The French Revolution was the culmination of the rebellion of the masses against the Church, the divine kings and the aristoctats. It was supposed to bring democracy back, but it di not. It was a good advance, but it did not bring democra y back.
Initially, the French Revolution was set up as a Greek styke democracy, the only one we knew. That meant a direct democracy,a democracy where the people directly decide policies and laws.
But something happened in the French Revolution; somehow, they were unable to make direct democracy work and “settled” (with a lot of bllod shed) for “representative democracy”.
This is an expression that to the Ancient Greek democrats would be an oxymoron. As already French Jacobin Deputy Pierre-François-Joseph Robert stated in early 1793, “There is no democracy with national representation,” he opined, “and those who wish to adapt all the principles of democratic government to a representative government are either imbeciles who disrupt without knowing it, or rogues who knowingly disrupt in the hope of not losing the fruits of anarchy.”
There you have it, representative democracy is not democracy. To the Ancient Greeks, our representative democracies would be “elected aristocracies”. What that wise French deputy thought of representative “democracy” you just saw it.
What sense does it make to have a few hundred elected representatives make all decisions for the rest of us just because we elected them? Does election make them more competent? Do they get elected because they have shown they are competent governing? Do they have ample knowledge of all the issues they face in which they have to develop policies, laws, treaties, etc., in fields as varies and complex as education, technology, science, crime, economy, industry, farming, health, energy, etc.? No, they do not, we all know politicians can not be experts.
So, they do not have special expertise but they make the decisions for us. In their teams they have experts but those experts are there to backup the preconceived political ideas of those who pay them. The politicians on the left find experts to back up their views, the politiians of the right find experts to say just the opposite.
Neither the left or the right are interested in seeking the advice or independent experts, because such experts might support some of the positions of the politicians or party, and criticize others, and the politicians do not like that; it would meaken weaken their position; they rather die than hire such independent advisors.
You see, in representative democracy, it is all about winning the next election. The chances of winning increases the stronger the politician and party appears to the eyes of the voters, and the more ghey can weaken rivals.
Here lies one key advantage of direct democracy. Because prdinary voters have to decide issues, policies and laws, and voters know they are responsible for the consequences, voters want to hear all relevant opinions, partiularly the opinion of independent experts. Most voters are as capable as politicians of undertanding complex issues when experts explain the issues to them. That is what the politician do; they do not have special expertise either, the experts have to explain the issues to them.
The wider diversity of opinions that come into play in direct democracy makes for better decisions. More minds look at the issue in a direct democracy, including more experts, particularly experts not linked to politicalparties.
It is also important to note that in a direct democracy many members of the public have expertise, this elevates the level of the debate and the uality of the decision.
The ample debate direct democracy generates ensures that more people comsider more ideas. Normally, this will also result in a better decision.
Switzerland demonstrates direct democracy works, if you apply it like the Swiss, at all level of government. Direct democracy if not direct democracy if there is no direct democracy at the national level. This is why direct democracy in the US and other places does not work well.
Switzerland has more than 150 years experience with direct democracy. Everybody knows Switerland is the most stable stable country in the World, the one with less polarisation too, because direct democracy forces voters to look at the issues to decide, not just listen to various degrees of demagoguery who also pretend to have special “vision” to decide on behalf of the citizens.
So,if you are tired of politicians making all the decisions; telling you what you can, can’t or must do, decide your taxes, your pension, the national deficit, the national debt, the education system, the health system, etc., then you are ready for direct democracy.
If you are also tired of the influence of the lobbies and the “donors” (investors, really) to political campaigns, of the polarisation of voters, of the partisan media of all hues, you are ready for direct democracy.
But you have to do something the politicians do not mind too much that you have a terrible opinion of them, that you blame tham for this or that, as long as they enjoy all the power representative democracy gives them, and that direct democracy will largely take away, and the many perks that go with it.