Jimmy Strobl

This conversation is closed.

Does your country have an Electronic Direct Democratic (E2D) party?

I'm curious to find TEDsters who know of, or are members of any E2D party that might exist in your home country.

I'd like to hear some of the success stories you've had and how the general implementation of the party is going.

I'd also really like to talk to and/or help anyone thinking of starting a new E2D party in a country.

In case you haven't heard of E2D (which most of you likely haven't) I'll provide a link to the manifesto here: http://e2d-international.org/manifesto/

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    Jun 8 2013: The only way we (the people of planet Earth) are going to impliment sane management is to demand it as one voice. That can be done simply by polling and allowing the majority to rule, within certain guidelines. The basic right to live as we wish so long as we do not harm others for example would be foundational. The reason racial pregudice is illegal in most of the world is because that is the wish of the majority. Lets not fall into the Marxist idea that the people are too stupid to rule themselves. Personally, I would take the group intellect of the voting public over elected representives any day. Stupid people are rare. Stupid politicians are commonplace. Would the people have chosen to start a war based on a lie? I don't think so. Big money controls politics and manipulates the system for their own benefit. We now have the means to take control. All we need to do is conduct polls to determine the will of the peolple. Only absolute dictators would ignore it. Almost one half of the poopulation of Earth is online. We can now speak as one. We don't need representatives any more. We can speak for ourselves.
    • Jun 9 2013: The problem with majority rule is the potential for the manipulation of the masses.
      This is easily done when an uninformed public are given power. How is anyone expected to make good decisions when we do not have access to secret information? If governments have knowledge that the public doesn't have, the power of the majority is an illusion.
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        Jun 9 2013: The problem with representative majority rule is in the potential of manipulation of those few in power. Not only are they subjected to media and societal influence just as much as any other person. But they are also easy to target for corruption. They are generally I'll informed on the decisions they make as they have to make so many decisions that they know little or nothing about.

        If you for example look at the SOPA and PIPA debates in congress it's clear that many of them don't even have basic understanding of the web and how it works.

        The majority is not subject to lobbying and I therefore think that it's easier to manipulate the few then the many.
  • Jun 8 2013: Interesting conversation, I help manage the E2D site although I am not directly involved in any of the E2D parties.

    Just to clarify E2D was set up by a number of electronic direct democracy parties around the world to support each other, and hopefully build a collective like the Pirate Party.


    A couple of notes on the comments in this conversation:

    - Tyranny of the majority: It is an important consideration, what would have happened to Japanese Americans immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor if the majority of Americans decided policy? Well in a representative democracy many were imprisoned without trial... but it is still important to consider and there are unlimited forms a DD system can take, it is up to the original designers of the system (the DD parties at this point), and then that system will probably incorporate paths to evolve according to the populations wishes. There is no reason why a DD system could not continue to have a bill of rights and constitution protecting minorities etc..

    An example: SenatorOnline party Australia (if I remember correctly) only wants to field candidates for the senate, which has one senator per state, the senators are like the rubber stamp on policy created in the lower house, so the old political system exists were elected representatives debate and create policy, then the DD system acts through its elected senator/s as a public rubber stamp on all policy - the public gets to vote on whether any legislation is allowed to pass - majority rule.

    - Online Party of Canada is active and is fielding a number of candidates and has active debates: http://www.onlineparty.ca/

    - USA: I have come across a number of initiatives there but none like standard E2D parties: http://e2d-international.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=137


    If anyone wants to join in the E2D forums let me know (Jimmy, we have your party listed but I am not sure if you have an account?), currently new members are not registering due to too many spam accounts.
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      Jun 8 2013: Hi Sven,

      I'm so pleased that you decided to join this Conversation, and I'd like to give you a warm welcome to the TED community! Thanks for your explanation about E2D (and DD), any backup that I get on this Conversation saves me a lot of effort and time. And it also strengthens our message if we are more that are putting up different perspectives and explanations for E2D.

      I haven't checked the forum section on E2D at all actually, I usually keep to the Swedish party's website concerning questions on DD and E2D.
      I would be grateful if you could give a heads up when it's possible to register once again and I'll do that and join a discussion or two.
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      Jun 8 2013: Thanks, Sven, for being willing to engage with people who have questions!
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        Jun 9 2013: Fritzie, You asked some questions in a Conversation that has closed and there is no option of emailing you since your profile is protected so I'll leave a link to the conversation with the questions and answers to them here, I hope that's okay.

        Conversation Link: http://www.ted.com/conversations/18831/is_there_anywhere_irc_channel.html

        TED seems to welcome this. Part of mail from TED Conversations Admin Morton Bast:

        "I'd like to thank you as well for your enthusiastic "TED Improvement" conversation and wiki -- we're always happy to hear opinions and feedback -- but I'd also like to caution you that making changes to TED.com is a long process that requires the approval of quite a few very busy people. I'm very impressed with your community leadership, but I also want to make sure that you're prioritizing your efforts appropriately. Thank you so much for understanding."

        I am very well aware of Ladan's Conversation, it is link number two in the explanation of my Conversation. And when you read through it you'll see my comment's throughout that Conversation. The same goes for the Conversation (TED staff) Will True had. And just about every conversation about improving TED in some way.

        I've been on this for a long time.

        I do not wish to pressure TED in any way, I wish to collect and refine ideas about all aspects of improving TED, those ideas that are sound will be much more likely to be implemented when they are refined and presented in a comprehensible way.

        I'm not sure if you're asking if it's too "self-promotional " to have this conversation and Wiki or something like that with the last section? The Wiki clearly states that it's an "unofficial, user generated Wiki" right on the start page...

        I'd like to continue to answer any questions or statements you might have about the Conversation or Wiki as I don't think that we're completely in sync here, and I think that we can and should be.

        But it's perhaps best to do on the Conversation in question.
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      Jun 8 2013: Sven

      The internment was reactionary and stupid which sums up the POTUS at that time.

      On the other hand slavery would not have been abolished if left to the rule of the majority or women's suffrage or prohibition.

      The collective is easily influenced. The danger of this is best illustrated by looking at the willing financial enslavement that the tyranny of the majority produces in most western countries.

      In other words it creates a consensus, the fundamental problem is that truth comes from individuals not collectives.
      • Jun 8 2013: Tyranny of the majority:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyranny_of_the_majority

        "Limits on the decisions that can be made by majorities, as through supermajority rules, constitutional limits on the powers of a legislative body, or the introduction of a Bill of Rights, have been used to counter the problem"

        There is no reason why these protections could not exist in a DD system.

        An effective DD system like E2D parties wish to create has never been tested on a social level before so it is impossible to say whether this theoretical problem would develop, there are many who say it would not and that minorities would be safer under a DD than the concentration of power in the hands of the few which exists in a Representative Democracy.

        Most E2D parties wish to initially function within existing government frameworks so courts, separation of powers, presidential veto's etc would all still exist, it is not an overnight jump into a pure direct democracy and these dangers could be tested and controlled, if the population feels the system is safe it could evolve accordingly.
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          Jun 9 2013: I see a problem with that, our constitution is set up differently very much focused on assuaging the problems of the tyranny of the majority. But no doubt the current POTUS has demonstrated his willingness to pervert the constitution so who knows?

          I guess my main point would be that if you reduce the cost of goverment it will be much harder for the lobbyists or the cronys or the majority to get something for nothing as the money just is not there.

          Truthfully this is just a math problem, the balance sheet of the U.S. and most of the western countries simply is FUBAR. We have 20 trillion in current debt with at least another 100 (maybe 200) trillion in unfunded liabilities. So looking at which is the best form of democracy is really rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We either steer around the ice berg (which is probably impossible now) or your point is MOOT.
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        Jun 9 2013: Pat,

        How do you think that the slaves and women would have voted on the issue of them being free and equal?
        And OBVIOUSLY there were a lot of men who thought that everyone should be free and equal. By majority rule these things would have happened a lot quicker and without all the bloodshed.
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          Jun 9 2013: The point is tyranny of the majority which in both cases the majority of the voters did not want them to have the right to vote.

          In the south the majority did not want abolition, what the slaves wanted was irrelevant to the voters of the south. Lincoln himself did not free the slaves in the north, only the southern slaves to aid the north in the war.

          Women's suffrage was less popular than giving the vote to Blacks.

          In western countries the majority (which are more socialist than free market) of voters vote for economic enslavement to as much as 70% of their income to pay the taxes of the government who de facto has no accountability to the people. Absolutely tyranny of the majority.

          Again you are talking about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
        • Jun 10 2013: If the majority of the population is socialist and believes in funding a central government for socialist projects, and a minority of the population is free market, but government policy is dictated to the majority by the free market minority, isn't that tyranny by a minority?
  • Jun 28 2013: I'm a late comer to this conversation and I have a number of points to make on this topic and they do not fit in one window. I have included them in comments to my first comment.

    I have found this an interesting adventure in a lack of understanding. While I appreciate your desire to build a system which better represents each person’s thoughts/desires/ demands, there are so many issues that could only work if people were honest, informed, able to forego the me to better serve the rest, and the list goes on and on. If all these unstated assumptions were true, the current systems would be working so effectively and efficiently you would not be seeking an alternative.

    I’ve been rather harsh in my comments, but the idea of direct democracy is a worthy goal. I would like to see some rigor in the arguments. I hope you would restart this conversation and start with a goal or problem statement, include your assumptions, and then let us lay out a means to accomplish the goal or correct the problem.

    One strong point you have going for you is you have outlined a number of the concerns with the current system. However, you never addressed some of the reason why it is how it is. If you had you would have recognized the each underlying assumption for your own system are unlikely true and nearly impossible to make true. Thus whatever follows is futile.

    While you do a fair job at describing the problem you want to solve I have a hard time seeing what are you wanting as the outcome of this thing you call DD? Mostly what I hear is, utopia? Let’s suspend human nature, limits of technology, and specifically capabilities of internet security. I appreciate the arguments, but you fail to address even the smallest of reasons why, in my opinion, they never and note NEVER will work.

    More to follow.
    • Jun 30 2013: Hi Milo,
      I agree there are many issues and one conversation is not going to cover them all and is too convoluted to work towards solutions to them all. In the E2D forum I have tried to restructure the forums into areas of concern in a tree structure where these issues can be discussed in general and specifically for the E2D parties and how they implement their systems.
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    Jun 16 2013: "Can you give examples of situations you feel where delegation would endanger a DD system? "
    Easily and plentifully.

    Any vulnerable person can be coerced or manipulated into giving their vote to another.

    Possible scenario's?
    - old folks homes - sign here oh yes this is good for you trust me trust me
    - mentally challenged persons - oh yes sign here this is good for you trust me trust me
    - immigrants - sign here or you'll wish you had trust me trust me this is good for you
    - destitute poor, I offer you $100 cash to delegate me your vote you don't believe is worth anything but now its a months food. In fact I offer to buy anyones vote willing to sell it for 1-$200 (or another figure) say I buy a million of them, now its cost me what ? $200 million dollars? And I use those votes to get my guy, or gal in, who creates , removes a law that will benefit me to the tune of a billion dollars and perhaps even at the expense of the poor suckers who sold me their votes.
    -Another scenario? A whack of us delegate to Honest Jack. Jack doesn't vote as promised, he votes the other way. We take our vote back but too late, damage is done. What then?

    ..there is a very long list
    meanwhile while the honorable persons cast their vote, the dishonorable persons cast thousands
    to me, the DAMAGE this could do is far greater than any possible good

    If a person does not care enough to vote, is incapable of understanding to vote, then perhaps they need to trust the majority who are voting their conscience.

    One person one vote / Security / Anonymity / watchdog rights over your own vote to know its counted.

    So far that seems to be the least risky proposition to me.

    Sven, I think in order to plan to succeed we must build the system with the expectation that "someone" is going to go to extremes to take advantage of any flaws. Otherwise, when someone does and they will, it will be alot tougher to regain credibility, than it is to protect it
    • Jun 16 2013: I mentioned some DD parties feel the risks you present are high enough to not allow delegation.

      In practice what I have heard and seen from active DD parties is participation is a problem. The average person is not interested in working for their freedom, they would rather someone else work for them. In my mind this is probably the largest subconscious reason why people are ambivalent or reject DD and are happy with the representative system.

      I see a danger in not giving delegation, if a huge group of the population go into vote overload having to study and manually vote on each issue, they will stop voting, and that will give a dedicated perhaps unethical group or minority a larger sway if they can mobilize their members to vote.


      Elderly/mentally challenged/immigrants - being manipulated into voting a certain way: Yes this can happen, and it can happen in any voting system. Its effects are larger under delegation because the manipulation is persistent but there are a few points:
      - What percentage of the population fits into this group, is it large enough to truly be problematic.
      - Degenerating delegation: If people have to manually renew their delegations every year that group has to go around each one of those people each year to continue to get the vote.
      - If one group can do it then many can, you may get the situation where these people have someone knocking on their door everyday, which cancels out the effect of a single group gaining too much power.
      - If society or ethical groups in society became aware of this they would counter it, by visiting these people, educating them.

      When you add all of the above solutions together will the effect really be disastrous? We are talking about a fraction of the population, able individuals will not delegate their vote to someone who then votes against their wishes, and if they do they have the freedom to do so. I strongly feel the argument people are not smart or responsible enough is no reason to take away their vote
    • Jun 16 2013: Vote buying: If society is responsible they make it illegal and have it policed.

      But even if it is not policed, which I think it should, people have the freedom to vote and delegate the way they choose, if they felt the gain of getting a couple of bucks was worth the delegation then they have the freedom to do this.

      In Thailand vote buying is endemic, the population thinks hey all politicians are crooks and is going to serve self interest once they get in so I may as well get some bucks from it. On many issues people can go either way so why not take the way that gives you something directly.

      I think there is a correlation to Alaska (correct me if I am wrong) where the oil company's give every citizen a check each year in return for extracting and shipping abroad the oil wealth of the state. Pretty much vote buying but, assuming the decision was made by representatives following the majorities wishes, the people chose that the cold cash was worth any damage done by those private companies.

      If vote buying became endemic then it would be reported by the media, by groups that are against the decisions being made from vote buying, and the population would know about it and respond accordingly. Again, what portion of the population would fall for this and what portion would fight against it. If a majority fall for it then again they have the freedom to act how they choose, and have to deal with the consequences. As long as the DD freedom persists once they realize they have sold their souls or their children's future they will start to grow up.


      Honest Jack:
      I mentioned in an earlier post that people who accept delegated votes could be forced to commit their vote before the end of voting, giving people time to see and pull back their delegated vote if they do not agree with how it is being using.

      Also the system is fluid, if this happened the population could immediately remove their delegated votes and introduce a new bill rejecting the previous dishonest action.
    • Jun 16 2013: p.s. I also do not agree with the argument that if people are too lazy to vote their wishes should not be considered. I am a busy person and personally not interested in studying every issue that governs me, but I still want my vote heard. If I have to do that myself, and issues are being presented every day or few days, it is just too much. But I am happy to pass that on to someone I trust (who might then pass it on to someone they trust).


      Another suggestion I support is allowing delegation by topic, again it is not a simple issue and I have some discussion of this at the E2D forums, but an individual could pass their delegated vote to many people. eg: pass my vote on taxation issues to my accountant, community issues to my pastor, education issues to my Mother, and so on. Each issue would have to be weighted where in the 'topic tree' it falls, but this would give even more freedom and flexibility for the individual to set up their proxies and not have to vote again, knowing their votes are being applied by people they trust are education on each issue.
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        Jun 17 2013: Sven,

        I'm reading all the posts here and I'm really learning a lot from you. My participation may seem small but that's because I have nothing to add that you haven't said, I couldn't put anything in a better way.

        You're doing a great job here and I hope that you're going to be able to continue having this Conversation for another two weeks.
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          Jun 22 2013: Sven, you mentioned " laws making it illegal to force an elected representative to vote a certain way" Could you please be specific I would like to read these with a critical eye. I've once or twice read the elections canada laws and never noticed it.
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        Jun 20 2013: Sven,

        In reading and re-reading your comments I KNEW they had value and yet I was uncertain as to how to incorporate that safely into a system until right now.

        It just struck me like a glop of ice falling from a clear sky.

        The Online Party under Michael Nicula www.onlineparty.ca somewhere states that its representative will have a "default position" and that this default position may be changed by the majority vote on any given issue.

        With respect to delegating a vote, one could consider they were delegating to the OP representative.
        • Jun 21 2013: Some the the E2D parties have policy like this, I believe they are trying to ensure that a reasonable viewpoint is voted on by their representative/s in the event there is not a clear majority or there is not an effective quorum (number of voters) to ensure a strong unbiased position on any topic.

          I am not convinced it is a good idea, it could be abused or could be perceived as being abused, ie the DD party convinces everyone to vote their candidates in, then through some design say their candidate chose the "default position", whatever that is.

          Many are dedicated to presenting scientific evidence as part of their platform so the public has unbiased expert opinion, and I am guessing default position is based on that. I am more of a purist, believing the candidates should abstain in the event the public's vote cannot be tallied, and then use methods such as delegation to increase participation. I am not saying my way is right, all paths are probably fine if they are built on an ethical base.


          Keep in mind there are many forms of DD being presented by E2D parties, any one cannot be viewed as representative of the DD movement as a whole. Even the E2D manifesto is only a working document some of the parties worked on a few years back, it gives a basic oversight but the parties have not gotten around to finalizing it, and there are sometimes discussions about making changes (the parties are much more focused on their local work than developing the E2D international collective, which is understandable).
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        Jun 22 2013: About vote delegation.

        A thought struck me that vote delegation is not something determined by a party, but rather something determined by in Canada's case, elections Canada.

        If this is the case (is it?) then vote delegation is in the same boat as any and all other issues as it would require a majority vote by a combination of the MP's at Parliament and is not decided on a per party basis.

        Sven you seem to know the most about this. Can you enlighten us?
        • Jun 22 2013: Within the scope of the DD party and their candidates I do not think there is any law governing this, except I believe laws making it illegal to force an elected representative to vote a certain way, which in effect a DD party is doing (the candidates are expected to vote according to the majority vote of their constituency). The way around this is that there is no contract of forcing of the candidates, just an 'understanding', obviously if a candidate did not vote the way of the majority then they would not be a candidate for that party next time around.

          E2D parties are working within existing election frameworks, and have to obey the law like any other political party. Changes to the laws can be made once their is enough support from the population and the enough DD candidates are voted in (or other representatives agree), but again only if the population at that point wants the laws changed.


          I am not sure but maybe you are referring to the representative system itself? ie elections Canada has a structure where a candidate must be fielded, and if that candidate is elected that is the same as delegation? In a way with traditional representative democracy parties (what we have now) whenever you vote for a candidate you are, kind of, delegating your vote to them (but they can act any way they chose once elected). This is different to delegation in the sense of a DD party.

          In a DD party you can have no delegation, or delegation. With no delegation every person has to manually vote themselves on any issue to have their vote counted. In a DD party with delegation any person can delegate their vote to anyone else, meaning they do not have to vote, if the person they delegated to votes the original persons vote goes the same way. All of these votes are then tallied for a result, the DD candidate who was elected then looks at the final tally and places their vote (in the actual representative government system) accordingly.

          I hope that makes sense..
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        Jun 20 2013: I tend to agree that I fear if delegation could be abused it would be, on a "may the richest" or " most feared" person win. Sven mentioned he felt that delegation could be protected from this sort of abuse, but did not specifically say how.
        • Jun 20 2013: Hi Juan
          Abuse of a delegation system is a valid fear, one person one vote is probably the safest option but the way I look at it is what are you going to be able to sell to the public to get a DD system in. Is rejecting delegation worth losing public support and being stuck with the flawed system we have now.

          I might be wrong but I think only a small portion of society is going to be prepared to study and then physically vote on each issue that is raised. The people that do will probably just check a social commentators stance and then vote accordingly, if they delegated their vote the result would be the same.

          This runs alongside the idea of public vs private voting, if voting is public there is little difference with adding in delegation. If voting was private however adding delegation will increase the effectiveness of forcing people to vote for you, because you will know they have delegated their vote to you. An alternative could be delegated votes are anonymous to the person receiving the delegation.

          Your civil rights example is interesting, I would point out that this happened in a representative system in America, and does it still happen today in America? I believe such instances are limited nowadays, how was this practice stopped? Through education but mainly through policing, if an employer tried to drive a truckload of employees to the polling office to vote a certain way they would not get very far, and likely land in prison.

          The solution to this under DD delegation I believe is the same as what has worked in America now, making it illegal, investigating it, making people aware of it, and policing against it.
        • Jun 20 2013: I also agree with you about the dangers of a good idea being branded as bad, I was talking with SOL in Australia about ensuring they had a good voting system lined up before gaining power (they don't), they run the risk of fighting tooth and nail to get a representative elected then not having the foundation of a secure and well thought out voting platform.

          If it does not perform well for the public, its security is breached, or it simply crashes from too much load the population could sour to the whole concept of DD, and any opponent of DD anywhere in the world will point to that failure as a reason not to trust the DD concept (one of Pat's strawman arguments).
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    Jun 12 2013: Arkady, Perhaps the cause of why the E2D sounds appealing could be discussed. In recent years polls have shown that politicians are about equalivent to used car salespeople in the USA. Laws have been passed admittedly without being read ... many in backrooms without the benefit of the other party being present .... many are by Executive Orders and "back doored" into existance.

    I have the same fears as Pat. The poor and middle class would continue to seek entitlements that would be impossiable to fund making work a poor alternative to staying home and being given every need through the taxation of others willing to work.

    Perhaps the easier solution would be to limit terms and government size by returning to a Constitutional government and allowing the states to address their needs at that level. Our elected officials have but two concerns election and re-election and I might add a third how many perks and means of obtaining wealth can be achieved while in the millionares club on the hill. They have legislated themselves elite status.

    A continuing joke in Illinois is that the dead still vote ... electronic voting has been subject to violations in monitored polling places where "precautions" are in place .... one man in Arizona "collected" four thousand mail in ballots and delivered them to the poll ... just helping his neighbors ... what a nice guy.

    This may work ... however, the greater problem is a government to large to support ... curruption .... etc. Once the power is returned to the states then other means can be examined and implemented in a government that is closer and more responsiable to the people.

    Maybe ... just maybe ... it would stop $50,000 a plate dinners to bash the wealthy ... a fool and his money .. etc...

    I wish you well. Bob.
    • Jun 22 2013: Perhaps we are no longer a democracy but have morphed in to a plutocracy? This may have spurred the interest in such things asE2D.
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        Jun 22 2013: In the case of the USA we are a Republic but your point still is valid.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
    • Jun 23 2013: Sometimes I wonder whether systems that incorporate electronic voting or direct democracy that have been tried before have intentionally been made to fail.

      It is difficult to excuse voting machines giving incorrect tallying, or punching holes in the wrong places. It is not really that complicated on a technical level.

      That is a bit of a conspiracy theory which I try to avoid, but in cases like this non-transparent private companies like Diebold have been commissioned by politicians to deliver an eVoting machine, what is delivered is proven to be a failure and the population gets scared of eVoting, cementing the need for representatives and inefficient hand voting. Next time around the same company is used..

      Your comment about the 4000 mail in ballots made me think of this, it is not that hard to regulate against voter fraud, or at least eliminate the bulk of it, if there is a bureaucratic and public will to do so. We have computers now, data is not that hard to cross-reference.


      One note I wanted to mention for a while here is there are already systems of direct democracy in our societies, but they are inefficient, to complicated, and can be ineffectual.

      Referendums - limited scope of what issues are being put on the ballot, getting asked the question once and then being stuck with the result, requirement to physically take time to visit a voting booth at a prescribed time.

      Citizen Initiatives - this is where if a certain number of signatures are collected over a set period of time the government has to address an issue (in some countries not, the government may "consider" the issue). The signature collecting process is so costly and difficult only groups with large resources can consider it, and in many countries any issue can be ignored or indefinitely delayed by politicians, making the process moot.


      Almost as if those who designed the systems (politicians) do not want them to be an effective way to judge public opinion.
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    Jun 12 2013: Arkady,

    It is exactly because of the political neutrality of the party that I support it. It means that the objective of the party is only to put this direct democracy in place, and all other issues would then be decided by that democracy in whose hands the power has been placed. Having any other stance would be like saying "We want to give you the power to have your voice heard, only if you agree to these conditions"
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    Jun 11 2013: One idea that makes sense is that development of technology made direct democracy across a large country possible. 200 years ago such system was practically impossible. The idea of replacing the house of representatives with a direct voting system could make sense.

    Senate with 2 senators per state regardless of population is supposed to prevent the tyranny of the majority which appears to be the major concern with DD. In E2D manifesto, I don't see any provisions for checks and balances against the tyranny of majority.

    It also seems to me that in modern society, "minority" means not as much a small state as some kind of social group which may be distributed across all states. Of course, Senate does not address this kind of disparity. Any ideas how to address this issue?
    • Jun 11 2013: Hi Arkady,
      I made a note earlier about possible solutions to the theoretical problem of a Tyranny of the majority, from Wikipedia I quoted solutions including limits on the decisions that can be made by majorities, as through super majority rules, constitutional limits on the powers of a legislative body, or the introduction of a Bill of Rights, these could all exist in a DD system.

      When a piece of legislation is being considered it is logical to allow it to pass or reject it according to the majority decision, otherwise you are following a minority decision. You can then have a legal process such as a constitution that protects every persons rights, and those of minorities.

      The majority might pass legislation saying anyone with a Japanese name has to pay twice as much tax, this gets challenged in a constitutional court and the legislation is rejected as discriminatory.

      There are many paths to protect against this concept, one path is requiring a super majority for certain legislation, for example changes to the core DD system itself, you might say a super majority of 80% support is needed to make changes to the core system, or 90%, or any value that is considered safe by the population. Society might choose that a super majority of 75% is needed to enact laws that might be considered discriminatory against minorities.

      I think it is far fetched to think that any developed Western country would try and be successful under a DD system in passing a law that states for example "Women cannot vote" or "Blacks should be slaves", we live in times where the majority of the population have reasonably strong morals.


      Senate with 2 senators per state regardless of population creates a situation where low population states have disproportionate sway in elections, there are many who feel this is unfair.
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        Jun 12 2013: But those safeguards are already extant with the Republic of the United States of America.

        But it is not farfetched that the majority will vote themselves public transfers as with the current POTUS. This is not just the poor but also with the middle class. Things like the mortgage deduction, social security and medicare and others, these are called entitlements but none the less are the biggest contributors to the coming bankruptcy of the U.S.

        The whole idea of 2 Senators from each state is to create fairness as the small population states have equal power in the Senate but are almost completly ignored in the House.
        • Jun 12 2013: Yes these safeguards exist in the representative system in the USA, and that is a good thing.

          They could also exist in a direct democracy. That is my point. You are rejecting a direct democracy because you fear a tyranny of the majority, but the same protections could exist that exist now.

          Yes the population could vote to remove these protections, but so can the current representative system using super majorities, so in a direct democracy you create the same, a difficult super majority is needed to amend the constitution. How is this different or more dangerous?
        • Jun 12 2013: Is it fair that small population states have equal power in the senate? This is a dangerous allowance, it means that because of where you live your single vote is worth more than other peoples, your view on education spending, taxation, the nation going to war, all mean more than someone living in another part of the country. All because of a line on a map.
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        Jun 12 2013: Nope reread my post

        No they would not exist in a direct democracy
        • Jun 12 2013: which post are you referring too, I see no post addressing how these protections cannot exist.

          Why can a constitution not exist under a direct democracy?

          Why would a super majority requirement to make amendments to the constitution not work in a direct democracy?

          Why could a bill of rights not exist in a direct democracy?


          If they function in a representative democracy why not under a direct democracy?


          I would like to restate that there are many forms a direct democracy can take, it could be a pure direct democracy with no protections or any type of protections could be included. It could exist in single levels of government, eg senate only, it could even be its own new level, similar to the presidential veto there could be an extra population veto.

          It might be what is in your minds eye as a 'direct democracy' is different to many of the options I am describing.
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        Jun 12 2013: This:

        But those safeguards are already extant with the Republic of the United States of America.

        But it is not farfetched that the majority will vote themselves public transfers as with the current POTUS. This is not just the poor but also with the middle class. Things like the mortgage deduction, social security and medicare and others, these are called entitlements but none the less are the biggest contributors to the coming bankruptcy of the U.S.

        The whole idea of 2 Senators from each state is to create fairness as the small population states have equal power in the Senate but are almost completly ignored in the House.
        • Jun 12 2013: If you can create a constitution that the population is bound to in a representative democracy, why can you not in a direct democracy?

          I do not see any argument against this in your post. You are simply saying that the population will vote for entitlements, money from the government (which belongs to them anyway, for better or worse). I do not see how that means constitutional and super majority protections cannot exist?
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        Jun 12 2013: This is the tyranny of the majority, further illustrated by your disposition that "which belongs to them anyway"

        The poor will always vote for more free stuff, the rich are always paying for most of the taxes.
        • Jun 13 2013: And after paying their taxes the rich are still rich, and after getting free stuff the poor are still poor.

          Where is the "tyranny", who is being "oppressed"?

          If being oppressed means I am rich, hold more wealth and power than the average person, please, oppress me.
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        Jun 13 2013: If you use force it is tyranny. The rich (a straw man) do not use force except through cronyism. The poor ( also a straw man) do use force through the tyranny of the majority.

        If the party in question is using force it is oppression

        If there was no coercion/force the exchange would not have been made.
        • Jun 13 2013: No force = anarchy
          No coercion = anarchy
          Complete freedom = anarchy

          We already live in an oppressive society, every law oppresses someone (see my post attempting to work through the definition of tyranny of the majority below).

          Is a progressive tax system "tyranny"? To some people, especially the rich, yes. To the average person.. probably not.
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        Jun 13 2013: Re: "Another that I support is delegation, you pass your vote directly to that spokesperson, similar to what you do now with representatives, you would then never have to think about another policy again, but your voice is being heard the way you want it to be heard. If that person acts like a moron, you change your delegation to someone else."

        But that's the representative system. We've come full circle.
        • Jun 13 2013: In the current representative system you cannot pull back your vote at any time, if your representative is voting differently than you want on an issue you feel strongly about there is nothing you can do.

          In the current system you are forced to choose a representative from a small list of people you probably have never met. In a fluid DD you can pass your vote to anyone, your school teacher, a friend or family member. Or you can vote yourself.

          These are pretty big differences.
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      Jun 11 2013: FWIW this is no longer the case since the 17th amendment this safeguard was removed and the US senators are now voted in by popular vote.
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        Jun 12 2013: Well, still there are 2 senators per state, regardless of the population of the state.
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          Jun 12 2013: The point is that they are elected by popular vote (tyranny of the majority).

          This may sound like a small deal but many experts say otherwise. 2 points, one is that if the states appoint the senators then they are not beholden to who gave then their jobs*. This is the reason Supreme Court Justices are selected for life.

          2nd point is if the senators are appointed by the state. When they are co opted by the beltway culture the states can prevent the co opting from having an effect.

          When Andrew Jackson was trying to abolish the first central bank there were 7 senators from several southern states who tried to vote to allow the central bank at which point they were recalled and fired by the states which allowed Jackson to abolish the central bank.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jTV6GlBfNIg

          *In Calif we have a senator who is a completely corrupt, as her husband is a realty magnate to the tune of billions (who do you suppose pays for her campaigns?):

          http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/blum.asp
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        Jun 12 2013: Why do you think that appointed officials cannot be corrupt? Government officials can appoint their cronies very well. The danger of tyranny of the majority is a fundamental issue with any democracy. I don't think, direct democracy is any better or worse in that respect than any other type of democracy.
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          Jun 12 2013: That is why I say education is the real answer.

          The Republic is a safeguard, that as I indicated allowed Jackson to stop the renewal of the central bank, the southern states forced their senators to vote as they wanted, which stopped them from being co opted because their job was beholden to the the state which held them accountable.
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        Jun 12 2013: "Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." -- Churchill
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        Jun 12 2013: Pat, the video makes sense.

        Quite honestly, I don't want to vote on anything and make choices on every little thing in which I am no expert and have no interest anyway. Voting for the state government and trusting it to represent my interest in federal government sounds good to me.

        There is some wisdom in the idea that U.S. Senators appointed by the state government are accountable to the state government while Senators elected by the popular vote are, essentially, accountable to no one. How many people are following what their Senator is voting for? And what power to change anything have those few who are?

        What I don't like in the current bipartisan political system in the U.S. is that people vote for a party, regardless of the candidate. The candidate may be a complete moron, but it does not bother people if he belongs to "their" party. I, personally, do not like socialism and find many attractive points in Republican agenda. Listening to Republican candidates on many issues (remember "folders of women" and Romney's bloopers in his speeches in Middle East and London?), however, makes me cringe. But many people are deaf to these things. They just go "Republican" and they go with anything from approving torture to destroying 9 out of 10 amendments from the Bill of Rights (save the 2nd) as long as it comes from "Republicans".
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          Jun 12 2013: Agreed two sides of the same coin. Libertarian is not a part of that coin.

          Again the overarching point is spending. I don't care what the ideology is if it cannot be funded. This is where I deviate from Sven and Jimmies ideas. Spending creates economic enslavement and empowers corruption and dumb ass ideologies.

          Truthfully the subject is just rearranging the deck chair on the Titanic. Which mean there will be a correction much like what has gone on in Argentina and the U.S. will become a 3rd world country. I have decided talking to people about this is futile as witnessed in today's talk from the former Greek prime minister, in which he still talks about everything imaginable except reducing the spending.
        • Jun 13 2013: From watching the video about senators being beholden to their state government, the reason for this is to stop corruption of those senators from central government or outside interests. Corrupting them to vote "against the wishes of the people of their state", not the wishes of the state government, although it is implied the state government's wishes are the same as those of the people of the state, but state governments are corruptible just like any other small group of individuals.

          So, in the USA, why not have direct democracy on a state level, DD senators are sent to Washington and must vote according to the majority wishes of the people in their state. Then you know, without question, that they are representing the wishes of the people of their state.

          There are many forms DD can take, all of them are about gauging the actual desires of the population that is being governed, not using an ineffective, often corrupted system of representatives to determine what the population wants.

          Arkady, I understand and agree with your comment that you do not have the time or knowledge to vote on everything, one DD solution is you find someone you trust (maybe a conservative spokesperson) and vote the way they suggest. Another that I support is delegation, you pass your vote directly to that spokesperson, similar to what you do now with representatives, you would then never have to think about another policy again, but your voice is being heard the way you want it to be heard. If that person acts like a moron, you change your delegation to someone else.
        • Jun 13 2013: Hi Pat,
          I have not expressed my personal feelings about government spending in this conversation, what I have written is that if the majority of the population feels their should be entitlements, or any type of spending, or any type of cost reduction, then our government should act accordingly.

          My personal feelings are similar to yours in that many paths current governments are taking are unsustainable, but my view and the solutions I envision are only one persons, there are millions of other people who have views, and they should all be counted equally.
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          Jun 13 2013: I'm not saying it is perfect, just that it is better than anything else by virtue of the results it has produced.

          This system has been tested for 230 or so years and created by people like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Washington. Point is that these guys demonstrated real cajones, second only to their intelligence with their deeds and what they created.

          With that said I am extremely reluctant to endorse something untried and not completely thought out created by who?
        • Jun 13 2013: Hi Pat
          How a DD system is implemented is very important, when discussing this I see three steps:

          1) Do you agree with the concept of a direct democracy - societies making decisions for themselves.

          2) If yes what form of DD, it can come in any shape and I have suggested some here but there are many others, it is not up to me to tell you which is best, I can only state my opinion - it is only my opinion.

          3) Once you understand the system you think is correct, how do you implement it. Secure voting. Private or public voting? Ensuring everyone has access. Is the internet safe enough or what security procedures are needed. What are the fails-safes in case the system is attacked. These are all important issues that have to be decided on.


          Who creates it? You do, I do, anyone in society who has an idea, and can convince others it is a good idea does. If you have faith in the majority (and I understand many people do not, I do), then whatever evolves will be right.

          There were some very smart and moral people who created the democracies we use now, and these systems have been wonderful in empowering people to achieve great things. Is the system perfect, can it be improved? I think so.

          As you say the system was created 230 years ago, surely over those two centuries the human race has enough combined intelligence and experience to improve the system? Maybe just maybe, the population being a lot larger than it was 230 years ago, there might be some people alive now who are smart enough to work with society on creating a stronger system?

          There will be many who will be scared of change, will warn such freedom will mean the end of humanity, I am sure when the Founding Fathers of the US were creating their system many felt the same way. Especially monarchs, power barons, and warlords.
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          Jun 13 2013: Sven

          You have said your peace, I have said mine.

          I agree to disagree
  • Jun 10 2013: Jimmy,
    I also wanted to say that the ideas being proposed are reasonable and good. They are also timely because humans are on the precipice of change and revolution(some quiet, some not so quiet) because of the wide spread usage and availability of electronic communications and information tech. Some of the revolutions will, sadly, not succeed because those in power will do absolutely anything they think is necessary to maintain their way of life and belief in their status.

    The representative majority we have in the US believe that they are the elite. They generally believe they are better educated and are trained to do what they do. Some of these politicians come from generational families that believe it is their right to "rule". Which is quite scary.
    Of course there are many good people in government but they are usually too busy doing a good job to play the dirty politics that would allow them to be in positions to make meaningful or helpful changes. And there are just not enough of them! The Internet is starting to make a dent in the Washington status quo and this is probably why they are quite eager to start sticking their tentacles, controls and bureaucracies on the Internet. Once they do, the freedom we have on the Internet will disappear very, very quickly.
    So, although I do not completely agree with everything that Pat Gilbert said or believes, I do understand his attitude, beliefs and his fears. It is quite possibly too late to do any of what you and others here have talked about here. At least not peacefully. I hope and wish with all my heart and soul that it is not too late. There are people out there who are trying to get those fools and crooks in Washington to pay attention but I do not believe they are listening!
    Americans, being who we are, will eventually come to understand that 'they' will not give up their power without a serious fight. Then the necessary change will not be peaceful, sadly.
    • Jun 10 2013: My personal feelings are that it could be possible without violence or a revolution, although I do not think USA will be the leader. If some smaller countries implement a DD, and it proves effective, populations in other countries will start to take notice.

      Will the powerful give up power peacefully, I think if the system changes relatively slowly and the population demands the change, most would buckle, the alternative is blatant oppression which is a path I think few would take. In developed Western countries where democracy and rule of law are ingrained in peoples minds I think it is safer, I currently live in Thailand and I think there would be more danger of oppression here.

      Those who control power would likely fight a covert battle however, through media, attacking the system, the DD parties etc, anything to show that DD is not a safe alternative.
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      Jun 10 2013: The reason why I think that this is so important is because we have to avoid that bloodshed at much as we can. If the people can take the power by the current rules only dictatorships would try to stop this.
      And there would be no need for a bloody revolution, only a massive system change that comes from within the system.
      I can understand that you (and many others, I used to be included) have lost faith in there being any way to make the required changes come through in time without massive bloodshed. I think that this is the solution to that.

      If anything was left unclear, ill explained or if you have other questions please don't hesitate to say so.
      I hope those answers helped a bit.
  • Jun 10 2013: it sounds like a good idea, until you think about it. say there's a new bill before parliament regarding regulations on the standards of public construction projects such as bridges. would you want the majority of the population voting on it when most people have no idea about structural engineering principles? ordinary people don't have the time or resources to collect all the appropriate information on every topic and verify it before voting, so we have to defer to those who do. also if we all voted on every little thing, we'd be even more under the control of companies who'd benefit from our 'yes' vote by their advertising power and manipulation potential - you'd make the very problem you are trying to avoid worse.
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      Jun 10 2013: So it would be wise of people to vote for people who knew stuff about bridges on that particular topic, there's no reason that can't be done.

      I believe that structure eliminates your problems, or am I wrong?
      • Jun 10 2013: ah but the problem is that people who don't know, don't know that they don't know. also you still have the inherent problem of people being manipulated as i already mentioned.
        • Jun 10 2013: My hope is that once you have a direct democracy the population will demand education that supports informed decision making, will demand some form of unbiased media, will demand limits on the paths powerful groups can manipulate peoples decision making.

          To be effective these issues have to be regulated by a government, the current system of representatives and their special interest support system has a vested interest in manipulating people, it is how they stay in power, so they have incentive to create legislation that allows manipulation. The public, through a DD social governance system, has a vested interest in empowering themselves, being informed, and not being manipulated, the public is, I believe, more likely to create legislation that limits manipulation.
      • Jun 11 2013: me too, ah but if wishes were horses! again you're assuming that all people will understand when their media has become too biased, and that no-one will be convinced if the media then runs a campaign to try to persuade people not to vote against limiting its powers.

        people don't know when they're manipulated, as evidenced by the large numbers who still currently vote against their own interests because they've been convinced that doing so will be beneficial even when it won't.

        a more simple and effective solution surely would be to outlaw lobbyists?
        • Jun 11 2013: Outlawing lobbyists, a fine idea, but good luck getting your elected officials to pass effective legislation doing so. If you had elected representatives from A DD party then it would possible, if the population chose to.

          What is better, the media manipulating people under a representative system where the media moguls are often in bed with politicians, or the media manipulating people under a direct democracy where the people, if they ever woke up, are in a position to regulate the manipulation?
    • Jun 10 2013: I think what Jimmy is talking about is delegated voting or proxy voting:

      http://e2d-international.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=64

      This can be handled in many ways and some DD projects reject the idea of delegation believing each voter should directly vote on issues.

      Delegation is similar to Representative Democracies we have now, you pass your vote onto another person, but it is more fluid and free (sometimes called "liquid democracy"). You can pass your vote to anyone, not just a tiny selection of politicians, and you can pull your vote back or change your proxy at any time.

      So individuals could pass their votes to any person they trust or vote themselves if they feel they understand the issues. You can still have conservative/liberal groups, just like current political parties, and they can field people to delegate votes to them, basically the same as current election processes, but if they act dishonestly, or you simply do not trust any of these groups, you have the freedom to take your vote away from them.

      The danger of people being swayed by marketing or voting in an uneducated manner exists in DD as well as the current representative system, I would suggest corruption of the current system would be easier, you only have to trick the population once per election cycle, and once a powerful minority gains control of the small number of representatives they can create legislation that reduces transparency, protects their ability to control information through media, etc, solidifying their ability to control the population.

      Lets say for example that it becomes public knowledge that special interest groups are anonymously funding political parties through cloaking entities such as PACs, in the current system the politicians have little desire to change this so legislation changes slowly to protect against it, if at all. In a DD if the public was aware of this they could demand an inquiry and a change in the law to stop it happening.
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        Jun 10 2013: Sven,

        I AM SO GLAD THAT YOU ARE HERE! (and you're not allowed to leave before the conversation has ended) ^^

        I'm not as eloquent as you on this matter and your input is really needed!

        *Edit, Delegated voting was what I was talking about, it's the model we have here.
      • Jun 10 2013: and who should we pass out vote on to? many people already vote for the person they like rather than their policies, so the problem would just continue as voters would pass off their votes to others who don't necessarily have their best interests at heart. it sounds fine to say people can take their voting powers back if someone behaves dishonestly, but that assumes the person has not been misinformed, which already happens anyway. remember how eager everyone was to go to wa before we found out the evidence for WMD was made up?

        the public could demand an inquiry but would they? already we've seen how lobbying can sway people, it'd be no different.
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          Jun 10 2013: I don't think that you're going to like them if you hear that they've made bad decisions for yoou or someone you care about.

          You say that people are already misinformed, and I agree. I do however not think that we can ever completely get rid of that. But I think that people would be much more inclined to be informed if they knew that they could actually have a say whenever they want and not just hope for the best every 4 years.

          But you can't say that congress today is informed, can you?

          Were people really that eager to go to war or was that just how it was perceived? I think that it's always easier to manipulate the few (current model) then the many.
        • Jun 10 2013: I agree with Jimmy's comments, the WMD lie was driven by representatives with an agenda for war. They took information and manipulated it to convince the public and other representatives.

          Under a DD the population would have assessed the information themselves, or at least had the opportunity to create a committee of trusted people to assess it.

          I think an important point Jimmy made is that the current system breeds a lack of interest in governance, why care about the process when you have such little control over it. You vote once every few years for people you do not know that you are reasonably convinced are corrupt in some way. If you do not vote for the main couple of parties you are basically throwing your vote away. If you care about certain issues unless you commit your life to them you have little chance of making any impact.

          If your voice was counted on every issue, this empowers every person to stand up and get involved, you are no longer a bystander watching political theatrics on the news, decisions are made by you and your community.

          This also means you are as responsible for any decisions made as anybody else. If you were lied to by a public figure and convinced to go to war over WMDs, and later you learned it was all for a lie, it is the populations fault for allowing it to happen, the populations responsibility to find how it happened and stop it from happening again. People can no longer pass blame and say "it was the politicians fault".


          Regarding lobbying I made a note above, the current system breeds lobbying, politicians need money to win elections, the biggest cash flow comes from lobbyists, it is a self-fulfilling system. In a DD system the people have an interest in limiting (or making transparent) any manipulation of information and have the power to regulate it.
      • Jun 11 2013: exactly and if the military industrial complex wanted more sales again they'd again just manipulate information to give to the public who'd then vote to go to war and pay them for the goods and services to do it. what's the difference?

        i agree normal people don't have much control over it, but that wouldn't change under this plan. the majority could still be easily influenced by vested interests. people will be able to make their own decisions right, so they will just as equally be free to make their own wrong decisions based on manipulated information.

        why not just ban lobbying? get money out of elections. no more commercials, no more robocalls no more placards, just a couple televised debates and an A4 sheet of paper with your policy outline sent to every household.
        • Jun 11 2013: I do not remember there being a referendum in America on whether USA should go to war, any war they have been in (including those they started). All your elected officials have to do is tell you an excuse for the war, and jump in. The public never gets to vote on this, not directly.

          If you asked the American public should the military industrial complex have stronger regulation, be more transparent, the majority might say Yes. If you ask the public whether American companies should be allowed to sell to oppressive dictatorships products whose sole intention is to kill human beings, the majority just might say No. The public is never asked.

          The public is given basically three choices:
          1) vote for a tried and tested conservative leaning party who will keep the status quo with the military industrial complex.
          2) vote for a tried and tested liberal leaning party who will keep the status quo with the military industrial complex.
          3) vote for an untested party who might reign in the military industrial complex but might also destroy the economy and your way of living.

          Most people choose 1) or 2), or don't vote.
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    Jun 5 2013: Okay, so I can understand that this topic can bring up a lot of questions on how to solve different matters. It would be nice if you could direct your questions in a new post as often as possible so that we can go over each question one at a time.

    I understand that you might see many problems for a system like this, but instead of being directly negative and say that it can't be done please do this instead:

    -State your concern/ask your question

    And I will:
    Provide a solution as best I can.

    The E2D movement is interpreted by each party that adopts it and I can only speak for the Swedish party.
    But we have safeguards and different systems in place to make sure that change doesn't happen in a night and that as many as possible get a say on the matter.
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    Jul 1 2013: No, and I am not in favor of it.
    Consider. Facebook, Tube, Twit, Google, etc., etc. and then there are the banks, all those government offices, income tax preparation, the list of work on home computers goes on and on. Now you want to add really important governing functions to some or all of us. As it is most of our cognitive functions are one step out of the toilet as it is and now you want to add the voting on a new trade agreement with Zimbabwe? You got to get serious.
    Did I mention Amazon.com and Netflix?
    • Jul 2 2013: Is your opinion against this because you want no more activity on the computer? This is why I suggest delegation be part of it, someone who just does not want to be active on the computer (or other information delivery system), or does not want to be involved in trade agreements with Zimbabwe, can delegate their vote. To these people the system works similar to what it does now, periodically you go to a government or community office and specify who you delegate your vote to. end of story.

      Except you have more freedom, you can delegate to anyone (can be a representative of traditional political parties), change delegation at any time. Or can vote yourself if you see your delegate has a momentary lapse of intelligence (can still be done at the community office if society sets that up).

      Having your voice directly counted in the governance of Your country does not need to be a heavy chore.
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    Jun 30 2013: This would be a BIGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG thing in my BOGUS country of India infested with bigots and ruled by despots.

    Answer is India DOES NOT have it and will be the LAST NATION on earth to embrace e-voting as long as the Gandhi family (no relation to Mahatma Gandhi) rules the nation.

    The electronic ballot machines have been tampered too.

    I have heard one gentleman talk about it... e-voting from anywhere in the world. I can give a case from India for analysts to compare. India is a bogus democracy.
  • Jun 30 2013: Sven, Thanks for the responses. When the www first came out I thought we would be able to transition to an E2D type system and would quite quickly in fact. I believe in theory it would be a superior way for a society to govern itself. But over time I have seen the shortsightedness of people. Maslow's Hierarchy of Need, which I see often in others and myself, until the majority reaches the Esteem level they will place a low priority on governing society. I believe most live at the Safety level and the next largest group is at the Love/Belonging level. I believe most would trade their vote for short term safety.

    Another issue related to this is probablity and statistics, the bell curve, and representative sampling. A random sample of 1500 can with 95% accuracy predict the the actions of a population of millions. So instead of delagating one's vote, you must do the voting yourself or the vote is simply not part of the sample. And if you get more than 10% of the available votes you, you have a hugh sample and likely they are those that are interested in the subject and likely have a more informed opinion. Me personally, I would prefer voting be slightly difficult so those that do vote have some interest in ensuring their voices are heard. Often something given for free is not appreciated as something you have to work for.

    Again, thanks for your responses.
    • Jun 30 2013: Hi Milo
      These are good points, you definitely do not need delegation in a dd system, and I personally would be happy to accept a non-delegation dd party, but feel delegation might be an issue needed to sway lay voters to accept and support a dd political party.

      I struggle with psychological theories like Maslow's, whether people are psychologically "ready" to govern themselves, to me this is an issue of striving for self governance, I believe people should have this basic right whether they are ready for it or not.
  • Jun 29 2013: Last page

    Another advantage of a representative is a representative has to sort through all those issues for me, (saving my time and energy) and I have “delegated” my vote to that individual on all those issues. Of course I can interact with my representative in ways they set up for interaction and thus influence her vote. Is it a bad system? Yes. But when compared to all the alternatives, it is the best one out there at the moment. I hope you develop a better alternative with risks no greater than we have now and built on valid assumptions.

    There are so many holes in this concept. This is why the US and most other non-3rd world countries have no interest in it.
    • Jun 30 2013: Under a DD you can still have paid bureaucrats whose job is to sort through issues, voted into their positions by majority vote like politicians now, but the population vetoing any conclusions they make.


      The Direct Democracy systems we describe may never take off, maybe the populations in the US and other developed countries are too smart to accept a system where they can vote for the themselves on issues. A think the world is starting to turn, people see their representatives as ineffectual, and are wanting more control over their futures. Even if it is flawed if enough people support it then it will work into the existing system, for better or worse.


      To me this is a simple question, do you agree with the concept of democracy, if you do it means you trust the population to make decisions governing itself. What we have now is not a pure democracy, it is distorted to the point where the wishes of the population are not being acted out. If you do not trust the population then you do not agree with democracy and some form of dictatorship is needed, like we have now. It is not necessarily a bad dictatorship, the small governing body does make effort to give positive results back to the population, but it is not a true democracy.


      The implementation of DD is not simple, but that does not mean the concept should be discarded.
  • Jun 29 2013: Third page.


    I’m interested in politics and all kinds of things and even read a lot about different issues. That is how I got started on this one. It is easy for many of us to get overwhelmed with data. But even I know I wouldn’t be interested in voting on all the issues of concern to most and I’m interested. With a population where less than 25% of young adults can answer 8 out of 10 questions correctly on a high school sophomore’s US Government test, I’ll bet there are even fewer that wish to be involved in even a few of the issues requiring decisions effecting all of us. Look at current voter turnout and that is only once every couple of years.

    Taxes - Taxes left up to the population are called donations. We already have taxes left up to voters. Are you happy with the amount and to whom donations given? Would you donate your money to support the drunken bum who can’t keep a job? (You pick the category of person, idea, or thing you would not support) This is an idea I would actually like to see put in place. Let the people decide the amount and where they want their money to go. The problem with this is when was the last time a road was built on donations. Ask anyone working on road projects in Africa or even the local home owners association who donated to build the road.

    Delegation of my vote vs Representation – Just the idea of delegating one’s vote to others is a recipe for disaster. Why would we have such a system? The point of DD is to have everyone vote. If DD doesn’t accomplish that goal, why involve the other risks associated with direct voting. Sven states, “It does not really matter for DD parties, they would like to have a legal commitment from each candidate to adhere to the majority vote but the candidate could still do their own thing…” So how is this different then representation as the US does now?

    One Last page
    • Jun 30 2013: Current state of education for young adults in the US - This decline has happened under a representative system, which has evolved into a money making arm of the US corporate system. The populations intelligence is not considered a priority. You would expect that to change under a DD.

      Voter turnout - Why is voter turnout so low, whether it is because people are too stupid to vote, to overwhelmed by the issues, think all politicians are crooks, you would expect DD, which allows them to voice opinion on issues (instead of voting on smiles) might instil more desire. In the current system if you care about issues, like yourself, then in addition to studying the issues you also have to study the candidates, which one will vote which way (they are usually non-committal on the important issues) and which best fits into your profile, they may vote your opinion on some issues, differently on others, how does that work for you? Then the candidates are juggled each cycle creating constant confusion. To me this is a completely flawed way of passing on my mandate to government.

      Taxes - this is likely an area that the population may mess up at the start, but when the roads fail or the teachers strike people are going to have to grow up. I actually think the majority is smarter than this. Taxes are donations now because in theory we have a government of the people by the people for the people.

      Delegation of my vote vs Representation "how is this different then representation as the US does now" - someone asked me this before, the difference in having fluid delegation is huge. You can vote yourself if you want to, you can change your delegation to anyone at anytime. Saying this is the same as the current representative system is crazy.

      You already wrote yourself you "wouldn’t be interested in voting on all the issues of concern", this is my argument for delegation. Most people do not have the desire or energy to always vote, but should still be counted.
  • Jun 29 2013: Second page.



    Delegated voting – If there is one reason to believe those wanting a specific outcome wouldn’t buy votes, you have failed to understand the human condition. Someone listed a few of the reasons people would sell their vote. The response you and others was essentially well this would only work if everyone was honest and didn’t do that and if they did, they would be caught and punished. It is a lot harder to do that under the current US system and we still have enough cases of this that it undermines trust in the current system. DD makes it 1000 times easier to accomplish buying votes undetected.

    At least one more page.

    Coercion of voter - Whether the vote is secret or not, there is always a way to know how you voted. Even in this paper balloting. But if done through the internet you seem to ignore the NSA collection methods that we now know is happening to US citizens. And most of us do not assume no one snoops through that collected data until they get permission. Just one simple example could be, I don’t want the gas company knowing I voted either for or against their desires. I don’t want the problems associated with the gas company’s response whether good notes or nasty ones.

    Vote box stuffing – I don’t know too much about how internet security or fire walls work, but I do know there are smart people out there and a few of them are not above using that intellect to, for lack of a better word, hack the system and modify a few hundred thousand votes. If everyone was honest, the current system would also work so much better.

    Human nature – One response in the long list of comments included, “…back to individual responsibility/accountability…” Oh if only everyone fit this. Well they are not and this is not a valid assumption we can use for your system, which would work so nice if this were the case. Well the current one would work much better if this were the case.
    • Jun 30 2013: Hi Milo
      I think many of the points you raise have been addressed or touched on in earlier posts but I am happy to respond with my thoughts.

      A first note is when a proponent of DD such as myself says DD will succeed it is only an assumption, and when an opponent says it will fail, this is also an assumption, until it is tested, and I would suggest in smaller local levels of government first, then it can prove itself (in fact it has existed for a long time in countries like Switzerland with the use of town councils).

      You wrote that we are speaking Utopia, I do not believe that, I wrote earlier that I think things will be rough at the start until the population matures or decides to educate itself. Also Utopia means different things for different people, for some having material goods, cars, clothes, travel, is Utopia, for others having a quiet life with a clean environment is Utopia. I simply feel the representative system is a flawed system of democracy that does not result in the wishes of the population being actioned, to me that is not good enough, I believe in democracy and want to see this changed.


      Delegated voting and vote buying - I do not believe the argument that people will buy/sell votes even if it is illegal, so we should not give people the freedom to vote, is a valid argument. It is like the argument I have heard that we should not over-tax the rich because they will evade taxes more resulting in less taxes received. There is another argument I have mentioned before, if people are stupid enough to sell their vote then, in a free society, they can have the power to do that. It happens in representative systems all the time, not directly buying but promises of more money, a stronger economy in return for voting in one power hungry corrupt group who enrich while in power (we see this very strongly in Thailand). People know it is happening but choose the promised money (because the alternative might give you nothing).
    • Jun 30 2013: Coercion of voter - this is valid and may happen, but again is it worth throwing away the populations direct power over its own destiny. Again you can make it illegal, will it still happen, yes probably, but if the gas company starts to cut off gas disproportionately to people who voted a certain way, do you think that would never go undetected, do you think the population would respond to such activity with a slap on the wrist.

      Additionally you need a LOT of resources to do what the NSA is doing, the sort of resources only huge public institutions have. In a DD those institutions would be answerable to the population, not politicians who have shown over and over again they are happy to chip away at your basic rights.


      Vote box stuffing - Yes there are security concerns, yes there are smart people who will try to hack the system, yes there are smart people who will try to protect the system, yes there may be set backs and breaches. Will it be worse than what exists today, who knows. These have to be planned for, monitored, again is it a good enough reason to not empower the population.


      Human nature - This should be an argument against representative systems and for direct democracy systems. In a representative system you only need a few corrupt/immoral/unethical/irresponsible people to instill bad policy. In direct democracy you are dealing with the collective morals of the population, the wishes of the majority, if a few people are immoral or irresponsible they are not in a position to overshadow the majority.
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    Jun 22 2013: Sven, you mentioned " laws making it illegal to force an elected representative to vote a certain way" Could you please be specific I would like to read these with a critical eye. I've once or twice read the elections canada laws and never noticed it.
    • Jun 23 2013: Sorry Martin I do not have specific examples, I remember someone mentioning it, each country will be different. I am assuming there is a law that it is illegal to coerce an elected representative to vote a certain way, perhaps targeted at corruption but if a DD party put in writing, signed by a candidate, that they have to vote according to the majority, opponents might contest it as coercion, or the contract could be considered void on this basis if the candidate went rogue.

      It does not really matter for DD parties, they would like to have a legal commitment from each candidate to adhere to the majority vote but the candidate could still do their own thing, raising the issue as a contract breach through the legal system would not undo the votes that candidate made, so a certain level of trust is needed, and oversight, next election cycle they would be kicked out.


      There are many laws that have to be adhered to, in many locations a limited number of supporters, or dues paying members of the party, are needed before a party can be put on the ticket, so like any political party a DD party has a lot of canvassing and convincing to do before they can even be considered a valid party
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        Jun 23 2013: I will be seeking any and all obstacles to success and the more things I am aware of, the better so I appreciate your insights into these matters.

        I did find one particular comment amusing and beg you to forgive me. You had suggested "t if a DD party put in writing, signed by a candidate, that they have to vote according to the majority, opponents might contest it as coercion"

        The reason I found it amusing is that it is expected that those we elect to represent us do just that, represent us, not themselves. Yet this might be seen as coercion?

        Possible, but I suspect that which ever party reacts in this manner will be seen dis-favorably by constituents, and those parties which embrace the concept, more favorably.

        Who can say? Time will tell.
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    Jun 22 2013: Jimmy, could you please tell me why it is that when someone replys to my comment, the reply button is not always on their reply for me to reply back to them?
    • Jun 22 2013: I am guessing because the TED website only allows replies three levels deep (the little arrows on the left of each comment).

      If a comment is at level three you cannot reply to it, you have to go to a lower level comment (level 0/1/2) and reply there.

      I am new here too but find it a bit frustrating not always able to reply directly, but understand, threads that go really deep can by difficult to navigate.
  • Jun 21 2013: ...as well as be restored to the individual fact-finding roles they used to play...before Wall Strteet controlled them! We have to get back to individual responsibility/accountability before world revolution does it for us.
  • Jun 20 2013: it sounds like a good idea, until you think about it. say there's a new bill before parliament regarding regulations on the standards of public construction projects such as bridges. would you want the majority of the population voting on it when most people have no idea about structural engineering principles? ordinary people don't have the time or resources to collect all the appropriate information on every topic and verify it before voting, so we have to defer to those who do. also if we all voted on every little thing, we'd be even more under the control of companies who'd benefit from our 'yes' vote by their advertising power and manipulation potential - you'd make the very problem you are trying to avoid worse.
    • Jun 21 2013: Correct individuals do not have specialized knowledge to decide on bridge construction, but do the representatives we vote in now have that knowledge? Or does the public know how to judge which representatives do?

      Peoples position on these issues are going to be swayed by professional opinion, any reasonable person is not going to directly decide on the structural engineering of any project, they will decide according to the history and expertise of the various tenders, has this construction company made strong bridges in the past, does the public department of professional structural regulators approve of this company and their plans..

      So instead of relying on elected representatives who may or may not be getting a kickback from the successful tender, under a DD the public can employ professionals to assess tenders and report the results directly back to the public, who then make a decision according to the merits and trustworthiness of each offer.


      The control media and advertisers have over our vote exist now when voting for representatives, those same powerful companies then focus their regulatory corruption directly at the representatives through golden parachutes, campaign finance, all their tricks, it is not even illegal, the politicians profit from this so do not legislate against it.

      Under a DD the companies have to constantly convince and manipulate the majority, most people know when they are being manipulated, when McDonalds targets children with images of fun bright partytime, children do not know they are being manipulated to be "happy" to go to McDonalds, but adults know what is going on, or at least the majority do. Adults know when their vote is being bought just like politicians do. If the public felt the manipulation was so unethical it had to be stopped if they had a DD system they could regulate against it and stop it from happening.
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    Jun 20 2013: Actually, I could tend to agree with "limited" delegation of votes if it were protected by law.
    Personally I'd think if someone is physically incapable of voting such as elderly who are not familiar or comfortable with computers yet still have a right to vote and an opinion.

    At the end of the day however, being true to the direct democracy idea, it would only be right and just to put it to a vote of the constituents and go with the majority will. After all, that IS the point of a direct democracy right for the majority to determine what will be and what won't?
    • Jun 20 2013: What about the masses of people who don't have computers? Could this be overcome by having free computer availability every "x" number of miles, say like the postal offices, town halls or libraries? Issues/agendas/ qustioners answers should be publicly stated and paid for only by the public media (t.v., radio etc.)
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        Jun 21 2013: I like the way you think ML, it is very solution oriented.

        Schools, town halls, libraries, cell phones? We are surrounded by computers on every side even if we personally don't own one. While an individual NOT having a computer becomes more and more rare by the hour it yet exists in isolated pockets. Those persons however would not have to go far to access one in this day and age.

        You make yet another good point. As our system migrates to a referendum system it is not a far reach to find the public media getting on board. In fact, considering the popularity of news, talk and reality shows, show's that entertain by educating or displaying adversarial points of view could and likely would become very profitable.
      • Jun 21 2013: I have some examples and comments about other options to submit votes in earlier posts in this conversation, I remember watching "Afghan Star" and the producers of the show talking about how they took peoples votes by mobile phone because very few people in Afghanistan had computers, but mobile phones were prolific. The method of voting will depend on the situation, there is no reason a secure system of post or booth voting cannot be used.

        My personal belief is a publicly funded media with a policy of presenting unbiased information would be a cornerstone of an effective DD society, similar to what you suggest M-L, but ultimately it is up to the public if they agree with this.
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    Jun 20 2013: Sven, as always you are a wealth of idea's and knowledge.
    Until today I did not know about strong bunkers such as http://cyberbunker.com/web/reliable-datacenter.php or http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/8193934/WikiLeaks-James-Bond-style-nuclear-bunker-hosts-servers-in-Stockholm.html

    While I fully agree at the end of the day in Direct Democracy the People would decide how to handle a given situation, part of the job I would think would be to offer solutions that "could" work without limiting those choices.

    Thank you again for covering both scenario's well.

    I wonder if you might have some idea's on fund raising since as Napoleon is coined as saying "an army marches on its stomach."
    • Jun 20 2013: Funds are a big issue for any party and I have seen E2D parties struggling with how to fund effective methods of informing people about what they are offering.

      I think they should be more focused on social media, I also strongly feel any DD party should have open accounting, all ledgers online and viewable, with the ability for people to make any donations public. All spending transparent and explained. Something I have not really seen any parties do.

      But I have no direct experience as I am not involved in the day to day struggle the parties have to deal with, these ideas may be low priority.

      Fund raising is sometimes a moral question for these parties as well, they want to be careful about being seen as influenced by monetary support, but because they have no favors to trade in exchange for funding, large donations are unlikely.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jun 20 2013: The E2D parties believe the first step to initiate this change is to work within the established representative political systems, there is no legal change that needs to be made to allow a DD party to field candidates, who then vote according to the majority decisions of their constituents.

      At a later stage if the population becomes comfortable with the concept high level laws such as the constitution could be modified according to the populations wishes.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jun 20 2013: Hi Juan,
          I am not sure I understand your post here about polling and learning about candidates, in a DD candidates are of little importance and polls are not required because the majorities wishes are read directly from their vote on each issue.

          Maybe what you are describing is an improvement on the existing representative system, which could do with many improvements, maybe given enough improvements it might even function effectively as a governing system not beholden to special interests, but DD dedicated parties basically think its safer to completely replace the representative with direct population voting rather than try to find some way to maintain the representatives power while tightening their leash.
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        Jun 20 2013: I'd love to see the digital age take over the campaigning these candidates do. There is absolutely no reason why it should cost so much money to talk to people when we are doing it right now for a minimal monthly internet fee. Any candidate can post a YouTube or put up a webpage at any time and a direct line of communication can be established between the voters and the person running. Answers to questions could be posted, real answers that were thought about prior to being spewed out during a debate where everything sounds rehearsed and just wish washy enough where you're wondering if you completely missed it or if they ever actually touched on the subject asked about.
        When you don't have to pay to campaign then you don't have to cater to the agendas of the people who bought your seat in office.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jun 21 2013: You have got it. I think the question people need to ask themselves are why do we have representatives? The word suggests they represent their constituency, what does that mean?

          In a democracy "all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives" (from Wikipedia), how do you make a decision when everyone has equal say, mathematically the purest path is by majority, there are other options, eg:

          - consensus (only decisions that everyone supports pass) - it would be hard to argue this would be effective on a social level.

          - super-majorities - there are mathematical and theoretical studies that show super-majority decisions are prone to be controlled by minority views.


          So if representatives in their purest sense are there to vote according to their constituencies wishes, why do we need them? Why not just ask the constituency?

          When existing democracies were designed there was no technology or methods of mass-communication like we have now, representatives were the practical solution.

          Representatives serve another purpose, they, in theory, are focused on understanding and negotiating the issues, something individuals do not have the time to do. But there are alternatives. If we can pay elected representatives to negotiate and draft bills why can we not pay skilled bureaucrats/administrators to do the same job, but then the final legislation is voted on by the public.

          Another option is the town-hall system, there is study that shows this is one of the most effective ways to a) create effective legislation by people who have negotiated the pros and cons, and b) reduce the effect of special interests. Basically a random sample of people across society are employed over a period of time to negotiate issues in a town hall style environment (can be done online), then the results are voted on by the public.

          All powerful representatives voted in for a term, with limited selection of candidates offered, is a flawed and outdated system.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jun 21 2013: The argument I try to make, and it is only opinion, is that the majority of eligible voters are moral and intelligent enough to create a stable society. Fringe groups and insane legislation would be rejected by the majority or quickly corrected in the event something passed.

          Take for example the BP spill in the gulf, if that happened under a DD how would the population respond, you would expect an independent group called in to see how the situation happened, how regulators were completely off the ball, and then you would expect discussion and solutions to reduce the chance of it happening again. There would be serious consideration of whether the risks of allowing such activity outweigh the benefits, and what the alternatives are. Under a direct democracy you do not have legislators sweeping things under the rug for whatever reason (to stabilize the economy, protect large companies/contributors, ..), the population will demand answers, will demand transparency.

          The judiciary - the police force - the military - the chief execute
          Initially, with E2D parties, these all stay the same, and legislative change that affects them goes through the same channels as it does now, any successful DD candidates simply vote according to the majority wishes of the population.

          Depending on the laws of the country an E2D party could field a candidate for the chief execute position, I think it is a long way before we see that happening, if successful that person would then act out his position in accordance with the majority vote of the population.

          Once you get to that point it means society has become committed to the concept of DD, and high level changes to how government works would begin to happen. The path from there forward is outside of my ability to judge, you have millions of people directly deciding on the fate of their country and the world, many smarter than me will have opinions worth listening too.
        • Jun 21 2013: So basically what I am saying is this is a soft revolution, initially very little changes, people start to test and feel confidence in DD, and then the concept could bloom into anything.

          The judicial system might change to a more communal way of judging guilt, or the population may decide continuing to have life-term judges is a good way to ensure impartiality.

          Law enforcement might be forced to be more transparent, all officers must be recorded at all times so committees can be tasked with ensuring they are acting responsibly.

          Prisons might be under permanent and complete observation by the public, streamed to the internet so the actions of prisoners while incarcerated can be judged, and protecting those incarcerated from abuse.

          The military and intelligence communities would be given mandates by the people, only going to war when the people believe it is necessary, never overstepping the privacy bounds given to them by the population.

          Whistle-blowers and people who report corruption may be rewarded instead of imprisoned, because any corruption of the will of the people can be clearly defined and the people want to know when this happens.


          Do you need a designated leaded or leading group, not necessarily, but if the people felt there was a need for this they could incorporate it, for example for any policy a random selection of professionals in that area could be pulled to draft the bill, or on issues that require military secrets (it might evolve that there never are) a selected group of trusted people could be employed to oversee those secrets and decisions pertaining to them are handled correctly.


          Taxes are completely up to the population, and everyone has their own beliefs - the balance that the majority sees fit will endure.
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    Jun 18 2013: When Electronic Direct Democracy is finally in place, how can we protect this system of government from the dangers of interruption via Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attacks or the like?

    I have a few idea's, but I'd like to hear yours.
    • Jun 20 2013: If the voting system is operated by technology and computers, and for E2D parties it is, there has to be a plans in place in case of system-wide failure such as EMP disruption. It is up to the population what redundancy plans they feel comfortable with.

      In the initial stages this is not such a concern as the DD political parties are starting small, have limited funding, and exist within the representative system and will only have a few representatives at the start so the traditional representatives can carry on while any interruption is cleared up. Standard internet practices of backing up data and distributing servers are reasonably easy for basic stability of the platform.

      Each party will need to have a protocol of how their candidates act during this downtime, should they abstain etc, it is up to what that party feels resonates with the public.

      Once the system gets a strong foothold and social level funding it would need to be woven deeper into societies functioning, again up to what the population chooses. Strong bunker server facilities? A protocol for caretaker representatives or the military to reinstate the system as quickly as possible, manual tallying of votes to decide a path for reinstating the system, or falling back on a representative system until the DD system can be reinstated.
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    Jun 17 2013: oh good heavens, I didn't put it in the right place? LOL thanks Jimmy I'm still sort of new at this
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    Jun 17 2013: Why would you say that Pat, would you please expand on your thought giving the reasoning for why you might feel that way?
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      Jun 17 2013: Martin,

      I'm not sure what the odds are that Pat will see this if you don't post it in a reply to one of his posts. Perhaps you should re-post it to him?
      (Just a kind suggestion) :-)
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        Jun 18 2013: lol Thanks Jimmy :) good thing you mentioned this. Thanks again.
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          Jun 18 2013: Sure, no problem! Anything to make the TED experience better for newcomers.
          And thank YOU for you participation in this Conversation. I'm sorry for the lack of replies from my part but Sven is doing such a good job on that so I feel that I don't need to (or can't add anything more).

          Good to have you with!
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          Jun 18 2013: Gees Jimmy you never thank me for my participation, what up with that?
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      Jun 18 2013: Martin,

      That is impossible you do not show a collective anything it is done with an individual, collectives do not learn.It is dangerous not to travel with the herd. Much safer to be a yes man and not use your real name in forums what with the IRS targeting subversives and all.

      This is why the tyranny of the majority is a very real danger. All you have to do is create a straw man and convince the collective that they are not the blame (cause, responsible, able) it is the nasty no good nick over there (insert rich guys name here) but fortunately I (insert politicians name here) am able to fix this problem for you.

      And so it goes over and over everywhere. In this country in the last 100yrs or so there were probably only 2 or 3 presidents who did not do this other than to the real cause which was the man behind the curtain.

      This is the scenario in most countries in the world.
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        Jun 18 2013: It just struck me to consider another angle of your herd comment.

        For instance, really the system now IS the herd. People don't have to think, to be responsible. They simply drop an anonymous vote ina box, one party or the other gets in, things get done, if you like them you take credit, if you don't you say .. I'm voting for the next guy next time. If its the same party they just replace the name and the game goes on the same.

        HOWEVER

        In a direct democracy its really a collective of individuals who ARE responsible for their choices. If you vote NO on the issue of "do we pave our roads this year" then who do you have to bitch at when you drive through the potholes? Yourself. Your vote counted to the total, or against it. There is no one you can blame for how things are, no political scapegoat. You're it.

        Think about that Pa
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          Jun 18 2013: You are saying this in because there would be no electoral college?
        • Jun 20 2013: Hi Martin,
          I agree, the current system teaches people to not take responsibility for the consequences of their vote. How can you vote one representative to represent you on every single governing issue. How can you even effectively know what that representatives beliefs are on each issue, especially when they are so skilled at giving non-committal answers, and even if you did how likely are you to find one that exactly matches your feelings on everything. It is a flawed process.

          You are left with choosing the person you feel looks like they share values closest to you, and when they act differently you can say its all their fault, they marketed themselves falsely when courting your vote.

          In a DD there is less option to scapegoat, the population will have to grow up, for many that is a scary thought in itself.
  • Jun 16 2013: Hi Martin,
    There is concern about this, in a fluid DD each individual can take their vote away from someone they delegated their vote to at any time. So if the delegate acts in a way the individual does not accept they simply remove their delegation.

    There are a lot of smaller points to consider. For example there has to be an effective way of validating that all voters are legitimate, ie nobody has died or in a coma etc, their delegations have to be removed.

    I would suggest any person who has accepted delegated votes must confirm their vote a period before voting ends, so that there is no last minute switching and individuals can know how their vote is applied.

    I would also suggest people with large numbers of delegated votes have their votes and voting history made public. This would allow social commentators to report anything unusual which you would hope would filter to people who have passed their vote to them.

    There are also thoughts that people have to re-new their delegations periodically, you could tie it into a period similar to the existing representative election cycle, every 3-4 years, or it could be every year or whatever the population decides.

    Ultimately under a DD it is the populations right to vote any way they want, whether it is by following someones advice or delegating directly to that person, in either situation the person whose advice is being listened to may have been corrupted, but under a DD individuals can pull back and change their vote at any time.

    Under a DD media becomes very important, when the decisions are being made directly be the people, the information they receive will guide their decision making. This is something I believe the population has to figure out (because of its importance some DD parties are trying to incorporate unbiased commentary into their platforms).
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      Jun 16 2013: Ultimately I'd be happy to put the idea of delegated votes to the membership and go with the flow of majority rule even if I did not agree with it.

      I say that because I think that we, as an accountable collective, will learn from our mistakes as much as from our success's, just as we do as individuals.
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        Jun 17 2013: There is nothing dumber that the collective.
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          Jun 17 2013: I can think of a few examples... For example many individuals are dumber then the collective...
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          Jun 18 2013: Why would you say that Pat, would you please expand on your thought giving the reasoning for why you might feel that way?
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        Jun 18 2013: Do tell
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        Jun 18 2013: I mean real examples, so I can show that they are smarter than a collective.
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        Jun 18 2013: Martin

        Try reasoning with a riot

        Try reasoning with a gang about the error of their ways

        It will be like talking to a stampede of cattle
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          Jun 18 2013: Pat,

          Try reasoning with the WTO. Try walking up to Bush's ranch and knocking on his door.
          Powerful individuals are far more difficult to approach or sway, than a gang or a riot. Just as many examples on both sides.

          The trick I feel is to focus on what it is that group is seeking as opposed to what they think they are seeking. For example, a lynch mob may seem unreasonable as they appear to only want to lynch someone, yet at the heart of it they are in emotional pain over the root of their issues. One does not have to give in to the symptom, in order to address the root. Do that, and the entire situation will be defused.

          Pat I appreciate your fears, yet they are equally true if not more so of powerful individuals opposed to a persons line of thinking.

          You, are a reasonable person. I am a reasonable person. I feel most people are. Our people are far more educated, morally conscious, socially conscious than ever before in history.

          A wise person once told me it is "not enough to demonstrate the problem, we must also be prepared to offer solutions."

          Work with us Pat. Use your knowledge, experience and sway to help us design a system and set of safeguards that can enhance Direct Democracy bringing Democracy from the dark ages of unaccountability, into the light of full accountability to the people it purports to serve while protecting us from our baser emotions.

          We will survive/adapt/overcome and be atronger for it.

          When direct democracy eventually forms a majority government, the approval rating of anything government does will ALWAYS be a majority of all the citizens of that nation.

          Can this be said of powerful individuals and the system we have now?
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      Jun 18 2013: Jimmy, That is impossible you do not show a collective anything it is done with an individual, collectives do not learn.

      Martin,

      This is why the tyranny of the majority is a very real danger. All you have to do is create a straw man and convince the collective that they are not the blame (cause, responsible, able) it is the nasty no good nick over there (insert rich guys name here) but fortunately I (insert politicians name here) am able to fix this problem for you.

      And so it goes over and over everywhere. In this country in the last 100yrs or so there were probably only 2 or 3 presidents who did not do this other than to the real cause which was the man behind the curtain.

      This is the scenario in most countries in the world.
      • Jun 20 2013: Pat, your argument seems to be in support of direct democracy over representative democracy, where politicians use a straw man argument to gain power then act irresponsibly. It is also used to justify unethical acts by those in power (eg: Saddam Hussein is supporting Al-Qaeda who attacked America, so we are invading Iraq), it does not matter if the majority disagree with the action but if you can just create enough doubt so that the majority are not sure, or do not demand you are impeached, then you can maintain your power.

        In these situations the media has been shown it is often ineffective at reporting the truth, when you concentrate power the media becomes reliant on that power to survive, or needs to stay in good standing with that power to continue to be allowed access.

        Yes the collective will likely react emotionally, be lied to, and make mistakes, but they will be responsible for the consequences and responsible for correcting them. When the population is convinced to follow a false path and later finds out that path was based on a lie, they can change path, they are not stuck with an untruthful representative for the duration of a term.


        p.s. Pat you have not responded to my suggestion that on a social level there is no such thing as "tyranny of the majority" because the term tyranny is defined by the majority. But if you are considering tyranny as how it is defined by a minority then every law is tyranny to some group, which leaves you with three governing choices:
        1: Anarchy
        2: Tyranny by the majority
        3: Tyranny by the minority
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          Jun 20 2013: Either way I guarantee there will be some method of manipulation, as said the herd is easy to manipulate, and there are those who will manipulate.

          The only real solution is education.

          4 American style Republic

          If we could not keep what we already have then I would prefer, anarcho-capitalism whereby the voting would be done through what services we choose to purchase.
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    Jun 16 2013: Have you given thought Sven to specifically how a DD could prevent coercion corruption manipulation etc of a delegated vote system?

    The potential for abuse seems very large, and if it could not be prevented/controlled would totally undo Direct Democracy.
    • Jun 16 2013: Another consideration is chained delegation, I delegate to person B who delegates to person C and so on. Some DD parties think delegation should only go one deep, I think chains are effective because ultimately the wishes of the individual are being acted out (Person A wanted to trust Person B who trusted Person C ..)

      In this situation again I believe transparency should be paramount. The individual who passes their delegation to person B has to have access to the information that the vote is passed to Person C and so on. Again any large number (or any) delegation could be required to be public.

      Can you give examples of situations you feel where delegation would endanger a DD system? There are many who agree with you, many DD parties have not supported delegation, but I think most are considering it as a way of increasing voter participation.

      Are you thinking along the lines of interest groups threatening people to delegate their votes a certain way, or perhaps taking advantage of manipulable people such as the elderly? You can approach those the same way you approach any voting, creating legislation and policing against it. With the elderly/etc as long as there is no threat they have the right to pass their vote any way they choose, whether lied to or not, just like they do now.


      As long as their is no coercion, which would be a valid concern in many developing countries but in developed countries the police should be able to minimize this, and as long as people are always in a position to control their vote, then any DD system including a delegated system cannot be oppressed, the people always have the choice to reject any policy.
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    Jun 15 2013: Thank you Sven, I will check these out.
    You are a regular mountain of information!
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    Jun 15 2013: About Demoex,

    I did hear and read of them, even tried to contact them, but could not seem to get to a person.
    I enjoyed reading of their success's did they fade away or are they still a viable concern?
    • Jun 16 2013: Yes still active but not native English speakers and pretty focused on their own 'experiment'. They have had elected representation for a long time now, I remember comments from them that they thought once they had a DD representative that the other traditional representatives would want to engage with them because of their direct connection to public opinion, and were surprised how the other representatives shunned them instead. Something I think should have been expected considering the DD system they were implementing could ultimately make traditional politicians extinct.

      One of their problems I understand is participation, not a large portion of the local population is voting on the issues, that may be because they only have one representative whose vote means little, but I think an important consideration is most people do not want to get involved in governance. This is why I support delegation, a small local DD party could even have a protocol of physically visiting people and helping them set up delegations so their votes are always considered. Demoex did not have delegation in their system but I think they might be developing it.
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    Jun 15 2013: Hello Sven,

    I am Canadian. I also do not see any of the surrounding factors to be insurmountable obstacles. In fact, I see them as stepping stones to success.

    Often things that seem impossible only seem that way for a time.

    There is no need for revolution, only evolution. Democracy is evolving to where it truly serves the people it governs.

    A few decades back there were no computers, then no home computers, and no real internet. The universe is rearranging itself in such a matter that direct democracy is not only feasible, and probable, but unavoidable.

    No argument has been successfully presented to show just cause for not doing it. In fact they only pave the logical road for why it must be done.

    I agree with you that big things come from small beginnings.

    Direct democracy will prove that it is not our differences that make us a People, but what we share in common.
    • Jun 16 2013: Martin you have a strong and active DD party in Canada:

      https://www.onlineparty.ca/

      I agree with you that this is the natural evolution of humanity, that people will demand it, and once effective direct democracy spreads across the world wars/oppression/hunger will be a thing of the past. Not overnight .. but in time, if we have enough time.
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    Jun 15 2013: Is there a chat yet where the DD parties of each country discourse to share experiences and information?
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    Jun 15 2013: Yes I've heard of such systems, electronic voting systems or (E2D) as you call it, but to be honest his is the first time for me to know more about it, I believe this will secure democracy specially to a third world countries like us. I wish to see this system one day implemented in the third world countries to avoid the endless issues related to fraud in the voting process that used to happen.
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    Jun 15 2013: I agree with you Sven. The risks can be minimized and overcome, and the potential benefits far outweigh the potential risks.

    Another aspect to consider would be reducing the attractiveness of committing the crime. As we know that all interactions online leave an electronic footprint, perhaps it would be logical to implement a new laws that see interfering with an electronic voting as treason and "suspicion of electoral treason" come into play.

    Conviction of treason by interfering with an electronic vote could have a mandatory sentence of life in prison and forfeit of all monetary and property assets, as well as a bar from electronic communication.

    Suspicion of treason via interfering with an electronic voting process could for example temporarily FREEZE all of a persons assets until such time as the matter is cleared, and impair them from accepting other than a court appointed lawyer ( in other words we'd not see wealthy persons buy their way out ) until such time as the courts exonerate them or they are convicted.

    The nature of this protection along with built in safeguards to recover from such an attack would likely deter all but the foolhardy from even considering the attempt.

    Survive/Adapt/Overcome would see our nation realize its destiny.
    • Jun 15 2013: I see this would likely happen as well but it is a decision the population would have to make. I agree with the idea and would support legislation similar to what you suggest. It is one of many common sense acts you would expect to happen under a DD system but are unlikely to see from representatives.

      Under the existing system "justice" is strongly weighted to those that can afford experienced and skilled representation. There are many situations where large powerful bodies use the court systems to oppress people who cannot afford the process (both in time and money), oil companies claiming resource rights, food corporations driving independent farmers out of business. It does not seem right and seems to be becoming endemic, under our representatives there is little will to change this as their funds come from the powerful entities. Under a DD it is likely these scales would become more balanced.
    • Jun 15 2013: Hi Martin
      Where are you located? I am guessing USA? I am not sure why but Americans do not seem that strongly inclined to this concept, maybe it is because they are so polarized by the politics there or have been so strongly initiated into the idea that their founding documents are untouchable. There is no grassroots, clearly defined DD movement in USA that I know of, which just seems crazy considering the countries history and the peoples firm belief in democracy.

      It would be a struggle to jump into the national arena with a DD party in America, unless there was a very rich or famous benefactor/s, but the US will have levels of local elections, why not a community group offering a DD representative on a local level?

      Demoex in Sweden is an E2D party that has successfully had a representative win a place in local elections, if I understand correctly they started out by borrowing a house van and handing out leaflets. Big things can grow from small beginnings:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demoex
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    Jun 15 2013: Sven, if each voter were able to monitor where their vote landed and any vote/change generated a confirmation email to the voters email address then any "virus" or "hacking" to electronically "stuff the ballot box" would not go undetected and steps could/would be taken to correct the matter. (unstuff the electronic ballot box)

    Further, with the online environment while difficult at times to track, there is ALWAYS a paper trail back to the source.

    Traditional ballot box stuffing however often DOES go undetected and will not flag a user when this happens.

    When we think about ballot box stuffing prevention and correction, electronic voting does not seem inferior to traditional voting at all, in fact it seem superior. At one watchdog per vote, thats alot of watchdogs in the online voting mechanism.

    Thank you for your information. I will take a closer look at the systems you mentioned.

    ..oh and Sven?
    Would you please outline for us what watchdog preventions there are for traditional ballot stuffing and how effective they are where once the voter drops their ballot in the box they loose contact with it?

    Cheers!
    • Jun 15 2013: I am afraid I am not going to be much help with traditional protections for manual voting, maybe others can help, I would be interested to know.

      There are re-counts, but it is error probe, inefficient, and will not help if ballots were removed or fake ballots were added.

      In Thailand things are done on a community level, within each village the private booth system is employed, with soldiers appointed to watch along with locally employed officials, per village after voting has ended the box is opened and the ballots are tallied with each vote shown to whoever wants to watch.

      I mentioned Sub-Demographic Tallies before, in an eVoting system this could be similar, each persons ballot is private but you group people into communities, whatever size works but lets say about 1000 people, grouping by vicinity is most logical but any grouping would work as long as there is a reasonable connection between the members and they can communicate together. Each community tally is public and added up to form the final tally. If the community thinks something looks wrong you could have a super-majority (eg 75%) petition signed by members of the community to open up the actual votes to them, they can then verify them and report any inconsistencies.


      Security fears with the technology is often a reason people hesitate about electronic direct democracy, but I agree with you, the benefits out way the risks and I feel the risks could be mitigated better than existing systems.
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    Jun 14 2013: @ Jimmy Strobl re: " In a fluid DD you can pass your vote to anyone, your school teacher, a friend or family member. Or you can vote yourself."

    @Robert Winner re: "one man in Arizona "collected" four thousand mail in ballots and delivered them to the poll ... just helping his neighbors ... what a nice guy."

    Jimmy, don't you think that what you suggest will quickly turn votes into a market commodity and lead to a system that is more corrupt than ever, with lobbyists gaining massive voting power by campaigning and buying votes?

    Right after the Soviet Union collapsed, Ukraine decided to "privatize" government enterprises. The government issued "privatization vouchers" to every citizen which could be traded for "shares" in the government companies. Fair, right? There was no official market for these vouchers or those "shares" and people did not know what to do with these vouchers. Most people did not see any value in them and sold these vouchers to whoever offered whatever money. Some people gained a massive amount of these vouchers for pennies and used these vouchers to buy government-owned companies. I have a feeling that the same will happen with the system you propose.
    • Jun 14 2013: Hi Arkady
      These are important concerns, but the risk of vote buying, coercing people to vote a certain way, or having them pass their vote to you (as a representative, or through delegation in DD), exist in all democracies, in any voting system.

      The goal is to police against this and create procedures to make it more difficult. Not take away peoples right to vote.

      Which system is more likely to effectively police against these unethical practices, and offer education and unbiased information to the voting public, a system where decisions are made by that same public, or a system where laws and policy are made by a central powerful body, easily corrupted by entities that profit from unethical acts?
    • Jun 14 2013: I wanted to expand on this as I fear my comments have sometimes been worded in a generalized and simplistic manner, which might come across as brushing off concerns with vague arguments. I understand these issues are not simple.

      For example when I say politicians are corruptible I am not saying all politicians are corrupt, what I am trying to get at is the system we have creates an environment where elected officials can, and have been, corrupted.

      When I write "tyranny" does not exist in a majority rules system, I am trying to show how words like this can be twisted to create emotional responses that might not reflect reality. When people tie tyranny to majority rule, what I believe they are fearful of is minorities losing their basic human rights - a clearly defined concern which we can look at solutions for.

      In response to Arkady I asked whether a representative system is more or less likely to restrict vote manipulation than a DD system, when asking this I am not trying to brush off the issue, I really want to know what people think. From my wording its pretty obvious I believe a DD would be better, but there are arguments against this that need to be considered.

      For example under a representative system you usually have two or more groups vying for power, this naturally polices itself in that the opposing group will ardently try to find evidence of the other groups corruption, in Thailand I understand the anti-corruption department is always headed by the political party that in the election came in second, because they will be the most honest in policing those who won.

      This system starts to fall apart when the major parties are all corrupted by the same unethical groups, which some argue already happens, and apart from rhetoric the main parties have become analogous.

      On the DD side it can be argued that without political parties, groups of opposing views will become vocal in watching corruption in their opposing groups, offering the same protections
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        Jun 16 2013: I have not read all your responses, Sven, but to me you come across as thoughtful rather as if you are trying to brush off issues. I appreciate the seriousness with which you consider the issues people raise to you.
    • Jun 14 2013: Another important issue countering vote manipulation is anonymous voting. In representative systems this is normally done in a private booth, once your vote is made there is no way for anyone to prove what way you voted, this makes vote coercion almost impossible as the coercer has to trust the coerced individual when they say how they voted.

      How does DD compare? It depends on the system. There are some encrypted voting platforms that have been developed for this specific reason, making it impossible to see how a person voted, but for that person to be able to validate their vote was tallied correctly. The algorithms are not simple but these have been created and verified by competent cryptographers. Sure the systems need to be given strong tests before being implemented, but if this is the solution people feel is correct then this is a real world solution.

      My personal feelings are transparency is more important, but I would happily accept a private vote system if that is what the majority chose. My belief is an open system will instill more trust and allows for public validation, to counter vote manipulation I believe you create strong policies protecting people and their vote. Some variations I support is to have voluntary private/public voting until an individual receives X number of delegated votes, at that point their vote and voting history become public (they can reject delegated votes)

      One of my main goals in the DD/E2D community is to present and understand all the arguments against a DD, listen to peoples fears, and discuss solutions. Apart from some basic DD concepts, E2D parties can and do implement different ways of delivering DD, I have argued that in any constituency we should allow any number of E2D signatory parties, and let the population chose which they agree with, it would of course split the DD vote which is a serious downside, but at the end of the day a DD system belongs to the people, and none of us know what will resonate with the public
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        Jun 14 2013: Sven, with respect to your comment on "There are some encrypted voting platforms that have been developed for this specific reason, making it impossible to see how a person voted, but for that person to be able to validate their vote was tallied correctly. The algorithms are not simple but these have been created and verified by competent cryptographers. " Could you be more specific. It would be interesting to view them more closely. Thank you.
  • Jun 13 2013: I received this message earlier today from a member of the Online Party of Canada:

    ".. we are preparing for a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer and all other federal political parties in Canada, tomorrow and Friday; the first time that the Online Party of Canada is allowed to participate AND we will have a chance to discuss Internet voting - although plans to introduce online voting for the next General Election in 2015 have been postponed due to budget constraints (they had originally planned to have a pilot project for a by-election in 2013) but we are hoping to advance the discussion on the subject and hopefully make it a priority for the near future. Should be interesting nonetheless."
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    Jun 12 2013: Not quite what you were looking for but not a bad start.
    http://www.americanselect.org/
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    Jun 12 2013: Hi,

    I've been dreaming of having E2D systems for a long time.

    To live in a democracy ... or to promote democracy as "for the people by the people" and then to not put in direct democracy when the opportunity presents itself seems a bit hypocritical. It tells me that what we've had all along then is a lie.

    Having said that, I do believe it could be disastrous to have the masses rule unchecked. I shudder at the thought of having this in place in some places such as India. I say India because I have lived here and know the reality here. I shudder at it happening in places such as saudi too, but that doesn't count as informed because I've never lived there.

    I'm curious to see what would happen with this system. I think some more evidence based research is in order before it gets adopted. Then I'd like to see it implemented in a smaller country before being implemented in any of the nuclear powers.

    Also before it gets implemented, I'd like to see that the constitution of the country altered to include a human rights section that protects all minorities from being subjugated by any type of majority vote, and to have a strong, efficient and effective judicial system.

    Aside from having a disastrous effect on minorities, there is also the possible effect on international affairs that is a real fear.

    Had it been upto a direct vote, I don't believe it would have been possible for the US to have set up puppet dictatorships. At the same time, I also believe we would have started WW3 in the aftermath of 9/11.

    I hope to see this system put in place not only in each country, but also worldwide like a new EU where when certain criteria are met, countries could unify into a world government that protects its minorities, thereby becoming the great equalizer.

    Education should not be an obstacle much longer as I believe we are making rapid strides in that field and are close to the tipping point there.

    I believe biometrics will help ensure the vote is honest
    • Jun 12 2013: Hi Manishka
      Your comments are well stated. The idea of direct democracy came to me before I knew the term "direct democracy", a light simply turned on and I asked myself why do we have or need representatives? Why are we forced to choose people we do not know to govern us.

      I talked to some other people and they had had similar thoughts. I investigated during the rise of the Occupy movement and came across the E2D parties. Very simple idea, vote in candidates who will vote in the existing system according to a direct vote from the population. Also reasonably safe as it would be a slow transition, it is unlikely an E2D party would suddenly have a majority in any jurisdiction.

      I agree with you about the danger in some countries, I am a New Zealander, lived in Australia, and have now lived in Thailand for almost 15 years. I would strongly support a party in New Zealand or Australia, but would be cautious in Thailand. I am not going to say it would not work here or would be unsafe, but it might be. I am confident in New Zealand or Australia (or most European countries) it would be safe.

      I am also not sure that minorities would be subjugated, or that discrimination would be worse than in existing dictatorships or representative democracies, I believe collective morals would be stronger than this, but I accept it could happen and protections should be in place.

      Would the USA have started WW3 after 9/11 under a direct democracy? Maybe. I do not think so. The average American, although heartbroken by the attack, I believe would think twice before starting a war, would demand facts, would understand that entire communities cannot be held responsible for the acts of a few people.

      The biggest problem E2D parties have is support, if you are in a location where there is an E2D party and you are interested in this idea try contacting them, make sure you vote for them. If you are not sure if there is a party check the E2D forum or ask me.
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        Jun 12 2013: Hi Sven,

        I'm glad you did think of it. I'd also been thinking that we just don't need representatives anymore, but in my case it's just a thought that didn't end in action. Thank you for the invitation to join :) I would love to. I registered at the E2d forum, awaiting activation, same name.

        actually the terms direct democracy and e2D both have been introduced to me through this discussion.

        Before this, I had been pondering the rider system in US politics. It seems pretty horrible that any particular bill can have big headlines that says "healthcare reform" and then for every additional vote, each senator then bargains in his own rider... $5 million for a bridge in his constituency, another adds on subsidies or his favorite lobbyist, etc.

        I believe that if there is a DD system put in place, then it would necessitate simplifying the language and breaking it down into points each of which can be voted on separately. It would be a wonderful side effect to get rid of the riders.
        • Jun 12 2013: I have activated your account on E2D. I understand you are currently in India, I do not know of any activity there, where is your home, there might be a party there.

          The E2D site is generally geared for the support of the parties, activity has died off but I have tried to organize the forum into topics about the different paths to implementation, core concepts, possible risks, possible solutions etc..

          Looks like you are talking about Pork Barrel politics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_barrel), yes one of the many symptoms of the flawed representative system.

          Some of the E2D parties have a strong focus on the deliberation part of creating legislation, how the public can collaborate to create and amend bills that are to be passed. It would make sense that the public would want to decide single issues at a time.
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        Jun 13 2013: I live in India, but I'm american. It's worth introducing the concept and discussing it here. I see some links above to American E2D initiatives which I'll follow, but first some exploration into details that have already been discussed at the E2D site. I'd like to learn more about it.

        Thanks for activating my a/c. See you there:)
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        Jun 15 2013: "Would the USA have started WW3 after 9/11 under a direct democracy? Maybe. I do not think so. The average American, although heartbroken by the attack, I believe would think twice before starting a war, would demand facts, would understand that entire communities cannot be held responsible for the acts of a few people."

        I have that same faith in People Sven. Whats more I think you stated the situation very well.
  • Jun 12 2013: Sometimes terms like "tyranny of the majority" are used to elicit an emotional response, it is an abstract term and if you are going to reject a democratic system because of this argument it needs to be defined.

    "Tyranny" means oppressive power, in our case oppressive power exerted by government.

    What constitutes oppression? Is a police force oppressive? Are taxes oppressive? To many people they are, any social level legislation could be considered oppressive by some part of the population. Does the majority want to do away with their police force, all forms of government, live in anarchy? No. We already have oppression, it is called society, it is called the rule of law, it is called government.

    If every time legislation is passed it is a form of oppression on some group in society, a form of tyranny, what are the options. 1: Anarchy. 2: Tyranny by the majority. 3: Tyranny by the minority. Which do you think is the best option?

    But above I am looking at tyranny in relation to how it affects a group in society, for example a law stating murder is illegal is oppressive to murderers, given absolute freedom murderers would be allowed to murder. But for the majority of people this law is not oppressive, is not tyranny.

    So we consider tyranny as it relates to generally understood common sense, or more specifically according to what the majority thinks tyranny is. If in a democracy decisions are made by popular vote, majority rules, and tyranny/oppression are defined by that majority, then how can you have tyranny by the majority?

    These are just words and they can be twisted to mean different things to different people. Each persons common sense is more important, should we make decisions according to what the majority want? If you believe in democracy common sense says yes because the alternative is decisions made by a minority group. Should there be protections against discriminatory laws, laws that infringe basic human rights, common sense says yes there should.
  • Jun 11 2013: Jimmy,
    Thank you for your replies. They are pretty much what I expected you to say. I applaud you and your friends efforts, as well as your countries success. I hope you are able to maintain it for a long time.
    I am sorry to say that I do not believe that will happen in the US anytime soon. It may seem that we have a representative democracy but in actuality we have not had that for many, many years. I have been studying history and people for 40 years. What I see fills me with a great sorrow. I don't believe we will come to a DD for many years not before a great deal of suffering and damage to this country and it's people. I sometimes wish I could see otherwise. My daughter believes that I have become hopelessly cynical and to a small extent that is true but I love my country and her people. I do not wish or want what is going to happen. I just do not see any other road out of the mess we are in.
    There will be change but most drastic change comes with struggle. My country and it's people are just not mature enough to make the changes that are necessary without lashing out at each other. For too long we were leaders and examples to the rest of the world. We became hopelessly arrogant, now most of us are beginning to pay the price for that. Some are acting with maturity and sense but there is still too large a majority who are not. The more radical of these will sooner or later take matters into their own hands. This will give those who have been waiting for it the excuses they need. No, I am not a conspiracy nut, just someone who sees clearly but I am also just one unimportant person. Yes, I know that it sometimes only takes one person to start a change in the way others see. I have no real excuse. I have tried to teach my daughter and I still try but she has to make her own choices, as do each and every one of us.
    I do appreciate what you and others like you are trying to do and hope it does make a difference.
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    Jun 10 2013: This does not sound like "party" to me. It seems to be just a voting system.

    I have a hard time making practical sense of the phrase "non-partisan party".
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    Jun 10 2013: What does the party stand for?

    This clause in the Manifesto makes me very skeptical of the success of this idea:

    3. Political neutrality of the party.
    ——————————————————————————–

    i. The Party (2) is non-partisan and not governed by any other principles than Electronic Direct Democracy (1);

    Is it possible to rally people around the absence of agenda?
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      Jun 10 2013: the party stands for majority rule.

      The point is that you get to pick and choose as you please, you may choose to support any agenda and add or take away the parts that you don't like. I can see no better agenda then my own. Can you see any better then yours?
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        Jun 10 2013: The problem is that the herd is easily manipulated, as in the government that robs peter to pay paul can always count on the support of paul.

        No one thinks beyond their viewpoint, they never think of it as wrong, they just don't know that they don't know. Being wrong doesn't feel any different than being right.

        Why I even saw one feller that thought I was making an outrageous comment about the tyranny of the majority when I weren't...

        To Sven below

        The only real answer is education. If you do a Venn (a tool of logic) diagram, and you have 3 circles showing people, goverment, business. the part that overlaps all 3 is education

        The people who manipulate make their money by keeping the herd ignorant.

        But it is a real ditch digger of a job

        To Sven again

        I don't think it requires a 4yr degree. I look to what Paul Martin did in the 80s in Canada, where he did a remedial education program (I think on national TV), which is attributed for Canada's current economy faring better than the other western countries.

        I mean what percentage of adults know how to do a budget? How can they vote on such matters on a national scale.

        By virtue of the fact that they are thinking as a herd indicates they are not thinking as individuals as the two ideas ARE mutually exclusive.
        • Jun 10 2013: Hi Pat, what do you think is the best solution? Keeping representatives as we have now or changing the system somehow, if change what change?
        • Jun 10 2013: How are you going to achieve effective education? Our social education system is controlled by our government, which is going to create a better education system, some form of DD or the current Representative system?

          The current representatives controlled by special interests want a herd, the population under DD would probably want to be empowered with effective education.

          On a side point: being a herd does not have to be a bad thing, if it is a happy herd and the herd wants to be herd and the herd chooses its own direction.
        • Jun 11 2013: So you are suggesting compulsory basic remedial education? If the population agrees I think it is a fine idea.

          How are you going to implement it? With a representative political party whose platform is "compulsory basic remedial education"? What is that parties stance on other important issues? How are you going to get the population to trust your new party and vote them in? Or are you going to convince one of the main existing political parties or current elected officials to create an effective long term educational program?

          Once you have a population that is educated, know how to prepare a budget and the meaning of words like "specious", what do you do then? Do you then bring in a pure direct democracy so the population can make policy? Or is there some other requirement? Maybe every single person needs to pass an A level (set by who) before they can be trusted with a DD?

          Or maybe once everyone has a good education they will be able to choose representatives that are not corrupt, not taking money for political favors, nor lairs?


          I am still not clear on your solution, what do you feel is the correct path forwards. Apart from improving education, do you think a representative system like we have now is better than a DD system, or do you feel a DD is great but only if people are educated, or is there some other system that would be better?
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        Jun 10 2013: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

        ― Mark Twain
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        Jun 10 2013: What do I do if I don't want to push my agenda on other people and simply want that other people don't push their agenda on me?

        The relationship between democracy and tyranny, freedom and oppression is perplexing.

        http://lysanderspooner.org/node/64

        It's like trying to get as far from evil as possible while traveling on a circular track.
        • Jun 10 2013: Hi Arkady. humans are not perfect and a large group of people will never agree on everything (on anything?), in DD we are looking at finding better alternatives to what we have now.
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    Jun 10 2013: I'd like to add another reason why I really think that an E2D system is better.

    And it that of fact checking. How many times do we hear political debates when false facts are presented, and when those are presented as facts the opposite side doesn't have a chance to check the validity of those facts, leading to them being forced to accept them as truth (until later checked). Destroying the entire debate.

    With an online discussion all kinds of facts can easily be presented with not only arguments and facts but also with visuals for example.
    I have gotten more truth from TED conversations then I have from real life debates. And here I can take a minute, hour or day to fact check your arguments and build counter arguments supported by reliable sources. This is not possible in a live debate.
  • Jun 10 2013: Jimmy,
    Continuation from above, Is that a problem that can be solved to be sure that even those without access for whatever reason can have their voices heard should they want them to be?
    • Jun 10 2013: Hi Charlette
      A Direct Democracy does not have to only be electronic ie internet - it can incorporate booth voting, mail in voting (already exists in many locations), or phone in voting. Many DD parties are planning for this.

      Delegation is also a solution, like the current representative democracies you can delegate your vote to someone you trust, if for any reason you are not in a position to or do not feel like voting.
  • Jun 10 2013: Jimmy,
    I have a couple of questions for you. How would something like DD or E2D help the portion of America's population that either can not(absolutely) afford computers or access to the Internet, both or either? Also the portion that are not interested or do not have the confidence or belief that they are capable of using computers or the Internet? Those that say they are not interested/don't want it are Possibly concerned about invasion of their privacy or lack curiosity and the imagination to maintain an interest (this is conjecture and not meant to be insulting, just one scenario). Another scenario is that lack of interest means they prefer a simpler life than most and prefer books, conversation and live music rather than an electronic means of information or communication.
    Then there is the portion of our population that is quite literally Uneducated. I have known people who had little to no school and the technology that the majority of us use on a daily basis is Overwhelming to them. Also they are usually from the poorest part of our population, many of which are minorities in remote and/or rural areas. So they can not afford to spend money that would literally take food away from them and their families as well as other basic necessities, if they can even afford those.
    Next is the problem of so-called Providers of Internet Services, ha!?! I did some research on the statistics of percentages on internet usage. Here are a couple of links I followed and read. Please be sure to read the comment section from the article, it is illuminating, lol!
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/02/almost-a-third-of-americans-still-dont-use-the-net/
    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/rdit2/internet-access---households-and-individuals/2011/stb-internet-access-2011.html
    http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~bam/numbers/index.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_access#Digital_Divide
    What this information will tell you is that 30 to 40% of the US population has no access.
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      Jun 10 2013: Charlette,
      I will do my best to answer these questions, I am however not all-knowing on these questions and I ask that you have some understanding for eventual holes in my explanation, it does not mean that there isn't one that Sven for example can't answer.

      In the case of DD no computers are needed, it could be done by the Switzerland model (everybody gathers on the town square and holds their hand up. I do however think that a E2D system provides many more benefits, like having more votes then "yes" and "no".

      The problem with computer access and knowledge can be solved by providing libraries with sufficient computers and having librarians teach those that need help. That's one example of how it can be solved.
      There will always be people who are not interested in learning or engaging in society. For those we can just hope to persuade them. Like the 40% of Americans that don't vote today.
      There's no reason why anyone should be more concerned about their privacy with an E2D system then with the current system. Here's an article and a Youtube clip form court concerning how easily and frequently voting machines are hacked.
      http://rt.com/usa/voting-machine-election-hack-088/
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4aKOhbbK9E

      The lack of interest issue is solved by a delegated voting system, much like the current representative democracy we have today, but you choose your wise friend or that journalist you have faith in, not someone who you know nothing about. It is best explained in a post by Sven a bit down.

      The uneducated are influenced through media and such by the educated so that they can make decisions without reading all the paper work. Much like people do today.
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      Jun 10 2013: Total online anonymity can be achieved (from what I gather) by (getting technical) setting up a VPN and then using a program like TOR. However I do not have a very clear answer for you on this as that is merely an educated speculation from my part.

      On the problem of access, I think that you have a bigger opportunity of having your say even if you don't have a computer at home. Surely you would be able to come across a computer more then every 4 years (the current voting frequency) and in my example with libraries I think a large bit of that problem would be solved.
      • Jun 10 2013: I have concerns about the integrity of any technology based voting system. There are some very smart people working on solutions, and if you look at the benefits vs the risks and the implemented system has protections put in place then security issues could be mitigated.

        Expecting every voter to setup VPN,TOR etc I think is asking a bit much, especially at the start. Some of the encrypted voting systems are probably simpler but their are many security risks (eg local machine virus or network hacking).

        I have some topics at the E2D forum about vote integrity:
        http://e2d-international.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=63

        One of them is "Public vs. Private Voting":
        http://e2d-international.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=73

        There are some projects such as the well developed Liquid Feedback (http://e2d-international.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=146) which only offer public voting (private until ballot closed), and there are others whose focus is privacy such as the TED speaker David Bismark (http://e2d-international.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=85&t=3218) or Helios (http://e2d-international.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=85&t=153).

        It is up to the population to decide what they feel is most important, complete transparency of the vote will reduce vote fraud or the chance of hacking but will increase the possibility of vote buying, vote bullying, etc.

        My personal view is that you could go either way:
        Public voting: Make transparency paramount, then have strong legislation to protect against any discrimination or manipulation.
        Private voting: Have systems in place for ensuring the integrity of the vote, for example security checks by public trusted organizations or committees, again legislation protecting against these checkers exposing private information. Another option I think could work is Sub-Demographic Tallies (http://e2d-international.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=75), it would allow for private voting but local communities could verify their votes have been counted correctly.
    • Jun 10 2013: I think the E2D parties should perhaps not called themselves "Electronic Direct Democracy"/"E2D", as DD does not have to be electronic, or more importantly be labelling themselves this way they might scare away support from part of the public who do not trust technology. The primary E2D parties have a heavy focus on using the internet as it is an efficient way to deliver DD, but in my eyes promoting the "Direct Democracy" part is more important: giving the population some form of control over what legislation is enacted.

      How that is done is up to each society, through town square meetings, by mail, by mobile phone, by the net, as long as an effective solution is found. Some countries in Africa and Middle East have very low access to internet but almost everyone has mobile phones, parts of Asia and India are similar. The system belongs to the people, whatever works use it, when something is not working or certain people are marginalized, find a solution.
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    Jun 5 2013: JIMMY Thank you for inviting me to this! It's exactly what i was thinking about! Nice and simple just the way i like it too! We need this in the U.S.A.! The only thing i would change is allowing parties period. I want a democracy with no parties, might just be a pipe dream, they seem to only hinder the system at best. The way I would want it to work would require the people to have an understanding of the legislation. Don't get me wrong THIS IS GREAT already but I don't have trust for politicians here. They are too easily swayed by $$$$. We could teach our students about legislation in such a way that they could comprehend it and understand what they want and what the legislation in going to give or take. It would take a generation but that generation would have a knowledge for government that is more than rare. Again, Great idea I'm glad it's happening somewhere! My country just needs to catch up and actually expect more from its people than the remedial standards that are accepted throughout the nation.
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      Jun 5 2013: Glad you enjoyed it Jah! My party (each E2D party write their own rules, as long as they heed the manifesto) isn't really a party, and it is.
      The thing is that every opinion is welcome, and everyone can make suggestions and/or start debates and vote as they wish. So we don't really view it as a party (and all that a party inclines, conformity and so on) but as a tool for governance for all the people.
      The thing is that you don't have to be a politician to get power in this system, if you're a good teacher that people trust they can give their vote to you for matters concerning the school, or a doctor for medical legislation.

      We could elect our TED Speakers to represent us in specific questions and take that vote back in an instant if we notice that they make a bad choice.

      Here's a link to my party and it's manifesto (some details have changed since it was written) http://aktivdemokrati.se/manifesto/
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    Jun 3 2013: A more efficient way to exercise the tyranny of the majority?
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      Jun 3 2013: Is that a question?

      Does it in any way respond to any question asked above?
      I claim that your question is simply an irrelevant snide remark.
      I designed the question to keep people like you, and (especially you) out of this.
      This Conversation is not a debate about if it's right or wrong or who the tyrant is (you'd make a great tyrant btw, always thinking you know better). It is a conversation meant to help like minded people share ideas and stories about a new way to govern.
      If you wish to have a debate about who the biggest tyrant is you should start a conversation about it, I however would not join you in it.
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        Jun 3 2013: Oh dear I'm being ostracized again. Maybe TED is elitist after all?

        It is a question and a protest of socialist propaganda and the smug attitude that goes with it.
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          Jun 5 2013: Yes Pat, If you can't keep on topic or answer a sub question in the explanation then your general negative attitude is not welcome.

          I would not come to a capitalistic conversation of yours with a short out of the blue, off-topic statement like " You just want capitalistic tyranny!".

          I wonder why you keep being ostracized everywhere... Strange really, you're so likable!
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          Jun 5 2013: Pat I'm sorry but you're wrong here. It plainly states at the top that it is DEMOCRATIC. I don't sense the "smugness" either Pat. Jimmy simply explained logically why your input was invalid. It is completely off topic and to further that you brought up socialists which doesn't make sense. People still vote and are not forced to do so or threatened in any manner to sway their vote. Before you even try to say elitist to me I'll define myself. 23, African American/Caucasian decent, Single parent household, Unemployed, College Drop Out, "Bleeding Heart" by some, Humanitarian by others, No strong religious belief, No strong political affiliations or bias. Take it for what it is Pat, Don't assume such wild things :D We love all thoughts here except ones that are unfounded and ludicrous in nature. Hope your day brightens up man!
      • Jun 4 2013: I rarely agree with Pat (nothing personal Pat) however here he is correct and you are incapable of reading between the line(s).
        The manifesto you refer to is a recipe for mob rule or a tyranny of the majority as Pat suggests.
        A democracy only works if you have an informed population. You suggest personal involvement in government without checks or balances.
        It is difficult to imagine a more horrible scenario. (well.. I can but then I've got a really warped imagination).
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          Jun 4 2013: Gordon if you want to disagree with me you are going to have to get in line, nothing personal, the line forms about a mile down the road.
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          Jun 5 2013: Gordon,

          By your definition no democracy works as they are now, as I'm guessing that you don't consider any nations majority of citizens to be informed (enough) to know what is best.

          Are they however informed enough to choose their leaders in a political process that very few understand?

          Switzerland, for example, has this kind of "tyranny" and it's working fine there, only they actually have to get out to the town square every time they have to vote.
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          Jun 5 2013: Gordon, As i stated in my comment above the people need to be educated to allow this to be effective. We are not truly educated by design ( the design of the school system molds us into this "educated yet stupid" cut outs). This rationalizes why education costs so much at higher levels. Only the elitist are giving a fighting chance to understand how the government works. No one ever said do away with checks and balances either. That is your assumption. This merely say the people will vote on all legislation via electronic devices. In this case the people would become Congress. The population of the nation would check and balance the other two branches of government. The people have to power to veto the government. The people have the power to say "No Mr.President we are(n't) going to war." The people simply have the power. It would be an adjustment but it would be nothing like you are stating. Change someones mindset and you will change their actions, motivations, and overall goals. Only with mindsets such as yours would things that you imagine become truths.
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        Jun 5 2013: Jah

        It is very much on topic. What is the definition of the tyranny of the majority?

        Do you see any smugness in the below quote?

        "Yeah, that's what I've been thinking as well. I think that the US really needs a system like this to get rid much of the stupidity and corruption."



        PS this is a response to Jimmies post just below:

        "You have a model for ruling my world, I'm advocating a model for people to rule."

        That is not true.

        By definition learning requires comparing notes. If information is not compared to anything else it just so much noise and of no value.

        You have decided that everything I say is noise. Therefore you have not noticed that the very core of my agenda is to promote the freedom of the individual.

        The difference is that you believe in the power of the collective, that will give power to the people, I do not.

        I believe freedom is given to people by giving them freedom, especially freedom of choice.
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          Jun 5 2013: I'm sorry, that's all I've been hearing from every TED Talk and Conversation on politics. That it's either stupid and/or corrupt.
          You have a model for ruling my world, I'm advocating a model for people to rule.
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          Jun 5 2013: I have no specific question. I am only hoping to promote inclusive conversation in which diverse perspectives are welcome and for everyone to take the high road.
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          Jun 10 2013: Pat,

          I think you struck a key note here, we both want basically the same thing, freedom. But we see different ways of getting there.

          I do not consider your comments as noise, I once shared many of your viewpoints so I understand them better then you might think.
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        Jun 5 2013: I think Pat's question is connected to the question you pose, Jimmy, because it seeks clarification of what you consider "success."

        There would be no harm in your replying with a short explanation of the particular merits you see in such a party and any natural safeguards against the scenarios that concern Pat.
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          Jun 5 2013: Fritzie,
          I have respect for you and most comments that I've read have been both insightful and diplomatic.

          I do however beg to differ. Pats question is as follows
          "A more efficient way to exercise the tyranny of the majority?"
          It does not seek clarification on what i consider a success, it is nothing more then a snide remark aimed at me and my political conviction. And neither of them have anything to do with this Conversation.

          How did you come to the conclusion that he's wondering about what a success for a political party would be? I have seen debates on many wordings here on TED but the word success is in this case just a word that's in there, for everyone to interpret as they see fit, and if they have a story that they think is a success story then I'd like to hear about it.
          It's very easy.

          And I would walk the high road, but not with Pat. There's no use in trying to explain anything like this to him because he's made up his mind and he's just here to disrupt (which is in violation of the Terms of use).

          Upon checking them again I see that they've changed since last. Apparently you don't have to stay on topic anymore so Pat is free to write whatever he wants here.


          There would be no harm in replying with the short explanation but I have already explained this to Pat on other Conversations and provided links to information.
          If he has any questions he is free to ask them in a polite manner and I will do my best to answer them.

          The same goes for you Fritzie, if you have any questions say concerning safeguards and such it would be nice if you asked them in a new post so that it all doesn't get jumbled together.
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      Jun 4 2013: Tyranny of the majority? You mean something might actually get done? Citizens might have to become informed about their community, country and take direct responsibility for it's actions? We've gotten this far, it's time evolve to a higher level.
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        Jun 5 2013: Precisely Madeleine!

        I haven't found any reference to any such party in the US, do you perhaps know of any?
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          Jun 5 2013: Not that I've found so far, but I feel like it can't be long in the coming because it's a really popular idea here and the citizens are fed up with the insane inefficiency of the system.
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        Jun 5 2013: Yeah, that's what I've been thinking as well. I think that the US really needs a system like this to get rid much of the stupidity and corruption. And I'm kind of hoping that this conversation might serve as a gathering point for those who wish to start this kind of thing in the US.
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          Jun 5 2013: That would great. I really haven't seen a more effective model presented, honestly. I'd be very interested to see what would happen.

          Unfortunately, I'm still a Canadian citizen so I'm fairly useless in that respect.
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          Jun 5 2013: The Swede and Canadian stating what is best for the U.S. and stating their opinion as to the intelligence and ethical standard within the U.S.

          This is similar to what happens with the tyranny of the majority as in the scenario where the government robs from Peter to pay Paul you can always count on the support of Paul. When Paul is the majority you have the end of the country and more importantly with it the end of liberty for the individual.
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        Jun 5 2013: Oh, I just checked your location and thought that you were from the US...
        I'm not sure if you're aware that you have the Online Party of Canada since November last year. I have no more information then that they exist and go under the E2D manifesto...
        Here's a link http://www.onlineparty.ca/
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          Jun 5 2013: Canadian citizen living in the US, I think that's badass that they have got the ball rolling on that, though.
      • Jun 5 2013: Things might get done but what things???
        Who would protect the rights of the unpopular. I could see gay rights evaporating in the US south in about 5 minutes
        The debates possible over a media like this are poor replacements for a face to face discussion and should not be the platform that government is directed from.
        The number of ways an opposing point of view can hijack a debate in an electronic forum are to numerous for this to be a safe, governing body.
        I can see it now. Lets build a bridge here. Yeah - everybody agrees we need a bridge here. It'll cost this much. Holy Shit - cancel the bridge.
        We will enter a time of brittleness in action and appropriation.
        No thanks.
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          Jun 5 2013: Gordon,

          In my party we use an algorithm to make sure that no vote is made to swiftly. For example the speed of which a vote is decided is dependent on the number of voters (and a few other things). If I were to propose a law change on something and I would be the only one in Sweden to propose this the voting would be open for more then 100 years.

          You may visualize the voting process as a tug-of-war with a huge weigh in the middle to prevent a single person from grabbing the rope and running away...

          I hope that answers at least a bit of your question.

          If you have more of wish me to clarify on something would you please make a new post of it so that it comes on top?
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      Jun 10 2013: Pat, I should apologize for my initial comment to you. I did not know that "tyranny of the majority" was a concept and I thought that you were just making outrageous accusations about the majority of people being tyrants.

      Well you basically did (and I disagree) but you did ask a valid question. It was my lack of knowledge that lead to that misunderstanding. Apologies.
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        Jun 10 2013: No apology necessary, but thank you.

        Debate is actually a way of learning by comparison of ideas, so it is good.

        The problem is that most people do not get to a point of genuine communication.

        With that said what about the concept of financial enslavement, high taxes? The idea of ruining a life with government welfare?
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          Jun 10 2013: What you call financial enslavement and high taxes I view as financial aid and... well, low taxes. Are you talking about corporate or income tax?
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        Jun 10 2013: What you call financial aid I call enslavement. Which gets people addicted to government transfers. In effect robbing them of a life, the road to hell is lined with good intentions. The core of what is missing is a metric for these good intentions and more importantly the correct metric not one that is picked by a self serving politician. This is the very foundation of the scientific method.

        I'm talking about the aggregate, in the U.S. it is a minimum of 50% unless you are in the lowest quintile

        ZX Style on TED was complaining of 70% tax in the Netherlands.
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          Jun 10 2013: Pat,

          I'm not sure how you measure the aggregate, could you tell me and I will check it here in Sweden. I'm quite curious about this as I've never heard the measure before. Perhaps it's being hidden from me in my socialistic country (somewhat sarcastic).
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        Jun 10 2013: Don't know in your country but in the U.S. it just adding up the taxes:

        State income tax varies but maybe 5% to 11%
        Sales tax varies as well but maybe 8%
        Income tax 15% to 35% (has been as high as 92%)
        Social Security/Medicare 15.4%
        Property tax varies .2-4% of the property value (if you rent the cost is added into the rent)
        Gasoline tax varies .3 per gallon or roughly 8% of your gas cost
        If you smoke or drink
        Tobacco .37 to 4.35 per pack
        Alcohol varies too much

        Anyway I guess around 50% for the average person

        I'm sure I'm missing some not to mention tickets and fines. The other day I got a ticket for heinous crime of not using a seat belt = $172.00
        • Jun 10 2013: I think a key point Pat works towards is "pay the taxes of the government who de facto has no accountability to the people".

          I have ideas about taxation but I believe basically any taxation system is correct, if the funds are spent according to how the population wants them to be spent. The current problem is tax dollars are spent according to power games between politicians and their powerful supporters.

          Conservatives: reduce taxes on the rich and corporations, deregulate industry, strip education and social programs so the poor have no support. Trickle down economics. Every person for themselves mentality resulting in lack of opportunity for those born into low socioeconomic homes.

          Liberals: Throw money at inefficient social programs, bow to unions, overtax industry to support an inefficient public sector.

          I believe the average person is more centrist than this, why politics swing from one party to the other every few elections cycles, Liberals come in then after a while the population feels they are too liberal, Conservatives come in and they are too conservative.

          If the population had control of the purse strings they would demand efficient social programs and effective support for industry, they would promote hard work and creativity by allowing individuals to achieve wealth, while reducing wealth disparity (ie reduce the super wealthy class that holds an unethical amount of power).

          Special interest groups and unions would have to negotiate with the public, not with politicians to whom they can offer support in the next election in return for political favors.
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        Jun 11 2013: Sven

        There is actually a certain amount of skill required to intelligently sift through the details. Which make the public that much more vulnerable to manipulation.

        In this post you yourself have stated a couple of points that are specious and indicate that you subscribe to straw men arguments which indicates your ignorance regarding economic matters.


        This is not a matter of me regurgitating rhetoric, just a basic understanding of economics.

        The accountability will not matter if it falls on deaf ears. You are ignoring the reality of people's ignorance.
        • Jun 11 2013: I accept that many people are ignorant, myself included, but no-one can know everything about everything. One person may understand international economics but not understand global warming, or macro economics, or understand how faith is interwoven into many peoples lives.

          If people are ignorant we should not give them the vote? How do we judge ignorance? People in the Bible Belt of USA would have a different interpretation of ignorance than a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, or for that matter a rural Asian farmer who looks at peaceful co-existence with nature and their fellow person as important, and thirst for material wealth to be ignorant.

          If we only let intelligent people make decisions, who dictates intelligence? Other "intelligent" people? My brother followed through a couple of doctorates at Stanford University and had settled in to the Academic path, but had to get out, he was sick of the "politics" of Academia, people taking credit for others work, playing the publishing game to gain fellowships and so on.

          I believe in education but any time you concentrate power you will have corruption, the more you spread power out the more difficult it is to corrupt.

          I agree with many of your arguments but I do not yet understand what your preferable solution is, you wrote "education", that is pretty vague. Maybe you mean policy should be dictated by scientific evidence, that is fair enough and many people supporting the DD movement agree but how do you implement it, which scientists do you follow, how do they become a trusted scientist. Can you elaborate on what you think is the correct path.
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        Jun 11 2013: I stated somewhere a remedial education in economics. It could be done on TV on a national scale. In order to save this country from implosion (and with it other countries) the people have to be educated about budgets (not sequester BS), entitlements, and economics, a move to repeal of the central bank .

        Another tact that could be taken would be just to get an alternative money system as this is central to economic problems.
        • Jun 11 2013: These are all social policy changes, how are you going to enact them under a representative system that sustains itself by not enacting policy such as this?

          I do not specifically disagree with any of the ideas you present, but I do not see how it will happen unless the public has a some form of control over policy. The solution I believe in is a direct democracy. The direct democracy is the foundation that allows public focused and supported policy to come about.

          Are you opposed to a direct democracy? Do you support a representative democracy system? Or do you feel any system is fine as long as these policies come into place. If you think any system is fine, which do you think would achieve these policies quicker, if at all.

          If neither a direct or a representative system would achieve them, what would?
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        Jun 11 2013: My concern as stated initially is the tyranny of the majority, I do not see how this can be circumvented. In actual fact the best example of this is the belt way as a new politician is co opted into the corruption by the existing politicians. So in reality the idea of a republic is blunted as well.

        Which brings me back to education.

        The only thing a politician cares about is reelection. If you educate the voters the politicians will respond. If you create a culture in the people by changing their ideas and (tacit) agreements we have a force that politicians will have to listen to or be gone. Look at what McCarthy was able to do on this subject. Not that I'm endorsing a witch hunt but it sure changed the culture on the beltway. Or look at Commons Sense written by Thomas Paine sold 500,000 copies in the first year in 1776, keep in mind that the population then was 2.5 million. If anyone was seminal in the American Revolution it was Paine. Or look at what Voltaire did regarding this earlier in France. Or listen to Simon Sinek talk about how Martin Luther King attracted a crowd of 250,000 in 1963 with out any promo. Me thinks you underestimate the power of ideas?

        My main concern is simply the math of the debt and dearth of freedom it creates.

        I think the constitution was written by some pretty smart fellers which resulted in the most successful country in the world by producing the most improvement in the standard of living and the most freedom the world has seen. I would not be in too big of hurry on this else we might throw out the baby with the bath water. I just want to enhance the natural law that is organic to people and diminish what is not organic to him.
        • Jun 11 2013: All democratic systems risk tyranny of the majority as they all incorporate some sort of majority rules voting. The representative system is no exception, so protections are put in place.

          Many of the same protections can exist in a DD, for example in the US you could have a DD political party, some of their candidates get voted in, for legislature that is voted on the DD representatives vote according to a majority vote of the population. But the presidential veto still exists, the bill of rights and constitution still exist, the protections are still there.

          You did not address these possible protections against tyranny of the majority, if they work in a representative system why not a direct system?

          Education is wonderful, strong moving ideas are great, but if the governing system concentrates power in the few, for example in representatives, you will often be taking one step forward and two steps back, the corrupt will be attracted to that power and will always find ways to abuse it. You may get some legislation passed improving education, restricting media, regulating financial institutions, but in time it will be eroded and back doors will intentionally be put in place.

          The people who wrote the constitution were smart yes, moral for sure, but they were not superhuman, they were not deities, it is not a bible that the human race has to follow forever because "they" made it. They lived in very different times, representatives were needed because there was no effective form of mass or fast communication, maybe if they were drafting a system now they would have made it differently. It is not important, what is important is the system that has evolved from what they made has failings, a direct democracy may address those failings.

          p.s. Success means different things to different people, USA was the most powerful country in the world yes, richest yes, but most successful, depends on your interpretation (child obesity, child drug use, disparity of wealth, etc..)
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        Jun 11 2013: The main point I'm making is that we need to focus on only what is important. Yes the American Republic has not produced as much freedom as it might have but it is better than anyone else's by results in freedom and standard of living.

        Better or worse I don't see DD as vital to effecting changes in freedom and a better standard of living.

        I'm not talking about legislation passed improving education, restricting media, regulating financial institutions. You miss my point completely.

        Everything erodes and dies, unless there is a miracle, including the U.S. but the fact is the world will be worse for it's demise.

        But the tool to effect change is along the lines of the book Common Sense by John Paine.
        • Jun 11 2013: I believe I understand where you are coming from, and I do not know whether a direct democracy will improve any countries standard of living or individual freedom. I think there is a high chance direct democracy, if it comes about quickly, would initially do damage to things like a countries economic standing in the world, until the population matures and realizes consequences have to be considered.

          There are reasons I still support direct democracy, one is I believe it is about time the human race matured and we started taking responsibility for our own future, our planet, the global community we are part of. We are connected like we have never been before, we have technology and education like we have never had before, the population of the world is exploding like it has never done before, we cannot continue acting like children, blaming elected representatives for the ills of the world, living our insulated polluting lives hoping everything will be OK and others will clean up after us.

          Another is the big problems that are bearing down on our children are not effectively being tackled by elected representatives, global warming if it is real, and most scientists believe it is, needs action to be taken and soon. Pollution of our worlds air, water, soil, over fishing of our oceans, antibiotic resistant drugs. All these things and many others mixed together with an increased world population is a recipe for disaster. The world needs to work together to address these issues, but politicians, at the call of special interest groups, often take us in the opposite direction.

          So I agree with you, direct democracy might not improve standard of living or individual freedom, but for better or worse it will empower society to move forwards in the way the society believes is right.

          I believe it would be for the better.