My name is Ann Goodyear and I am doing my year-long research project on direct democracy.
I would like to know:
What do you have to say on the argument that the citizens are not competent enough to make important political decisions?
Is there a possibility of direct democracy suppressing the rights of the minority?
I would also greatly appreciate any other information you could send me.
Thank you for your inquiry and your interest in researching direct democracy.
As to your first question, I do believe citizens are competent enough to make important political decisions. Prior to the information and communication technology revolution, that might not have been the case, but people are now being much better informed because of it.
About half of the states practice a form of direct democracy with voter initiatives and referendums, and the practice is growing. Also, voters from all political persuasions are becoming more informed and active in practicing democracy by means of the Internet.
The problem is the grip the two-party system has on elections and government, which essentially excludes third parties and others from the process. We believe informed voters would do a better job of making informed decisions about the most important issues and public policy.
What we propose is pass a constitutional amendment establishing nonpartisan direct democracy by means of secure voting networks connected to voters' homes, wherein nonpartisan professional government managers, rather than professional politicians, would be elected to manage government. The voting networks would also enable voters to freely communicate with their elected representative and with each other, which would improve cooperation and understanding between people. Voters would be truthfully informed and they would decide matters of taxation and public policy.
As for protecting people from direct democracy suppressing the rights of the minority, the proposed amendment would have no effect on existing constitutional provisions protecting the rights of the people - The Bill of Rights, etc. - therefore, protecting the minority.
People, who have been dumbed-down by the corporate media monopoly, and particularly students who have been robbed of their education, are indoctrinated into believing the people are too ignorant and unsophisticated to govern themselves directly. However, those who maintain that position are the elite who stand to lose power, such as firmly entrenched government power structures, both political parties, extremist organizations, the education establishment and corporate America.
Most people who are asked if they trust the collective judgement of the people to decide for them, say they do not, but that is understandable because the first thing they think of is the worst of us. Plus, the fear tactic is often used depicting direct democracy as the tyranny of the majority, or "mobaucracy," which is nonsense. If anything, the tyranny of the minority is more real -- extremists getting their way through the courts, and by intimidating classes of people, politicians and institutions.
People know what is best for themselves as individuals, and the informed collective judgement of the people know what is best for all of us. I trust the collective judgement of my fellow citizens. They have done the right thing more often than partisan government left to its own devices.
More details about direct democracy can be found in our book, America's Crisis: The Direct Democracy and Direct Education Solution, which is available through B&N. Amazon and other book sellers.
I hope this helps with your research project. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Daniel B. Jeffs, founder
The Direct Democracy Center