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Hacking democracy: a simple, legal way to put the power in the hands of the people

Literally all the problems in the way we're governed right now are due to the people with decision making power being disconnected from their constituents. No one except those running the military industrial complex want our tax dollars to fund endless war. No one except the bankers want our tax dollars to bail them out.

Occupy wall street, anonymous hacking government emails, peaceful protestors yelling at passerbys on weekends, hundreds of thousands of people signing online petitions, anarchists dropping out of college to go live in the woods, these techniques have not proven at all effective in fixing the broken system. No one seems to want to get to the root of the problem, the power structure itself.

I propose an online direct democracy system that any registered voter can use (not only members of a particular political party) that would allow every citizen in a community to propose, edit, upvote, comment, and vote on legislation that impacts their community. But this system is toothless without the hacking democracy part of my plan.

A person (not a politician) runs for office under the platform that he will exclusively use this decentralized decision making process to make decisions. Imagine that instead of his own brain deciding whether or not to pass legislation, he agrees to submit to the whims of the people. He will still be proposing legislation through this system, but now everyone can. If he has good ideas, the citizens will vote for his legislation. If he doesn't, he can just execute the legislation his constituents come up with.

I have a million bulletproof counter-arguments for any criticism of direct democracy & I have the time to explain them to you, but the most important idea you need to consider is this: we need to incrementally improve the system. No one is going to come up with a plan tomorrow that fixes all of society's problems and instantaneous paradigm shifts aren't practical.

Check out my site: http://hackingdemocracy.wordpress.com

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  • Feb 26 2013: I appreciate your response and the amount of thought you have applied. I will check out your site.

    As far as the isolation, I never meant to imply that the Federal government should not have a role. I only said that it should be severely limited; my observations from our past and present mistakes.

    What you are suggesting is similar to what my brother and I have discussed, but we keep running into trouble when we apply full-blown democracy at a national level. The argument is, as you point out, that people will have a say directly in legislation, but when one reads Facebook postings......Then there is the polling. People contradict themselves all the time. They want their freedoms or benefits, but are unwilling to allow someone else theirs.

    I just have to ponder whether we have evolved enough to bear the burden of such a responsibility over our fellow man. Have you read Alexis de Tocqueville?

    As far as a societal collapse, I don't know what will happen. Have you tried hiring someone to do a job? A society's value is not in its money, but rather its human capital and ability to utilize its resources. Yes, there are good hard working people out there, but I have seen the change over the last twenty years, and five or ten percent of the population cannot do all the work or all the thinking. There has been a conditioning process which has effected self-reliance and durability. Some will say it is the double-edged sword of prosperity, and this is an aspect you should consider when contemplating how effective democracy will work in the near future (50-100 years).

    Maybe, whether with your or our present system, we will naturally move towards another societal state no matter what we do.

    Sadly, Mankind seems to have to suffer at his own hand before he learns, and the secret, I believe, is an honest chronicling of those mistakes for future generations. How with the power structure as it is? I wish I knew.
    • Feb 27 2013: If you believe the federal government should be severely limited, you should be a proponent of hacking democracy. For some reason this is difficult to explain to people: hacking democracy is not a new form of government. It's a mechanism to decentralize decision making power.

      For instance: when legislation was passed in the 1800s strengthening the power of the federal government, those decisions, or legislation, was drafted and voted into law by the elected leaders at the time. These changes in how the government works were made by citizens. Hacking democracy would just give more citizens a say. I personally agree that federal government should be toned down, if not entirely eliminated. I think enough other people would agree that legislation could be proposed & voted on using direct democracy and executed by hacking democracy.

      I sincerely believe that using this system I'm proposing would point out the flaws of democracy at a national level. But then again, real democracy has never been tried at the national level. It would certainly work for some legislation, such as funding a national army, or making murder illegal. But more nuanced topics like gun rights or abortion probably are best left to different states.

      As far as whether or not we're evolved enough to be adults, I think we can't know until we try. We know it's useful to pool our resources as a society. That's why civilization exploded out of the fertile crescent, almost eradicating tribal life, which had worked for thousands of years.

      You hit the nail on the head with "mankind needs an honest chronicling of his mistakes for future generations." Hacking democracy does this by making every single piece of legislation (like concerning election fundraising, drug laws, defense budget allocation, anything) have to provide a mechanism for feedback. This can be anything from a simple survey to an analysis of our lakes and streams. It might not be perfect, but it's better than nothing.

      Thanks for responding!
      • Feb 27 2013: Austin, you are welcome. I hope to understand this hacking democracy better and discuss this further at a later date. I appreciate the debate. Thank you.

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