Direct Democracy by SuperMajority – Effecting Liberty and True Democracy by Plebiscitary
“The Friends of the People”, Isaac Cruikshank (1764–1811)
Democracy. Liberty. Freedom. Equality.
We’ve all heard these terms bandied about, touted and championed by poignant leaders, peppered through history. How often do we as average citizens, though, really consider them?
Are things really democratic?
Democracy literally means rule by the people, so at its core, a democracy is intended to be people ruling themselves. By using common agreement to form policies and enacting the public will, by creating institutions to administer their policies, democracies are instruments of the public will.
But just how well does the current representational government reflect the public will? Is it even possible for 500 congressmen to divine the public will of 300 million people on a variety of issues and hope to accurately reflect them? Are the peoples’ support for each issue so homogenuous that a single politician can accurately assess and reflect all of the people in his district?
The public votes in to office representatives who then spend much of their time attempting to divine the public will on specific issues… issues that people in this digital age are easily able to express their opinion on directly, and eliminate any ambiguity whatsoever.
So why do we need elected officials at all then?
When representative democracies first became popular centuries ago, the fact of representation was an absolute necessity, in being able to bring people together under any common agreement at all, because of limits on information flow, transportation, and communication. Back then, before the rise of the industrial revolution, when this system was devised, it was the only way to effect any sort of democratic government at all. The barriers to everyone participating in the manifest destiny of their agreed upon republic, were too high to overcome.
All that has changed.
For the first time in history, we can have a truly democratic government, not the pretension we suffer to frustration in today’s world, in the form of representatives who never seem to listen to what the people want, no matter which party they represent. It’s just a steady parade of fools, manipulated by moneyed interests and their own lust for admiration and power.
It’s no suprise that you never see politicians advocating for direct democracy – it would eliminate their raison d’être. So not only would it eliminate their jobs, their lofty positions and titles, it would suggest that they’ve spent their years performing a flawed, approximated redundancy of the public will, which could more efficiently and cheaplier be obtained directly from the people themselves, in this new digital age of mass communication. For politicians already entrenched and loyal to the status quo that acknowledges their value, to question their own importance may be their highest hurdle.
Moving to direct democracy eliminates redundancies in government, and eliminating those redundant elected officials would save substantial amounts of money, reducing the necessity for taxes to support them and their entourages and gold plated pensions.
We don’t need leaders.
The best way to coexist is by collaboration, not by electing leaders to try and divine and reflect our common will. Collaboration is at the heart of the idea of democracy. Democracy is not leaders imposing their will, oftentimes against their electorate’s outspoken wishes, or by representing some minority within it.
Each and every law created inhibits liberty, restricts freedom. The purpose of law creation is to effect restrictions on liberty, by common agreement. Even a law created with the intent to force equality, inhibits freedom. And with the legalese casuistry employed by these wizards of wordsmithing, the actual semantics of any law, once created, can be further and further complicated and applied in different ways, that weren’t first considered. This is caused by the evolution of semantic components of words themselves, and the new dynamic environment the old law is now attempting to be applied within. Both scenarios lead to further loss of liberty with each new application of an old law on a new reality.
So to maintain liberty as primary, with all ideas flowing from that, any laws passed by a minority, is a move towards dictatorship. To truly be democratic and err on the side of liberty, every single freedom restricting law that is passed would need more than a tepid simple majority. To create laws that affect us all and restrict our freedom is a powerful and dangerous tool that should only be exercised with extreme caution. Simple majorities where 51% decide for the other 49%, are tyrannies to be avoided. A supermajority is a sober majority. Simple majorities are rule by Siamese twin.
Supermajorities, at least a double majority of 2:1, 66% of the people would pass far less laws than the current 51% necessary to impose a law.
That double majority would not have entered the Korean, the Vietnam or the Persian Gulf wars, saving over a trillion dollars and two million lives lost on both sides as a result of American intervention.
That double majority would never have made illegal a simple, effective, therapeutic, medicinal, time tested plant like marijuana which is taking Herculean efforts by the public to have it declared both medicinal and move to decriminalize or outright legalize it.
That double majority would have declared war on Afghanistan and then Iraq, but that double majority would also have undeclared those wars sooner, based on public opinion polls at that time, and it would have been over long ago. Not to mention that the pretext for those wars declared on Arab nations, the 911 disaster, may never have happened to begin with, if supermajorities had kept America soberly out of wars. These wars have massive economic and moral costs to society that don’t end when the outward hostilities end, but continue to fester for decades, until they are out of living memory at least, perhaps for much longer.
Some may know of the historically applicable pejorative term, applicable tangentially here, called “the tyranny of the majority” used by several great thinkers, who warned of a real threat, whereby a majority oppresses a minority by creating laws that discriminate against them. These rare problems were and are still solved by testing laws against a constitutional framework, and any law that is passed, still must hold up to the scrutiny of the supreme court. Constitutional amendments provide inalienable rights to individuals equally, across the board. This relieves any fear that some majority may attempt to pass a law that deprives any minority of their already inalienable rights.
But even with direct democracy installed and supermajority being the new deciding measure for law creation, without a ballot initiative system access overhaul, the process of law making is still highly corruptible, and too far removed from the pulse of the public will.
The Ballot Initiative system is undemocratic.
There are few methods currently to advance an initiative to a ballot: by petition from the electorate by collecting a specific number of signatures, or by state congresses themselves. Only just over half of the states in the United States allow direct democracy, and have it enshrined in their state constitutions. There is no direct democracy functionality whatsoever at the federal level. Ballot initiative processes in the states that allow them are prone to the same lack of statistically valid public will representation in the balloting process, and corruption by moneyed interests.
So any system that hopes to transition to a fairer one, never controlled by minorities or even simple majorities, would need to bring ballot initiation into the 21st century, capitalizing on the capabilities of mass communications. This revolutionary new ballot initiation system outlined in further detail on this site, brings three fundamental changes to the ballot initiation system.
Firstly, and most importantly – anyone, from the comfort of their own home, or using their cell phone anywhere, could log into the Ballot WikInitiave Database and suggest their own proposal for a ballot, hash-tag it twitter style, and enter it into the Marketplace of Initiatives – full, equal, easy access to the process of governing, by all.
Secondarily, to further improve the responsiveness and efficiency of voteable ballot initiatives, all initiatives remain voteable at all times, in the Ballot WikInitiative Database, and continually, in real time, are voted up or down by the electorate, using a reddit-style popular voting system.
And thirdly, also revolutionary and brought about by the ease of mass communications and the digital revolution, is that voters could even change their minds on any ballot initiative they’ve voted on, as they receive more information about it, or as other extenuating circumstances affect it. The Ballot WikInitiative Database system can keep track, in real time, the voter support for each and every suggested ballot initiative, effecting instantaneous direct democracy.
To become law in this improved system then, ballot initiatives are voted higher in popularity by the general public, until they reach the supermajority level, for instance a double majority of 66%, and remain a law until they drop to some lower threshold, perhaps 60%. This would guard against slight vacillations about the double majority demarcation point.
Another improvement to inhibit fraudulent voting is to use an anonymously encrypted multi-point biometric voter identification system, which relies on multiple biometrics to identify that person as a singular entity, such as fingerprint and eye scan.
Summarily speaking then, to effect greater liberty, to effect an accurate representation of the public’s will, to effect a democracy that is truly democratic, reform is necessary to replace statistically invalid samples of the public will, namely elected officials, with direct democracy by real time plebiscites on all issues at all times by all people. Reform is necessary to move past the simple majority tyrannies that Thomas Jefferson himself has described as
“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”
Simple majorities are exactly that tyranny, and supermajorities, at least a double majority, is necessary to protect against the whims of Siamese twin against the other. The constitutional framework with inalienable rights afforded citizens, already protects minorities from any tyranny of a majority passing discriminatory laws against them. There is no tyranny with a supermajority.
A tandem process of re-examining all current legislation, and re-testing them against the new direct democracy by supermajority, would also be in order, so that any laws already passed by minority interests in the past, can be undone by a supermajority who do not support it.
Effecting liberty through direct democracy is best achieved by deferring law creation to a sober supermajority of the entire electorate, by equalizing access to ballot initiation, and by securely linking voter identification to multi-point biometric encrypted anonymous voting system.
Collectively, through collaboration, we can solve our problems more efficiently than by any statistically invalid representational government using simple majorities to force legislation on the entire population, with no public ease of access to balloting initiation.