Politicians, opinion makers, intellectuals and common citizens in representative democracies often say that direct democracy can not work because citizens are not competent to make sound decisions on issues.
In representative democracies they see voters often make the wrong decision by electing people that are unfit for public office, sometimes because of intellectual or knowledge limitations, other times because they have character flaws.
Many opponents of direct democracy say things like:
“If voters already make huge mistakes when they elect politicians, just imagine what mistakes they will make if they decide on complex issues like the economy, technology, law, science, education, energy, medical care, the environment, etc.”
When people do not know how direct democracy works, it is understandable many will think that way.
What those people do not know is that direct democracy does not work like that because direct democracy changes votes because it changes voters.
We know it because the World has only one country that practices direct democracy today; Switzerland. Other countries have some elements of direct democracy but if direct democracy is not practised at the local, city, region and national level, you do not have direct democracy.
Switzerland is the best governed country in the World, how can that be if it is a direct democracy?
Well, direct democracy fosters responsible voting. Swiss voters have to vote responsibly because if they do not, they know the dire consequences are their own fault; they can not blame their elected representatives.
So, the evidence shows that direct democracy has the opposite effect to those who fear it believe; when the voters have the last word on issues, on policies, on laws, on regulations, on the constitution, and the politicians do not, the result is better governance, much better.
Why do you think Switzerland is the most stable country in the World, economically and politically? Why do you think they consider the Swiss Franc a more stable currency than the US Dollar, any other dollar, the Euro, the British Pound or any other currency?
Sometimes it seems as if the elites of other countries are happy with Switzerland being a direct democracy; because of its stability they have a nice safe place to keep their “emergency big bucks”. These same people dislike to give up the power representative democracy gives to them and to the politicians whose campaigns they finance, in their own countries.
But it seems more and more people are catching on; direct democracy is the better way, including for those in the elites who want a more stable country for themselves, even if it requires they throttle their short term greed.
Direct democracy makes voters responsible. Because of that, the voters in a direct democracy demand information for and against the issue before they vote; they listen to experts, to debates, etc.
So, if you want your country, it does not matter which country, to become as stable, prosperous and well-run as Switzerland, you better do something, now.
Insist on direct democracy because you and your fellow citizens will vote more intelligently, more responsibly.
By the way, Switzerland also has the best universal health care system in the World. Direct democracy produces an interesting balance of capitalism and socialism, and far from the “Capitalism vs. Socialism” absurd fight we see in too many countries right now.