Political scandals, conspiracies and corruption occur daily in every country and in every political party, hence most politicians are mistrusted even by their supporters. Many believe that politics necessarily breeds corruption (there's a well-known saying: 'All power corrupts'). No wonder many people mistrust not only politicians or parties but all politics.
Many refuse to vote. They no longer believe elections can make a significant change.
Non-voting for representatives is a vote of 'no confidence' on rule by representatives.
This presentation explains how all citizens can – without representatives – run society by voting directly for POLICIES rather than for politicians.
When all citizens decide all policies, politicians are redundant.
Abolishing authority to decide for others will abolish corruption.
When no one has the right to decide for others, politics will be purged of hypocrisy, duplicity and conspiracies.
When all citizens decide all policies themselves, we have a new political system called DIRECT Democracy (DD).
In this system no one decides for others, no one is paid for deciding policy, so costs of running society are greatly reduced, while citizens' concern for their society is enhanced.
No political system can cure all political problems. Belief in such a cure is a dangerous delusion. There is no such cure. Abolishing power will solve many political problems but not all of them. When every citizen can propose, debate and vote on every policy, no one has authority to decide for others, so politicians' power is abolished. Political power works like a drug. Those who get it – in any State, Church, municipality, school or family – become addicted to it. They should be treated like addicts who will do anything to get their drug.
Many politicians crave power for its own sake, but even those who use it to improve society will do anything to hold on to it.
DIRECT Democracy abolishes political power by forbidding anyone to decide for others.
In DIRECT Democracy no one decides for others. Every citizen can decide directly every policy. Every citizen has only one vote on every policy and represents him/herself only.
If a policy produces undesirable results, those who voted for it are responsible.
To prevent recurrence of bad results voters must discover what made them vote for a bad decision and reconsider their motives. This enables people to search for causes of political problems within themselves – not outside themselves – to find them and overcome them.
Every citizen has, every moment, authority to propose, debate and vote for every policy.
This abolishes political power.
There are no representatives with authority to decide policy for others.
In DIRECT democracy no one decides any policy for others. Every citizen has the right to propose, debate and vote on every policy.
Whether citizens use this right – or not – is up to them.
To 'reach a conclusion' is utterly different. Only one right conclusion exists and we cannot choose it according to our priorities. We must deduce it from the data by using logical reasoning and technical knowledge. Data, reasoning and knowledge – not priorities – determine a single right conclusion. We must accept it even if we prefer a different one.
2. A conclusion can be 'right' or 'wrong', (2 + 2 = 5), but not 'Good' or 'Bad'. There are no bad conclusions, only wrong ones. A decision can be 'Good' or 'Bad', but not 'right' or 'wrong'. There are no wrong decisions, only bad ones.
3. Those making a decision are responsible for its outcome as they could decide differently – by a different priority – and get a different outcome. Those who draw a conclusion are not responsible for its results. They could not draw a different conclusion that is right. They are responsible only for the conclusion being right, not for its results.
4. Data determines conclusions, it does not determine decisions. The same data forces different people to draw the same conclusion, but they can make different decisions on it because of their different priorities.
Many believe that politicians apply the preferences of those who elected them. Usually they don't. Nor do they possess a special skill for deciding.
Every decision is determined by a priority, not by a skill.
Decision-making is a role, not a skill; everyone makes decisions daily.
The Athenian philosopher Plato – who opposed Democracy – argued that decision-making is a skill like that of a ship's captain who steers a ship in a particular direction by using knowledge of ships and navigation. But society is not a ship. All passengers on a ship want to reach the same destination, but not all citizens in society want the same policy since they have different priorities.
Politicians need some skills to get Power, like conspiracy (to defeat rivals); flattery (to get the support of superiors); and hypocrisy (to win voters), but they need no special skill for deciding policy.
Politicians decide policy according to their personal priority like everyone else.
Decisions and Priorities
A priority is a principle that determines preference. Without a priority we cannot choose.
To 'decide' is to choose one option from a number of options. To choose is to prefer.
We prefer according to our priority. Priorities determine what we consider as 'good' and for whom it is 'good'.
Many believe priorities are 'natural' or 'self-evident'. Not so. Priorities are arbitrary assertions we make as without them we cannot make a decision.
All political priorities can be sorted into just five types by posing the question:
'I want to do what is "Good", but for whom should this be good?'
The five possible answers are:
1. Good for me/my family (the Ego-centric priority)
2. Good for my King/Country/Nation/tribe (the Ethno-centric priority)
3. Good for Humanity (the Anthropo-centric priority)
4. Good for God (the Theo-centric priority)
5. Good for all Nature (the Bio-centric priority)
At any moment we have a single priority. We need it as without it we cannot decide.
We cannot have two priorities at the same time, as we cannot prefer two things. We may want two things, but if we must choose one of them, we must prefer by using our priority.
Each priority excludes all other priorities. 'Good for King and Country' excludes 'Good for me'; 'Deutschland über Alles' excludes 'Rule Britannia'; both exclude 'Good for Humanity'. Many people use one priority for one purpose and another priority for other purposes, but at any given moment everyone has only a single priority.
Once implanted it is very difficult to change priorities.
In his inaugural speech in 1961 President Kennedy appealed to the citizens of the USA to change their priority. He said:
'Ask not what your country can do for YOU. Ask what YOU can do for your country.'
He asked them to change their priority from ego-centrism to ethno-centrism. Very few did so.
Priorities are programmed into children by parents, teachers, leaders. Once implanted, it is very difficult to change them – especially if this is done using authoritarian means.
People believe that their own priority is 'natural', 'self-evident', 'the only sensible choice'. But all priorities are arbitrary. No priority can be justified 'objectively' as every justification is itself based on a priority which requires justification.
Despite Kennedy's request, very few Americans changed their ego-centric priority.
Some Americans decided that Kennedy's priorities contradicted their priorities and assassinated him on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. This event – like all wars – demonstrates that conflicts of priorities often motivate people to kill.
The State carries out these decisions.
This raises two questions:
1. What is 'Society'?
2. What is 'The State'?
The difference between 'people' and 'society' is not in how they look but in how they behave. A 'society' is not merely people living next to each other but people behaving according to rules accepted by all of them. These rules – known as 'laws' – are made to resolve conflicts between people, and are accepted by most people in a society.
Obedience to laws makes 'people' into a 'society'. Different societies make different laws, but only when a group of people accepts the same laws, do they become a society. Not everyone obeys every law, but most of the time most people obey most laws. Some do so out of fear of punishment, but most people in most societies obey most laws because they know that without laws there will be constant strife and living together will be impossible.
Freedom for people living in a society
Total freedom is impossible in any society. It is possible only when one lives – voluntarily – isolated from all people. Living with others requires accepting, occasionally, their decisions, and limiting one's own decisions so they do not harm others. Even two people living together voluntarily have disagreements, and each must, occasionally, accept decisions of the other.
If the same person always accepts others' decisions, that person is oppressed. But if people take turns in accepting others' decisions, they limit their freedom – voluntarily – for the sake of living together. This occurs in most families, communities, cities and societies.
In society people agree to obey decisions of others if others in turn obey decisions of theirs.
If the same person or group always has to bow to decisions of others, they are oppressed.
Total freedom for every member of a group is impossible in any group, even in the smallest anarchist commune.
Most people prefer to live in groups such as family, tribe, society, with partial, rather than total, freedom. However, there are different degrees of partial freedom. Living under elected rulers gives people more freedom than living under unelected rulers, as the ruled can at least decide who will decide for them. But those living under elected rulers have less freedom than those living without rulers. A society where every citizen can propose, debate and vote on every law and policy, is self-ruled, and its majority lives by its own decisions. The minority must obey majority decisions, but if the minority has a fair chance to become a majority, it is not oppressed. These citizens enjoy far more freedom than those who live in a society where representatives decide every law and policy.
Politics without politicians (Direct Democracy) allows the highest level of freedom possible in any society. It is not total freedom, as majority decisions are binding and the minority must accept them. So the minority is not totally free.
The minority is not totally free.
A minority that can promote its views and become a majority is not oppressed.
A minority prevented from becoming a majority by rules (laws) forbidding it – or restricting its ability – to publicize its views, is oppressed – but if it can publicize its views, gain votes and become a majority, it is not.
Direct Democracy enables every minority to promote its views, however disagreeable they may be. This stimulates public debates on policy, increases people's concern for their society, and raises the quality of life in society as a whole and of each individual within it.
Indifference to society breeds boredom and depression. By encouraging people to participate in deciding what their society should do Direct Democracy will dispel their indifference to society and thus the boredom and depression most people suffer today.
When a person feels that the decisions of the majority are that different from his personal preferences that life in another society would much better fit his preferences, he can choose to leave the society where is presently member of.
Since societies are ground bound (face to face communication is still the dominant communication form in a society), he will need to relocate to a different society.
Land bound groups: secession as separate 'country'.
Groups dispersed within another society: Since the people of this group are physically embedded in an existing society, group secession is not possible without relocation.
The Principle of Political Equality (PPE) asserts that even though no two citizens are biologically equal, all must have equal authority to vote on every law and policy of their society. Only those who have this equality live by their own decisions – and are free.
When all citizens have equal authority to make laws, they can legislate other equalities.
They can decide all laws of society, including other equalities.
PPE must be applied to any group, couple, family, tribe, nation, army, place of work, school and to society itself. PPE asserts the right of every member of a group to propose, debate and vote on every decision of the group. Some will accept PPE as self-evident. Others will prefer to die rather than accept it. They will oppose its application to society – but even more so to family, school and work. PPE abolishes power and domination in every domain of society, in families, schools, places of work, trade unions and political parties. It equalizes 'leaders' and 'led', dominators and dominated.
Opponents of political equality argue that most citizens lack the knowledge to understand the laws they vote for, either their benefits or their drawbacks.
But this applies to most politicians who vote on laws nowadays. Most of them are not legal experts, yet they debate and vote on new laws and policies. They call experts to explain the consequences of proposed policies, then they choose the option that suits their own priorities.
Every citizen can do the same. Citizens can listen on radio or TV to panels of experts explaining a new law or policy, and later vote on it.
If a law or policy has unforeseen negative results, the citizens can always repeal them.
Party Rule is not democracy. In 'Demos-kratia' the citizens vote directly for policies, not for political Parties. What is called 'Democracy' today is Rule by Representatives (RR).
In Democracy Party leaders can decide only the policies of their Party, not of society as a whole. Parties can propose a policy to the citizens; but not decide it for them.
A political party advocating a particular policy contributes to democracy, but a Party deciding all policies for all citizens is blatantly anti-democratic.
After World War II, Political Parties everywhere deteriorated in three ways:
1. Party Officials took over the Party from the policy-makers.
2. Parties began to seek power for their own sake, not for the sake of society.
3. Parties turned into vote-collectors rather than advocators of particular policies.
Power itself – not particular policies – became the aim of Political Parties.
Today, in most countries, Party officials run States (and Parties) for their own benefit, not for the benefit of all citizens. Most people today believe Politics is about Party Power.
This reflects the confusion in most peoples minds – including 'Political Science' academics – concerning the meaning of politics.
Political means have become political ends and most people believe this is 'normal'.
In a Direct Democracy every citizen has the right to participate in the first task, to propose a policy, to debate and vote on it. Public debates on policies are the core of Direct Democracy.
In Athens these debates stimulated people to produce Philosophy, to invent the Theatre, Tragedy, Comedy, and to convince people by logical reasoning rather than by imposing one's authority.
Public debates on policies are genuine only if facilities exist enabling every citizen to participate.
How can millions do so? Today they can do it – by using TV for the debate, and mobile phones, magnetic cards and touch screens for voting. In ancient Athens citizens debated policy in an open-air space called 'Agora'. The modern Agora is TV where every citizen can speak to millions of other citizens. In DD every government Department (Health, Education, Industry, Finance etc.) operates its own TV channel around the clock all year round. Tuning in to a channel will show a panel debating policies for this department.
Panel members must have knowledge and experience with issues of the particular department. They will answer questions phoned in by the public. They will explain the good and bad points of every proposal. Panel members must be drawn by lottery (not by elections) from a list of those with the required expertise. Panel members will be changed regularly; no member will serve two consecutive periods. Any reward to panel members will be a punishable crime.
The TV channel will display lists of all proposed policies and the panel will debate the pros and cons of each one. Viewers will be able to phone in at any time to question, criticize or suggest ideas. Every proposal will be allocated a discussion time (set by Constitution). When this time is up the proposal will be put to the vote. The public will have 48 hours to vote on each one. Any proposal receiving the required number of votes will be submitted to a second round of debates and voting. A policy gaining the required number of votes in the second round of voting will become state policy. If citizens demand a third vote, the proposal will be submitted to a third round of debating and voting.
Public debates on policies, by millions of people, are possible today. Clearly, when 'politics without politicians' is established, all citizens will have to devise and adopt a Constitution to decide all the procedures. Unforeseen problems will emerge, but 'where there's a will, there's a way', especially with the help of TV, mobile phones, magnetic cards, touch-screen input and the Internet. What technology to use, and how, will be decided by all citizens when Direct Democracy is set up. For now it is sufficient to realize that by using electronic communication we can establish a political system where every citizen can propose, debate and vote on every law and policy.
When a policy has been decided a panel will be set up to carry it out. Panel members will be drawn by lottery from a pool of all those with experience and knowledge of the specific task. They will be changed at regular intervals. Complaints about panel members' inefficiency or corruption will be invistigated immediately – and punished if it was the case.
All citizens vote directly on all policies. There are no elections, no Parliament and no Government.
50% +1 vote is sufficient to accept a policy proposal.
Each domain of the society, such as health, education, finance, agriculture, transport etc., is allocated a TV channel and internet domain open 24 hours every day all the year round.
Every citizen has one vote.
Voting is not a duty, but a right. However, a policy is binding for all, including those who did not participate in the voting on it.
Every citizen has the right to propose any policy, to vote on any policy, and to criticize any policy.
Once a policy has been approved, a Committee will be drawn by lottery from a pool of people with the relevant experience and knowledge required, to carry it out.
Boek: Politics without politicians
Boek Who can free society from economic crises and political corruption? Big Business? Big Government? or Direct Democracy?