Democracy: Don’t Give Up On Something We’ve Never Tried
Athens wasn’t a democracy.
Women couldn’t vote.
Slaves couldn’t vote.
Metoikoi (permanent residents) couldn’t vote.
Only male citizens over the age of twenty.
10–20%, max 30% of the population, by most estimates.
It was a step in the right direction away from one-man tyranny and the ignoble “nobility”, but it certainly wasn’t democracy.
America isn’t a democracy.
It wasn’t a democracy when it considered blacks to be three-fifths of a white.
It wasn’t a democracy when it didn’t let the female half vote.
It’s not a democracy with all this ongoing voter disenfranchisement. (Looking at you, Georgia.)
It’s not a democracy while the electoral college exists.
It’s not a democracy when corporations are considered people.
It’s not a democracy while folks like Jeff Bezos can set new lobbying records by flooding Congress with money and muscle.
Or when one person (Mitch McConnell) can block all legislation he doesn’t like for several years.
Ironically, we’re nearing a situation where fewer men will rule America than in ancient Athens.
Democracy is too precious a thing to entrust to politicians.
They’re easily purchased with campaign donations, board seats, and stock options when they retire.
Americans call it lobbying. Other countries call it bribery.
While some versions are certainly better than others, in any form of so-called representational government —electoral college, first-past-the-post, proportional, ranked ballots, liquid — people lose their voice.
We need direct democracy.
One voice, one vote.
Kids included; with their vote delegated to their legal guardian until they reach voting age.
A rule of (all) the people by (all) the people for (all) the people.
With a strong judiciary to protect the individual and a swift administration comprised of real experts to execute the will of the people.
“But knowing all the issues is hard!”
No, it’s not. Especially if kids are well-educated. Especially if false news media are held accountable. Especially if we focus on the most important issues and sideline all the private-interest distractions.
And we can make it easier by having one Democracy Day each quarter where everyone gets a day off to learn about the issues and then votes via blockchain technology from the comfort of their own homes.
Call it an investment in the survival of our species.
Sure, it’s slightly more complicated, but who cares? Teslas are better than Model Ts.
We’ve never tried democracy because it terrifies the hyper-elites.
It also terrifies us commoners.
Humans are highly risk-averse.
We hate change.
We especially hate the unknown.
But as our population explodes, the environment collapses, and the economy consolidates into a few dozen grasping hands, we’re heading for a world of utter chaos or total tyranny if we go back to a system that’s already failed.
We tried fascism. It killed 6 million Jews and 5 million others.
We tried communism. It killed 38 million Chinese.
We tried socialism. It killed 67 million Russians.
We tried dictatorship. Queen Elizabeth II lives in a castle once occupied by a war criminal who murdered 57,000 people during his reign.
We tried “free” market capitalism. It enslaved 17 million Africans, collapsed the planet, and is currently driving one million people per day into slums.
When you put elites in charge of education, they cripple education. Our kids don’t learn history. Now pair that with a deep and rightful distaste for corportacracy masquerading as democracy, and it’s no wonder nearly 50% of Millennials and Gen Z take a favorable view of socialism.
They’ve never had a voice.
And if we’re not careful, they never will.
I say we give real democracy a shot.
It’s certainly a better option than anything else we’ve ever tried.