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Mohamed Mortada

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Alternative for Democracy

Democracy lacks coherence with the imperfect nature of human beings. Decisions shouldn't be taken by majorities since we have no guarantees that these majorities are right. Giving the same amount of votes for everyone means putting someone's education on the same level with another person's ignorance. Also, decision are hardly based on analysis and studies.

The idea is still theoretic but I propose giving the power to the debate that occurs between specialists in the first place and commoners on a second level. The idea consists of a scientific method which calculates advantages and disadvantages on different levels (environmental, economic, educational...) The project that provides success on more levels is executed. The matter becomes more of a democracy of advantages rather than of people.

There are laws for debating and there is a council that organizes debates. Every town, city or public institution would have a council. For now I believe that a competition is made for assigning council members which aren't more than employees but the matter is debatable.

It is possible to change every detail by debate in this system but the main idea remains the same.

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  • Feb 10 2013: The problem is that people think that government must make all of society's decisions. This places tremendous amounts of power in the government. That government then becomes vulnerable to charismatic takeover as happened in the often cited case of Germany. Germany was a democracy and still wound up a dictatorship when it placed too much faith in its government.

    Powerful governments also generate corruption and graft. There is no point in bribing a government official who can do nothing for you.

    I think that it would be far better to let people to make their own decisions to the greatest extent possible. The only function of a good government is to protect the rights of the people. If government was restricted to this role then your ideas would actually be implemented automatically.
    • Feb 11 2013: Your proposition concerning taking absolute power from governments makes a lot of sense actually and when I think about it being done in my country it seems a good plan.

      But, the people shouldn't take their own decisions since they aren't mature enough or into technical details as much as specialists and scientists... This might sound crazy but governments and parliaments shouldn't exist at all. They vote and voting as I believe doesn't produce necessarily a healthy choice.

      Of course my ideas are still theoretical and need a lot of testing before being implemented. And if proven successful a proper transition should be provided.
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    Feb 17 2013: The Republic was a significant improvement to democracy. Unfortunately, we're presently witnessing exactly how an uneducated, immoral, and divided vulgus can create opportunity for criminals to rip a republic apart at the highest levels.
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      Feb 18 2013: As one of the vulgus, I take umbrage at the thought that I would create opportunities for those whose appetite for power is all consuming. I am a gentle soul that takes every word of my fellows as truthful as any word of mine. I do not see insincerity. I want all us in our society to be successful in their endeavors, to reach for their own stars and live their own lives. I do not see us as immoral, uneducated or divided. Those are terms spoken by those who seek power and are used to steal our trust and our faith. This is also why I believe that individual rights are the highest order in a society and the society has it's foremost authority to insure those rights are never violated.
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    Feb 16 2013: There is a lot of well thought out points being made about the inefficiencies of government and how a society could function without. There in lies my problem. A society really needs some rule to function. Let us assume that the members of the society have come together, establish those rules and all members agreed to abide by them. I am not familiar with detailed governmental process in other countries, but I am with my country. There are over 300 million citizens in this country. Under our present system, we have 3 levels of governance. Each citizen elects representatives to do all the work of governance. On the Federal level, Each of us votes for a president/vice president and 2 members of congress. There are 50 states, each of us votes for a governor and a member of legislature. Locally, each of us votes for councilman, maybe a mayor, sheriff and a judge. Federal government is limited to a president/vice president and and 535 congressman. States have one governor and may average less then 100 legislators. Counties have a Sheriff and a Judge. Cities and towns have one mayor and a dozen councilmen.
    There are probably 30,000 doing the governance of 300 million. Now one may question effectiveness of this system, but I question the numbers. If we were to implement such a system how many people and how much time would be needed to organized and debate the issues as have been described and that must be addressed. If I extrapolate from just what happens on a small city level, the numbers on the national scale is exponential. There comes a point of diminishing returns. Perhaps our current system is not as precise as that proposed, but it is probably good enough as they say "for government work"
    • Feb 16 2013: Well I never said there will be no rule. There will always be police, FBI for the US or intelligence and armies and an actual system based on laws, punishment, rights and duties... The idea seems too abstract but debates will actually rule not governments.

      The biggest flaw the system I proposed has, is the fact that it takes much more time to make decisions. Dictatorship breaks the record for the fastest decision maker and democracy follows. When I try to theoretically apply this system on my country where every municipality has a voting council of about 5 people, I see the numbers not really changing. The council that used to vote, now organizes debates (obviously not the same people).

      I admit the system is still theoretical and needs further and further studies and trials before being executed. Now, when it comes to a national debate, people ask me how are you going to make a whole population participate (even with a priority for specialists it still would be huge). The point is, there will be representation but not a formal one done by a congressman or a councilman...

      To make things more concrete you live in Los Angeles and in one week there will be a national debate about legalizing marijuana. Basically what happens is all private communities in the US interested in the issue assemble and choose one person or many (could be by voting I don't really care how) and write their arguments and send this person to Washington where the debate happens. If one representative got on stage and listed all the supporting arguments, there is no need for anybody else from the same opinion to say it again. If he missed a point or two or whatever, another representative will fill the gap.
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        Feb 16 2013: OK,
        The debates will rule, and the "government offices " will carry out the rules coming from the debate conclusions. Do I understand your proposal? If that is correct, the difference I see as compared to my country is that we elect members of the "debate groups" for fixed periods to come to conclusions for the government office to effect. My "debate groups" (federal congress, state legislatures, local councils) debate all issues and can call on experts as needed to address those issues.
        If I understand you proposal, the debate councils formed as needed to conduct the debates and submit conclusions for execution. This may work in a relatively small nation, I am perplex to see how it would work in a country like the USA, India, China, Russia, or even Indonesia.
        However, if a people can see a benefit to this form of social order (basically that's what national government is about) I would say... go for it. Every peoples deserve the right to determine their own destiny. I criticize my own government for it's policy of "encouraging" other counties to emulate ours. Americans for the most part like the way they are governed. Other people may want an entirely different way of governance. That's great. The only stipulation I would make is that people decide for themselves. They should never be forced to accept a social order.
        • Feb 17 2013: Yeah you got it! I explained a bit about the selection of the council members below for
          Krisztián. I think you're totally right when you say that not every country should be democratic and I don't believe neither that every country should adopt my proposal neither. What works for you doesn't necessarily work for others.

          Well I think there is a contradiction of visions that doesn't need to be or perhaps can't be resolved. You see the people responsible for their own fate and decisions while I see them unqualified to make their own path.
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    Feb 15 2013: democracy does not work

    formal structures limiting democracy work even less, as they suffer the same problems, but lack flexibility

    the only stable system is freedom
    • Feb 15 2013: Can you please explain how this applies on the proposed system and tell more about these problems?
      Freedom without limits isn't a stable system at all. And I tell you this from one of the most chaotic countries on earth. Freedom is essential but an overdose of it may be fatal. And our civil war, the Lebanese civil war stands witness to such statement.
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        Feb 15 2013: Your point is taken. Here in American, we are fortunate to have and see many working forms of governance. Democracy as a political system is only valid in small groups, such as villages in some of our states. There have been small societies that have practiced communism. For a nation, I believe the best form of governance is a constitutional republic.The constitution must be acceptable to all of the people. It should be very direct as to the responsibilities and the tasks of the governing body. there should be a system of checks and balances in the government. And, it should have provisions to insure the people to address grievances and allow it citizens to hold whatever means to remove the government even if by force if it violates the tenants of the constitution.
        • Feb 15 2013: Ok, but a government by nature is subject to mistakes. And if it made any mistakes the people shall elect another government. This is democracy in its best shape. What I am proposing is a system that takes our human faulty nature into account thus, dodging most wrong decisions that could be taken. (maybe I am repeating myself, sorry for that)

          Constitutions are mandatory and should exist everywhere, but do we have to have a government? I don't really see why we should have an executive power and a constitutional power. Various debate councils can dig into both types of issues and still make better decisions than republics (in theory).
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        Feb 15 2013: the question boils down to: how do you set up the rules? more precisely, who is authorized to change them. if there are officials, who appoint them? if there is disagreement, who decides? the dynamics is that sooner or later people decide. majority option always wins, except in the case of dictatorship. so either this or that, after some time, every system must be poplar vote or a coercive rule of some elite.

        basically that happened already. if you look at the history of democracies, you see the tendency how principles decline, and popularity grows. first, everone was keen on personal freedom, due process, and all sort of moral principles that can not be violated, even if the system itself would allow them. but we observe the erosion of such principles, because they are backed only by tradition, and not popularity. the "land of the free" now has atrocious laws that allow authorities to detain people without due process, search houses without court order, assassinate people abroad even with "collateral damage" (aka dead children), and intrude people's private life in many many ways. what happened? people actually vote for these monsters. bush was reelected. obama just got reelected. people are okay with it. whatever these psychopaths do, is approved by the people. it is not unique. i see this all around europe, and in all the new democracies.

        your plan is to re-establish some moral self-control to democracy. but we've been there. we came from there. it does not last.
        • Feb 15 2013: The basic rules will be have flaws, and I have set some of them. Flaws will be taken away by debating each rule. Everybody is authorized to change any rule he or she wants. The decision is granted to the cause that is supported by more arguments. Majorities aren't involved.
          The extreme case explains how this works: If you are one person and all the other people in your country are against you and you present more arguments supporting your cause than they do, your proposal gets executed.
          The system has nothing to do with numbers of people. It rather deals with numbers of advantages.

          e.g: If a plumber proposes a change in a law, he should take his case to the local municipal council where it will be debated. If his proposal shows more advantages than disadvantages, it will be taken to the council of the district. If it succeeds again, it will be debated in the council of the governorate. If it makes it, the national council will debate it and if it succeeds, it will be executed. If it fails at any stage, the issue will not be debated for another number of years set by the laws.

          Each argument should be supported by a fact, statistic or study from a credible source in order to be valid.

          I hope that answers your inquiries.
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        Feb 16 2013: you commit the error to look at a snapshot, assuming that at a certain point everything is fine. two problems with it. first: you can not miraculously create such a system, it has to be created. but most importantly, second: it will evolve with time.

        who decides who is on the council? if not sooner, the members will die, and you need to elect new members. how do you make it sure the new members will match the original criteria? if people choose new members, slowly the council becomes populist. if the old members choose the new members, the council will slowly drift to a random direction. it this system, there is nothing that pushes the council to the right direction. election pushes to the popular direction. self-containment lets the council drift randomly.

        you make a serious error using words like "should". a system or a group has its own dynamic, and the dynamic is written in the rules. your declared goals have zero effect on the outcome. your set of rules are nothing but democracy with a lot of checks and rigid structure. it slows things down, and only because of that, it looks better. but the system still lacks any feedback on the quality of decisions. the only feedback is their popularity, or none at all.

        freedom, on the other hand, has the right feedbacks. if we do not have central solutions, but rather, we have a multitude of competing solutions, regardless of popularity, some of them will be a success, and others will be a failure. people will feel the immediate feedback on their own decisions. there is no public debate, popular vote, or anything like that. you go your way, i go my way, and we see which works better.
        • Feb 17 2013: Well like any other job, you have to study in college for it and earn a degree in order to work. So there will be a managing debates major where all the graduates are able to apply for the job. There will be a competition (like an exam) and the first five scores fill the seats of a council.

          One of the rules of the debates is that when a council makes a decision he should back it up with arguments. What will always be under examination is the council's objectivity and there will be agents investigating any breach of such objectivity. If a breach occurs, it will jeopardize the council's position. We should understand that these councils don't have any decisive power. They are just a medium between the debate and the debaters.

          I think now that the best way to judge this system is through trials. It has a rigid structure and it isn't fast when it comes to deciding but at least we now that their decisions are more correct than other systems.

          You're right when you say this can't be miraculously implemented. If it were to be executed, a proper transition should be planned ahead.

          Concerning the competition of choices, I think my system makes the best competition. Imagine different engineers or architects or doctors... debating their projects in order to get them executed. The decision will be much more rational and will be eventually justified with concrete evidence.

          Again, popularity doesn't matter at all. If a really unpopular case such as increasing taxes had the proper arguments and showed more advantages than disadvantages, it will succeed in debate and eventually be executed despite popular rejection.
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    Feb 15 2013: Didn't Plato put this together about 2500 years ago?
    • Feb 15 2013: The way I see it, I share ideas with Socrates (and I am not sure about Plato) but the context and the practicality are different. Their method of debate wasn't regarded as a ruling system. It was merely regarded as a way to solve philosophical debates. It was a debate between two hypothesis about love for example. The one that generates contradiction is eliminated. I am proposing a different approach but yes you could say it is the same basic idea. And debates in this system are between engineering projects or external policies... rather than theories.

      Well I don't know if you want to call it plagiarism, because I think you are partly right.