OK, sounds good, but what really is direct democracy?

Direct democracy means direct control by the people. The people run the show, not the elected representatives. There are no politicians or political parties either. No need for the constant fights among rival parties. There are issues, not ideological positions. Parties are permitted but are not necessary

You know that direct democracy was developed by the Ancient Greeks. Nobody else has practiced direct democracy since, nobody. The Swiss are the closest, but their democracy is semi-direct, not direct.

We like to think we are more advanced than the Ancient Greeks. Yes we are, but only in science and technology. That is important, but the way we run society is even more important.

The Greeks, somehow, overcame rule by kings and gods and decided they could rule themselves. The kings, the gods or their priests would not rule them. The gods were still there but the Greeks decided they themselves, the ordinary people, would make the laws, not the gods. No God-inspired books either to tell the Greeks how to behave.

The direct democracy of Ancient Greece is important because many among us have lost confidence in representative democracy. For a number of reasons, elected representatives have distanced themselves from those they should represent.

For me, perhaps for you too, the key factor is if direct democracy is better in practice than representative democracy.

I think it can be, if we can make it work.  Direct democracy is better because it works more in tune with the priorities of the citizens.

The key fact is not if in theory direct democracy is better; it has to be better in daily life. But direct democracy is difficult because it needs the majority of citizens with the right values and behaviours. When people are not ready, it will be foolish to expect direct democracy to work.

Representative democracy is difficult too. Representative democracy works only if the people posses the skills for it. When they don’t the country becomes corrupt and unstable. The outcome is dictatorship or anarchy. Direct democracy is more difficult because it needs even better prepared citizens.

Representative democratic societies that are not stable are not ready for direct democracy. Stable representative democracies are.

If your country is a stable representative democracy then you can already help push for switch. If your country is not a stable democracy, or is not a democracy at all, you can work to help it become ready.

Sometimes countries surprise us; perhaps they surprise themselves too, and accomplish amazing changes. For example, Taiwan, not long ago a dictatorship, is now a semi-direct democracy. Amazing!

So, if you country is ready, push! If it is not ready, to push make it ready! The people now running the country will not push for change. They are happy with the current system. Who can blame them?

OK, direct democracy sounds good, but we need more information; how did the Greeks manage to take such huge leap forward? How did they make it work for several centuries 2800 years ago? What mechanisms and institutions did they set up? How did they make the laws? Who made the laws? How were they applied? How did they prevent corruption? How did they decide who run the government? etc.

In the next blog we will look at all those things. The idea is to help make direct democracy a credible alternative for all countries.

As always, your insights and action will help reach the goal.


Note: Under normal circumstances I will publish a new blog every 2 days.

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