The Swiss are wiser about more than direct democracy. Part II

Hi. This is the continuation of the last post.

I continue with how other democracies would be organized along the lines of the Swiss model.

One of the reasons that make Swiss direct democracy workable is that power is pushed “down” to push up the power of citizens; the national government plays a small role in people’s lives.

The UK would then be divided into approximately 192 cantons. England would be divided into 171, Scotland into 17 and Wales into 10.

Belgium would have 35 cantons. Flanders would be divided into approximately 23 cantons and Wallonia into 12. Flanders and Wallonia  would disappear as legal territories. The area around Brussels, which now is located in Flanders, would become several unilingual Flemish, unilingual French and perhaps some bilingual cantons.

Spain would be divided into 142 cantons. Catalonia would have 23 cantons. The area around Barcelona would de divided into several cantons; unilingual Catalan, bilingual Catalan-Spanish and perhaps even one or two unilingual Spanish ones.

Likewise for the Basque area, Galicia.

The several Spanish-speaking regions would also be broken up into smaller units. This could mean, for example, that small areas outside Catalonia, Galicia, Basque area who speak their languages would also become cantons.

This does not mean that the minority cultures of languages would be less protected. On the contrary, they will be better protected because even small communities in other territories could become unilingual cantons with a different language, even if they are very small in terms of population and land area.

This division into many territories is not incompatible with helping minority languages regain its role as the main language in areas where, for a number of reasons, they might have lost it.

One important advantage of the approach is that reduces the political weight of language and culture at the national and sub-national level, thus preventing political tribalism.

The Swiss approach successfully separate language and culture from “nation”.

Switzerland has managed to preserve identity, protect culture and language of minorities while avoided the tensions in Canada, the UK, Belgium and Spain. I believe the way the Swiss deal with culture-language and political power is a key factor.

The Swiss model could show the way to many countries around the World with similar challenges, even if they are shaky democracies or not democracies.

But what the Swiss have done can not be “copy and paste” to others. It is necessary to also learn how to actually do it. The devil is always in the details.

It is easy to copy documents like the Swiss constitution and the constitutions of the cantons and municipalities, as well as all other Swiss laws.

Unfortunately, copying is unlikely to work. The first step is to achieve national consensus that the Swiss results, or better, are desirable. Afterwards.  it will be necessary to start the process of education of all citizens, even university professors of political science and constitutional law.

The first step could be to practice direct democracy in universities, schools, villages and neighborhoods, and learn by doing.

See you in the next post.

Comments welcomed, to expand and also to criticize. Thanks.

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