Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

A New Democratic System

  1. Feb 24, 2007 #1
    I wrote this to myself originally, it came out pretty interesting, so I changed some of it and thought I'd post it here see what you guys think.

    (before you comment please read the whole thing; some things that seem unreasonable at first are explained later on ... yes I know it's VERY long... but I put a lot of thought into it when I originally wrote it o:) hope that guilt-trips you enough to suffer through it)


    While democracy may be the justest of all systems, I do not believe it is yet the justest it can be; there are many problems with it -- or, rather, with the way it is being implemented and managed. As a result, we are all witness to social injustices, and even potentially dangerous outcomes.

    It is very possible that society as it is stands, will not be able to do so for very long -- I know this has been said time and time again: from short-haired gentlemen at long-haired hippies, to long-haired hippies at baggy-pant-wearing thugs... but let us not forget that it has happened many times before!: empires have fallen, and fruitful societies have ripened to putrefaction, taking decades or even centuries for “normalcy” to return. -- With all of our scientific and technological advances, we are no different; we are still French rebels with guillotines, and Alexandrian theists with torches. It would be foolish to not learn from past mistakes, and equally foolish to not try and prevent future ones.

    From poverty to inept health-care and educational systems, I believe that many of these problems can be solved -- or come as close to being solved as is possible -- through a variation of the current democratic structure*.

    These are my two main ideas:
    1 - Voters don’t have true influence over policy and law. This is a problem.
    2 - Voting should be a privilege, not a basic right; the right to vote should be earned.


    Right now, the democratic system consists of choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils. People vote for the candidate that seems to kind-of-but-not-really come closest to resembling, sort-of, their own ideals... and that is about as much true influence over his or her country as the average person has.

    (By average, I mean, of course: average, non-political**, non-influential, non-wealthy, non-important you -- us, the slithery motor-oil that helps this shiny Global-Machine run ever so smoothly).

    We have candidate A, who follows ideal 1 while trying not to interfere with the agenda of corporation X, on one side; and candidate B, who follows ideal 2 while trying not to interfere with the agenda of corporation Y on the other. Some voters choose whoever they think stinks less, while others vote for the candidate they “like” the most -- completely ignorant of his or her policies.

    This turns many people off from voting or even caring about the state of their country. They learn to live in a state of ideological stupor, and I don’t blame them. -- From very early on, we are tacitly made to understand that “us” and “those in charge,” are two separate things; that influence is a one way street. -- We are taught about our ostensible power to change the world, and trained for the world to change us.

    With my system, voters have complete influence over policies, laws, etc. -- a democracy where the government works for the people, not the people for the government.

    Under this system, come election day***, voters get to vote not only specific ministers, but also on specific laws and policies, funding, etc.: the elected officials will be there to do the people’s bidding, not to promise one thing and then follow their own agendas. -- If the people voted for law A to be implemented, then law A IS implemented!

    Again: voters vote for the ACTUAL LAWS, not only for a pretty face.

    Elected officials should be no more than experts who know enough about their field to make sure that the voters’ decisions are followed. -- the minister of education would actually know something about education! isn’t that awesome-cool and original! … totally off the walls, I know; trippy s**t.

    Generic skeptic Bob says, raising his eyebrow in disapproval: but what do “the people” know? I wouldn’t trust the majority of people with my country’s economy! … most people don’t know the first thing about economy!

    O, bob… can’t you be patient?**** … Why, this is where the second law comes into play:


    The faults of a system where the people have direct influence over law and policy are quite obvious: No person knows a lot about everything, most people know little about many things, and too many people know nothing about most things!

    Now, I am the first to admit that I don’t know the first thing about economics, stock-markets, tax mumbo-jumbos… I am sure that many of you reading this know much more than I do about these things. -- And yet… when inside that voting booth, where our opinions (theoretically) really matter, you and I both have the same say over our country’s economy!

    Why should Joe-Ben Stamper from Wakonda, Oregon, who goes to church every Sunday, believes the earth is 6000 years-old, and couldn’t read a TV guide with a gun put to his head, have the same say over education and scientific-research funding as you and I?
    The problem is not that “people are stupid.” The problem is that people have LEARNED to be stupid; we have been conditioned to believe that ignorant is the best you can be.

    The answer: standardized tests and voting licenses.

    People are to be allowed to vote only on matters about which they have a certain level of understanding***** . Regardless of age, sex, religion, or race, you are allowed to vote only on subjects about which you have, at least, a basic level of understanding.

    This might seem discriminatory at first, but it is the very opposite. In fact, it is more inclusive than any democracy as of now! -- If Single Mother, who works two jobs to feed her child, knows she CAN have a say over what minimum-wage should be… you bet your ass she’s going to turn off “Oprah,” pick up a book, and do something about it!

    Under my system, that starving single-mother can have as much say over our economy as the C.E.O of a multinational corporation (provided she knows her stuff, obviously). Doctors can have a say over which research should be publicly funded, etc.

    This would not only move people to be politically active, but also, indirectly, produce a more educated society.

    And the best part of it all is that this is no communist fantasy world. Neither does this democratic system step on any “big toes” (not too heavily, at least): it is still possible to become stinkin’ rich and powerful in this society! Not only that, but everyone’s health and wealth would be improved, and the economic machinery would run much smoother, without the need of too much of that dirty oil.

    * I am from Canada, but this applies to most democratic systems… the current variations are not relevant; none of these systems are addressing the issues I mention efficiently.

    ** could a word become any more of its own antonym? !

    ***most probably, more than a day would be needed for this system to function… maybe an election-week would be held instead.

    **** OK… at this point, it was 5:55 AM after a long Friday night when I wrote this part… so I hope that explains THAT.

    *****their voting privileges increasing with their level of understanding of a subject.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2007 #2
    I don't know how to do it (i think only moderators can), but I think this thread should be moved to the politics section of general discussion... sorry if I posted it in the wrong forum.
  4. May 8, 2007 #3
    I believe in direct democracy. People say it isn't possible in a society as large as ours, but there is such a thing as the internet.
  5. May 14, 2007 #4
    How about a form of government called "out of my face".

    1) No income tax.

    2) No funding for anyone besides the military.

    3) Revenue comes from drug-tax, weapon-tax, sollicited sex-tax, tv-tax etc.

    4) The military organizes armies to fight by promising super-rewards; lots of people die instead of being factory slaves and perpetuating the cycle of consumer stuffs.

    The government you are talking about is too in-my-face. I don't want to hear some breeder couple nagging about needing to raise the minimum wage. The fact is raising the minimum wage perpetuates the cycle of inflation, which is only good for fatcats, who are happy to get rich by enslaving the mindless into producing crap and tricking them into buying it.

    The only purpose I can see for government besides the military is to eliminate fatcats. If there was less incentive to be so greedy and produce such transient crappy products we could easily get stability without government social safety nets. Unfortunately only fatcats and fatcat wannabes are truly interested in politics.
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  6. May 14, 2007 #5
    or not... lol. That sounds like some sort of military anarchy from hell :eek:
  7. May 15, 2007 #6
    I guess my response to your original post could have instead been:

    "or not... lol. That sounds like some sort of bureaucrat nanny-ocracy from hell"

    My view is that the government is going to be full of greed-driven bureacrats, so the first priority should be to limit the size of government to be small.
  8. May 15, 2007 #7
    my "government" would actually be an anti-government of sorts— its members would be in charge of nothing: They would be the employees of the voters, their jobs (being experts in whatever field it is they are ministers of) would consist of nothing more than to carry out the wishes of the voters. nothing more.

    so, in a way, while much larger in membership, my government would be less in charge and "in your face" than yours ... I use the word government, but in reality they would not govern anything.

    there would be no opportunity for bureaucracy and abuse because voters have absolute control.

    you vision really scares me, and I hope you were kidding! the opportunities for abuse and suffering are many!
  9. May 15, 2007 #8
    You bold 'nothing' is the big mistake of your government system. The bureaucrats will immediately start asking for more money, and trying to greedily propose votes over projects designed to earn them and their elite network of friends money.

    To accomplish these corrupt goals the voters will be misled. Experts are worthless if they are motivated by greed rather then altruism. All of the provisions in your constituition create loads of administrative jobs. All of the administrators will become corrupt, and if you appoint auditors then the auditors will become corrupt.

    Here is the problem you are failing to address, consider three types of people (Eleanor Roosevelt):

    1) Petty men discuss people.

    2) Fine men discuss events.

    3) Great men discuss ideas.

    Now those in category (1) are enslaved by television to become factory zombies and produce consumer garbage.

    Those in category (2) are smart enough to manipulate those in category (1) to make themselves rich. People in category (2) are greedy, they always want more money.

    Those in category (3) are as close to altruistic non-greedy as it gets and they see how (2) manipulates (1), but because (2) makes a full time job out of it, and (3) is a vanishing minority, (3) spends its time at more productive work and leaves (2) to its festering greed and corruption.

    Politicians always come from (2), because (3) would not consider using empty rhetoric and television programming to convince (1) to vote for them. These politicians will always tend to corruption (at best you can hire auditors from category 2 who will soon be in on the corruption). The only way I see to deal with this is to deflate the money out of politics, which you system does not do but mine does.

    Abuse and suffering are not issues that the Government should concern itself with, because it is too corrupt.
  10. May 15, 2007 #9
    You're forgetting one of the main ideas behind my system. The voters will not be easily fooled by weasel words and misleading statements because they too would be experts* (the higher their expertise, the higher their influence).

    You might be able to fool the average person to raise or lower your salary through cheap propaganda, but you can't fool an economist or someone with a certain degree of knowledge. Corruption is inevitable only in a poorly thought out and mismanaged democracy (like the ones we see today) ... I think you should re-read my original post, you seem to have misunderstood many of my proposals.

    As for your modest proposal, I'd like to know of one military dictatorship in the history of the world where the end result has not been complete corruption and abuse.

    And abuse and suffering are definitely a responsible government's business! would you really trust the well-being of humanity to human nature??

    * EDIT: or at least well informed
    Last edited: May 16, 2007
  11. May 17, 2007 #10
    Most people are only going to become experts on politics if they have some incentive to be (i.e. if they need to be). In other words, how much would life suck in your democracy, that every voter would feel they have to be an expert.

    One of two things would happen:
    1. The voting pool would shrink to an oligarchy of political science PhD's.
    2. Life would suck for everyone.

    I think it's a sign of how awesome the west is doing that most people don't care about voting enough to learn about the issues. I mean, thats how seriously we take politics. Whether it's precedence, economic domination, or the constitution that takes credit for it... we rock.

    I hate the whole 'Get out and vote' movement. I've never voted in my life (on a matter of principle) and those *******s tell me that because I don't vote, I shouldn't be allowed to complain or even discuss politics. Losers!

    Creating incentive for people to vote won't make them experts, expertise can only be achieved by disinterest.
  12. May 17, 2007 #11
    Leaders should NOT be paid for their role. Now, there is long discussion what is leader and its roles, but think about it.....
  13. May 17, 2007 #12
    I personally think they should be payed; if a job in politics didn't pay, the only people who could do the job would be the rich.

    To Smurf's comment. The voter needn't be an expert, just informed. Being an expert would only give you more say (your vote can be more precise and influential), but a person with a lesser degree of understanding of whatever law he/she is voting for would also be allowed to vote.— Only people considerably ignorant of the issue in question would be completely unable to vote... I don't think this is unreasonable.

    And I don't understand why you say that the person would need a Ph.D in political sciences; that is only a small aspect of the government's job: the government affects everything from health care, education, scientific research, entertainment, public events, war, who's allowed to marry who, etc. etc. etc. ... is it unreasonable to ask that people voting for, say, issues concerning cancer research should have a basic understanding of medicine? is it unreasonable to say that a doctor's vote should have more influence than mine on this specific issue?

    I don't think that it's that people don't care, I think that it's that we've learned to be powerless. Do you really feel like your vote makes a difference? like you have any influence or the power to change the ongoing corruption that afflicts our governments? ... democratic governments are supposed to be the "voice of the people," but people don't have any real say in anything. ... I just think that the government should be the voice of the people who know what they're talking about; since when has "majority-rules" been an efficient way to solve problems (especially ones as important as the ones the government is meant to deal with).
    Last edited: May 17, 2007
  14. May 17, 2007 #13
    George Washington at first wanted to turn down the salary offered to him by Congress. But he was persuaded to finally accept it because he risked setting a dangerous precedent, that being that the state wouldn't pay a president, and so only the already rich could survive in the role.

    If you're going to have a representational government, you have to pay your representatives, otherwise they'll be spending too much time trying to just get by. That's the point behind professional politicians. So they can do politics full time.

    Now, how MUCH we pay them, that's a different question.
  15. May 17, 2007 #14
    I think the contrary is actually true. What kind of ppl will go for non payed job? Certainly not criminals that are already rich and want to get more power just like is precedent here in US (sad to say). Its impossible to become leader nowadays if you are not rich already, so this argument does not meet reality. I would not pay leaders! I would pay managers. Ppl think that these two roles are the same but they are not. Leader is not manager, even though this time and age the distinction blured. I would resurect it. Leaders should only lead in vision/direction and have managers which ara professionals payed . They however do not participate at all in governing, they just manage resources how to get to the vision of the leader.

    The leader must not be payed , leadership does not tak much time, if a leader MUST for some reason manage as one may have to, he can take payment from ppl for management work. Not for leading.
    Last edited: May 17, 2007
  16. May 22, 2007 #15
    I would disagree with your general direction here. True, you generally have to be rich to be elected these days, but that doesn't mean we should reverse the policy and flat out make it impossible. And let it be known that with a salary, it is still theoretically possible for a middle/lower classman to become president (and this really applies to all elected positions, not just federal, and not just executive (and not just American)). While if you remove the salary, you will make it impossible. (unless he's supported by charity his entire career - hmmmm)

    Democracy wasn't born into perfection, you have to allow time and progress to create equality. It wasn't so long ago that public defenders, for example, didn't exist. That's one of the new ideas that's only shown up in the last century or so, that people don't really have the ability to defend themselves in court, so we need professionals to do it for them, and free of charge for economic equality. It's small advances like these that make democracy great. Not because it's perfect, but because it allows it's self to always be on the cutting-edge of justice, equality, etc. :tongue2:

    I would draw a parallel between this and the idea of professional politicians. Ordinary people don't have the ability to look up and learn and study politics in great detail. That's why we have professionals to do it for us (this includes not just elected officials but advisor's, commentators, think tanks, etc,. all of which have spent many years in school learning how politics works). Believe me, I'd be the first person to say that the ancient Greeks had closest to a perfect society we've yet to see, and that was largely a result of direct individual participation by the entire population. Unfortunately current society doesn't allow for that kind of generalization, and so we're forced to work within professional specializations. Including politicians.
  17. May 22, 2007 #16
    I couldn't disagree more.

    I think that who we need in charge of health-care/education/etc is not political professionals, but health-care/education/etc. professionals.

    politics don't belong in our classrooms or in our hospitals. I don't want a man who thinks that the internet is "a series of tubes" to have any say over net neutrality. I don't want CEO's of multinational oil companies in charge of a war.
  18. May 22, 2007 #17
    I don't see how that's incompatible with what I was saying.
  19. May 22, 2007 #18
    Ok, I just scanned it checking to see if you meant republican instead of democracy, and seeing nothing of the sort, I didn't bother reading it.

    We have a republican form of government, not democratic. Think of mob rule when you think democracy - the majority stirred up by leaders seldom show good judgement.

    A republican form of government is one where the people are governed by and with the consent of the people.

    The people generally write a contract with all agreeing to abide by the contract, and abiding by the contract being critical to one's honor in society.

    We normally call it a constitution, or rule of law.

    To help ensure the contract is honored, power is split in many ways, and the power to act is limited by the contract.

    Think of the US government operating as a somewhat pragmatic form of concensus.

    The problem of "lesser of two evils" is the result of adopting "democracy" as the basis of picking those people the people consent to have govern the people. If concensus is the basis for selecting a representative, then pick the one most people agree to represent them.

    This is advocated by Libertarians, tho it isn't their invention. It is called approval voting, and it is commonly used in a restricted mode for electing at-large candidates.

    You simply vote for every candidate on the list you approve of for the office. You vote for zero, one, two, three, all. Your choice. The candidate with the most votes is approved of by the largest number of people. This allows the person with no position on the hot issues to be chosen for his fair dealings with all sides.
  20. May 23, 2007 #19
    I wasn't talking about the US or any country in particular. This is simply how I personally think an ideal society would operate (realistically ideal, that is; in an ideal society everyone would be nice and rules would not be needed tra-la-la-la :rofl:).

    Sorry if I misunderstood. What I got from you was the idea of professional politicians put in charge, which would be the exact opposite.
  21. May 23, 2007 #20
    Yes, in charge of the government, not of everything. You wouldn't appoint your chief of medicine for having a PhD in poli sci or anything, he'd have a doctorate in medicine. That's because the chief of medicine is a 'professional' healer. Similarly, your head of state should be a 'professional' politician.

    That's the idea I was trying to express, in a nutshell.

    Corollary: 'Professional' and 'Specialized' are interchangeable in this context. I use professional because professionalism implies a salary, which is how this started. A specialist wouldn't be as good a specialist if he had to support himself with some other activity.
    Last edited: May 23, 2007
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook