Overall, the French Revolution was a great step forward for human dignity; the entire world is still assimilating what it means for citizens and governments some have not assimilated it yet.
But one bad thing it did is bring representative “democracy”.
The term “representative democracy” is just a way to trick (ourselves) into believing that representative democracy, the system where citizens elect the rulers, is democracy, it is not.
The argument “direct democracy” vs. “representative democracy” is false. It is so because representative democracy is not democracy.
In a representative “democracy”, the few who rule have the power to rule as they see fit, not as the people want.
In all representative democracies the elected few, the politicians, decide everything; the education your children will receive, the taxes you will pay, how fast can you drive, how the health system works, with which countries to trade, the penalties for violating laws, how strong the army of the country will be, who can become a citizen, and on and on.
In representative democracies, citizens have the power to change those who govern, but the new government continues to have the same control over the lives of citizens. The new executive and legislative just exert the control in a different direction.
But, how did this deception called “representative democracy” originated during the French Revolution?
It does not come from Ancient Greece. The Greeks invented “rule by the people”, that is what “democracy” means. To them, representative democracy would just be another form of oligarchy or of aristocracy.
The term “representative democracy” arose when of the leaders of the French Revolution, Maximilien Robespierre, declared that democracy, was not “a state wherein the people continually assembled, manage all public affairs by themselves, or even met in groups to decide the direction of society.” “Democracy is a state wherein the sovereign people, guided by laws of their own making, does all that it can properly do on its own, and does by delegates all that it cannot do itself.”
“By delegates”, that is the key term.
With that statement, Robespierre redefined democracy and made representative democracy sound as legitimate as if it were real democracy, but it is not.
Also during the French Revolution, another Frenchman, Pierre-François-Joseph Robert, saw that there is no democracy if there if we have elected representatives. He said: “those who wish to adapt all the principles of democratic government to a representative government are either imbeciles who disrupt without knowing it, or rogues who knowingly disrupt in the hope of not losing the fruits of anarchy.”
It is clear that Revolutionary Frenchmen quickly saw representative democracy is not democracy. It is time for the rest of us see it now,
An elected aristocracy is a vast improvement over the any oligarchy or dictatorship, but “rule by the people” means what is says; rule by the people, not by the elected representatives. The elected representatives can play a role in democracy, but the final decision makers on issues are the people, the owners of the country.
In all countries the people should have the right to decide, not just vote, regardless of what the government of the country, the city, etc., want.
Democracy does not mean the elected politicians can not play a role, for example presenting their arguments to persuade the voters to vote “yes” or “no”, proposing laws, etc.
The time has come to discard Robespierre’s redefinition of democracy and listen to Robert.
Human dignity requires democracy, direct democracy. The Swiss were able to transition from representative democracy to direct democracy many years ago, they did it forcefully but without blood shed, others can too.
Direct democracy also produces better practical results than representative democracy; Switzerland is the most stable country in the World, has one of the highest standards of living, best universal health care system, etc. Direct democracy is better for all, for the rich, the middle class and the poor.
Interestingly, the demand of the Swiss people for direct democracy was triggered by another pandemic in 1867.
Could today’s “virus from Hell” turn out to be the “virus from Heaven”, for humanity, including China? It could, but you will have to do something for it to happen.