Direct democracy generates rational debate and cooperation, representative democracy generates irrational antagonism

No human organisation is 100% rational, all have elements of irrationality.

Many people consider rational and emotional opposites, they are not; the opposite of rational is irrational, the opposite of emotional is unemotional. There are emotions that generate rational thoughts and behaviours and emotions that generate irrational thoughts and behaviours.

The problem with politics in representative democracies today is that the political debate has too much emotion that generates irrational thoughts and behaviours. I do not speak of the situation in non-democracies because they are all dominated by irrational, even crazy, ideas and emotions.

In representative democracies, irrational emotions play a growing role in politics.

I believe this is intrinsically related to the nature of representative democracy.

This is how it happens; representative democracy gives too much power to the elected politicians. The politicians decide everything; what laws, what contents, what penalties, the level of taxes, what kind of health care system we have, how children and young adults will be educated, how much we have to pay for school or university, how many roads we have, how large is the army, when we go to war and against whom, etc., etc.

Business, rich people, unions and lobbies quickly realized that to advance their interests it is essential to have influence over the politicians on the issues, so that they decide in their favour.

The way they gain influence is by:

Donating to campaigns to such a degree that politicians depend on donors to have the money they need to run their campaigns,

Mobilizing members of unions and professional organisations,

Making sure politicians know that if they are friendly to business, they will have nice jobs once they retire, or if they lose an election,

They will also be invited to give extremely well paid speeches in business forums and other gatherings, etc.

Because politicians, in the executive and the legislative, in representative democracies enjoy such power, elections grow more vicious as time passes

Politicians in representative democracies are pushed to attack and disqualify rivals; they hope the public will also develop a hostile attitude to their rivals. Of course, they all do the same. The end result is highly polarized political debates, vicious attacks to rivals, etc.

They do that because they all believe that it is in their interests to polarize the messages, paint rivals as mad, corrupt devils, etc.

The vicious debate used to be restricted to debates among politicians themselves, but things are different now; the politicians have polarised voters too.

We have now a situation where the people on the right believe the people in the left are devils, they no longer look at them as reasonable people with different ideas.

The charged message has turned political parties into almost radically different religions, each with its own faith, “holy” leaders, etc. The parties look at each other as the devil too.

The system of representative democracy is not interested in debating issues on the facts surrounding the issues, they prefer to have faith-like position on the issues. They expect their followers will vote for them because they “share” a faith.

The United States is perhaps the most polarized representative democracy now. You can see that for yourself if you follow the situation in the US, but other countries are also polarized; Sweden, Canada, the UK, Germany, are more polarized than ever.

No longer the people in the Left consider the people in the Right have rational views; each side believes the other

The way to eliminate such polarization is to turn to direct democracy.

Direct democracy empowers people to vote, like in representative democracies, but the people can also decide issues; they can not do that in representative democracies

When the people decide issues, not just vote, they are interested in the practical aspect of the issue; what benefits will ordinary people will have if the politicians pass a new law or regulation, etc?

As the debate focuses more on the facts, emotions, grandiose plans, lose importance because they are less important.

How do we know direct democracy pushes the country to a more rational debate? Because we have Switzerland. Swiss political campaigns are far less polarized.

It is not by chance that so many international political meetings happen in Switzerland; it is because the World knows Switzerland is the more stable, less polarized country in the World.

If you want to have a better democracy in your country, turn to direct democracy…, but you have to push.

Victor Lopez

Leave a Reply