Direct democracy is emotional intelligence in government

The Swiss just decided by popular vote three important issues. They did that on November 28th.

It is important to know that the Swiss government must obey the decisions of populr referendums. It is also very important to know that in a direct democracy, like Switzerland’s, it is the people who have the authority to force the government to hold referendums, provided that the proponents of the referendum collect the required number of signatures.

The process of collecting the required number of signatures is very straightforward and makes it relatively easy to have referendums. This is why the Swiss hold referendums several times each year and on several issues.

On Nov. 28th the Swiss decided three issues.

On the Covid Law, they decided several things, perhaps the most important is that the government can issue rules to require a Covid certificate of vaccination. Those against the proposal to issue certificates argued that it would divide the country because many Swiss are against certificates.

The result of the referendum on the Covid Law was that 62% of the voters approved that proposal for the government to require vaccination certificates to attend public events, etc.

By deciding in a popular referendum, a completely democrat decision, those against the certificates have no legitimate option other than comply. It is not different than when, in a election, their party does not win; the only option is to accept the result.

With the referendum, the Swiss go to the heart of the issue; “let the people decide”. In this way, vaccination certificates in Switzerland have not becomedo not become the political football they have become in countries where the politicians decide such issues.

Another issue the Swiss people decided democratically was the Nursing Care Initiative.

The initiative was approved by 61% of voters.

The initiative will modify the Swiss Constitution to require that high quality nursing be available to all Swiss. The initiative also requires that nurses salaries be increased. It will also increase the autonomy of nurses. For example, they will be able to bill health insurance companies, directly, not just for services ordered by a doctor. By the way, Switzerland has the best universal coverage health care system, but it is privately funded and administered. It is another interesting issue.

The third initiative was the Justice Initiative.

Those who collected the signatures to hold the referendum on this initiative argued that Federal Supreme Court Judges should not be appointed by the politicians and that the judges should not have to be reelected. The intention of the initiative is to make the judges independent of political parties. With the new initiative, if approved. federal judges would be appointed in a lottery.

The initiative also would ensure that judges not affiliated with parties have a fair chance of becoming federal judges.

At this point it is important to keep in mind that Swiss Supreme Court Judges can not overturn the results of any popular referendum on constitutional grounds, in Switzerland, not the Executive, nor the Legislature, nor the Judges can “check and balance” the authority of the people.

The people voted, 68% of the voters decided not to change the current system for judges. But keep in mind Swiss Supreme Court Judges, even if linked to parties, have essentially no political power’ much different from, for example, the US Supreme Court.

67.5% of the voters turned out to vote across te nation.

At the same time that Swiss voters decided national issues, local voters decided local issues. For example, in the city of Lucern, 82 000 inhabitants, 64% of the voters approved the construction of new building for government offices.

In that canton of Zurich, also on Nov. 28, the citizens voted and decided to ban fossil fuel heating systems. 63% of the voters decided that was the way to go for the Canton. Voter participation was 63% too.

It is obvuous the system of referendums deepens democracy, it makes voters responsible for what happens in the country, the canton, the city, the town and the villages.

Direct democracy is an example of collective emotional intelligence at work, because it ensures that all voices are heard, anyone, any group, no matter how small can collect signatures to have a referendum on any issue.

This means that in Switzerland, extra-parliamentary parties can be heard at the national level by the system of popular referendums. It is difficult in Switzerland for people to complain that the politicians or the government does not listen to them; if they gather the signatures, propose a referendum on the issue and voters side with them, the government has no choice, it has to listen to the people and do what the people say. The legislature, even if unanimously agreed, can not stop a referendum and have to do what the results of the referendum tell them they must do.

In many other cantons and urban centres the Swiss also voted various local issues.

The people of Switzerland know they have a system that enables them to have power, to know they are not ignored; what is more emotionally important for citizens than to know they count, they are heard, they can not be ignored, they really run their country, canton, etc.?

Representative democracy is not able to create the stability direct democracy creates because, by its nature, the system does not take into account the wishes and concerns, the emotions of citizens, as direct democracy does.

We could say the the Swiss system is a more emotionally intelligent system.

You can have the same system in your country, but the politicians do not want it. They will tell you thinks like: “direct democracy is the dictatorship of the majority (false), “our country is too big for direct democracy” (false), “direct democracy is too slow” (false), “direct democracy creates voter apathy and few turn upto vote (false as you just saw). Besides, in one year, 90% of the Swiss voters vote in a referendum. “Switzerland is very different (false); the Swiss had representative democracy until 1867. The people of Zurich, after a pandemic, they had enough of the politicians making all the decisions, they decide to decide themselves. The politicians resisted for a while (because they did not want to lose all that power they have in representative democracies, power that transfers to the people in direct democracies).

Direct democracy, like representative democracy, do not happen without effort. Even representative democracy is not the natural state of human societies, it only happens by deliberate efforts and considerable collective skills. Direct democracy requires more effort, more political intelligence.

Victor Lopez

It is clear, even Sweden needs direct democracy

How do we know? Just study the Swiss system; direct democracy at the local, canton (states or provinces in other countries) and at the national level.

Read about what is going on in Sweden’s politics and compare it with Swiss politics; disorder vs. order, cooperation among parties vs. confrontation.

The basic difference between representative democracy and direct democracy? In a representative democracy the politicians are the bosses of the people; they tell the people what laws they must follow, the taxes they will pay, what health system they will have, how their children will be educated, what pensions they will receive, what rights they will have and on and on, EVERYTHING is controlled by the politicians. It does not matter if the Right or the Left governs. The only change is the type of control. Either tells you what you can or must do.

In a direct democracy the politicians control practically everything; the people have only two key powers or rights (granted by the politicians!, it is a joke!); freedom of expression and the power to decide what person or what party will run their lives for the next several years, until the next election.

In a direct democracy, the voters are the bosses of the politicians. In a formally pure direct democracy the voters decide all issues, there are no elected politicians, people elect other citizens for certain key posts, but there are no political parties.

Many people believe that a pure direct democracy, where voters decide all laws, policies, treaties, etc., is not practical in large societies. Perhaps that is why nobody has practised full direct democracy the way its inventors, the Ancient Greeks did. But the Swiss have found a way which makes direct democracy practical for any country, large or small.

The transition from dictatorships, authoritarian regimes, religious dictatorships and the likes of them, to direct democracy is very unlikely, but it could happen. After all, the French Revolution overthrew the authoritarian King to bring direct democracy to France. Unfortunately, some leaders of the Revolution betrayed its key goal. What emerged was representative democracy; much better than the absolute King, but not real democracy, because the people do not govern, the politicians do.

Because of that my blog is addressed mainly to the people of representative democracies; the transition to direct democracy, at least to Swiss style direct democracy, should be relatively easy in representative democracies, that is what the Swiss did in 1867. But they had to demand it, the elected politicians will never bring direct democracy, unless they are pressured.

The twist the Swiss introduced to representative democracy is this; the people will keep the elected politicians, the politicians will still be able to pass laws, formulate policies, etc., but the people have three key powers; the power to stop any law, the power to tell the politicians what laws or policies they must develop, as well as the power to change the constitution.

This means that, normally, the Swiss people let their politicians carry on with the business of governing, but the people reserve the right to intervene whenever they decide it is necessary. The decision about the necessity of putting an issue before the voters requires the collection of 50 000 or 100 000 signatures, depending on the issue.

In other words, Swiss voters are the clear bosses of the politicians, but they give the politicians lots of leeway.

This sharing of power between the people and the politicians ensures the politicians always govern according to the will of the people. Most of the time the politicians are left alone because they have learned to govern according to the will of the people. From practice, Swiss politicians are pretty smart at knowing what laws and policies they can pass without annoying the people and triggering a referendum.

The way the Swiss politicians have found most effective at governing in tune with the people is by coalition, always. This means the major parties, who represent 70-80% of voters govern together, always.

The beauty of the system is that it produces government without drama. The system allows politicians to continuously adjust what they do to the issues and the values of the voters. There is no drama, no polarisation, no dramatic call to new elections, no paralysing fights among parties and politicians, no dramatic votes of no confidence, and on and on.

Swiss politics is far and away smoother, more civilised than in any other country. Even the better running representative democracies, for example Sweden’s, are noisy, divided, polarised places. Practically all other representative democracies are in worse shape than Sweden. The US, France, the UK, Germany, etc., are sad soap operas.

Before you dismiss Swiss style direct democracy, study it in detail. Soon you will realise that the problems in other countries are due to the system of representative democracy that, for many reasons, divides, polarises politicians and the people.

The problem in representative democracies is not the executive or the legislative, the Right or the Left, the corrupt politicians, the lobbies, etc., it is the system that generates destructive, inefficient behaviours in politicians, parties and voters.

I hope you take an interest in direct democracy for your own good, the good of your children and the good of your nation.

Victor Lopez

Does your country need more nurses, (or doctors, engineers or scientists)? This is how direct democracy tackles the issue.

On November 28th, the citizens of, Switzerland, the only established direct democracy in the World (since the Ancient Greeks!) will decide several national issues. When I say decide, I mean they decide; there is nothing the executive, the legislative of the highest court in the land can do to prevent the referendum, which are mandated by law or mandated by the people once a group of citizens manages to collect the required number of signatures.

Nor can the politicians of the judges stop or sidetrack the results of the referendum, the results are binding.

This means that nobody, short of a later popular referendum, can overturn the results.

In this system, the executive, the legislative and the supreme court can not call referendums either, even if the three branches unanimously agree, only the people can do that, or if the law (which have to be accepted by the people) mandates a referendum.

I will concentrate today on the first of the three referendum. It is to decide if the nursing care system will be strengthened by graduating more nurses, improving working conditions and salaries for nurses in hospitals, all hospitals, public and private.

I hope today´s post will help you ask yourself, and ask the politicians in your country, the question “why we can do that here about nursing or any other issue?”.

Keep in mind that Switzerland has already the best system of universal health care in the World. Interestingly, it is privately funded and privately managed, but the government helps pay the premiums of people with limited resources. Regardless of the Swiss healt system, a group of, mostly women nurses got this referendum under way.

The referendum is, again, another lesson for people in other countries of the power the people of Switzerland have over their politicians. In Switzerland, the people really set the agenda but, unlike what happens in your representative democracy (parlamentarian or presidential).

One of the lessons for other countries is that the referendum was set in motion by a group of mostly women nurses. In no other country do women have such power; never mind the verbose speeches about “empowering women” spewing out of the mouths of activists and “progressive” politicians in other countries. The reality, the hard truth, is that, because of the direct democracy the Swiss have, Swiss womenand men, have more real power than the women and men of any other country. The Swiss do not need activists to push politicians; they organize referendums that give politicians no option but to act as the voters want.

The committee who organised the referendum is not a political party,a nurse’s union or another lobby, but it could have been. Most referendums in Switzerland are not organised by political parties, unions or professional associations, probably because it would hurt the credibility of the proposal. Even parties not represented in parliament can organize a referendum in Switzerland. In no other country can the representatives of minority voters put an issue that concerns them to a binding popular regferendum.

The committee collected the required 100 000 signatures within the 18 month allowed.

This gave the committee the authority to present the proposal that would go to referendum to the Swiss government. The government felt the proposal went too far and presented to the committee a counter proposal. Under the Swiss system, the committee could accept the proposal. If it did, the referendum would not take place. In this case, the committee rejected the government counterprosal, this means the binding referendum will take place on Nov. 28th, 2021.

The counter proposal prepared by the government was a joint effort of the executive and the legislature. That the executive and the legislature cooperate in such efforts, instead of the usual mutual criticism of the executive and the legislative that we see in representative democracies, is one of the beneficial unintended consequences of direct democracy.

It is very interesting to see how direct democracy pushes Swiss politicians to cooperate. It is also interesting to see how their cooperation does not take place to neutralize the power of the people, because they can’t.

The referendum asks voters to decide if the government must put in place measures to accomplish the following:

The federal government and the cantonal governments (cantons are not unlike American States, but with considerable more autonomy) must train enough nurses in Switzerland to ensure the current shortage of nurses disappears.

The governments must also ensure that the social value of nursing increases. This will be done by improving the working conditions of nurses and their salaries.

The national discussions that all referendums in Switzerland trigger, has increased the awareness of the public about the shortage of nurses. Preliminary surveys show that 82 percent of the Swiss will vote “yes” in the referendum.

The discussions also educate people on the issue, so that they vote on the basis of ample information from all points of view. Depending on the issue, votes may show up at different levels. Perhaps some issues are of no interest to many voters, or they decide not to vote for other motives.

One of the positive effects of the measures is that Switzerland will be training enough nurses to be self sufficient in nurses. This means that many countries with lower incomes than Switzerland, who now see how they spend huge amounts of money to train nurses who then leave for other countries, may see that fewer nurses abandon their home country. It is obvious that rich countries must not poach professionals from countries with lower resources. What happens with nurse also happens with doctors, engineers, scientists, etc. How are those countries going to advance on their own if their professionals leave? Not likely, so they end up as low skill labour pools to cheaply manufacture goods for the large corporations of the developed World. These are separate issues, but of unimaginable imporance for poorer countries.

The main purpose of the referendums is not to help less developed countries. But the mechanism of the referendum allows people, ordinary people, to put to a binding national vote any issue. That is impossible in all representative democracies.

In representative democracies, the people have to make a lot of noise to “convince” (scare, really) the politicians into action. However, the politicians in representative democracies can not be forced to act, there is no mechanism for the people to impose their will on the executive and the legislative. The ruling politicians may calculate that other issues will come up before the next election. It can also happen that, even it those in power decide to act to please the protesters, by election time, another party may win and the whole process has to start all over again; the Swiss can act on the specific issue, and it does not matter if at election time another party wins; the referendum has to be carried out just the same and the results are equally binding.

So why you can not organize in your country binding referendums like the Swiss do? I believe it is because most people do not know about direct democracy. They do not know that itb gives them more power and that it works better than representative democracy. They do not know because in the schools, in the media and, perticularly, the politicians themselves, progressive or conservative do not want to give up their power, which is the major thing direct democracy requires. All they hear is generalities about “our great constitution”, as if it was a document for eterenity. The Swiss modify their constitution regularly, that is how they introduced direct democracy in 1867. Before then, Swiss politicians (representative democracy) did not want direct democracy either!

In my twitter and facebook conversations I notice how many ordinary people just do not know what direct democracy is. Some even believe it is mob rule, such is the degree of misinformation! No mob rule in Switzerland, just rational, calmly debated referendums and votes.

Victor Lopez

All important decisions in the country must be made with the explicit approval of the voters, that is direct democracy

Democracy means “government by the people” Government by the people means that, that the people govern, that the people make or explicitly approve any decision the people consider important.

The people can not govern through elected representatives if the elected representatives make all decisions. In representative democracies, the politicians; the executive, the legislature and the judges, appointed by the politicians make all all the laws, interpret all the laws, the executive also makes all decisions without the consent of the people.

The legislature can stop the executive from making certain decisions, so can the judges, but the people can not stop the executive, the legislature or the judges.

If the people can not make any executive or legislative decision, and if they can not stop executive decisions or laws, how can we say that representative democracy is “government by the people” ? It is not, no matter how many pirouettes the politicians, the lobbies and the academics that support representative democracy, make.

In a representative democracy voters only have one power; the power to decide who will govern, that’s all. It is a big improvement over absolute monarchies, oligarchies, theocracies, one person or one party dictatorships, but it is not democracy.

It is time for voters to also have the right, the power, to decide issues, laws and anything else voters consider that they want to decide.

This means that decisions such as level of taxation, signing international treaties, declaring war, the public health system, the educational system, all laws and all changes to the constitution must be under the control of the people in one of two ways; because they can stop and reverse any decision by the executive and the legislature, any law, any treaty, etc., and they can also initiate and approve changes in all those areas.

It also means the judges will not be able to decide that the results of any decision are contrary to the constitution because the people are the fathers and mothers of the constitution, not the judges, not the founding fathers or anyone else.

Both, the decisions by the people to stop the executive or the legislative, and the changes initiated by the people, must also be binding for the executive and the legislature. F

Furthermore, not even a unanimous decision by the legislature, nor the supreme court must have the authority to reverse or override a decision by the people.

Many polls show that more and more voters, and citizens in general, are “losing faith in democracy”. That is not true, they are losing faith in representative democracy because representative democracy is not government by the people.

If representative democracy were in reality, “government by the people”, how could the people lose confidence in democracy or even in the politicians?, it would be absurd. It makes no sense for the people to lose confidence and trust in representative democracy if representative democracy is “government by the people”.

Why then most people equate representative democracy with democracy?, because the politicians, the lobbies and the academic elitists want the people to believe that. That way, if the system dos no work, if politicians govern ignoring the people, if politicians ignore promises made during political campaigns, or do things they never said they would do, or do the the opposite of what they promised, the people will not blame the system of representative democracy. They hope you will blame the politicians,the parties, the lobbies who pressure the politicians with “donations” to campaigns etc.

But the problem is the system of direct democracy that allows politicians to govern the way they want. The politicians know the people can not stop them.

All the people can do is vote the current politicians or party out of power. Whatever law or decision those kicked out made, it can not be changed. unless a new party wins the election.

Unfortunately, the new party… does exactly the same thing but in a different political direction. Besides, at election time, regardless of what the current people in power have done, the extreme polarisation created by representative democracy pushes most voters to vote for “their party” again.

Representative democracy is an obsolete system that gradually deteriorates the faith of the people in democracy because it is not a democracy. In a direct democracy, a real democracy, that disenchantment with the politicians and the parties does not happen, can not happen, because the people are in control.

How do we know that?, because the Swiss have direct democracy. Swiss politicians enjoy a higher level of trust than in any representative democracies, including the Scandinavian democracies.

If you want to change the situation is your country, if you want the politicians to govern as the people want, if you are fed up of complaining, or you stopped voting for those reasons, you better wake up and realise you have been had, that representative democracy is not real democracy.

It is a great improvement over authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, but is not democracy. You have to start demanding, and forcefully, direct democracy. But make sure you demand Swiss style democracy, not California style democracy, they are very different.

Victor Lopez

Wealth tax ! Wealth tax ! Wealth tax ! Direct democracy, again! shows the way.

We all hear about the big fight in the US about the wealth tax. If other representative democracies discussed this issue; in places like Canada, the UK, etc., the decibels would be lower but not by much.

Representative democracy has a way to polarise everything. I believe it happens because in a representative democracy, politicians have so much power that they fight “to the death” to hold on to it, or to get it. Because the various lobbies also know that in representative democracies politicians have a monopoly, or duopoly, on power, they contribute lots of “donations” to political campaigns.

Lobbies are not stupid, they know that those in power could lose the election, that is why they “donate” to all major parties; it is an insurance policy.

In the US right now the discussion over the wealth tax is as aggressive as it can get. Those for it consider the rich a bunch of privileged cheaters who, ideally, should not exist but, since we have them we should tax them as much as possible.

On the other side we have those who say that a wealth tax will scare the rich away, and that would be terrible for the country because they would not want to live in the US, Canada, etc., and money for research, innovation, etc., would dry out.

But where are they going to go that offers them what they have in their countries know? Sure, some will move to Singapore, the Arab Emirates or Panama, but how many would want to live there and miss all the good stuff the US and Europe offer? the night life, the restaurants, the concerts, the ego-filing experience of being an important citizen in the most important country in the World? Let us face it, a billionaire in Singapore or Panama is not the same as in New York, Los Angeles, etc.

Yes, some would move to Switzerland because it is the most stable, most civilised country on Earth, is at the heart of Europe, not far from New York…, but, surprise! it has a wealth tax!.

The Swiss wealth tax generates 3.6% of all taxes in Switzerland, not bad.

At the same time, Switzerland is more pro enterprise than the US, Canada and the rest of them. It is also the place where many international billionaires choose to live.

One huge advantage the Swiss have over the Americans and the rest is that they have direct democracy. Direct democracy depoliticises politics because the people are the final authority on any issue, law, treaty, regulation or article of the constitution. Because the people decide, politicians realise that a big fight over the wealth tax or anything else would look ridiculous, it would be like children fighting bitterly over where to go for vacation when they know it is the parents who decide, not them.

To summarise, a wealth tax if perfectly reasonable, Swiss millionaires and billionaires have not moved to France, Germany or the US, In fact, quite a few from those countries move to Switzerland.

I do not know if the Swiss wealth tax has anything to do with it, but income tax in Switzerland averages 34.4%, in the US it is 37.7%. I bet those who claim for the wealth tax do not say anything about reducing income tax for most Americans. The sad and hard truth is that in the US, and to comparable extent in other representative democracies, neither the progressives nor the conservatives are interested in helping those on salaries.

If you demand direct democracy you could end up with a wealth tax for the rich and lower income tax for the average income earner. But you have to demand direct democracy, and never give up because American, Canadian, UK, etc., politicians, like Swiss politicians almost 200 years ago, no not want to give up the cash cow representative democracy represents for their grandiose plans, often devised to help the “donors”.

Victor Lopez

Without direct democracy, citizens do not count for much

If we live in an authoritarian or totalitarian regime, lay or religious, of any tendency, we are like serfs during the European Middle Ages, or less; we obviously should do something about that.

But this blog is not aimed at that, my goal is to contribute to bringing direct democracy to representative democracies. Those are societies where the people enjoy important basic human rights; freedom of expression, freedom for political ideas, and also the freedom and power to choose what person or political party will run the country.

For me, representative democracy is not enough, it is not fair, just or humane enough but you have to decide if direct democracy is a better system because it gives people one fundamental additional human right that is absent in representative democracies. I am referring to the right of people to decide all important issues and take away from politicians that power.

This is why representative democracy is not enough for me:

In a representative democracy, we the people, do not have the right and the power to make decisions on laws, policies, treaties, the constitution, taxes, war, education, the health system, etc. We only have the right to choose those who will have those powers, it is not enough.

We pay for everything; for all government expenses and for the salaries of all politicians. It makes no sense that we pay and they decide.

Democracy is supposed to be government by the people, directly by the people. That is what the Ancient Greeks developed. They developed direct democracy. They called it only “democracy” because they knew there is only one democracy, direct democracy.

Representative democracy is a trick some of the leaders of the French Revolution played on the people. We know that because already, during the Revolution, some members of the Assembly pointed out that if there is representation there is no democracy, because the people do not make the decisions. Democracy means “government BY the people”, it does not mean government of the representatives of the people.

Why it took for humans, even in Europe, even to “modern2 Greece, where Ancient Greece was embedded, 2000 years to bring the idea of democracy back? Ask the Christians; they are the ones who preferred rule by Popes and Divine Kings to rule themselves. I suppose the magic promises of the Church for the after life distracted them from the “here and now” life. But it is obviuus the people preferred those systems to democracy. Perhaps the Ancient Greeks were much brighter.

But that is not important now, what is important is that in a representative “democracy” we do not govern, when you govern, you make the laws, the policies, decide the taxes, what treaties to sign, what war to get involved in, what kind of health care system to have, what education should we have, what the constitution will say, etc.

If the people can not do that, then the people do not govern and the system is not a democracy.

If in a “democracy” the people elect the representatives and the representatives make all important decisions, such system is not a democracy.

Even if there is separation of powers at the top, between the elected executive, the elected legislative and the appointed judges, there is no democracy if the people only make the decision to elect. To the Greeks, representative “democracy” would not be democracy but, at best “elected aristocracy” or “elected oligarchy”.

If you pay but do not have the power to approve or reject laws, raise or lower taxes and the rest of it, you do not live in a democracy. If you pay you should be the master of the politicians, not the other way around.

If you do not decide the issues directly, you may claim, because you hear it all around you, that you live in a democracy, but you do not.

If you want to control the now, and the future, of your country, of your federation of states, etc., there is only one way, direct democracy.

The Swiss have direct democracy, not as good as the Ancient Greeks had, but close enough that allows the Swiss people to control their politicians and what happens in their country.

Please! Do not bring up the argument that the Greeks did not have a very good democracy because women and slaves did not vote; we are talking about 2700 years ago! Besides women could not vote anywhere until the late 19th century, and slavery lasted just as long. And the change happened, not because of the Church but because in the Renaissance, Europeans woke up and rediscovered Ancient Greece.

But remember, the adult citizens of Greece had far more power than you do right now, even more than the Swiss have.

You should compare the Ancient Greeks to the other societies of the World of that time; the Jews, the Egyptianr, the Indians, the Chinese, the other Europeans, etc., the Greeks were light-years ahead of all of them, and not only in politics.

No doubt that if Greek democragy had survived, slavery wwould have been abolished in a few decades and women would have had the vote much sooner.

But direct democracy, like representative “democracy”, does not just happen, the people have to push for them.

That is what the Greeks did and the Swiss too, more tha two millennia later. If you want to obtain the right to decide, you will have to push too.

Victor Lopez

You should compare the

Support direct democracy if you want to be the master of your destiny, otherwise continue with representative democracy

Representative democracy is a great improvement over absolute monarchy and dictatorships because we have the freedom to criticize the masters and to change them.

In authoritarian and totalitarian regimes,ruler has no less power over you than the farmer over his chickens.

Direct democracy pushes democracy further; it makes us the masters of the politicians. Because of that, the lobbies who, with their “donations”, nice jobs for politicians and, sometimes, outright corruption, lose all relevant influence too.

With direct democracy, the ordinary citizens, the voters decide what issues are important enough for them to decide, and they decide them.

In a direct democracy, the elected politicians have to follow the instructions of the people; there is no issue with politicians not keeping their promises. In the first place, the politicians can not promise much.

Direct democracy also reduces parties to opinion groups without much power.

How do I know all that? How I am so sure? Because that is what they do in Switzerland at the local, cantonal (state, province] and, this is crucial, at the national level too.

By the way, in the US, in states like California, they do not have real direct democracy because they have it only at the state level and because the decisions of the people can be overturned by the courts, among other shortcomings. To equate California-style direct democracy with Swiss-style direct democracy is to show ones ignorance, or worse.

To not support the evolution from representative democracy to direct democracy and to complain about the politicians, is foolish, very foolish.

Victor Lopez

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