Tuesday, December 29, 2009

how would democracy work?

it's fun to imagine an ideal society, one where justice prevails and it never rains on holidays. but it's more challenging to imagine a society that is a step closer to that ideal democracy and can also be achieved. much more challenging because the people with power in the current society will resist, very effectively. further, the great majority of people are so ignorant and apathetic that they are useless in getting changes that would improve their position. so i urge concentrating on getting democracy one step at a time, allowing the 'how it works' to evolve with the process of getting it.

change always begins with people who feel the need for change, and can see a possible way to get that change. it is hard to imagine change if there is no visible tool to achieve it. i will not make much argument for change here, assuming the evidence is clear to the reader. the 'how' may be less evident:

voters can not achieve change by voting for any person. at best, this just changes masters. but voters can 'vote' for democracy. the first step is to get citizen initiative. putting citizen initiated referendum ahead of politician power is a revolution, a transfer of power, but need not be violent or disruptive. a campaign to establish democracy should begin by offering politicians a choice of instituting initiative, or losing office. this kind of revolution is remarkably easy:

send the following email, on the 1st of each month, to every politician asking for your vote, to every newspaper in your area, and the democrat national committee:

"i will vote for you when you publish your plan to establish an effective and accessible power of citizen initiative, and not before."

i said it was easy. now, what about effective? to begin with, people who want to be citizens instead of cattle, must act like citizens. so perform your public duty without regard to popularity, or the likelihood of success. then, publicize your action as widely as you can. finally, know and explain that revolution is not a matter of instant gratification. don't be discouraged: the problems of society that lead you to join the democratic revolution are felt by many others, and there is a latent demand for change which may cascade onto this path toward getting it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

a short digression, on how governments work:

this will chiefly be applicable to the english-speaking societies, although the principles are general. the norman conquest evolved into a parliamentary society, one in which the magnates met to discuss matters of general interest, under the nominal rule of the leading magnate, the king. this form continues today, although much has happened since king john was formally brought to heel. in britain, the monarch has sunk into decorative weakness, the house of lords also has little real power anymore. in the usa, the constitution has preserved the power of the king at the level enjoyed by george the third, and the senate remains the center of power. the u.s.a is much more a monarchy than britain, while both continually refer to themselves as 'democracies.'

the important point is this: the only voting either does, is for people, not principles. they are both governed by men, not law. the voting is not symptomatic of democracy, it is simply non-violent civil war, the selection of dukes/senators and king/presidents by counting ballots instead of bullets.

consequently,the government makes the law, tells the people what it is, and enforces compliance with police and army if required. this is why the notion that either is a society "governed by law, not men," is a non-sense. the law is whatever the government says it is.

the history of britain is typical of the human race: since man-kind took to farming and thereby created stores of food, parasite warriors have been living on the produce of farmers. the struggle between the warriors and farmers continues as the modern struggle between producer and taxer, a struggle organized and formalized by bureaucrats. it is vital to remember that the activities of society today, although rarely violent, are nonetheless about power. there is no reform or revolution without real shifting or transfer of power.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

the getting of democracy.

the ordinary member of western society, if dissatisfied with the activities of government, should have one goal: the enfranchisement of the people to the level of citizen of a democracy. [unless swiss, for they already have done so.]

i use 'should' with regret, for the vast majority of people have no understanding of politics. even self-styled 'activists' imagine it is enough to 'protest,' or merely complain.

there is no substitute for democracy, because government for the people must be by the people. there is no class of saints who can be trusted to put the interests of the majority ahead of their own. worse, there is no way for a management clique to even know what is best for the majority in the absence of referendum.

arguments are put against democracy, the most common are:

"the tyranny of the majority."

this is nearly devoid of content, it essentially is a scare: the faceless majority would keep you from freedom. since the alternative is the tyranny of the minority, usually a very small minority, this is no argument at all. i believe it is just the rich shoring up their wealth from the high-taxing [would-be] socialists.

"it's too hard" in large societies.

modern communication has eviscerated this argument. rule of the people can not be micromanagement, of course. but the electorate can choose between large scale programs of action. as long as the public business is done in public, interested parties will follow and alarm if deviations occur.

"the voters are dumb."

always put more politely, of course, but simply wrong. the electorate is right much more often than their masters, as a matter of historical record. not always right, but much more often. but let's look at the record of the baboon troop society: the alpha males, the henchmen, the lackeys, and the losers: war, economic convulsions, environmental catastrophe. any change to democracy is sure to do better, for the current standard is lurching toward collapse.

and yet, variations on the baboon society everywhere characterize human society, with the exception of switzerland. is democracy so hard? not really. if born into a democratic society, humans can preserve it, and use it. the swiss do, several american states do, and the e. u. is evolving through the use of referendum within the member states. democracy is perfectly possible if the threshold barrier of the alpha male heritage is surpassed.

the central question facing western society is how to get past the barrier of entrenched power exercised by the inheritors of warlords. this next step in social evolution is vital, if humanity is going to survive the physical challenge of our planet being over-run by homo sapiens.