The concept of “leaders”, of individuals with a “vision” to “guide the people” makes no sense in a direct democracy.
In a direct democracy, the people are the key decision-makers, this forces them to think ahead. In this way, they develop the vision they need.
The key flaw of representative democracy is that deprives the people of veto power over the decisions, laws, and regulations.
In a representative democracy, the elected representatives make all executive and legislative decisions. Because of that, in a representative democracy, the people are not responsible and do not feel responsible for any wrong decision the elected representatives make.
In a representative democracy, it is logical the people blame the elected representatives for anything that goes wrong.
As for the politicians, they just blame each other viciously always, even before anything goes wrong, it is a crazy world.
In such a democracy, voters hope when they vote that this or that leader will be the “prophet” with the vision to lead them “out of their valley of tears and on to the promised land”. It never happens.
But they hope for that because representative democracy makes voters powerless; they feel their destiny is in the hands of the elected “leaders”.
But the most harmful effect in direct democracy is not that the politicians decide everything; the worst part is that with every new decision, law, or regulation, the government increases its power over the people, over the very same voters they are supposed to serve; it is a strange relationship.
Laws and regulations tell us what we must do or what they do not allow us to do.
Let me give you one example; how that control has grown in the United States.
In 1950, the regulations in the US Federal Register occupied approximately 10 000 pages. By 1985 the number had risen to approximately 100 000 pages. By 2018 it had reached 180 000 pages.
You can see more detailed information here
Good or bad, more regulations always mean more power for the government, for the politicians, over the population.
You would think that given the impact laws and regulations have on the private and work lives of voters, voters would have the power to approve or disapprove of the laws and regulations that will affect them. In a representative democracy, they don’t.
It is time voters demand the power to be responsible, self-responsible, for what happens in our countries.
The way to do it is by bringing direct democracy.
The Swiss, who have been practising direct democracy for decades, did not demand the switch from representative democracy to direct democracy to have more responsibility for its own sake, they did it because the politicians mishandled an epidemic in the 19th century (does it sound familiar in 2020?) in Zurich.
The people felt that it would be better if before the next crisis arrived the people had veto power over whatever the politicians wanted to do. They did not do away with elected representatives; they just decided that the people would have the final say.
But the Swiss have found an important benefit; when voters have decision-making power, they behave very responsibly. In a direct democracy, voters know that no longer can they blame the politicians, and because of that they “grow up”.
Not only the voters decide responsibly in a direct democracy, they no longer expect the politicians to be “star politicians”, but they also do not need “leaders with a vision”, they do not expect magic solutions from anyone; they know grandiose promises make no sense either.
In a direct democracy, the politicians promise little too; they do not have the power to execute.
Because Swiss voters know they are responsible, they also inform themselves before voting to decide issues; they know their vote to decide an issue is much more important than the vote to elect a representative or a government.
In a direct democracy, voters also know they have the power to change their decisions if they believe they made a mistake, or if circumstances change.
It is time we demand direct democracy until we get it, but do not be naïve; most politicians will not support direct democracy because the power they now have gives them many benefits.
Direct democracy has not hurt Switzerland at all.
Switzerland used to be a relatively poor country.
For example, in 1864, the Swiss had an income per capita of 2400 USD, in the US it was then 3800 USD. In 2020 the Swiss have an income per capita of 82 000 USD, in the US the figure is 65 000. Switzerland has left behind all other representative democracies too.
Perhaps direct democracy, and the responsibility it develops in the population, does not seem to have hurt Switzerland.
Direct democracy also prevents instability, populisms or demagogues of the Right or the Left, or religious.
Wherever you live, you can not go wrong by demanding direct democracy… and getting it.