Democracy is “government by the people”. This can only mean one thing; that the people govern, that the people decide. It does not mean “government by those elected by the people”.
Amazingly, in no current representative democracy do the citizens have the power to decide. The only decision they can make is to vote to elect representatives, who are the ones with the genuine power to decide. The people have no decision-making in-between elections; it is ridiculous.
Why shouldn’t the people of your country decide such as the following?
To what extent, people from other countries should be allowed to move to your country?
Why shouldn’t you and your fellow citizens decide if the country should close its borders, have no borders, who to let it in or keep out? Why shouldn’t you? Why should the politicians decide that?
All you can do if you want open borders or closed borders is write letters, go to the media, demonstrate, etc., but you do not have the legal power to stop the politicians.
Why shouldn’t you also have a say on what military equipment your country needs?
You do not have to be a military or strategy expert to vote on that. The politicians who make those decisions are not military or strategy experts either. They are ordinary people; they listen to the opinions of experts and then decide if the country needs 300 new fighter jets, 20 submarines, or more rockets. The average citizen can also listen to those experts and make an informed decision.
In fact, the decision by the people is a sounder decision. This is why; a percentage of the voters are more ignorant than the politicians on military issues, because of that many of them will abstain from voting. This is because most reasonable people and most voters are reasonable, do not feel comfortable deciding on issues they do not understand.
But in the population, there are many experts who are not in important organizations, or are retired experts. Such people can provide valuable input to other voters. They can do it even better than government-paid or lobby-paid experts because they are free of the bias of vested interests.
Why shouldn’t you and your fellow citizens not decide if instead of 300 fighter jets, only 150 should be bought; with the rest of the money allocated to weapons research, medical research, the health system, the educational system, or something else?
Why should you not decide if tax deductions for having children and for child care should be increased or decreased? Why do the politicians decide that for you?
Citizens can completely understand it they want to increase other taxes to compensate for that, or if other services should be reduced?; for example, fewer fighter jets.
Or, why should you not have a direct say on environmental matters?
For example, if an animal species needs protection, needs more protection or needs no protection at all? Or if blister packages should be banned?
Environmental experts, economists, and others can explain to the people the problem, just like they explain it to the politicians. The people are just as capable of assimilating information. Again, the majority of the people have no vested interest in protecting a species or removing its protection; because of that, they can make fair decisions.
Direct decision-making by the people has other advantages.
For example, it is much easier to cast an informed vote on a concrete issue than to figure out if the program of a party on a zillion issues is the correct one, as well as figuring out the credibility and character of political candidates.
Another advantage of direct decision-making by voters is that voting on issues dilutes, even removes, the “right”, “left” politics of many issues.
This is so because most citizens are not “followers of a party”. In representative democracies, the people have to choose what party to vote for. When they do this, they “vote” for the party platform. It is irrational to expect most voters to analyze a party platform. Besides, most voters do not agree with the party they vote for on all issues.
The current system, representative democracy, does not allow voters to vote on specific issues. If people can vote on issues, voting diversity is much more pronounced; the same voter may vote “right” on one issue; for example, for more fighter jets, and vote “left” on another issue, such as increasing paternity leave, or minimum wages, or for universal, taxpayer-funded, universal health care.
Do you know who can directly decide on all those issues, and also on issues they propose? The Swiss, that is who.
They also vote on many more issues at the local and canton-state-region-province level.
Why can’t you do the same? Because your politicians like to hold on to the almost oligarchic power they have from election to election. They do not want you to know there is another way. The elites do not want that either; they prefer to influence the politicians; they do not want you involved in decision-making. They want you to “vote and forget”.
The French king did not want to relinquish power either.
What do Swiss voters did that you have not done? They insisted and did not give up; “we pay, we decide”. They insisted, like the French Revolutionaries, the American Revolutionaries, and others insisted to have the right to elect their rulers.
The next step is here; we must elect the representatives, and we must also be the final decision-makers.