Thoughts on Representative Democracy

A sound implementation of Representative Democracy must capitalize on the differences between people. Plato, if not others before him, felt democracy could not work because 'ordinary people' are 'too easily swayed by the emotional and deceptive rhetoric of ambitious politicians'. He failed to note that some folks are more easily swayed than others, and that some individuals are not swayed at all. Yet, Plato's incomplete view of the people has survived through the ages and forms the cornerstone of political thought today.

Thoughts on People and Myths

I've spent a few years in the Realm of the People. During those years, I've learned that not everything is as it appears. Part of the cacaphony bellowing from the media are myths that affect our lives. They are so powerful they influence us even though they contradict reality. I believe recognizing the influence of these myths may help us improve the way we relate to each other; in a word, our politics. But, in attempting to understand them, we must avoid the notion that they are always created with malevolent intent. Sometimes, they're not.

Spotlight on fallacies in political discourse

This web site is mostly about politics. Also, we would like to welcome participants of any political persuasions. This obviously will bring about the worst in political discourse: disagreements that lead to arguments, name calling, and all kinds of fallacies usually found in political discourse.

I would like this web site to document all kinds of political fallacies, so that they can be properly recognized for what they are, and incite the future members to avoid them.

Practical Democracy: Conclusion

Practical Democracy is an electoral process through which the people actively participate in the conduct of, and impress their moral sense on, their government. It creates a unique merger of self-interest and the public interest. It completes more quickly and with less public distraction than existing systems, however large the electorate.

Practical Democracy: Summary

The described process provides the sorting and selecting mechanism required to implement Jane Mansbridge's "Selection Model" of Political Representation.1 It yields self-motivated representatives whose gyroscopes are aligned with the objectives of the people who select them.

Practical Democracy: Implementation

It is hard to achieve democracy because true democracy has no champions. It offers no rewards for individuals or vested interests; it gives no individual or group an advantage over others. Hence, it offers no incentive for power-seeking individuals or groups to advocate its adoption.

Why Practical Democracy Works

Practical Democracy gives the people a way to select Mansbridge's "wisest, cleverest, most virtuous, and most experienced citizens". At each level, voters deliberate in small groups, where "... face-to-face contact increases the perception of likeness, encourages decision making by consensus, and perhaps even enhances equality of status." 1

  • 1. Beyond Adversary Democracy, Jane J. Mansbridge, The University of Chicago Press, 1980 p. 33

Practical Democracy: Concept

Practical Democracy springs from the knowledge that some people are better advocates of the public interest than others. In Beyond Adversary Democracy[12], Jane Mansbridge, speaking of a small community in Vermont, says 1:

  • 1. , Jane J. Mansbridge, The University of Chicago Press, 1980 Beyond Adversary Democracy, p. 88

Cost And Time Consumption

The cost of conducting an election by this method is free to the participants, except for the value of their time, and minimal to the government. The length of time taken to complete an election compares favorably with the time required by campaign-based partisan systems. Even in California, with a voting-eligible population of about 22,000,000, the process would complete in less than 12 levels, or about 230 calendar days.

Simplified Illustration

Simplified Illustration

This table illustrates the process for a community of 25,000 voters. For simplicity, it omits interest group considerations and assumes each triad selects a candidate. The process is shown through 7 levels. Those who implement the process will determine the number of levels necessary for their specific application.

                         Selected
                         Randomly
                           From
               Full  Over Prev.  Total People
Level People Triads Flow Level Triads Chosen  Days
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