Direct democracy will happen for one simple but powerful reason; it elevates the dignity of people. Just like representative democracy elevated the dignity of people by giving the people the power to elect their representatives, direct democracy elevates the dignity of people by giving people the power to decide laws, issues, policies, even the constitution, in addition to continue electing representatives.
Direct democracy, for the first time since Ancient Greek Democracy, gives ordinary citizens the power to truly run their affairs. Direct democracy gives voters more power than the politicians.
I do not mention non-democratic regimes because in terms of the development of human dignity, they are in the sociopolitical stone age. All those societies where one person, one party, one religion, rules are intrinsically inhumane regimes. Unfortunately, too many societies are unwilling or unable to have political freedom and find themselves ruled by various forms of authoritarian regimes. It is sad to recognize it but authoritarian regimes are better than anarchy, because anarchy is even more inhumane.
Direct democracy gives voters more power than the politicians, but it is only common sense, and fair, that it do so; the people pay the salaries of the politicians; the people pay everything the politicians do; highways, airports, research, hospital, schools, the military and on and on. The people also elect the politicians.
It makes no sense that the people not have the power to tell politicians: “we decided by popular vote you can not build that highway, you have to reduce the budget for space exploration, or for the military, but increase the budget to fight disease”. “We also want the right to decide just the opposite” (Although I believe that only in very special circumstances most of the people will vote for less cancer research and for more weapons).
Regardless of what the people decide, they must have the right to prevail over the politicians because the people pay and it is their lives; the people use the road or the airport; the people die because of cancer and so on.
Anyone who becomes interested in direct democracy, and has no ax to grind because he or she is not a politician, a lobbyist, an academic or media elitist, etc., soon sees that direct democracy is the only democracy that makes sense.
The hard hidden truth is that the Greek invented direct democracy. They did not call it like that because to them, and to anyone who takes the trouble to study it, the only democracy is direct democracy.
Representative democracy, participatory democracy.deliberative and any other xxxx-democracy are just verbal shenanigans. Direct democracy is participative and deliberative like no other form or government can be. The reason is simple, in a direct democracy the people participate because they decide, there is no higher form of participation.
Direct democracy is deliberative because direct democracy makes the people directly responsible for what happens in the country, they no longer can blame the politicians. When people are responsible for the consequences of their votes, they deliberate as long as necessary before they vote. They do not vote impulsevily, they do not listen to demagogues either, or because they like this or that charismatic politician.
Democracy also means “rule by the people”, not “rule by those elected by the people”. If those elected by the people rule, we do not have a democracy, we have an aristocracy of the elected (and of the lobbies close to them who help get them elected).
It is “rule by the people” if the people directly rule or if the people have direct control of those elected, at any time between elections, on any issue the majority of the people decide the elected politicians must do this or can not do that.
In the 1700s some Western societies decided they had enough of rule by the king. The Americans got rid of the power of the English King with their War of Independence, the French by overthrowing and killing their king and many of the ruling elite.
The English themselves, even earlier, got rid of the absolute power of the king. Some countries, like the cantons that created Switzerland, started even earlier to stop “rule from above”.
Really, the only question is when and how direct democracy, or Swiss-style semi-direct democracy, will become the political system in the representative democracies of the West, in Japan, in South Korea, in Taiwan (the Taiwanese already started), in India, etc.
The Swiss did the transition from representative democracy to direct democracy peacefully. Interestingly, they did it because of another pandemic. The people of the city of Zurich decided they had enough, that since the authorities botched the fight against that pandemic, from then on the people, directly will be the final authority on laws, policies, treaties and the constitution; not the politicians, not even the Supreme Court. From Zurich it spread to all of Switzerland.
From Switzerland, it is spreading around; why do you think the European Union is now talking about “popular initiatives” ? (although with not much teeth in them yet), because the trend is inevitable; the people are no longer satisfied with voting to elect, they also want voting to decide issues.
Many reasonable people also believe current governments have botched the fight against the virus; perhaps they will also say: “enough!”, and the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, etc., will evolve into direct democracies.
In a Swiss-style direct democracy the elected politicians are the administrators of the will of the people; there are no hot air, grandiose, statements about “the people we are”, “the vision for justice”, “the fight for equality” and other vague and demagogic postures.
In a direct democracy, the voters decide: “do we want to increase taxes?”, “should we increase the minimum wage?”, “do we want a minimum wage?”, “should we have more women in politics?”, “should we have more medical doctors?”, “should the army have more jets”, “should we sign a treaty with x country?”, “should we have universal health care covering absolutely everybody?”, “should we increase the budget for hospitals so that waiting times for elective surgery drop from months to weeks”, “should that law be stopped?, “should we modify the constitution?”, “should we send soldiers to this or that place?”, and on and on.
Direct democracy will come, it is absolutely inevitable. If it does not happen peacefully, it will happen violently. I believe than in most representative democracies, once the politicians see the people are determined to have direct democracy, the politicians will yield.
All arguments against direct democracy are just dialectic pirouettes, and smoke and mirrors exercises to delay the inevitable. Direct democracy is “rule by the people”, representative democracy is not, that is why it will die out.
Please, believe nothing I say; inform yourself about direct democracy. Do not listen to anyone that attacks or defends direct democracy; go and find out all you can. I know you will reach the obvious conclusion: “when I look at the facts, direct democracy is the way to go”.
How much longer should we wait? Do we have to wait until people explode because of the elitist behaviour of elected politicians, or because of the ways various lobbies practically have hijacked democracy, or fed up with the decisions politicians make against the will and interest of most citizens.
Direct democracy transcends partisan politics, it is not about “Right” or “Left”, “progressive” or “conservative” because it is about issues, not a about this or that “political doctrine”, or is it “political theology?