Direct democracy is about trust.

In a direct democracy, the politicians trust the people and the people trust the politicians.

A minimum of trust has to exist or be developed to have a representative democracy, but direct democracy deepens the trust and, because of that, it strengthens democracy.

It is difficult to say if representative democracy reflects or causes that the politicians do not trust the people, the people do not trust the politicians, the people do not trust each other, or any combination of the three.

Representative democracy is a great advance compared to the sad, absolute, authoritarian, and totalitarian regimes it replaces.

Unfortunately, almost from the beginning, a process of gradual deterioration of representative democracy starts. This happens because it carries within a “malignancy”.

The malignancy is that the elected representatives have much more power than the voters who elect them. Once elected, the politicians decide everything else.

It should not be like that, in a democracy, the people must have the final say, otherwise, it may look like a democracy, it may sound like a democracy, but it is not a democracy, because the people have less power than the politicians.

In a representative democracy, if there is no corruption and elections are fair, the people can change the governing party and the leaders of the country. But the newly elected have the same power those voted out had.

The only change is that the newly elected will use their power in a different direction. Sometimes it can be in a completely different direction, but they still hold all the power.

For example, the new people in power can privatize many public services or nationalize private businesses. The effects are very different, but the level of power of those who decide has not changed.

In either case, those who govern have the power to decide everything; they can pass new laws, sign new treaties, administer the public money any way they want, raise taxes, lower taxes, change the educational system, build or tear down a building or structure, etc.

The power relationships between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary branches may vary after each election, but in a representative democracy, the power always lies with the three branches of government, not with the people.

As time passes, the elected representatives can not resist using their “surplus power” to increase their power. In a representative democracy, the people do not have the power to control, supervise, or stop the decisions the politicians, or the decisions those appointed by the politicians, make.

In a representative democracy, the high courts also have too much power.

As the power of the elected representatives increases, regardless of the party in government, the power of the people decreases.

The result is progressive disenchantment with the way representative democracy works.

Most politicians in representative democracies are not interested in direct democracy.

It is difficult to say if it is because they do not trust the people to have the final say in all important matters, or if it is because the power they enjoy gives them the feeling they are “the chosen” to lead, or if power gives them material benefits, or prestige, or some other reason, but most politicians in a representative democracy are not interested in direct democracy.

Direct democracy has many positive effects in society; politicians learn that the people can be trusted to make all the important decisions. Politicians also learn to make laws the people will approve. As a result, the trust of the people in the politicians, and of the politicians in the people rises; that is a very powerful result.

Even more important; in a direct democracy, the people learn to trust themselves and each other.

Direct democracy is why in Switzerland, most laws produced by the government have the support of the people; the people trust the politicians.

Direct democracy needs trust and brings trust to another level.

But direct democracy will not happen spontaneously anywhere. Wherever you are, you will have to work at it.

Leave a Reply