis)run America had Congress cap our representatives at 435. Obviously because it's much cheaper to bribe 435 than over 8,000.
     
  21. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    27,293
    Likes Received:
    4,346
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Go back to whatever white supremacist site you came from. We don't need that garbage on here.
     
  22. Wingless

    Wingless New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    458
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Total direct democracy would lead to the tyranny of the majority; laws would change constantly with the people’s whims… Things are better left as they are.
     
  23. deanberryministries

    deanberryministries Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    No. Dummy. We need to do what our forefathers wanted done. One representative for every 40,000 people. The only reason it's not that way is because America's yiddite rulers had their buttboys cap representation at 435. Obviously it's far less expensive to bribe and have a few hundred spied on than it is over 8,000. Am I right?
     
  24. Gemini_Fyre

    Gemini_Fyre New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,087
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Direct democracy has all the same qualities and flaws that a lynch mob does. It decides quickly and acts swiftly. But all to often it doesn't look before it leaps. Lynching the wrong guy for example. We can all see where I am going with this.

    The whole purpose of representation of the public was to "cool the passions" of the american people. Representatives are voted in by popular vote, and originally senators were selected by the representatives if memory serves me correctly. But that has since changed as they are both place by popular vote now.

    If America was under direct popular representation we would have launched a flurry of nuclear weapons at the middle east an hour after 9/11. A mob is subject to mood swings. Last thing we need is our nuclear arsenal subject to a mood swing, or the rest of our sharp and shiny war machine.
     
  25. SpotsCat

    SpotsCat New Member Past Donor

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4,167
    Likes Received:
    103
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A pure democracy at work is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner...
     

Share This Page