Most politicians in representative democracies say things like; “the average voter is not qualified to vote on most political issues because the issues are to complex for them, this is why direct democracy will not work. Voters need “leadership”, this is what we provide”.
Balderdash!, all of it!
People may need a leaders in extreme situations, most of the running of a country is not as dramatic, as “black and white and urgent” as “representative” politicians want you to believe.
Most elected politicians are not qualified either in economics, psychology, engineering, roads, health, army, commerce, technologies, history, education, and on and on; but that does not stop them from passing laws and regulations on all those areas.
How is it possible for elected politicians to vote and decide issues on which they have no formal qualifications?
The explanation is evident; elected politicians have access to experts that explain the issues to them. In this manner, politicians become qualified to vote and decide on any issue.
In a direct democracy, the experts do the same, but to the people. They the issues so that voters become qualified to decide issues competently; exactly in the same way the politicians become competent to decide.
You may think, “if elected politicians are competent to decide, why do we need the voters to do that job?” This is why: a politician may understand the issue, but his or her priorities often do coincide with the priorities of voters, never mind the cliché about “serving the people”; only when the voters themselves decide can they be sure their interests are the decisive consideration.
That is precisely what they do in Switzerland’s direct democracy; the people have the final say on all issues of importance, but before voting , voters receive information packages explaining the advantages and disadvantages of voting “Yes” or “NO”.
Voters see what the government, the political parties, unions, and many experts on both sides of the issues, say. They also watch debates, read articles, etc.
The results, the facts on the ground speak, even “scream”, by themselves; Switzerland, the only country practising direct democracy at all levels of government, is the best managed country of the World.
There is another factor that makes Swiss voters more competent to decide than voters in representative democracies; in a direct democracy “you vote, you are responsible for the effects”. Voters learn to vote responsibly in a direct democracy.
In representative democracies, even after the elected politician proves to be a disaster, a crook, etc., the voters blame the politician, not themselves. They do it because in a representative democracy, voters are not responsible for the decisions politicians make.
Next time someone tells you voters in your country are not qualified to vote on the issues, to have direct democracy, tell him or her: “the practice of direct democracy qualifies voters to vote competently”. This is how humans learn; we learn by doing.
If you want your country to be better governed, push for direct democracy.
We need direct democracy because representative democracy is not democracy; democracy is “government by the people”, not “government by the elected representatives”.