You pay to sustain government and the salaries of politicians, don’t you think you should have the last say on anything politicians do?, that is direct democracy

If we had direct democracy the likes of Trump or Biden would not be presidents of the US, Trudeau and Harper, prime ministers of Canada, Boris Johnson PM of the UK, Macron or Holande presidents of France, Merkel chancellor of Germany, Orban president of Hungary, Bolsonaro president of Brazil and others who by their personality or their policies, or both, polarise their nations.

In a direct democracy we would not have parliamentarians and media who deepen and expand the polarisation to the whole population.

In a direct democracy it is not possible to elect people with such profiles, people who polarise the nation with their lies and exaggerations to discredit rivals; we all see how rival politicians treat each other as incompetent, dishonest, stupid, etc.

Such behaviours that representative democracy generates in politicians ends up discrediting politicians, politics and representative democracy itself.

What kind of country can you have if the people themselves are polarised?, certainly democracy will not be sustainable in such countries.

Such political degeneration is not possible in a direct democracy because in a direct democracy the people have the right to introduce issues and decide them. They also have to right to to veto decisions, laws, regulations, policies and treaties made by the politicians. This removes most critical power from politicians, and their power to polarise every issue.

If politicians have less power to fight over, there are fewer fights and less intensive fights. Furthermore, because politicians know that the people can stop anything they do, in a direct democracy, politicians of rival parties are forced to cooperate to draft laws, regulations, policies, etc., because they will not pass if they do not have the support of a clear majority of voters.

Furthermore, in a direct democracy, only the people have the authority to change de constitution, the politicians, even if all of them agree, can not change the constitution.

Because of their power and the practice of making the most crucial decisions for the country, the people of a direct democracy does not need presidents, prime minister or chancellors with the “vision”, “character” and other foggy marketing tricks to seduce voters.

Come to think of it, the concept of the “opposition” is irrational too; no organisation should be based on the idea that more or less half of it has to have an overall view of issues that is contrary to the views of the other half. It is not logical; the logical thing is that each issue be considered on its merits by the people.

No country should be based on that idea idea either because it weakens the country. The idea of opposition automatically creates division. If unity creates strength, division creates weakness.

Direct democracy fosters unity among the people, as it should be. It does not impose fake unity from above, as all authoritarian and other absolute power rulers, religious or atheist, do.

For example, on the issue of health care, it is likely most ordinary voters prefer universal health care, regardless of individual means, or if a person is unemployed or working, regardless if the person is self-employed, works for a small local business or a successful corporation.

This means that on the issue of universal health care, “progressive” and “conservative” voters will agree it is necessary.

The reason why many voters on the “right” oppose universal health care is not because it not logical to have universal health care, it is because the lobbies that now make a lot of money in health care have convinced many voters on the “right” that universal health care is “socialism”. Such voters have been “herded” into the “conservative” herd.

Likewise, many “progressive” voters oppose border controls and limits to immigration because they have been herded into the “progressive” herd; “progressives” are for open borders because to oppose open borders is something only conservtives, even only fascists would do.

It is likely that most voters support immigration and border control but the political “herds” representative democracy creates makes it impossible for many “progressive” voters to favour such controls.

But even with the polarisation representative democracy creates, if the people had the power to decide by popular referendum on health care, borders and immigration, it is likely that a majority of voters on the “left” and the “right” would favour universal health care coverage and would also favour border and immigration controls.

In a direct democracy, congress , parliaments or chambers of deputies do not encage in the theatricals, posturing and verbal aggression we see every day among politicians and parties in representative democracies, because such fights are not worth it, if winning does mean winning a lot of decision-making power.

In a direct democracy, the executive and the legislative learn to cooperate because they quickly know that only pleasing the majority of voters they together represent, and that includes voters on the Left, Right and Center, will the politicians be able to avoid that the people stop dead their laws, regulations, policies, treaties, etc.

Citizens also learn, that when they use their power to organise referendums to decide issues, change laws, to challenge what the politicians do, they must make proposals supported by the majority of voters. If they do not do that, their proposal will be rejected and they will not achieve their goal.

The power voters have in a direct democracy to decide, also forces the proponents and organisers of referendums to make moderate proposals, because only such proposals will get the support of the majority of “conservative” and “progressive” voters, who always are moderate when they have the responsibility to decide.

Direct democracy enhances political diversity because it does not simplify politics to “right” or “left” or “center”; it creates many other shades.

In a direct democracy, the people do not have to vote for a large party, they do not even have to vote for any party because it is not necessary; in a direct democracy, even a small group of citizens can launch a referendum on any issue if they collect the required (and relatively small) number of signatures.

Of course, in a direct democracy, even the smallest party, even a party without representation in parliament, can launch a referendum.

This is why in a direct democracy people can not “be herded” into one of two large parties.

Another effect of direct democracy is that makes all decisions by government and by the people, real democratic decisions.

In a direct democracy, in most cases, the people do not challenge the law, the regulation, the policy or the treaties, politicians introduce, in so doing they give tacit democratic approval to the politicians.

Exceptionally, but regularly, enough citizens disagree with what the executive or the legislative have done or want to do, that they sign up in enough numbers and a binding referendum must be held.

The polarisation wo see in representative democracies is the result of the polarisation the system of representative democracy creates, it is not inevitable, it is not because of culture either, it is because representative democracy places too much power in the hands of politicians (and the lobbies who help them win campaigns), naturally,  they fight like hell to get that power.

How do we know that in a direct democracy things work very differently, and for the better?, because that is what they have been doing in Switzerland for more than 150 years.

As you probably know, Switzerland is, overall, the best country and the most democratic country in the World. By the way, ignore the fake yearly “Democracy Rankings” by the Economist “Intelligence” Unit, which ranks Switzerland behind 10-12 (depending on the year of publication) representative democracies.

How can Switzerland not be number one democracy every year, when it is the country that by far comes closes to the definition of democracy, which is “government by the people”?

Too many voters in other countries still do not feel comfortable saying to themselves: “wait a minute, if we pay for everything, even the salaries and pensions of the politicians, why do the politicians have power over us and have the power to make all the decisions that affect us, why should the politicians decide what we can or can’t do, must or must not do? It is time for us to have more power than the politicians”.

Until a clear majority of voters shake off the believe that they need leaders, often almost “messianic” leaders, (even members of parliaments see themselves as special) and start to believe in their intelligence, character and common sense, they will still need to be ruled by the elected aristocracy they now have, the elected and re-elected caste of professional politicians who now rule the most important, most developed, most humane and civilised countries of the World, but they shouldn’t.

When that change of mind set happens, direct democracy will come to those countries because the people will demand it. From them, it will spread to the rest of the World and dictatorial, totalitarian regimes, atheistic or religious, will join the waste basket of history.

To Americans and others, let me say this: what they have in California, and other states, is not direct democracy.

In California they have some of the formalities of direct democracy, but California voters do not live in a direct democracy because the most important decisions affecting their lives are made by the US executive and legislative, and there is no direct democracy at all at the federal level in the US.

Furthermore, the democratic decisions the people of California make can be overturned, and have been overturned, by the courts; the California Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court have overturned decisions made by the voters of California. In California they have fake direct democracy because the people are not sovereign, the politicians and the courts rule over them

As you probably suspect, what happens can not happen in Switzerland. Not even the Swiss Supreme Court can challenge the results of a popular referendum. In Switzerland, the Swiss Supreme Court can not declare the results of any referendum “unconstitutional”. In Switzerland, the courts can only intervene if laws have been violated in the process of collecting signatures, voting procedures, etc.

Each of us who believe in direct democracy must do all we can to help convince people that “yes, we can now, (because we have the power to decide)”.

We have to leave political marketing, catchy slogans and other shenanigans behind, we must demand the right to decide. Freedom to vote without freedom to decide issues is not real democracy, it is a step towards democracy.

Victor Lopez

Representative democracy infantilizes many voters, direct democracy forces all voters to grow up

One of the worst aspects of elections in a representative democracy is that during elections, politicians treat voters like children, and between elections they often ignore the voters but pay great attention to the lobbies and pressure groups.

Sometimes the politicians try to get elected by making promises that will produce short term gain but terrible long term pain, that can even destroy the nation.

Politicians make promises like: “if you vote for me, if you vote for my party, we will:

Build new roads.

Make health care free and available for all.

Make our military more powerful.

Make university education free.

Have great research institutions.

Increase pensions.

Increase unemployment benefits.

Ban gasoline-powered cars.

Ban plastic.

Do a lot of space exploration.

Increase taxes to the rich and to corporations and reduce taxes to most voters.

All parties say nothing about how to pay for all those wonderful things. No major party complains too much because they know millions of voters fall for those promises.

The path to the not-promised of misery and destruction of the currency and the country is set. Germany’s politicians followed it the twenties and the “rewards” they collected in 1945…

The Germans did it to pay for the war they lost in 1918, the US is doing it because politicians tell the people that everything is possible, that the US can spend trillions in all sort of wars, provide people with more and better “free” services and also more and more in weapons, space exploration, etc.

One party promises one thing, and the other promises what appears to be the opposite, but it is just another way to drive the country into a debt hellhole. while portraying the proposals of the rival parties as bad, absurd, unfair, irresponsible, etc.

This happens because politicians hold all the power in representative democracies; no matter which party wins, all power lies in the hands of politicians. The party in power can do almost anything it wants if it has the majority in parliament.

One of the things it can do, and does. Is use taxes to bribe people with the people’s money so that they will vote for them.

The politicians in the opposition have fake power to control the power of government, all they can do is make noise. You can also be sure that the opposition will do all it can to hurt the government so that the party in power will lose the next election, even if hurting the government hurts the country.

The party in power is interested in doing things that will get it re-elected, particularly as the end of its mandate approaches.

You saw that with Obama and the Democrats, with Trump and the Republicans, and now you see it with Biden.

Once elected, the politicians in power in representative democracies are compelled to pass laws, regulations and policies that will please the lobbies and pressure groups that helped them get elected; the big campaign donors, big media, big business groups, professional groups or unions, etc.

But they do not do that in any straightforward way. They don’t because they know that if they do  ordinary voters will get angry as they would see how those in power help those lobbies and pressure groups.

To disguise helping the rich they will tell the nation that reducing taxes to corporations will create jobs. The other party will tell voters exactly the opposite: “we will increase taxes to corporations to have more money for pensions, for education, etc.”

In their desperate fight to get elected, politicians make it impossible for voters to rationally look at the facts behind the issues, and to the long-term effects of the measures.

The voter truly does not know if reducing taxes to corporations will produce more jobs that will make the life of many better and will also generate more taxes to pay for public services, or if the corporations just pocket the bigger profits.

The voter can not truly know either if stronger civil service unions and better paid civil servants and politicians will really produce better government or just take more tax money for the benefit of civil servants and politicians.

The debate is always so hot and antagonistic during elections, and also in parliament and the media, that most voters end up voting along party lines, along their “political faith”; they vote for the party that more matches their values, the issues are secondary because the voters do not understand them. How can they, with all the shouting and screaming among politicians.

Of course, adopting the position that “I vote Liberal, Conservative, Republican or Democrat, is a catastrophic mistake voters make. It is catastrophic because it makes it prevents voters from demanding real understanding of the issues. It is as if they voted blindly.

Because politicians essentially want to fool “their” voters with their promises, politicians will stress the benefits and minimise or ignore the costs of their measures.

Other times politicians brazenly try to bribe voters with goodies that produce an immediate “high” in the voter.

For example, to win the next election, politicians will throw taxpayer money at the issues and at the taxpayers. This was clear with Trump’s reduction in corporate taxes “to strengthen American industry and create well-paid jobs”.

Biden is doing exactly the same; throwing taxpayer money at the taxpayers “so that they will buy electric cars to prevent global warming”. Biden does not really care much about global warming, he cares about being re-elected, he will not look at the most rational ways to prevent global warming, he cares about the ways that will give him more votes.

I write often about the US because it is the country that if it collapses it will pull other representative democracies down in its wake and also because authoritarian regimes will get the upper hand.

Direct democracy forces voters to understand the issues because in a direct democracy the voters decide the issues and they know they are responsible for the effects of their decisions on themselves and their children. In a direct democracy, voters do not think in terms of the next election because voters do not run for election or re-election.

If you want your country to have sound finances, stability and long-term prosperity, you have to do all you can to turn representative democracy into direct democracy.

Direct democracy is not something thought up by some academic his head firmly stuck in the clouds, or by a messianic demagogue with the crazy idea of a “promised land”. Direct democracy is down-to-earth politics. We know it because that is what Swiss politics are about; direct democracy that delivers economic, political and social stability and prosperity like no other country has.

Victor Lopez

Why politicians in representative democracies do not like direct democracy and crypto money?

Politicians in representative democracies dislike crypto money, totalitarian regimes hate it; it is all about power and control of the population. It is because of that politicians in representative democracies dislike direct democracy.

Perhaps you believe Trump and Biden are very different on that; do not be fooled by their differences in some policies, for real change to strengthen democracy by introducing direct democracy, neither of them is interested; both believe the population can not decide; that voters are not smart enough. In their minds, people need the leaders like them, as well as leaders in the Senate and the House. The leaders and the members in Congress they are not interested in direct democracy either.

Politicians in representative democracies have convinced most voters that political leadership is indispensable, that without it, the country cannot figure out what it wants or needs.

However, is it not interesting that poll after poll shows most Americans hold politicians in very low esteem? Should that not tell Americans they have to take the life of the nation in their own hands?; I believe it should. I believe it will once they become more aware of what direct democracy is about.

Neither Trump nor Biden, nor Congress want America to be more democratic, never mind their “great democracy rhetoric”; none of them wants government by the people; they both believe in government by the politicians and by their loyal appointees.

Americans are not happy with their elected politicians at all. That is what the Pew Research Survey shows for many years in a long row.

Americans do not believe politicians are up to governing the country, that the country is being led in the wrong direction by the politicians.

The root problem is that the people have no power in representative democracies because politicians in representative democracies believe the people should have no power.

Politicians in representative democracies, it does not matter if they are progressives or conservatives, believe that “the issues are too complex for most voters”. This is a code expression that really means “voters are not smart enough to decide issues”.

Trump and Biden are similar; both like centralized power. The people they appoint and the members of Congress feel exactly the same. Crypto money is about decentralization. To Trump, casinos, roulette, etc., are serious business, but direct democracy and democratic money are not.

They all talk a good game of “the people this, the people that”, they talk of “the American voter is an intelligent voter, a mature voter, a responsible voter”. it is all prepared political marketing empty words. They do not believe that at all. Trump, Biden and all those that preceded them think alike; “the people need leaders with “vision” and the character to execute the vision”.

Do not get me going with the “vision” that created the Vietnam mess, the Iranian mess, the Iraki mess, the Castro mess, the Taliban mess, including the current Afghanistan evacuation mess. As for “character”; Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Clinton… no need to continue.

If the elected politicians had the vision and the character, the people would not be telling the researchers of Pew Research what they are telling them; that Congress is non functional and that the politicians, Trump and Biden and the rest, have been and are, leading the country in many wrong, wrong, directions.

The American people seem ton be waiting for a miracle, that somehow, with making a few protests and grumbling, and going again to the polls, things will radically change for the better, it will not happen.

The latest “vision” of politicians is money printing, even the most ignorant person knows that money should not be printed in the quantities the politicians are printing it now, that it can not end up well, that money will lose a lot of value and make millions poor.

Trump and Biden, and Warren and McConnell and Pelosi, and the rest, believe in central power, that somehow, they have the right messianic vision, that they are the prophets. Never mind that the idea of prophets of radically opposite “true” visions is totally irrational; Trump, Biden and the rest see themselves as the Messianic leaders; you only have to listen to them pronouncing their empty slogans like “yes we can !” (rescue GM and the big banks), “make America great”, “Restore the soul of America”, etc.

They oppose direct democracy, real democracy, for the same reason they oppose Bitcoin; they like centralized power, they dislike the people to have the power to send or withdraw troops from foreign countries, or to diminish or increase the size and budget of the armed forces, or to increase or reduce taxation levels of individuals and corporations, or to decide in a referendum if they want universal health care, etc., etc.

Trump and Biden do not want that because they believe the people cannot make such decisions and also because they like the benefits of power; from the ego boosting deferential and special treatment that “Mr President”, “Senator”, “Congressman” or “Congresswoman”, to the direct and indirect economic benefits that themselves, now or in the future, and the lobbies that support them, derive from the power politicians have.

The American voter, the UK voter, the French voter, of the Left and the Right, have allowed themselves to be herded in a sort of psychological prison; they believe they are incapable of deciding issues themselves, that only their “shepherds” can do that.

It is time to decentralize political decision making and also to decentralize money, the time for direct democracy has arrived, the time to put people in control of money has arrived, but it will go right by us if we do not demand both; control of politics and control of money. The Swiss have been showing, decade after decade, that direct democracy works. By the way, the Swiss government is far more open to crypto that the governments of the US and the rest.

We need real power to the people, power where it counts, to calmly, rationally, debate issues and vote to decide issues, not just to elect politicians. Direct democracy is not about demagogues screaming need “power to the people!”. Leaders who do not really believe in democracy because they believe they When the people have actual power, they do not need to scream or take to the streets; they organize a binding referendum and decide the issue.

Direct democracy forces people to be in charge of their destiny, of the majority deciding. No longer we will need politicians and “leaders”; we will lead ourselves. No longer the minority will lead the majority, the majority will lead itself.

But to bring direct democracy to the US, and to the other countries, as well as decentralized money, the people have to demand it. By the way, it does not do much good California and other states direct democracy; it is not direct democracy because the politicians and the courts can overturn the results of referendums. Further more; the most important level of government in the US, the one with the most power over the lives of Americans, is not the state government but the Federal Government.

Victor Lopez

Direct democracy; better decisions, better health care, less politisation, less polarization than representative democracy

First of all let me make one think perfectly clear; while representative democracy is no real democracy, it is far superior to any other non-democratic regime.

It is far superior to regimes like one-party rule, rule by one single person (“illuminated” or not by a god), rule by aristocrats, rule by a religion (no matter which one), rule by absolute kings or absolute royal families, etc.

Representative “democracy”, while it is not real democracy, allows people a degree of political, social, religious, scientific freedom and overall dignity to the lives of humans, in both, their personal and professional lives that is light-years ahead of what each and everyone of those other regimes offer, no matter how much any such regime claims to have the final “scientific” “truth” to achieve human happiness, any such regimes claim to be led by a “special leader” “illuminated” or not by a god, or by some special book delivered from a god, etc.

But Representative “democracy” falls short in several key areas.

While the presence of political parties is far superior to having just one party, or no party, it has shortcomings that make real democracy impossible.

First of all, in a representative democracy, the people do not govern because they do not have the power to directly decide issues because that power lies with the politicians and the judges of the highest court of the land.

If the people have the power to elect, but do not have the power to decide issues, laws, policies, treaties and the contents of the constitution, the such society is not a democracy because the people do not govern at all; democracy means “government by the people”, it does not mean “government by those elected by the people”, even if the majority of the people elected them.

But political parties also present an additional problem that stunts the ability of voters to think with an open mind, which is necessary for rational thought.

This is what happens; political parties, by their very nature, claim to have core idea that makes them uniquely capable to address the issues of society.

Parties based on a religious idea claim to have the “rights answer, the answers society needs because the religion that inspires them claims to have the “answers”; how can it be otherwise if the party’s outlook on all issues is based on the “truth” inspired by a divine intelligence.

But it is precisely such claim to possess the”truth” that makes it impossible to apply reason to the issues; how can reason be applied if we start with the idea that predetermined the answer?

It is as an anti-religious person tries to rationally understand someone who believes in a god. To rationally analyze the belief of a believer, one can not be anti religious, one must apply reason, without prejudices, to  the beliefs of the believers.

So, political parties prevent or seriously limit the ability of people to apply free reasoning to the issues.

To illustrate the problem, let me give you one example.

Let us look at the issue of universal health care.

The political parties on the “Right” are likely to oppose universal health care because in their minds, universal health care means taxpayer funded, they do not want any of that. In their minds, people are free to run their lives as they want, and taxpayers should not have to pay for the health care of people irresponsible, unable to have a job that will provide health insurance, or unable to buy health insurance themselves.

On the opposite corner we have the parties on the “Left” who believe health care must be universal and paid by the state, by the taxpayers.

Because of such positioning, determined by their political beliefs, which in many ways are as dogmatic as “this is the Truth religions, it is very difficult, perhaps impossible for such parties to look for another solution, for example one in which there is universal health care but provided by private organisations who obtain the necessary resources from the users able to pay the health insurance premiums, and by the government who subsidises or pays the premiums of those citizens who lack the income to pay the premiums. The system can make health coverage mandatory and universal.

In a way you could say such system is social-capitalist health care that parties on the Right and the Left would not support because, for different reasons, contradicts their beliefs about how health care should be.

In a direct democracy, the power of the citizens is at the expense of the power of the parties. Most citizens are not interested in the ideology, they are interested in solving problems.

Most citizens believe all citizens should have good health care, the the best, most effective health care the country can afford. They are not interested in that it be done according to this or that political belief.

This is precisely the system of universal health they have in Switzerland; the best and universal health care system in the World. The Swiss have more access to health care and better health care.

It is not by chance that the only direct democracy the World has, has developed such system.

One of the positive effects of direct democracy is that diminishes the politization and polarization of citizens. In a direct democracy, the citizens have to decide real issues, this forces voters to do two things; look at the facts and not pay much attention to the efforts parties might have of politicizing every issue.

This also has had the effect of depololiticising the parties. To such and extent direct democracy has done so that in Switzerland, the 4-5  major parties, who represent 70 to 85% of voters, govern together always.

If you want to have less polarization and less politisation, and better public decisions, you should inform yourself about Swiss direct or, more properly, semi-direct democracy. I am sure it will change your mind about what democracy should be like in your country; it certainly changed mine; that is why I decided to start this website.

Victor Lopez

 

Again Canada will have free and fair elections, but still no democracy

On September 20, Canadians will elect a new national parliament and, if the currently governing party does not get enough votes, the country may also get a new executive.

But the country still will not have democracy because democracy means “government by the people”;  it should be that, but it is not.

In Canada, like in the US, in France, in the UK, in Germany, in Australia, in Japan and in all other representative democracies, the people do not govern at all, what the people do is elect those who will govern them.

They elect their rulers, the people who rule over them. They elect the people who have been telling Canadians, decade after decade, how they must live their lives and how they will be punished if they do not comply.

Even when Canadians do not have to obey a rule or a law, the politicians put in place policies and programmes that practically force people to behave the way the politicians want.

They do that with policies that will cost Canadians money if they do not take advantage of them, or that will give them money if they do.

The politicians decide everything; if Canadian soldiers will go to war and die, even if the majority of Canadians do not want the country to go to war or to war zone conflicts in Afghanistan, in Irak, in Lebanon, in Somalia… or in the Kalahari.

Politicians also decide how strong the Canadian Armed Forces should be, how many taxes Canadians pay, how the school system and universities will cost students and taxpayers, and on and on.

I say the politicians decide because all politicians, at least those who sit in the Federal Parliament in Ottawa, participate in the control of Canadians; the parties in the opposition shout and scream against the party in government because “it does not govern for the people but for its friends”, “that the health care system needs more doctors, that the waiting lines are too long”, “that the Federal Bureaucracy is too slow or too opaque”, “that Canadians have too expensive telephone and Internet services”, that “taxes are too high”, or “that taxes are too low”, “that the national deficit and the national debt are too large”, that “workers are treated unfairly” and on and on. But if the opposition wins they continue to control the lives of Canadians and the present and future of the country, just like the previous government did, and none of the above issues is resolved.

No matter who governs. Canadians have no power to stop the politicians to pass any law or policy they want to pass or have passed. Canadians elect who rules and those who rule, rule over Canadians. They rule because once they vote, for four years, the Canadian people have zero control over the politicians.

In reality, Canadian elections are to decide which party or parties will have a blank check between elections to do anything they want, to even “forget” electoral promises, or to do things they never said they would do, and even to do the opposite of what they promised.

Election after election. Canada has a shortage of doctors. It has half as many doctors per person as Switzerland, the country with the best (no perfect) health care system.

Election after election Canadians continue to pay outrageous prices for Internet and telephone services.

Election after election Canadian students attend universities and colleges en masse, yet Canada has a chronic shortage of competent employees and has people with degrees doing jobs for which the degree does not qualify them.

Canadian elections are about “vote, elect, forget and hope for the best”.

Democracy should not be about that, it is not about that, democracy is about elections and about the people deciding issues, not just the politicians.

Canadians should be able to decide issues. They should be able to put to a national referendum any law, regulation or policy. They should also have the power to put to a national referendum any article of the Constitution.

They should be able to do all that, even against the will of the politicians, even if all the politicians unanimously disagree with having a referendum.

The referendums should also be relatively easy to get going; for example, by the collection of approximately 400 000 signatures in one year, or perhaps much sooner if electronic sign up became fool proof.

The results of the referendums would also be mandatory for Government and Parliament, and the Canadian Supreme Court would no longer have the power to overturn any law or decision made by the people by declaring the results “unconstitutional”. The Court will only have the power to decide if the rules were not followed in the collection of signatures or in the way the referendum was conducted.

Canada is a stable representative democracy, but it will be a better democracy when the people, besides voting to elect, they can also vote to decide any law, rule, regulation or policy that 400 000 Canadians say they disagree with, and if they also can change the Constitution itself.

I have no doubt direct democracy is the future of representative democracy, like it was for Swiss representative democracy almost 2 centuries ago.

The Swiss people demanded direct democracy as a result of a pandemic… They have not looked back, although some of their politicians long for the times when the politicians were only accountable at election time, the time when the people could not stop the laws and policies they passed.

And this is the real problem in Canada for direct democracy; the politicians, and the lobbies and pressure groups of the Right and the Left, do not like direct democracy because it is a lot easier to influence and pressure a few politicians than millions of voters.

If you want better and more efficient democracy, in Canada,- and everywhere else, push for direct democracy now.

Victor Lopez

What is the matter with America? Answer: representative democracy.

What is the matter with the American public?

What is the matter in your country, where so many feel at the mercy of others?

A poll by the Pew Research Center finds the following:

60% of Americans think the country will be less important in the World.

73% believe the gap between rich and poor will grow.

65% believe the country will be more politically divided.

87% ! are worried that the country political leaders are not up to the challenge.

They also believe the national debt will continue growing.

The majority also believe the economy will be weaker, that health care will be les affordable.

70% of Americans are dissatisfied withe the way things are going in the country.

80% are worried about the way the government in Washington works.

55% believe the national government will have a negative impact on the countries future problems. I take this as Americans saying the national government makes the problems of the country worse.

77% worry about the ability of public schools to provide quality education to students. Because normal people do not talk like that, I suppose what they mean is that they believe public schools are unable to do their jobs.

Most also doubt the financial viability of Social Security.

The reports provides information on many other issues.

My question to the American people is: if you are so pessimistic about so many crucial things and also believe the politicians are unable to give the nation a better future, why don’t you do something?

It is obvious that neither Republican nor Democrats can fix the country; Carter and the Congress of the time did not make much of a difference, Reagan made a difference with the Soviet Union, but the life of Americans and the future Americans see now for the country, did not change much either, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, did not change the pessimistic outlook Americans have on the country. It does not look like Biden will be the fellow who turns around the pessimism of Americans.

The hard reality for Americans is that no matter who gets elected president, no matter who ir elected to the house of representatives, to the Supreme Court, I am sure Americans will not become more optimistic about their future.

Every election the politicians come out with “catchy” but phony slogans that change nothing; “yes we can”, “change we can believe in”, “make America great again”, “our best days still lie ahead”, “putting people first”, “leadeship for the new millennium”, “a safer World and a more hopeful America”. and on an on.

Such slogans mean nothing in reality, they are just cooked by hard nosed cynics to see if they can fool enough naive voters to tilt the election.

It is time of Americans to take control of America, it is time for them to decide the laws and policies of the country. It is time for them to demand direct democracy.

Direct democracy puts the people in charge and puts the politicians at the service of the people, how?, it is simple; anything the politicians want to do, any law, policy and regulation they come up with, can be stopped dead by a popular referendum that the people, not the politicians, can call.

The people can also propose laws and changes to the constitution.

Direct democracy will radically change the state of mind of the American voter; from passive victims of the politicians, to the people in Charge.

As a direct democracy, the American people will be able to do what is necessary for the schools to do better, to prevent growing disparity, to make sure there is universal and afferdable health care, to make sure Social Security does not grow broke, to end political polarization, to be in charge of their future themselves, instead of being at the mercy of politicians and the lobbies who use their billions to make sure all elected politicians of the Left or the Right are indebted to them.

The Swiss found inspiration in the American and French Revolutions to set up their democracy, but they went a step beyond; the Swiss elect politicians but, unlike Washington, the people also vote to decide issues and to have the final word on any issue if enough people consider the issue important.

America is not the best democracy, Switzerland has, by far, the best democracy but, because of its size and economic power American, together with India, is the essential country to ensure freedom survives and to stop the push of the primitive and inhuman authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, religiouos or late.

Th Swiss demanded direct democracy and got it, Americans will have to do the same if they want to turn around the direction of the country.

Victor Lopez

 

Direct democracy is simpler than representative democracy

The reason? Representative democracy is very complicated because politicians have all the power; the pursuit og power complicates everything.

Politicians having all the power complicates everything because they know that to gain power is extremely important for them individually, for their parties and for the lobbies and pressure groups that help get them elected and help them mount competitive election campaigns.

Those factors turn political campaigns in representative democracies into highly elaborate activities; complicated communication strategies designed to influence and manipulate public opinion.

In representative democracies, the lobbies and pressure groups know that if they gain influence over the politicians, they will have a direct influence on the laws, regulations and policies the politicians develop and adopt.

You may think, but why, for example, a gigantic business will donate to progressive parties when such parties often are against big business? Well they do it to minimise their losses. They would rather the conservatives win, but if they don’t, the donations and other help to the progressive parties could help mitigate their anti-business, anti-profit measures.

In a direct democracy, because the voters decide the issues, not just elect politicians, the lobbies and pressure groups know that helping politicians get elected, or helping them defeat rivals, is not so important because the elected politicians, even if they get elected, even if the form the new executive branch of government, do not have the power to help the lobbies and the pressure groups.

In a direct democracy, the lobbies do not try to manipulate the public because they will quickly be denounced; they prefer to speak, but keeping a low profile.

The reason electoral fights are not so vicious in a direct democracy is obvious; in a direct democracy, the people control the politicians with initiatives and referendums on any issue or law that motivates a relatively small number of people. Because of that, it is not so important who gets elected or what party wins the election.

This explains why elections in Switzerland are far less important than referendums.

In Switzerland a small group of motivated ordinary citizens, without the backing of any lobby or pressure group, or even a small political party with no elected representatives, can fairly easily gather the 50 000 or 100 000 signatures, and are given plenty of time to gather them.

Once they do that, the issue goes to a popular vote.

Because in a direct democracy, the people are directly responsible for what happens in the country, the state (province, region or canton), and in their town or village, the people get very interested in the issue, if the issue interests them.

Not all issues interest most voters. For example, we do not know if the upcoming national referendum in September, where the organizers propose raising taxes for business and reducing them for individuals, will interest most voters.

Some wage earners may feel that doing that may make Swiss business less competitive and endanger jobs, and perhaps wages too. Such people may vote “no” to the proposal. Others may vote “yes” because they believe it is fair that business pay more and individuals less. Yet others may simply feel that the issue is not important enough, that regardless of what happens, their lives will not change much for whatever reason. In many referendums, those not interested enough to vote are the majority.

So, we do not know if this September, most eligible voters will vote, perhaps as high as 70% will, as it has happened in some referendums, or as low as less than 40%, as it has happened other times.

But what makes things simpler in a direct democracy is that the issues have to be understood by most voters. Voters demand clear explanations because they know their vote is a decision-making vote. It is not just a vote to elect someone.

Because of the need to make things clear for the ordinary voter, the government also sends a referendum package to every potential voter.

In the package, the proponents of the referendum explain their position in clear language and in a relatively few sentences. In the same package the government and the main political parties also explain their position, opposing the proposal and/or presenting to the voters an alternative to the proposal.

This means that voter can say “yes” to the original proposal, can say “no” to it, or can say “yes” to an alternative.

Because ordinary people have to decide, there are also plenty of debates in the media where experts defend the different positions, and in plain language. Swiss citizens also discuss the issues in family and in workplaces. This is possible because one of the positive effects of direct democracy is that depoliticizes the issues; there is less antagonism, less irrational-emotional posturing. Swiss voters know their decision is very important and do not want to hear demagoguery.

Direct democracy simplifies the political debate because the key debates take place at street level, among the people, not the among the politicians in the rarified and hot air of the Executive and Legislative branches.

If one thing that you find irritating is that it is difficult to understand the political fights in your representative democracy, it is because the politicians and the lobbies do not really want you to understand. They like to always put forward the idea; “many issues are too complex for the average voter”.

Unfortunately, too many average voters have swallowed that and think their next-door neighbour is not really capable of deciding if taxes for business should be raised and lowered for wage earners. Of course, many of those “next-door” neighbours think the same of other neighbours and non-neighbours.

The situation serves well the elected politicians in representative democracies, and the lobbies; as long as enough citizens believe that, most people will not demand direct democracy.

But if those arguments are valid, how come the Swiss people can decide complex issues? They can because the “complexity” of issues is a red herring. The Swiss are not smarter than the Germans, the French, etc., what happens is that the same experts able to explain the complexities of global warming, or taxes, or nuclear energy to politicians, who are just like ordinary citizens in the technical knowledge of those issues, can also explain the issues to ordinary people.

With one huge advantage, many of the experts who explain the issues to the people are not paid by the political parties or the lobbies, they come from business, academic institutions, etc., with no ax to grind in the debate, people who just want to contribute their expertise to the debate and help their fellow citizens.

So, if you want to decide your present and your future, and the present and the future of your children, your nation, city or village, push for direct democracy; you can decide issues, do not believe those who say “issues are too complex”. Believe me, the decision the Swiss will make in September on taxation is a lot easier than raising a family, for example. As Swiss history proves the Swiss voters directly, make better, and more honest, decisions for Switzerland than the elected politicians of representative democracies make for their countries.

Keep one thing in mind also; the only properly run direct democracy humanity has is Switzerland; what they have in California and other US States is not real direct democracy, one of several reasons is that the decisions of the people are not final, they can be overturned by the judges, not so in Switzerland.

Victor Lopez

 

Do the Swiss have direct democracy because they are smarter, or has direct democracy made them smarter?

The most intelligent society is not the one that produces the most winners of Nobel prizes, the most creative artists, fiction writers or musicians, the one with the most brilliant engineers, the one with sharpest social thinkers and commentators, etc., the most intelligent society is the one able to generate the most prosperity without natural resources, the most political and social stability for the longest time, the most democratic because it gives its citizens more decision-making power on the issues than the politicians; they do not just vote to elect, they also vote to decide, the one with the best universal health care system and so on.

It is also obvious that to reach the position of number one in those areas, such society also has to have the best education system. A system that educates its citizens as whole competent persons technically, socially, politically, because only such citizens can create such a society.

The PISA rankings of educational competence of teenagers are perhaps, I am not sure, an indicator of how able high school students are in reading, writing and math. The PISA report also shows the ability of students to solve “paper and pencil” problems in a classroom.

Unfortunately, PISA does not measure the ability of people so solve real problems outside the classroom, to get along with others, to share with and support others, to make wise individual decisions that are also wise for the community, to behave responsibly towards themselves and others, to solve problems and disputes peacefully, to work cooperatively.

Of course, PISA does not measure the professional competence of adults in any area.

It is also obvious that if the country has high wages and exports per person, large quantities of high technology, high value-added goods and services, it must have highly competent executives, managers and professional at all levels.

Their public service must also be competent to help the country achieve those results.

The most difficult thing for human societies is not to produce great individual scientists, musicians, engineers, inventors, architects, athletes, writers., painters, explorers, original thinkers, etc., we know that because practically all such societies cannot organise themselves as smooth running democratic societies as Switzerland.

The United States, the UK, France, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, India, Israel and other representative democracies, continuously produce brilliant individuals yet, they have many more political problems than Switzerland and are less stable economically, politically, socially stable, we see that year after tear, decade after decade, even sometimes, century after century.

Many other societies also seem unable to produce brilliant scientists, etc., but that is another issue unrelated to direct democracy…, or perhaps not.

Yet other nations are unable or, even worse, unwilling, to live democratically. This is also another issue.

In this post I refer to all those countries who are economically prosperous, where the people enjoy considerable freedom and their elites and many citizens claim they are democracies, besides producing lots of brilliant individuals.

While Switzerland has a high number of Nobel Prize winners, I also believe having such people is not the cause of Switzerland’s success. I believe it is the other way around; the ordinary Swiss people have created a society where many brilliant people, from Switzerland and other cultures, find the cultural environment and the means to dedicate their time to think.

Although the US, for example, is not as successful as a society as Switzerland, the above reasoning applies; it is the Pilgrims from England who set the roots of the prosperous society that attracted future Nobel Prize winners. It happened because it had de means for them to invest time in thinking their great ideas, but ordinary Americans owe less to its Nobel Prize winners than the winners owe to ordinary Americans.

I do not know if Swiss society is ahead of the rest (although, unlike some others, the government and the people are not prone to talk about this) because they are more intelligent, as a result of direct democracy, because direct democracy pushes/teaches them to think about issues and to decide, something representative democracy does not do, or if they have direct democracy because they are smarter, or perhaps they are just lucky, for unknown reasons, the idea of renewing democracy, along direct democracy lines, which is what Ancient Greek democracy was; no, the Greeks did not have representative democracy. To them, representative democracy is another form of aristocracy.

Representative democracy, through repeated re-election of the same politicians, and repeated re-election of the same parties, ends up creating a ruling aristocracy. Democracy is about the people deciding issues, not about the politicians deciding the issues and even making decisions that control the lives of citizens.

It is time to take a good look at Swiss democracy, adapt it to other countries, and even make it better.

Representative democracy is about controlling people by having them in the “progressive” or “conservative” herd, direct democracy is about the people controlling the potential herders

The sad reality is that in a dictatorship the dictatorial person, party or religion impose themselves on the people and control people by brute force; punishing them, even imprisoning or killing them, just for disagreeing with the system.

In a representative democracy, the people are controlled much less, they are free to express themselves and are, in theory, free to elect their representatives, the politicians.

No doubt representative democracy is far better than dictatorships, where people have less rights than domestic animals.

Unfortunately, the people of representative democracies still lack the most fundamental freedom, the freedom to decide issues and policies directly, by themselves, over the will of the politicians and over the supreme courts appointed by the politicians.

One of the root problems of representative democracy is that it is ideology driven, not issue driven.

This means that people are herded into political ideologies. Political ideologies are like religions; “believe this because it has the answers you need”.

As is natural, people have different opinions on everything but the political ideologies try to tell them that should not be so, that there is a “true way”.

The idea of a “true way” is completely irrational because it is obviously impossible to have two, or three or three hundred, “true ways”.

The reality is that there is no “true way” on anything, that there are opinions and preferences on concrete issues, and that open reasoning is the tool of democracy, not faith.

For example, a person who thinks the country needs a smaller army may also want more police, or the death penalty. A person who is gay might oppose a minimum wage. A hunter might also be for totally green energy. I am sure you can come up with many other examples.

But the “progressive” and “conservative” ideologies herd people; if you are in the “progressive” herd you have to think this, this and this about gays, about taxes, about army, about police, about hunting, about the environment, about minimum wages, etc.

The politicians exploit the irrational need of many people for an all-encompassing “truth”, and reinforce it to get elected.

One of the things politicians do in representative democracy is paint rival politicians as practically deranged, corrupt and fools.

Naturally, his or her followers, end up thinking very much the same about the followers of rival politicians.

The result is (irrational) polarisation and division that gradually grows worse in representative democracies; the US is the better know example, but even countries like Canada and Sweden experience growing polarisation.

It has reached the point that even free speech is under attack. At the moment, free speech is under attack by the “progressives” more than by the “conservatives”, but the situation can turn around pretty quickly.

The whole thing of “progressive”, “conservative” is a false division that prevents people from looking at each  issue and policy, rationally, without the ideological blinkers.

The politicians need money to pay assistants to produce speeches, press releases and ads, all to enhance themselves and discredit rivals. They also need lots of money to travel, for promotional materials, to organize events, to pay for expensive ads in the press, radio, tv and internet.

Because the politicians in a representative democracy have the power to decide everything, the competition is fierce.

To win the competition the politicans need the support of people with influence and, above all, with lots of money.

If to that, you are a crazy decision by the US Supreme Court allowing basically unlimited monetary and non-monetary contributions to political campaigns, you have a system where the money of the few prevails over the interests of the majority because the politicians are indebted to the donors.

The politicians are also indebted to the leaders of various pressure groups who, with their support, can deliver many votes to the politician.

But the situation is made even worse because, just to enter a political race to be a candidate, requires lots of money. This means that politicians have to kow-tow to money from day one.

That is how the voters do not have the freedom to elect, because they can only elect candidates supported by the system.

As you know, big money, “donates” to both major parties for obvious reasons.

From they one aspiring politicians are also under the control of the party apparatus. Sure, you can have the odd politician who is elected against the will of those with money, but they are so few that they have no influence on executive and legislative decisions.

The way to free people from the political herds is if people have the power to directly decide issues and policies.

In this way, each voter does not have the desperate need for “his” or “her” candidates to win; no matter who wins; the progressives, the conservatives, the greens, or even the extremists on the right or left, because the voter knows that the people can easily organize a binding refendum on anything, and that the result can not be overturned by the executive, by parliament or by the highest court of the land.

In a direct democracy, people may still support this or that party, but the system forces people think by themselves, not “thinking” as part of the herd.

So, if you want to be freer, and to bring rational decision making to your countryg regarding laws and policies, direct democracy, or semi-direct democracy is a huge step forward.

But the politicians and the lobbies do not want it for obvious reasons, which never are the reasons they put forward.

Direct democracy will only come to your country if you push for it.

Victor Lopez

Representative democracy is not really representative or democratic

Let us look mainly at the US, because the US is the best known representative democracy.

One problem with representative democracy is that leaves millions unrepresented; all those who voted the losing party.

This happens because in representative democracy, the politicians have all the executive and legislative power.

It is logical that to acquire that power, political parties fight bitter campaigns. The idea is to discredit, even paint as illegitimate, the other parties.

One of the effects of the vitriolic campaigns of the parties, is that they turn their followers into people who despise and hate the followers of other parties.

In a representative democracy it then becomes impossible for those supporting the losing parties to feel represented.

How could the people who voted for Hillary Clinton feel represented by Trump? How could the people who voted for Trump feel represented by Biden.

The truth, the sad truth, is that millions of voters consider those who vote for other parties as deranged, idiots, selfish, etc.

In other countries the polarisation is less known, but it is obvious that voters in Canada, the UK, France, etc., no not feel too different from American  voters.

It is then clear that, today, representative democracy leaves close to half the country unrepresented.

Even in countries with proportional representation, the situation is essentially the same; sure, in proportional representation, voters that in “first past the post” system, would not even elect a parliamentarian, they elect a few in proportional representation, but still have zero representation in the executive.

Even if they elect a few parliamentarians it does not count for much, except if, as it happens occasionally, those parliamentarians happen to hold the balance of power.

The other problem with representative democracy is that it is not really democratic.

Democracy means “rule by the people”. In representative democracies, the people vote, but do not rule. This is the way it is in the US and in all other representative democracies.

In representative democracies, the elected politicians in the executive and the legislative, together with the Supreme Court judges they appoint, rule, the people do not rule at all.

This is why the alienation of millions from representative democracy keeps growing. Some people ate even talking about “the Chinese model of government” as an “alternative to democracy”; in other words, the alternative is dictatorship, a dictatorship that accepts Capitalism, as long as the capitalists (and the million of workers who work for them), accept that those holding political power have all the power; it is not very different from Hitler,s Germany.

This is why we must turn to direct democracy. Direct democracy turns the tables on politicians; instead of them holding all the power, the people have all the decision-making power.

In a direct democracy, a small number of people can put almost any issue before the voters for the voters to decide.

Ordinary voters can stop any law the politicians make. Ordinary voters, not the politicians, can change the constitution, etc.

This power of the people diminishes the power of politicians, as a result they, and the lobbies who support then, and even make and break politicians, see there is no sense in vicious electoral fighting because they will not be able to do anything not supported by the people.

So, direct democracy is more democratic because is is closer to “government by the people”.

Direct democracy is also more representative because if the people have more power, it is obvious their interests are better represented.

Furthermore; once politicians realise the people decide, political parties quickly get together and co-operate to pass only laws and policies the vast majority of people support.

That is why in Switzerland, all  major parties, of left, right and center, representing 80% of the voters, govern in coalition, always.

Of course, in Swiss elections you do not see any of demagoguery, and demagogues, we have in the US and other “representative” “democracies”.

The political, cultural, media and economic elites in representative democracies know direct democracy is more democratic and more representative, but do not want it because in a direct democracy, they will have less power, less power to make money or to reach positions of prestige.

Over the long term, those elites are politically stupid because, as the awareness of people that they are being had in representative democracy grows, unrest grows. Unrest means political instability and with political instability, the elites will lose their status, they may even lose their lives.

Black Lives Matter, Trump, the Yellow Vests, Alliance for Germany, Sanders, etc., are signs that millions on the “left” and the “right” are getting angry in representative democracy.

History shows the elites are always caught by surprise when the violent uprising arrives at their doorsteps.

Direct democracy  would bring political stability to the US and other countries.

You would think the elites have lost their heads in popular uprisings often enough that they would embrace direct democracy, but they do not because their short term greed and ambition blinds them. Besides, many of them do not care if the country goes belly up; too many in the elite seem to believe countries and cultures do not matter any more; they will be surprised, once again.

If you want civic peace, prosperity and stability, push for direct democracy, like the Swiss people did many decades ago, and now have the best country in the World.

Do not take my word for it, learn about direct democracy yourself; I believe you will demand it.

Victor Lopez